"It was a really good car"

How often have I heard someone earnestly telling me that?

It's typically a part of the 'first car' conversation. Old folks tell you how the Morris 8 or Ford Prefect they had was a really good car. Young people tell how they inherited nanna's Camry for their first set of wheels and "it was a great car". The old Mitsubishi Colt was a great car. The Holden Sunbird was a truly brilliant machine...

NO! They were heaps of crap! Poorly made, lacking on-road dynamics, average designs capable only of average service. At best.

Sure the mists of time can make the first car you owned seem like it was wonderful - and compared to a bicycle, motorised mobility is certainly a great freedom. But why do so many people kid themselves and try to convince me that a 120Y/Gemini/Pulsar was a good car? With minimal terms of reference most people find their first car provides many positive things, but so often they confuse the other benefits with the actual car being a good car.

Aside from providing mobility, an early Hyundai Excel was not a great car. Nor was a Vauxhall Viva. Or your grandfather's Chrysler Centura. Why try so hard to convince anyone otherwise?

When I was at school, a friend came back from an overseas holiday with an international driver's license. His parents gave him a new top-of-the-line BMW 633CSi - an elegant big coupe with a lovely 6-cylinder engine, providing excellent performance in absolute luxury. He was one lucky 16 year old. Now that was a great first car.

Some of the people who insist on looking back through rose tinted glasses also insist on telling me more recent purchases are so good too. Sure, I understand that buying a car can be an expensive commitment and may need as much justification as possible...

But really, the Captiva bought recently isn't a great car. It may have parking sensors, a reversing camera and sat nav, but it's not a great design and nobody that hasn't bought one will ever say it is. History will not look kindly at the big South Korean Holden SUV. Sure, it was better than the Falcon wagon or Subaru Forrester they had before it, but that comparison doesn't actually make a Captiva a good car.

Maybe it's the curse of being a car enthusiast, that people need to convince me that their below-average cars are great. I can only smile, nod or in the worst cases, possibly grunt some kind of acknowledgement.

Whinge over.