Welham vs Coleman: Which unloved car deserves some adoration?
It's the Audi A2 vs the PT Cruiser...
Have you ever wondered what the world's most unloved cars are? Well, it seems to be pretty clear that it's the Audi A2 and PT Cruiser. These two cars are greatly hated in the automotive community, and what makes it even better is that I love the Audi A2 and John hates it. Much like his love for the PT Cruiser which happens to make me sick.
That's why John and I are back to argue yet again, following our somewhat great success last week where we argued over classic EVs. Think of this one as a kind of Gardener's Question Time but without the Corncockles and with much more hatred.
Don't forget to vote in the poll at the end too!
Coleman's side (For the PT Cruiser)
I know you’ve already sided with Ben Welham and his Audi Armadillo. I know my reputation here is done. I know that all the THAT’S PANTS awards on this post are for me, alone.
But I decided with this debate, I’d be honest above popular; and in light of that, bear with this underdog before you kick it away.
From a performance perspective, the PT Cruiser’s unremarkable, from a quality perspective it’s probably even more unremarkable, and of course the elephant in the room that is going to be harpooned, along with me, in the comments, is that it’s supposed to be ugly.
You say ugly; I say unconventional – because it’s a hatchback and styling that can render an SUV, like the HHR, comically awful, only makes the Cruiser a bit wacky and cute. If it were a dog, it’d be a French bulldog – not pretty, not gifted, and yet likable.
I’ve argued before, plundering the Oscar Wilde principle – it’s absurd to divide cars into good or bad; cars are either charming or tedious. As car people, we’re frequently bleating about the tedious; tedious performance, tedious transmissions, tedious styling. And while there’s a line between different and wrong, the fact the AMC Pacer and the PT Cruiser regularly top ugly car listicles shows, I think, that if there’s one thing petrolheads hate more than the tedious, it’s the whimsically, ironically, charming.
Hence a vote in the poll below for the PT Cruiser isn’t necessarily you signing a blank cheque for its veneration. It’ll be you banging the roof of the bandwagon of hate, to stop and hop off – out of recognition that the Cruiser’s weird. As the annals of car history shows, it's no crime.
Welham's side (For the Audi A2)
So, I am suppose to defend the Audi A2 and will gladly do so as it might just be the most attractive Audi of this decade. The A2 is one of those cars (not to be mistaken for the paper size which is too large for anything) which is widely hated among the car and even non-car community, which is precisely why I have choosen this to talk about today, and not the dreaded PT.
The Audi A2 was way ahead of its time when it was launched in the very late 90s/early 2000s, with its futuristic design and incredibly high MPG. It is a true family wagon which can do it all. It’s probably the most efficient and spacious hatchback Audi has ever made (yes, it is labelled a hatcback) and I would love to see another one in the future.
What saddens me however, is the fact that Audi only ever built 176,377 units, whereas its rival, the Mercedes A Class sold in excess of 1 million. This is probably due to the Audi's handsome looks, but potential buyers seemed to miss this when shopping for a new family car.
The engine which was able to achieve such good MPG was, well all of them. The 1.4 TDI's official fuel cosumption figure was 94mpg, and most cars would struggle to do that today, even some diesel Skodas. Yes, it isn't quick but who cares when it sips fuel like a child eating a disgusting bowl of vegetable soup.
On top of that, the Audi A2 was practical and affordable too. Even AutoTrader named this as a 'Used Car Hero' because you can pick one up for between £1,000 and £3,000 - sometimes even less. They also described it as a motoring icon, but let's not dwell on that, I don't want John to be put out.
Not only is it an icon but it is also half the weight of a Rhinoceros at around 1,000kg which is all thanks to its impressive aluminium body construction. So in essence, this car paved the way for some other greats which also used this body type, namely the Audi R8 and Jaguar AK. Just thought I'd slip that one in there for you, John.
So, why not take a second to appreciate the glorious Audi A2, and perhaps even vote for it in the poll below...