Home » What’s Your Automotive Guilty Pleasure? Autopian Asks

What’s Your Automotive Guilty Pleasure? Autopian Asks

Aa Guilty Pleasure Ts

One of the greatest parts about being a car enthusiast is that everyone is different. Sure, there are a bunch of people into Ford Mustangs and whatever new supercar McLaren launches in a given week, but people can love anything. I love the Smart Fortwo enough to own five of them! But there are some cars you might feel embarrassed for loving. Or, maybe there’s a feature that just gets your heart pumping. These are automotive guilty pleasures and tell me, what’s yours?

Since beginning a career writing about cars, motorcycles, RVs, and so on, I’ve come to a conclusion that I didn’t think I’d arrive at. Ready for it? Crossovers aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be. Sure, the vast majority of them are forgettable appliances but guess what, the majority of car buyers aren’t looking for low-slung manual wagons. They just want something that gets decent fuel economy, is easy to get in and out of, and has enough room for their kids and groceries. Boom, the crossover does that perfectly.

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Being ok with crossovers is not my guilty pleasure. Instead, there’s one crossover out there that I would spend real money on. It’s a crossover that my colleagues Matt and Jason have no idea why I like so much. That crossover is the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. Yes, the crossover that’s a member of the hated “coupe crossover” trend.

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Parking one next to the Salton Sea isn’t helping my case…

In theory, this is a crossover that I should hate. Volkswagen realized few people actually used the Volkswagen Touareg as the super SUV that it was, so it was killed off in our market and replaced with the soft Atlas. The Atlas is a fine vehicle, but is for the most part forgettable. Can you remember when was the last time you’ve seen one? Or does it blend into the surroundings that well?

I will attempt to defend myself here. When I tested one at the end of 2021, I was pleased by the crossover’s comfort, quiet cabin, and tech. Sure, VW wasn’t doing anything special in there, but it felt like a comfortable daily driver. Not too exciting, but practical. What I liked most about my tester was the VR6 engine under the hood, which has since been removed from the Atlas lineup. It also handled reasonably well for a big crossover.


As for the roof? I don’t need three rows of seats, so I’d take the coupé-ish fastback-ish roof of the Cross Sport. Matt wonders if I’ve been driving cheap, crappy cars for so long that the idea of owning a Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport seems appealing to me. I’m sure some of that is there, but I don’t view other crossovers with such fondness. Maybe it’s that VR6 engine, because while I like the updated interior of the 2024 Atlas, I’d rather go a year older and get the cooler engine.

I’m not sure why I like a forgettable crossover so much, but I would totally throw down money at an Atlas Cross Sport. Honestly, an Atlas Cross Sport wouldn’t even be in my top ten new cars to buy, but it is on my list. Maybe I’d put A/Ts on it and a lift.

So, how about you? What’s your automotive guilty pleasure?

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Jason Levi
Jason Levi
24 days ago

I love a good shitbox. The kind of car that you find in the “rebuilder” row at the self-serve junkyard and slap down $500 to drive away.
Someone once said that the fastest car in the world is any rental car. This is kind of like that. These cars have so little to lose that they might as well be invincible. Ever wondered if an early 80s Honda Accord with 250k on the clock can ford a foot of snow? I’m here to tell you that it can if you don’t give a damn about breaking it!

Craig Trotter
Craig Trotter
25 days ago

I’m gonna second the CVT. First time I gave a rental Altima the beans pulling out onto a highway, the sound of the engine racing at a constant high RPM while the car steadily gained speed took me back to the days before traction control – spinning the tire(s) for a half block in the rain. When you think of a CVT this way, they don’t seem bad at all.

25 days ago
Reply to  Craig Trotter

I fully agree, I love CVTs and this is coming from a die hard manual driver. I had a rental Nissan Cube years ago, and I loved how you could squeeze the throttle and it would play with the torque vs RPM in a continuous rubber band type nature. That Cube drove very well. I’ve also had a Nissan Sentra as a rental, the fake shift shock programed into the CVT was not good and ruined the CVT experience for me.

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