The College Driver has posted an entry entitled “Top Five Cars for Dad.”
The article by Zaid Nasser opens with: “Father’s Day is here again. It’s that special day of the year for all of our dads who’ve earned the right to drive a car that shows how awesome they are. These top five picks offer a combination of butt kicking performance, versatility, and the peace of mind of being a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick.”
The Top Five? The BMW X3, Buick Regal GS, Cadillac CTS-V, Chevrolet Volt and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.
Okay: Top Five according to whom? And where did this concern about an IIHS top safety pick come from?
I had a dad for many years and I’ve been a dad for enough years that I am a granddad, too. In addition, I know, and have known, many dads. Were I to ask a group of them to name the top five vehicles that “show how awesome they are” I have a hunch we’d get answers more along the lines of “Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson” or “Corvette ZR1.”
In order to be a bit scientific about this, and lacking time to pester my friends with questions, let’s look at the numbers with the assumption that at least some of the sales were to awesome dads.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a fair candidate. Out of 267 cars and light trucks that reported sales in all five months so far this year, the Grand Cherokee ranked 25th. The most award-winning SUV in history, the Grand Cherokee choices shouldn’t be limited to the SRT8; if dad’s partial to hunting, fishing, camping or just getting off the beaten (or paved) path, the greater ground clearance of the Trail-Rated Laredo might make it a better choice and the available 5.7-liter Hemi offers some pretty serious performance.
Cadillac doesn’t break out numbers for the CTS-V, but the CTS line is pretty popular at No. 80. However, it should be noted that the Cadillac SRX, at No. 79, is more popular, as are the BMW 3 series and 5 series, and the Mercedes-Benz C class and E class. On the other hand, a station wagon that goes as fast as the Caddy has got to be rather awesome.
Now we get to the more questionable choices:
The BMW X3 is a nice SUV/Crossover but the numbers say dads prefer an X5, a Mercedes-Benz M class, a Lexus RX or any of the Acura SUVs. Or, for that matter, a Chevy Tahoe.
I wouldn’t say the Volt offers “butt-kicking performance” but your dad might be a trendsetting kind of guy who likes the idea of an electric car. But wouldn’t dad want something truly awesome like a Tesla?
Which brings us to the Buick Regal GS. Writing about the GS, Mr. Nasser gets a bit gushy: “Each time we think of Buick’s all-new performance sedan, we can’t help but smile. General Motors did so much right by offering the GS, and with the power-dense 2.0-liter featuring turbocharging and direct-injection technology to pump out 270 horsepower, dad will be smiling too. Best of all, it comes with a sweet six-speed manual or automatic. Cargo room w/ rear seats up: 14.25 cubic feet.”
I don’t have anything against the the Regal, I owned a Regal Turbo Sport Coupe many years ago and it was a marvelous car, but if cargo space is a big consideration, dad most likely is thinking pickup or large SUV, not a 4-door sedan.
If the sedan is right, the Audi A4 is as fast, gets better fuel economy and has a lower base price. As far as transmissions go, the A4 is available with a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic. Plus it’s an Audi.
But we’re still left with the question of where are the proven dad-pleasers like a pickup or the Corvette?
These types of lists are as harmless as they are meaningless but it would be nice to see a bit more research and a bit more consideration going into them. Maybe even a bit of actually talking to some dads. Which, on Father’s Day, is an excellent idea, even if you don’t talk cars at all.
To all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day! And may you find the ride that makes you feel awesome.