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    Let’s Talk About Daddies

    auto2What makes a daddy? By the old definition, it’s a man who had children. Now, in our new LGBT world full of niches, daddies are older men who could have fathered the younger guys they date. Or they’re just men in their 30s on up who turn up some grey hairs and find themselves being seen as more accommodating and perhaps more authoritative than their younger brethren.

    Two recent test cars reminded me of the daddy phenomenon: the Buick LaCrosse and the Chrysler 200 C. Both are big American family sedans, the kind of cars you associate with an older generation and their Buick LeSabres and Chrysler Newports. These new ones are much more in the mold of today’s market, where competitors come from everyone from Kia to Toyota. But the designs of both have some telltale grey hairs that have appeal for those looking for something more mature.


    Both the Buick and Chrysler are mid-sized, Both have V6 engines with around 300 horsepower. The Buick is bigger, with a 4.8-inch increase in length over the Chrysler, at 197 inches. The Buick is also about 300 pounds heavier. But interestingly enough, the EPA measures their interiors as being within a cubic foot of each other, and the Chrysler has 2.7 inches more trunk room.

    Maybe they’re a little more bear than daddy in size, because beyond their measurements, these cars feel big and not low and long like the land yachts of yore. These new Buicks and Chryslers are more built up around you, with thick doors, high sills and narrow windows.

    That means they feel luxurious on the open road, where you feel like you’ve settled into a man-cave. Around town, they’re more cumbersome, and you’re constantly aware of the structure around you. Both have thick windshield pillars, with the Buick’s being thick enough to hide a pedestrian couple in a crosswalk.

    car2That five-men-in-a-tub feeling is common among modern mid-sized sedans, and the daddy aspect comes into play with the Buick and Chrysler, given their audaciously American styling. True, the Chrysler’s tail lights can be hard to distinguish from an Altima’s or Sonata’s, but both the LaCrosse and 200 C have bold styling flourishes that reflect the maturity of each of their brands while being appealing to those who are younger.

    With the Buick, it’s that aggressive shiny grille and eye-catching alloy wheels decorating a wedge-y shape. Inside, there are lots of curves to wrap driver and passenger into their own cocoons. The Chrysler has those cocoons too, and both cars were long-jaunt cozy. They are smooth and settled, as daddies can be.

    Some among the young poo-poo the older set, and legacy brands like Buick and Chrysler can be ignored in the same way older men are. But when a gent’s indications of aging become recognized as those of a daddy, another level of appeal kicks in. The same holds true with the LaCrosse and the 200 C, which both give off older vibes with lots to like.

    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant at Check out his automotive staging service at