Taste is entirely subjective. But some things transcend subjectivity and become absolute.
There cannot, for example, be any argument that Alfa Romeos are a blessing to the eye. Nor can there be any doubt that Saabs are the preserve of the clueless. These are givens.
So it is with faux woodgrain. It’s ghastly. Vile. It always looks exactly what it is, never what it’s supposed to.
A pretend tree around the dashboard doesn’t make you look like a wannabe enviro-vandal who delights in nothing so much as denuding virgin rainforest. If only it did. No, it makes you look someone who can’t afford a car with the real thing.
Wood is of the essence in the glorious land yachts of Rolls-Royce, the next best thing devices of Bentley and the better models from that up and coming Indian marque, Jaguar. For a start it’s wood. It belongs.
Faux wood belongs nowhere. It doesn’t confer the aspired to sense of opulence and affluence. Trimming up an interior with the fake stuff is like wearing a red bowtie with a dinner suit.
I’m looking at an example right now. It’s in an ad for a used BMW 320d, a car that is – pound for pound, buck for buck – the best 3 Series. I’m a big fan. One day, the GFC and other man-made disasters notwithstanding, I’d like one.
But not this one. Not even at the just north of obtainable price of this low-kilometre 2006 example. Not even as a gift.
It’s not because the MY2008 has the upgraded engine, it’s mainly because a near perfect sporty diesel sedan has been vandalised with bloody hideous faux woodgrain trim.
In the Bimmer’s greyly sombre, somewhat spartan cabin (which I happen to like) this stuff sticks out like a dunny in the desert. Possibly someone will find it in themselves to ignore this grave defect, though this would require all the discernment of a Kath or a Kim.
Audi has applied restraint with the natural finish of the ash inserts in the Q5 – a miracle: wood that looks and feels like wood.
But usually the application of dead tree is a criminal misjudgement. On that charge sheet you can include the orange-lacquered kitchen laminate that abominates the Toyota Tarago.
In the first generation Euro Accord Luxury, Honda perpetrated the worst example of recent times, with a sick-making blue (yes, blue) faux woodgrain. For a mercy, they soon deleted this option.
Now, how to make all carmakers follow suit?