Tuesday, 30 July 2013

You don't have to be a woman to appreciate the Ford Fiesta

FORD’S Fiesta is one of my motoring favourites – and, judging by the stash of awards it’s been showered with, quite a lot of you like it too.

So you might have missed that the clever EcoBoost version has just been crowned Women’s World Car of the Year. I still can’t quite get my head around - and I know I’m probably going to get a few sexism bells ringing straight away – the idea of a motoring award judged entirely by women. Surely, what makes it excellent engenders it to either gender?

In the same way that a MOWO Awards would provoke no end of controversy in the music world, a Men’s Car of the Year would get every member of the Germaine Greer fan club on the organisers’ case, asking how they could dare to disregard the needs of 50% of the world’s population. But as far as I can tell, WWCOTY is pointless because the ladies like the Fiesta for exactly the same reasons as everybody else does.

The women on the panel are all experienced motoring hacks and raved about the Fiesta because it crams fun, feistiness, eco-consciousness, safety and – dare I say it – sex appeal into a small, value-for-money package – pretty much exactly the same reasons I love the current Fiesta. In fact, with the possible exception of Peugeot’s 208 I reckon it’s still the best supermini, five long years after it was launched.

Women’s World Car of the Year though, I reckon, reinforces by its very existence the urban myth that women don’t know as much about cars as men do – something which is, of course, complete cobblers. There are plenty of women who I’ll happily ask for an opinion on for a matter of motoring, particularly because there’s quite a few of them who actually know aspects of the subject better than I do!

 If it were a case that all motoring awards panels were stuffy, gentlemen’s club affairs which hadn’t moved out of the 1950s and genuinely thought women’s opinions weren’t worth considering, than I’d understand. But I grew up in a post-Thatcher era of Girl Power where Vicki Butler-Henderson’s views on cars meant as much as Jeremy Clarkson’s did. Female opinions on motoring matter too much for them to be sidelined into their own gender-specific awards.

Ford’s Fiesta is just a brilliant little car, full stop. You don’t have to be a woman to know that…

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