Reader HarryB posted what I found to be a thought-provoking comment in response to this week's Nissan Sentra review:
"I pay attention to observations on seat comfort but not as much on handling, I live in Florida, there are no top secret curvy roads other than on and off ramps associated with the interstates."
For those who haven't read it, one of my criticisms of the new Sentra was its uninspired handling and low fun-to-drive factor. But if you live somwhere like HarryB does, does it matter?
Here's my take: Fun to drive goes way beyond good handling. A few years ago, I test-drove an Audi R8. Yes, it was a blast on the About.com Top Secret Curvy Test Road, but I had just as much fun driving it down the street to the store. Another (cheaper) example is the Ford Fiesta -- every drive of that car, no matter where I was going, put a smile on my face. I've also driven some great-handling cars that weren't much fun at all -- the limits were so high as to be unreachable, even on the A.cTSCTR, where there's the danger of doing it wrong and sliding off a cliff.
What about non-enthusiasts? Well, I think there's a little bit of enthusiast in everyone. I'm hardly a food connoisseur -- in fact, I'm a fussy eater, which George Carlin said is "a euphemism for 'big pain in the ---" -- but even I can taste the difference between a good steak and a bad one. And I submit that any driver can feel the difference between a Nissan Sentra and a Mazda3. Granted, most of us drive for convenience, not for pleasure. But by the same token, we all eat for survival -- and yet we almost always choose enjoyable food. So if there are no other compromises, why not choose an enjoyable car?
Anyway, that's my opinion -- what do you think? Vote in our poll and posts your comments. -- Aaron Gold