See, I don’t know anybody who does the key thing. You don’t know anybody who does the key thing. Literally nobody knows anybody who does the key thing because literally nobody does the key thing, because it would make them the second most irritating person in the world. It is just another motoring writer’s lazy cliché (and, boy, do we have a few), here used to imply that the car being written about has a desirable image.
I’m not going to name the latest culprit, but it should be noted that, in the same way there is never a key-drop, there is no such thing as a traffic light grand prix, and not every Volvo estate is bought by an antique dealer. The latter was the case 30 years ago and remains the case today.
But what if there was such a thing as a key-drop? Assuming doing something like that didn’t mark you out as an insufferable tool and assuming the only way to let friends know which car you drove was by revealing its maker’s badge, which key fob would you most like to be seen carrying and dropping? Which car marque would you most like to be associated with?
It’s quite a probing question, because implied ownership of anything from a manufacturer’s entire range could be bestowed upon you. Say you drive a Honda: well, that ‘H’ rattling onto the table could mean you drive anything from a Jazz to an NSX. A Mercedes-Benz could be a B-Class or a G-Class.
If you had to pin a metaphorical badge to your chest, then, you’d have to endorse a range as a whole. You’re not just deciding who makes the best cars in the world, but also the least worst.
So who is it? Somebody premium? Audi? Mercedes? BMW? I doubt it. I’d quite like an M6 Gran Coupé but don’t want people thinking I drive a 2 Series Active Tourer. Land Rover? Too wellyish. Porsche? Potential automatic 911 Cabriolet inference. Ferrari? Good god, no. Volvo? Ooh, perhaps. Yes, Volvo. Nothing to get excited about, but there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, either.
Volvo owners, then: the only people who could drop their keys on the pub table without embarrassment, yet are the last people who are likely to. Which is why nobody, ever, does.