With that said, what recent addition to a vehicle’s content do you find most hard to live with? For our amusement, we’ll list a single rule: you can’t bitch about the loss of stick shifts.
The list of new kit is nearly endless, and with new features comes new things to break. Expensive sensors that turn a mild fender-bender into a big-bucks repair bill now grace an alarming number of bumpers. Auto stop/start is often annoying, but usually defeatable. We should all get down on our knees and give thanks that Chrysler’s ElectronicÂ VoiceÂ Alert is dead and buried, even though safety nannies infiltrate all vehicles with their lights and buzzers.
As this writer thinks ahead in time, to that day when the Cruze goes the way of the last one (if it matches the first-gen’s longevity, the clock’s ticking fast), one feature comes to mind that I’ll do my very best to avoid: The electronic parking brake.
I loathe these things, and not just because replacing a nearly infallible (or at least cheap to repair) mechanical system with an electrical one seems ripe for headaches down the road. There’s a practical reason, too. Living as I do in the snow belt, the cursed white stuff that falls from the heavens each winter serves as a useful invitation to avoiding time-consuming U-turns and three-point turns. As a kid, one of my great joys was when dad would put our Olds wagon through its paces on the way to the grocery store, cranking that footbrake till the tail got happy, then bringing it all back in line.
Later in life, after front-drive living became my reality, I realized the benefit in having drive wheels that pull, not push. The reverse donut is both fun and a time-saver, but a forward 180, always just a yank away, spreads joy faster than Santa Claus. And speaking of front-drive, on at least a few occasions I’ve had to yank theÂ parking brake to position the car in the right direction after a case of excessive plow. This normally occurs in deep snow during a left-hand turn onto a four-lane roadway. A bit of tail action, and you remain in your lane, free to live a life of religious fulfillment.
Good luck getting that infuriating e-brake button to cave to your whims. Yes, they serve a safety purpose in preventing rollaways, but we’re too coddled as it is.
So I’ll try to avoid such devices for as long as possible, despite the fact that an awful lot of excellent cars can’t be had with an old-fashioned, space-wasting, console-ruining hand lever between the seats. Sitting high on that list is the current and previous-gen Mazda 3. Bummer, as the 3 remains an excellent driver’s car for those of modest means.
Steph – I think I found a loophole to your rule. Can we complain about the loss of a clutch pedal??? :-)
I’m more worried about the devices in our cars that are supposed to cover up the fact that we’re losing the ability to be excellent drivers. The devices that allow us to text in our cars, mop up a spilled drink, eat behind the wheel, etc. I’m not talking about necessary safety devices like ABS, seat belts, and air bags. I’m pointing the finger at semi-automated driving aids like traffic assist, lane keeping assist, auto braking, etc.
We used to pay attention in traffic – the whole watch several cars ahead for brake lights and speed changes. We used to have to pay attention to drifting in our lane. If we felt tired, pull over, get something to drink, use the bathroom, walk around, do something to become more alert. Now I feel less safe as we’ve put unproven technology (and the auto braking nanny just drives me insane with false alarms) that allows all kinds of distractions behind the wheel to take place. When you see someone DOING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE (resting on the airbag cover) in moderate traffic, Darwin needs to be doing a better job here!
The worst part is that when someone who deserves a gold-plated Darwin Award finally punches his/her number, you just pray that it doesn’t take out someone totally innocent in the matter. But it happens. And the untested tech continues to spread like a virus.
When my driver’s test consisted of 30 basic questions, an eye exam, and never leaving the parking lot, well, that’s a HUGE part of the problem. We’ve mandated tech to cover up the fact that, as a nation, as a whole, we stink at driving. I do wish we’d go to a more European style of graduated licensing that requires classroom education, behind the wheel training, and rigid compliance of road rules in order to finally get a license. Our cars and our technology shouldn’t have to save us from ourselves. We should be able to do that.
Nope – guys have been reading the paper and ladies have been putting on makeup while driving since at least the advent of the automatic transmission.
