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Five cars I've changed my mind about

May 23, 2008 | 10:11 am

By Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Jaguarxkcoupe In the fullness of time, even the wisest among can realize he may have been hasty, too harsh, or otherwise insufficiently nuanced in his thinking. Not me, of course. Still, I've been driving across the country this week and I've seen some cars in their natural environment that I thought, Huh, maybe not so bad after all. Here's a list.


1) Current generation Jaguar XK -- Prettier than I thought. Nicely executed. Sufficiently uncommon to be something of an event when I see it. Plenty fast too. Overall, more interesting and compelling than a BMW 6-series.


2)Nissan GT-R. It occurred to me well after the fact that one reason the car felt uninvolving driven hard is that Nissan's press event was held on a tiny little road course outside Reno, Nev. More an autocross course than a proper road course, it was hard to gin up enough speed and energy to really work the car's prodigious suspension and powertrain. Only solution is to take one to the Nurburgring. The things I do for you people.


3) Lexus LS 600h: Seems to me I was dismissive of this vehicle, despite it being -- measured by the sheer exertions of PhD and engineers, or by the number of parts and subsystems -- the most complicated automobile in the world. Now I'm beginning to admire it.


4) Current generation Honda Accord -- I might have described the car as appearing to have been whittled out of a bar of prison soap. Now, I'm beginning to like it. What that says about me and prison, I dare not say.


5) Chevy Aveo -- I fear I might have been too generous with this car and argued in its favor on the grounds that it represented a vote for a simple life. Now, having driven the vastly superior Suzuki SX4 and the Honda Fit, I see the Aveo just can't cut it. The Dan giveth, the Dan taketh away.