What do you guys think of the people who always say "They don't make car like they used to anymore"?

There are some objective differences and they're not really related (directly) to safety - those objective differences do have real consequences that might make an older generation more appealing.

  • Today's most compact pickup truck (Tacoma) is more than a thousand pounds heavier and more than 2 feet longer than the same vehicle was in the late 90s. The bloat is real. - you could tell a similar story about a lot of cars, they all got huge. Maybe a 1985 CRX isn't as safe as anything made today but they brought home 50mpg all day long and even with 1980's technology and 1.3 liters of NA engine they were still fun to drive and responsive little bastards.

  • Yesteryear's engines had a cable connecting the gas pedal to the throttle plate; stepping on the gas fast meant action at the wheels fast. Today's are all drive by wire with input normalization which saves gas (for drivers with fidgety legs) and absolutely numbs the shit out of responsiveness.

  • Modern safety systems rely on keeping the occupants in predictable locations in the car so that seat belts, passive restraints, and the whole safety package of dashboard shapes and all that can work together and keep you alive - this is all awesome but that's all stuff that only matters when you actually get in a wreck - oldschool bench seats you could sleep on, you could sit right next to somebody if you wanted, you could haul an extra person if you wanted, you could do a little park-and-poke, etc etc.

  • Prior to modern standards for bumper compatibility and pedestrian safety, sports cars could get away with a lot more dramatic, sharp looks.

  • They used to make pickup trucks with 2 doors that weren't intended to haul families to the store; but instead were made to maximize the size of the bed itself for the purpose of using the truck for work. Today's trucks are miles long, have huge back seats and tiny beds you can't even fit a motorcycle or any lumber in.

  • They used to make 2 door wagons/"shooting brakes" and SUV's, which were sportier and more compact while still providing good cargo compartments.

  • They used to make SUV's with actual wheel articulation and low range transfer cases and heavy duty frames that could tolerate off-pavement use so you could use the vehicle to get to distant fishing spots, camping, or even just around your ranch. Even a stock Jeep XJ Cherokee which was pretty low to the ground in factory trim, still had the running gear above the axle center line so if you had 30" tires you could approach a 15" tall obstacle and clear it without difficulty.

  • Yesteryear's crude SUV technology of live axles, center mounted transfer cases, etc meant that a bolt-on suspension modification market could exist which allows a typical owner with a few hand tools to build a monster in their driveway in a few weekends - a feat simply not possible in any capacity whatsoever with anything made today save for the Wrangler and outgoing Xterra

  • They used to make hardtop convertible SUV's that could be used as a pickup truck when desired.

  • They used to make station wagons, which offer the driving dynamics and fuel economy of a sedan or coupe (mostly) but the room of a SUV. Not a lot of those still being made.

Probably a good lot I'm missing.. but that's an idea anyway. Today's cars offer inarguably better safety than ever, are built to tighter standards and are quieter and all sorts of very good things but there were some features of yesterday's cars that COULD still be built today and aren't.

/r/cars Thread