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So I'm 42 years old and I've realised I'm kind of a dinosaur. My first car was a 1.1L 45BHP 1980 Ford Escort. Then I got a Vauxhall Astravan for work @ 2L & 90BHP. Mechanics & Vauxhall wanted a combined £3600 ($4800) to replace the fuel injection pump.

Then I had to get a car pronto due to family problems and I got a 2.2L 175BHP diesel Lexus IS220D. There were better choices in naturally aspirated port injection engines, but I had to get something quickly.

So now I'm looking at something that I intend to drive until I die. Or the greenies can pry from my cold, dead hands. So I'm ok with the engine and mechanical side of things (probably resigned to having to drive an automatic, or eventually get a manual gearbox swap) but a lot of the tech is throwing me.

For example: where are the handbrake levers in modern cars? Do you Americans call it the parking brake? Did Scotty Kilmer mention this in a video - that they're buttons now that send electronic signals to motorised clamps on the wheels?.

WTHeck is that? What was wong with a lever and a cable? Is this for all the millenials lacking arm power? Do I just assume that any car I'm looking at without a visible lever has this stupid design?.


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Welcome to the world of government mandated electronic junk.  Your comments affirm the reason why I would never buy any vehicle manufactured after 2006.  The only "extras" I ever wanted on a vehicle were power steering, power brakes and air conditioning, nothing else.

I happen to disagree.
What I consider necessary for almost any vehicle to have are:
ESP (Electronic Stability Program - Greatly improves the car's handling in emergency scenarios),
EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution - Allows to avoid using ABS, and allows for much greater control when braking),
EBA (Emergency Brake Assist - In emergency scenarios, it increases the pressure in the braking system to stop quicker),
LKA/LDW (Lane Keep Asist / Lane Departure Warning - Helps you avoid running off the road),
LIMIT (An over speed warning can be really useful if your county/country went crazy on speed enforcement),
CarPlay (To have maps and music on the car's infotainment screen)

My '09 Corolla already had most of this and I retrofitted a screen and switches to have the rest, and my '14 Focus already had most of these and more very nice tech.

IMO, '09-'12 are the best cars because they have the systems that you actually need without going overboard.

Things that are definitely nice to have are:
AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking - If a collision is imminent the car will apply brakes),
LCA (Lane Centering Asist - The car can steer and drive it self in lane. Even the '21 F-150 has so it'll be soon the new norm),
ACDA (Assured clear distance ahead - Kind of rare but I like it on my Ford. It writes the distance (in seconds) to the car in-front)

I disagree entirely. I don't have, don't need, and don't want, any of that. Just more expensive junk to break on an old car. I don't plan to ever own a car with those "features".

I agree with Chuck. It seems that all these electronic whiz bangs are designed for lazy, irresponsible and unskilled drivers.


If you're a dinosaur at 42, I'm a trilobite at Scotty's age! I've never even owned a car built this century and hope never to do so. The electronic parking brake is one of many useless "features" that engineers seem to be putting into cars just because they can, like activating wipers and lights by computer instead of simple electrical circuits.

Since you're talking about Vauxhall it sounds like you're in the UK. You could always go way back and go for a Morris 1100. Silly  



So I'm 42 years old and I've realised I'm kind of a dinosaur...  I'm looking at something that I intend to drive until I die.

Unless you have a terminal disease, that is a long time, so this is wishful thinking.

It sounds like you're in the UK, which isn't really Scotty's audience. But @dan or @g-t might have some suggestions.

where are the handbrake levers in modern cars? Do you Americans call it the parking brake?

Yes we do. All my vehicles had a foot pedal on the far left side. The pedal itself worked fine, but self-adjustment on the brake shoes doesn't work well over time.


they're buttons now that send electronic signals to motorised clamps on the wheels?

yes, I've heard of it on some new Japanese cars, but I can't speak to the reliability/repairability. It's still fairly new.


For what it’s worth, the ones on the modern VWs have already started ‘braking’..

Posted by: @alex-g

What was wrong with a lever and a cable?

I'm also wondering that, I really hate this new "feature". Funnily enough I saw it go out on an almost brand new Kia Niro (It was blinking and not engaging solid on). TBH, Some even managed to screw it up even when it was as simple as having a cable - on my Focus, the "E-Brake" light sometimes illuminates due to what seems to be a fault sensor and causes it to roll back from a stand still going uphill.

So now I'm looking at something that I intend to drive until I die. Or the greenies can pry from my cold, dead hands.

I'm in the same position although I'm quite a bit younger. What I'm personally looking at are Suzuki Vitaras and that new Toyota Yaris Cross (Obviously only conventional petrols, none of that hybrid junk) and it's actually quite hard to find anything that's well built.


The reality is that with these new regulations, Euro6 and Euro7 coming soon - car manufacturers end up worrying more about meeting emissions regulations than making their cars rugged or reliable. 

Reminds me of how the Toyota ZZ for Euro4 was actually a decent and torquey engine, while for Euro5 it was a total cluster with much higher prices and only 95 horsepower - a total joke. Same with one of Toyotas best engines, the Euro4 regular version of the ZR just lasts for ever - the European market ValveMatic is a total mess of an engine. To be honest, the only Euro6 emissions standard engine I trust is the Renault 1.5L dCi - but as far as the rest of the car... yeah... not so much...

I like how Suzuki went creative and decided to sell their small Jimmny off-roader thing as a "commercial truck" to get around these regulations - Those seem durable, but safety isn't great.


