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I don’t want much from a car

All I want is that it be small, but conveniently large enough for trips to the shops.

I don’t want much from a car


All I want is that it be small, but conveniently large enough for trips to the shops. It must go from a standing stop to 62MPH in less than five seconds. It must not guzzle fuel unreasonably. It must carve corners with telepathic steering and sharp handling. The ride must be soft enough to comfort me on a daily commute. The inside of it must be a pleasant place to be, preferably with much cow skin on the surface of many things. The front wheels must steer it while the rear wheels push it—or at worst, be biased towards the rear wheels in an AWD setup. It must have many electronic devices, some of which need to guide my path, and play hard rock music at a reasonably loud volume.

In short, I’m looking for a new car. I have been to a bunch of web sites, spent hours researching and reading reviews of different cars, and have visited a large number of dealerships.

I don’t know exactly what car I want yet, but I have learned a few things.

The car I want is not made by anyone for less than $50,000. This is…disturbing.

The inside of a Subaru WRX STI is an extraordinarily nasty place to be. The only positive thing I can say about it is that it prevents you from seeing the outside of a Subaru WRX STI.

There are car dealerships in which you can literally walk from one end of the lot to the other without ever being approached by a car salesman. I can only assume that car salesmen are doing so well, that they no longer care to sell cars.

When you ask technical question to car salesmen their usual reply is an excuse for why they don’t know the answer. Talk about limited-slip diffs, body roll, or oversteer, and you can watch their eyes glaze over, like you’re speaking in Urdu.

The seats in a Lancer Evolution are the automotive equivalent of straightjacket. They are so aggressively bolstered that any spirited maneuvering will bruise your spleen.

Cars are just…big, now. Even the economy cars are much larger than they were 15 years ago. I hope this isn't because we’re now too fat to get into a car the size of the old Datsun B210.

The amount of ugly, poorly-fitted plastic in the interior of even relatively expensive cars is simply unbelievable.

In 2013, forty-four years after men first walked on the moon, the Ford Mustang still has a solid rear axle.

Larger wheels and low-profile, run-flat tires do not help a car’s ride quality. At all. Please stop factory-pimping my ride.

When you tell me that “this model has a rally-racing pedigree” I now understand you are telling me that, on normal roads, if I run over a cat’s-eye between lanes, the jolt will drive my lumbar vertebrae into my brain.

No. You still cannot have more than 200 horsepower in a front-wheel drive car. When you come to a corner at speed, you’ll still just understeer into a tree.

Yes, it is possible to have a 350 HP coupe that you can sit in, and drive, and still say, “meh”. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Hyundai Genesis coupe.

Look at any Audi model. Just look at it. You feel…nothing. It’s not because you’re dead inside. It’s because you’re looking at an Audi. And probably getting very sleepy.

In what possible world can an in-car sat-nav system cost $3,000 when Verizon gives me one on my cell phone for free?

Yes. I actually will want to turn the traction control off on occasion. Do not make this impossible.

I do not actually want to see “Power. Beauty. Soul.” or some similar nonsense appear on a dashboard screen every time I start the car.

More lessons will undoubtedly be learned. But that should do for now.