Honest Focus – Ignore A Car’s Badge And Save Money!


Like most of us, my younger self would probably not have approved of cars that now my older self would love. Younger me did not focus on honest cars. The younger me was all about speed, power and using the car to impress people. And there are plenty of cars that can cater for that market. Just have a look through any of Porsche’s or Ferrari’s brochures. However, these cars are often far too expensive for any new driver to afford, both in terms of purchase price and running costs. Quite often it becomes apparent that the ability of the owner does not match the ability of the vehicle.

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Focus on the car, even with an honest badge
Focus on the car, not the badge

The other factor is that when you’re lusting after a car like this, you tend to lust after driving it and looking at it. And in the case of the Pagani Zonda, probably listening to it as well. I very much doubt that many young people lust after owning it, particularly if they knew what owning it entailed. There are theft worries, reliability concerns, the excess noise disturbing the neighbours, and issues of width and ground clearance. The dream is suddenly turning sour, and the older version of me prefers to focus on something more honest.

There are plenty of honest cars available. To me these are cars that get the job done without any pretence. My car has the capability to keep up with well driven sports cars. It can even out accelerate some of them away from traffic lights (assuming the driver is not awake). There is an argument that it even makes a better noise than some Lotus’! But the important issue here is that it goes about its business in an understated way. The Ford badge is by no means the most desirable badge on the market, but that doesn’t matter here. The car was not purchased to impress others. I purchased the car because I wanted a good car that wouldn’t let me down. And so far it hasn’t. Assuming the imminent coolant change goes to plan.

There are other factors as well. It’s not an expensive car, so it won’t invite any jealousy from the neighbours, even though the one I have is the Ghia version. Bentley needn’t worry though. It is reliable, both in terms of how often something goes wrong, and how simple or economical it is to fix. This can no longer be applied to most modern cars. The car is also quiet, as if it’s doing everything possible not to draw too much attention to itself. It’s only interested in completing tasks and staying out of everyone’s way. Sometimes that’s just what you need. After a long day in the office, or a long drive away (perhaps on holiday). A good honest car needs to be able to sooth, and preferably without draining the bank account.

I wanted my first car to be reasonably quick for the money, not too expensive to insure, and to look reasonable. So I bought a Ford Focus 2.0 Zetec. 6 years later, I wanted a fuss-free car that was comfortable, not too terrible on fuel,and wouldn’t attract too much attention. So I bought a Ford Focus 2.0 Ghia. I’m not suggesting the the different versions have wide disparities in their respective strengths, but it is interesting how I’ve ended up with almost the same car, but for a completely different set of reasons. Maybe this is why this, and cars like this sell so well. They get on with the job of serving their owners, quietly, honestly and cheaply.

Even Ford agree that we must focus more honestly on what matters

Thus finding a honest car that can perform multiple roles will save money long term. Find a car that doesn’t draw to much attention to its badge and look at the actual car itself. For some factors, the perceived value of the badge tells more about past success than current form. Look at the number of luxury car makers with sub-standard reliability records. I mentioned before that my Dad’s Mercedes has given him more trouble than my Ford. Not significantly more by any means, and both cars still run fine. But it’s for you to decide whether to pay more for the badge, or save money, get an honest car which does the job just as well. In some cases, it will do the job better.

What do you like about an honest car? The value, the giant-killing potential? Or is it the fuss-free nature? A focus on an honest badge could save us a tonne of money long term. Let me know what you think in the comments, and feel free to join the family and ask any questions you want. Thanks for reading!

What are your thoughts?