Excuse my French but with these "green" (red) m******s, Personal private transport won't be a thing in Europe for much longer - They're pushing everyone to get EVs (that by their own, or lack there of, logic aren't even good for the environment) and those are expensive as heck. Batteries age poorly, There will be less of them available on the used market - used prices will go up, demand will decrease. with lower demand and less people relaying on them (not because they don't want to - but because of prices) - we won't be able to enjoy economies of scale and it'll turn into a luxury good. That's extremely sad to see, I really hoped tories won't be red - but they're, all of the talking about how they're going to end the war on the motorist ended up being just that - empty talking.


Anyway, what id do is either get a petrol (not a hybrid) car from a reputable manufacturer (Toyota, some Mazdas, maybe some Suzuki models or Honda models) with a big naturally aspirated engine (at least 1.5L, preferably at least 4 cylinders) with a conventional automatic or maybe a Toyota K120 CVT with a launch gear and keep the fluids clean (replacing ATF every 50k KM at worst and engine oil every 7.5K-10K KM).

the most solid car built in the last decade, IMO, is the ±2012 Toyota Corolla (E150) 1ZR-FE (not FAE) with a manual, or with a conventional automatic transmission. Mazda3 ±2016 2.0L SkyActive with a SkyDrive transmission also seem decent, and so do never Suzukis (S-Cross and Vitara with petrol engines and conventional Aisin TF-71SC automatics (it has an emblem on the transmission housing saying what model it is).

I would wait with Yaris Cross, it is a new model with new engine. Or have they already fixed starting issues?

I don’t recommend it yet - since it’s too new and has been out for only a year and until recently mostly in JDM.
The price is right and they still offer them with non-hybrid powertrains where I live… I’m scared they’ll stop offering them as non-hybrids like they did with the C-HR and as Suzuki did with their S-Cross and are starting to do with the Vitara.
That’ll be the end of affordable long-lasting cars…

Where I live, only hybrid Suzukis are avaliable among new cars. Do you have any experience with normal SX4 and SX4 cross?


I wouldn't buy any vehicle or motorcycle made in England - ever.  They can't even seem to figure out how an electrical circuit works.

Or they don't want to as they always want to be something special



As @chucktobias mentioned, it is not only the parking brake. You can still find classic parking brakes in low class new cars since manufacturers slowly kill them with every generation. For example, Toyota Auris, previous generation of Corolla and Škoda Octavia still have the lever but Toyota Avensis doesn't. Current generation of Corolla and Octavia also have electronic parking brake while some Yarises still have the classic ones.

So if you want a luxury car (I suppose you are looking those) with classic praking brake, take a look some generations back. Perhaps @dan has some experience which one can serve you as long as possible.

Good luck!

Did Scotty Kilmer mention this in a video - that they're buttons now that send electronic signals to motorised clamps on the wheels?.


I had an electronic parking brake fail to disengage on a 2007 BMW X5 in 2016. Even the emergency release wouldn’t release it. I hate electronic parking brakes with a passion, but it seems that us the way cars are going. 

If you find a car you like without an electronic brake, please let us know. TMK, most males are living that direction. 


These are some of the futuristic features I'd like to see incorporated into the cars of tomorrow:

Laughter To Tears

Funny thing about that bit where the garage pulls itself up out of the way when the wife pulls in - one of my old cars is in excellent, unrusted condition except it has a few minor fender scrapes where the previous owner's wife couldn't reliably tell where the garage door ended and the car began. Life imitates art!


My mother's car, bless her ... same thing. 3 different cars. I can relate.


I would hardly call you a dinosaur, but I understand what you mean. 

Anytime you talk about change, you're going to have people who feel strongly on both sides of the subject.

Personally, I like having the modern gadgets and improvements in my vehicles. 

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@Chuck Tobias Heh, nothing made in England thanks. I was briefly toying with the idea of an older mechanical Land Rover with a rebuilt 200TDI engine that apparently lasts 250,000 miles on average. But Land Rover continued using mild steel after the war (when they had to use it because there was nothing else) and then wondered why all of their chassis rusted. Common sense didn't really improve after that across the whole English car industry. It's like the £2400 estimate I got from Vauxhall - that was just to map the new fuel injection pump to the ECU.

@MountainManJoe I'd buy a weekend car and a Land Cruiser for work. So was thinking about the 1UZ-FE and 2UZ-FE engines. I reckon they've each got 1m miles in them, and there are still low mileage examples out there. Find someone to rebuild the engine in 30 years, and I expect they'd still last me until I was 100. Smile  

@alex-g, I know what you mean, I remember well BMC and British Leyland vehicles and the reputation they had here in the United States. Makes current GM and Fiat-Chrysler look like paragons of quality and fine engineering in comparison. In fact the car in the photo was sold here for a few years as the "Austin America" with catastrophic results. (Automatic transmission living in the engine sump and sharing the engine oil - what could possibly go wrong?)

Topic starter

I know this goes back decades, but this one that has me scratching my head: why no rear windscreen wiper on sedans? Something to do with the airflow over the car drying the rain droplets, or the fact that nobody uses them?.

I spent 1 day poring over the manual and sitting in the car pulling levers and pressing buttons looking for the thing. I was looking at the boot every which way, convinced it was hidden in some kind of fancy, stylish, yet practical Lexus manner. 

You've got the heater button, but I live in the countryside. Driving slowly through country lanes with almost 90 degree bends when it's raining means the glass is gonna get rain on it. Then you can't really see when you're being tailgated by morons with their full beam & fog lights on.

I just thought with all the tech available these days they might have sussed that one out.

That's a feature that used to be available in the U.S. in the early 1950s on cars like Nash. Also on some European makes. I don't know why it fell out of favor.