I would suggest reading the short story, “Test” by Theodore Thomas, though the more recent reviews of the story add a second plot line behind it that doesn’t agree with my recollection of the story. It makes a very valid point, even if it is an ‘ancient’ story by today’s standards.
Even reading that story as a kid, I thought it made perfect sense. I personally believe that we would all be better drivers if we were tested this way.
We’ve mandated tech because it is a far more effective safety device than the lump of flesh sitting in the driver’s seat will ever be.
Humans are emotional, easily distracted and WILL make mistakes. There is no amount of training that will fix that.
Master your emotions and distractions. No amount of tech can surpass a well trained and focused driver.
We don’t train drivers at all in the US, and they’ve never been focused in my living memory. Distracted driving is definitely getting worse but I think that’s more because of advances in phone tech than anything to do with the cars. People would be using the phones the same way if we were all driving 1989 Camrys.
Who is “we” and why is “we” responsible for training drivers? Why shouldn’t people be responsible for their own training, formal or informal? Training occurs every time someone is operating a vehicle. They are instilling habits and disciplines based on their surroundings and how they interact with those surroundings.
Yes! and No. That tech is now in new(ish) cars, whether its in your hand or on your dash or in the persons hand or dash in the vehicle beside you.
People shouldn’t be responsible for their own training because they don’t get any, as amply displayed by the sorry understanding of road rules and car behavior you can see in five minutes on any road anywhere in the US. Experience on US roads just reinforces all the bad behaviors that are universal among US drivers.
Every driver of any age should be knowledge tested every so often, and the test shouldn’t be the joke of a test we have here, it should be like the written test in Germany, which everybody studies hard for and still many people fail.
Driving cars is by far the most deadly thing most of us do on a daily basis. We ought to start taking it seriously.
You are right about the US driving test. The German test is much more difficult. I actually failed it the first time since i was used to the lax driving standards of the US. However, I studied hard and passed it the second time.
Learning the road manners and laws of the German autobahn was one of the best experiences I ever had. Driving on the autobahn allowed me to hone my skill and become a very good defensive driver. The key here was that I practiced, ALOT, and that practice made me good. I didnt let tech do the task for me.
What I do not understand is why you claim people should not be responsible for their own drivers training but praise the Germans who are responsible for their own drivers training. Germans pay almost 2000 euro (when i lived there) just to go through the required classes. They also have the public transportation infrastructure to restrict limiting driving privileges to the middle and upper class but thats a different debate.
Agreed. I just dont think that delegating that task to Tech is the answer. With all the new tech, it will soon no longer be driving, just riding.
In a world where we are killing more than 35,000 people on our roads every year, and where the design of most of the country requires people without much money to drive, investing $2000 per poor or working-class person in state-sponsored drivers ed would pay for itself many times over. Assume each death costs society an average of about $2.5 million (which is where the numbers seem to be landing these days), and you can see that preventing half of our road deaths would bring a stupefyingly huge public benefit.
Sorry, but there are no “devices” in a car that “allow” us to text and drive. The fact of the matter is that people will text and drive regardless of what features their car has because they’re too addicted to their phone to put it down. I see people doing this constantly in cars both new and 10-15 years old. And it’s just as likely to be a middle-aged lady or soccer mom as it is a teen. So it’s not like new technology is *allowing* people to text and drive, they’re going to text and drive anyway. Removing safety features will not change that fact.
Semi-autonomous driving “aids” do allow distracted driving to take place. Some systems need just a touch of the steering wheel over a certain time frame to stay active – all the while, the car is drifting inside the lines painted between the lanes.
I am someone who will not text while driving – even at a red light – and will not take a call unless it is an absolute emergency. There are enough idiot drivers driving through endless construction zones in my area to keep me on my toes so I don’t need distractions. But we now have a couple of generations of drivers who have grown up with these nannies and aids that excuse terrible driving. There’s that adage I heard a while back: start filling airbags with broken glass and let’s see how people drive then! It’s like the banged up guardrails on turns – if people see there’s a crutch, a backup, a way to safely do stupid, they’ll do it. And that’s how I view a lot of these nanny systems.
