Tag Archives: Mid-level cars

Hamburger for the Price of Steak! By Eric Peters

The huge price differentials between high end and more economical cars is not at all justified by the difference in quality. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The luxury car no longer exists – except as a badge and a price. And a memory. There being increasingly little, if any, meaningful difference between luxury-badged (and priced) vehicles and those that aren’t.

What is the difference, for instance, between a loaded Toyota Camry and a Lexus ES350? Or a VW Atlas and an Audi Q5? It is nothing like the difference between A Chevy Chevette and a Cadillac Sedan de Ville. That latter comparison is helpful in understanding the differences that no longer exist.

The Chevette was an economy car made by GM’s Chevrolet division made for about ten years, between 1976 and 1987. It was a car almost as basic a Model T Ford, except that it was available in more than just one color. That’s a stretch – but not much. A Chevette did not come standard with air conditioning or even a radio. The latter two were available as options, but most of the equipment that is today taken for granted – that is standard – in literally every new car, irrespective of price, such as climate control AC, power windows and locks, intermittent wipers, a stereo, electric rear defroster, cruise control and full instrumentation – was either optional or unavailable.

You could not buy a Chevette with power-adjustable leather seats and so on because why would you? If you wanted such luxury features, you were willing to pay extra for them. The whole point of a car like the Chevette was to avoid paying for such things.

And things such as heated seats, LED headlights and interior mood lighting weren’t available in Cadillacs when Chevettes were available. Today, such things are standard in Sedan deVille equivalents – and they are usually available (often standard) in today’s Chevette-equivalents.

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