Motoring: I like big, anti-excitement cars. They cruise along in a lazy, carefree way, encouraging a similar driving manner. They are the perfect foil to a hard day's work

In the thesaurus of daft adjectives used to promote the humble car, none is less appropriate or more overused than "exciting". Cars, or at least the vast majority of them, should never be exciting. They are meant to reassure and protect, not excite; to lower our heartbeat, not raise it.

Many car makers crow about "building excitement" and such rubbish, among them Toyota, Japan's biggest maker (and taking both quality and cost into account, probably the world's most accomplished manufacturer of cars). People do not buy Toyotas to be excited. They buy them because they are good value and rarely let you down. They are anti-excitement cars. (After all, there is rarely a motoring event so exciting as being stranded on the hard shoulder of a motorway at peak hour.)

I have just been driving a Toyota Camry V6 automatic and it is, without doubt, one of the least exciting cars I have ever driven. It goes about its business quietly and comfortably and completely fuss-free. Like the best big saloons, it is therapeutic rather than exciting to drive. Its anonymous looks are a boon: they help avoid the excitement of being stopped by the police.

I like big anti-excitement cars. They cruise along in a lazy, carefree way, encouraging a similar driving manner. They are the perfect foil to a hard day's work. Who wants to climb aboard a five-speed GTi buzz box, when the alternative is a soft and supple automatic saloon that can waft you home: the motoring equivalent of a pipe and slippers in front of a fireplace while the butler brings a large scotch?

The best big, anti-excitement cars, in my experience, are Jaguars. (Rolls- Royces would be even better, were it not for the fact that everybody else on the road hates you, which tends to increase the excitement level.) Jags are relatively common, at least in London, and are big and unstressed and comfortable. You can feel your angst dissipate after a few miles. The sporty models, of course, are not so good. Jags are not sporty cars, no matter what the big alloy wheels and war paint and marketing bumf may suggest. Jags are big, soft saloons, or at least the best ones are.

Mercedes saloons are also good. My favourite is the old S-class, as favoured by politicians, plutocrats and peers. They are plush tanks, and all that protective armour tends to reduce excitement, because you know you will rarely be threatened.

Other favourite anti-excitement tonics include the V6 Ford Scorpio (helped by its profound ugliness and its surprising comfort), big Citroens (because they ride with such suppleness and yet reassurance) and most large new American cars (rare in Europe). Off-roaders are too frenzied - they're too noisy and roll too much, although new Range Rovers are almost unexciting. BMWs are hopeless, even the big saloons. They're too sporty and thus about as therapeutic as a 10-mile jog. Volvos don't relax, either. Too many motorcyclists abuse you, in anticipation of eventually being killed by you or a fellow Volvo driver. Most Japanese saloons are also poor. They are too energetic of ride and too buzzy of motor.

Which is why the Camry V6 was such a surprise. Quiet, refined, anonymous. I hardly remember a single journey I did in it, it was so relaxing. In fact, it was so unexciting, I barely recollect the car at all. It merely served up entirely fuss-free transport, like a good, big saloon car should.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

    Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

    £17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

    The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

    The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

    £30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'