It takes the onus almost completely off me to keep the car centered in the lane on the freeway, even guiding the car around gentle curves. (Not that the car is that tricky to keep centered anyway! But the times that Iâve forgotten to activate LKAS, I move around enough for occasional lane-departure warnings if I get too close to the lines!)
And thatâs as close as I ever want to get to the car doing the driving autonomously!! Taking over that little bit of the driving task allows me to be more fully situationally-aware! Iâve had a couple situations since Iâve had my new car which could have potentially been near-misses if I had to divide my time between keeping the car straight and seeing what was far ahead.
In 2,000 miles over two months on this car, Iâve not had one auto-brake false alarm (or activation, for that matter), the blind-spot monitor has still been a prelude to a shoulder-check for my sanity, if nothing else, and on two occasions, the rear cross-traffic monitor started beeping and indicating the approaching vehicle immediately upon putting the car in Reverse, before I could turn my head (which I would do, anyway, of course); I looked at the backup camera monitor, while keeping the brakes on, and sure enough, there was the approaching vehicle! Followed by my confirmation that the coast was clear; the one time in a parking lot, it turned into a conga line, with lots of beeps, at which time I popped the transmission into Neutral! :-p
As you can probably infer, Iâm aware that these assistants are just that! Iâm guessing that the majority of the people, exclusive of this site, donât even bother to read the Ownerâ Manual, much less become familiar with the systems in detail! Or, as in the case of Teslas, will put too much faith in these devices! Either of which is dangerous!
Who needs such a device. I could drive with my knees, big gulp between my legs, with both hands occupied using a pencil to wind the tape back into my “Guns n Roses” cassette back in the 90s.
When was this the norm? Never in my memory. In 1978, I recall driving on I-65 in southern Indiana when I passed a driver reading a book he had propped up against the steering wheel. A book!
And how many more do you see today vs yesteryear doing something other than driving while driving? I’m predicting a high ratio.
If I see a vehicle wavering over a lane marker every so often, I usually assume theyâre on their phones! And usually, Iâm right!
If more than half the vehicle straddles the line, itâs a case of the driver having drunk their breakfast! Or dinner, as the case might be! ;-)
Sadly, you and just a few others here are making sense. Boils down to this.. each bit or new technology is dumbing society down to the lowest common denominator.
Can’t drive? Incapable of focusing? take public transportation. Can’t afford that? Then learn hiw to freakin focus!
My wife is a recent Asian immigrant and I have spent the past year teaching her with more to fillow before I let her loose. She now is seeing subtle driver movements that may be a problem. Basically, she is learning in a couple years what took me a lifetime. Proud of her and she will be an asset to our daily drives.
At 55 I learn something every time I get in the car. Love driving for the most part and thankful for the privilege. I loathe the idiots intent on dumbing down my driving experience.
@nwfmike: Personally, I used to love to drive. Even now, I will enjoy a nice cruise on a two-lane highway… as long as I’m not up against idiots who try to use the highway as a racetrack or travel well below the speed limits (I’m talking 10mph or more below the posted limits.) It doesn’t matter if I’m driving stick or automatic, just getting away from the ‘rat race’ can be soothing as the two-lane highways tend to be more scenic and shaded with greenery than expressways. Heck, it’s one reason I enjoy taking the train to Florida (via Auto-Train) and drive back home on 2-lane roads. Nice, relaxing ride down; spend a week; enjoying the sights and resorts, then cruise casually back up into the NEC (NorthEast Corridor.) Of course, I can almost always tell when I’m getting close to a major population center as the drivers get progressively more aggressive. Freeways are much the same though they don’t mellow out so much as become fewer the farther away from a city you get.
I’m glad to see your wife is recognizing idiocy when she sees it. As long as she doesn’t become part of the problem (and it doesn’t sound like she will) then she should be a remarkably safe driver.
