cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #116: Living in the world the Harrier made

Spoiler alert: In the next year you're going to see an increase in the number of new-car reviews here at Hagerty. As the so-called "legacy" magazines continue to fade out, thin out, and struggle through unconvincing transitions to "lifestyle" rags, there will be fewer and fewer people and outlets willing to undertake honest, fair, and context-sensitive reviews of new vehicles.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-116-living-in-the-world-th...
32 REPLIES 32
CJinSD
Instructor

I'd be more upset about the loss of your alternative outcome if BMW 3-series cars today weren't obese, automatic, hideous, and powered by Chicom-compliant heat pumps.
Germanicus
Detailer

What, Exclusive First Drives that are more tightly supervised by the automaker than your average first drive event, and that feature more commentary on watches than criticism of the car aren't enough for you? /s

I thought for a split-second that cars could mount a comeback with this electric revolution, given that efficiency is at a premium, and electric SUVs are oddly proportioned, sexless things. Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case. But hey, if Steely Dan can experience a renaissance among young listeners today, the car can do the same in a generation or two.
Ark-med
Detailer

This trend will endure, no thanks to Mazda's CX30, which is the first genuinely good-looking crossover. It is also less utilitarian than the better-looking Mazda3 hatch, which —perversely— can only help sales of the CX30.
Tsaxman
Advanced Driver

As a Porsche cabriolet driver in the Midwest, I needed a winter vehicle, having passed my BMW Xi coupe to my youngest kid. One of my car collector/dealer/retired M.D. friends showed me his RX350. I figured, if it is good enough for a guy who has 20+ collector cars and was his personal vehicle, why not?

So, five flawless years later, I still have it, much to my unyielding chagrin. I have general disdain for this vehicle, which you aptly describe as, "combination of semi-luxury branding with quarter-million-mile reliability." It is remarkably boring, mostly because it is, well, perfect. I am considering something much more fun to drive in good or inclement weather, such as a Macan, a Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG or some such. I understand I will sacrifice the bulletproof reliability Lexus brings to the world, but at least I will stop grousing about the somnolence inherent in the RX.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

RX350 > Macan all day and every day.

Only one of these cars is comfortable in its own skin.
MustangJim
Technician

I look forward to the new car reviews. What I have seen so far seem to be unbiased . I've gotten tired of reading the " mainstream" car mags. For many years I subscribed to several at a time. I have one more that will expire soon so will sit back and enjoy hagerty and hemmings ( hope it was ok to mention them).
CitationMan
Gearhead

I used to think that Lexus was for boring old guys, but now that I am one, I’m starting to appreciate them more. I hope there’s a Lexus V8 in my garage one day. I believe that the majority of my bias came from reviews I’ve read over the years. Recently I’ve found some great reviews that review Lexus cars for what they are, not what the reviewer thinks they should be. Most reviewers compare Lexus to the Germans (who cares?) or judge them on 0-60 mph time (the worst metric ever).

One can read 10 different new car reviews and tell they are all lazily based on the manufacturer’s force fed information, or they just repeat the same tired narrative assigned to a car or brand. I welcome more Hagerty new car reviews, as we need those “context sensitive” reviews that get to the character and essence of a car. I don’t need to see more numbers, tell me how a car feels in different situations and if it’s well balanced. Good luck!

SuperDeLuxe
Advanced Driver

Chariots from antiquity were driven standing. "High-rise" seating is standing height. Perhaps consumers have not evolved yet? I jest, now it's time to put some ointment on my knuckles ...
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Ah, but the chariots were raised about twenty-four inches off the ground, so that's really F350 4x4 position!
ATLpaul
Detailer

Brilliant article. I may add, RX300/350, prove the power of women in purchasing vehicles. It is the vehicle that women with small families wanted, want, aspire to. It is silky smooth. It does not make much noise. And as you say, it is reliable so those women have to have minimum interaction with those dirty repair people. Add to that Lexus service, and slam dunk. Lexus RX, still the one.
Rick66
Pit Crew

OK, you brought this up. I dropped my 40 year subscription to what has become a Lifestyle book. I waited awhile hoping it might get better but nope. Also was willing to pay for the one story a year from one of my favorite writers on cars and motorcycles. A Mr. P. Egan.
Might have a few good ones left in him. Any thoughts?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Put it this way: he knows we're here, and he knows I have cash in hand.

I brought Bedard back, albeit briefly because he doesn't need to work any more. Who knows what we'll accomplish in the future?
JRJones
Detailer

R&T did indeed bring Peter back for the AUG/SEPT quarterly to wax about the MG-TC. Backed with Chris Beebe's technical, it is marvelous as expected.
JSievers
Instructor

I think you have things 180 degrees out of phase. The original RX300 was a clean and classic design that still looks good today. The current RX350 and its variants are the Starship Trooper "bugs" with some of the most offensive styling on the market, purchased by upper-middle-class lemmings who want to keep up with the Joneses, not realizing that the Joneses have no taste. Thankfully, The Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade offer a more esthetically pleasing product at a better price, though unfortunately without the high-end dealer experience at which Lexus excels.
MLS
New Driver

The RX gets uglier with each new generation, to the point that the current model almost seems like a joke. But the original was no looker either. Bulbous and weird, it set a precedent for decades of bad Lexus design to come.
Hyundai Palisade is pretty damn bizarre, too. That it's better looking than RX isn't saying much.
Ark-med
Detailer

And as a parting apology, Lexus bestows upon us the IS500, just as our betters have deemed that eco-turbo-four-popper-hybrid-EV appliances are what shall be driven by the taxpaying masses who want just a little verve in their transportation.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I've been thinking about the IS550 quite a bit. Not gonna lie.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I'm waiting for the IS 500 myself. I've owned a 2018 IS 350 F Sport and wished it had more power. IS 500 = problem solved with bullet proof reliability.
BaxterFranks
Pit Crew

Been trying to talk the wife out of her 2014 IS250 and put her in a 2022 IS500.
RS255
Pit Crew

Curious, so just how will you obtain cars to test. You said you will not have long term cars from manufactures but how about short term ? I know Consumer Reports actually buys the cars they are testing and they buy them right off the showroom floor then sells them when finished. I would believe Hagerty will be testing many cars to buy all of them would be very expensive. You already did admit that you have a small fleet of cars at the office are those freebees or is Hagerty buying already ?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

We buy classic cars all the time - there's a fleet of them in Traverse City, including a Nismo R32 I drove this past Wednesday.

I made the short/long-term distinction because long-term test cars are basically compensation. There was a fellow a while back who wrote nicer things about the CTS-V than anyone else, so they gave him a CTS-V Wagon. For a year. What's the cash value of that gift? About $25k.
RS255
Pit Crew

Well that still doesn't answer how you are going about to obtain new cars , if you want credibility and accountability this is important. Back in the day mags used to get press fit cars from manufactures something their high position would only drive as I am sure you know and then there was the ad money so how could you believe anything ?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Maybe this will help: We don't need a penny's worth of automaker ad money, and we've already been the recipient of angry feedback about the reviews I'd done to this point.

We are not going to buy cars, CR-style, but we will be exploring all venues of sourcing including our high net worth customers, affiliated dealers, and rental agencies.
JRJones
Detailer

In the mid-nineties I switched to a job requiring weekly road trips between WI, IL, and MN. My Mitsubishi Montero was not interstate appropriate. A used LS400 and Lexus became my automotive benchmarks. A few years later my wife's Subaru traded the "love" promise for loathing and went on Craigslist. Living very rural and being absent much of the time, my Consumers Report review suggested an RX300. We bought a Certified Used exactly like your photo and it was perfect. Lexus' use of QFD (quality functional development) and VOC (voice of the customer) was a bull's eye.
For my wife the car fit, felt and functioned perfectly.
For me it was efficient, trouble free and the dealer was not an idiot.
I would have been happy to turn RX300s over at 275K mile intervals forever, but my wife is all about the vintage. IMHO we have never done better.
rsayre
Pit Crew

Wife rolled an RX300 avoiding a deer. Bought another used one (2001) with 100K miles in 2008. Finally sold it earlier this year, 20 years old and 307K miles. Not without some service, but nothing you wouldn't expect from that many miles.
Yes, typical Japanese styling and execution (my son had a 3000GT at one time, different manufacturer but same culture) but when you consider it performed (quiet ride, smooth ride, etc) as well as it did and then realize it was 20 years old, it was definitely a trend setter.
Styling, meh. It was transportation to my wife.
Story for another day but we ended up with a 2013 RX450h to replace it. Dated even compared to my 2014 Cherokee but rides smooth (heavy!) and gets good mileage.

Totally agree that the RX300 changed the landscape. Had a '96 Explorer Sport five speed. Nice truck/SUV but it rode like a truck.
I drive 20k-25k a year and sometimes my Cherokee is full of computer parts for work so I can justify the SUV but I also get 31mpg on the highway and being mid-50's it's easier to get in/out of than the Neon I used to drive (great car!).
For fun I have a '49 Dodge pickup and a '30 Model A with a project chassis waiting in the wings.

I too would rather a world without SUV's but for me my Cherokee (Jeep version of the RX300) suits me perfectly and gets good mileage to boot.

So thank you to the RX300 for setting the stage. But really, we don't need yet another SUV. Unless it's a Charger wagon (Magnum)...
JDHilton
Intermediate Driver

I'm still amazed at how badly the Magnum misfired - like the Germans, I'd totally misunderstood the market trend. They came back, of course, with full lines of premium SUVs, but I still smile whenever I see a Magnum on the road.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Yeah I have a Car and Driver subscription and the magazine is just wasting away. Plus all the EV crap is making it less exciting to read a car magazine. I fear their days are numbered, they can't even put out 12 issues a year anymore. R&T seems pointless to me. Haven't looked at MotorTrend recently. What's the point of a car magazine if all the new ones are going to be about a toaster on wheels with the model number of a fax machine.
61Rampy
Instructor

I, too, have been a C/D subscriber for a looooong time (60 years). When I was a kid, I would read, reread, re-reread all the articles until I had them memorized. Now, when I get a new issue, I thumb thru the indecipherable graphs, the incessant BMW vs Audi vs Porsche tests (winner determined by which company sent the biggest check), read the irate letters, and then Ezra Dyer. Then it goes in the recycle bin. I cant wait for my subscription to expire!! Oh, yeah, once mortal enemies, they are now in bed with R&T, which annoys me too.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

If you could see behind the curtain you'd be even more annoyed. The head of C/D has also been the behind-the-scenes head of R&T for at least five years.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

R&T has also hired some who fled the Jalopnik ship.  I don't find much of Jalopnik's past have much to say to me.  Lots of whiners.

MLS
New Driver

Jack, the Infiniti FX was a bionic cheetah, not a panther.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

You're right, of course!