@Vulpine, re: driving 2 lanes. I couldn’t agree more. The last road trip my wife and I did was back in 2015. 10k miles in 4 months from NorthWestFlorida to some great Western states in Jeep outfitted for Camping. 2 lane roads only. Hardly any traffic. Peaceful and let us take in the beautiful countryside. Feel like it (traveling by 2-lane) is a secret of only a few…but granted, we weren’t traveling population dense areas.
The education process with my wife is ongoing. Thankfully, she is receptive, but she also recognizes the benefit that she’ll most always be in control and not at the mercy of idiots. It’s such a shame that the weak have won, but that seems to be the theme nowadays.
The electronic parking brake, I hate it. Forget sliding in the snow, I use the throttle when I want to shorten my turns. I driving RWD vehicles in the mountains during the winter and I’ve used a partially applied parking brake to put some rear brake bias into the vehicle. This helps when backing down a steep snow covered road. Foot brake alone will usually cause the front to slide too soon (abs or no abs). Putting a little tension of the rear parking brake allows me to work the clutch (car in reverse) and foot brake to controllably back down the hill. First they took away the clutch, next the parking brake once the steering wheel goes we will be left with parking our cars until the snow is cleared off the roads.
It wasn’t all that long ago that it suddenly dawned on me that it’s no longer an “emergency brake”.
Big +1 on this; I don’t even want to think about trying to work on the car without control over the handbrake.
With FWD on snow or ice, quickly cranking the wheel opposite of where I want the back to go, then full-lock opposite, will kick the rear around properly. If it starts sliding out by itself, crank it the way you want the rear to go, with a stab at the throttle if necessary! No e-brake needed!
@sgeffe: If Rivian ever brings their tank steering to market, problem solved. Individual motors at each wheel and maybe 4-wheel independent steering. There’s a faked CGI video out there somewhere and they have trademarked “tank steering”. Even if they don’t produce it, someone else will.
I’m going to be interested in seeing how they pull this off. I have my ideas but if they do it in conventional tank style, it won’t work.
My own guess is that they will drive opposite corners, depending on the direction the wheels are pointing and the choice of ‘forward’ or ‘reverse’ gears. In forward, the front wheel on the outside of the turn would push forward while the rear wheel on the inside of the turn would pull backwards. The other two wheels should be free-rolling. In reverse, again, outside front/inside rear to torque the vehicle around. I think even trying to drive all four wheels left-side/right-side would inhibit the maneuver unless the steering wheel itself were straight.
Loss of visibility. Going around a curvy road and seeing around an a-pillar the size of a tree-trunk can be painful (I am blind in one eye, so I imagine it makes things worse).
Touchscreens; the last place I want one is in my car. Give me knobs and that goes for HVAC too; I don’t want freezing cold air directly on my hands for hours until the car decides the interior is cool enough; I want medium-cool air and I couldn’t care less if the cabin is a uniform temperature.
Stop/Start, I will not own a vehicle that shuts down every time I come to a complete stop. I don’t understand why anyone in the industry ever thought this was a good idea. It hardly saves gas and causes more wear and tear on the starting mechanicals, also you lose your A/C which can be stifling on a hot day. I see nothing good with stop/start
You beat me to it. Idle stop and go is as useless as t*** on a boar hog. Yes, most can be turned off but I would NEVER buy a vehicle where I could not turn it off.
+1 to that. Discovering that the air conditioning in my brand new $40,000 truck didn’t work at red lights was like finding a rat turd in the salad.
Depends on the vehicle. Some like on the 7 series are absolutely undetectable. Others are in fact terrible. It’s all in the tech used to implement the feature.
Manufacturers shouldn’t be introducing these systems so half-baked. Bad initial experiences can sour people on future better implementation.
That being said, our Jeep Grand Cherokee has it, and it’s absolutely detectable. Terrible technology.
I cringe every time Iâm walking to or from my office building, and hear a Malibu or other car with one of those systems crank over! If I absolutely had to drive a vehicle with one of those, I would only do so if it could be equipped with a third-party device which would keep the auto-stop disabled between ignition cycles! And if not, and Iâd still have to deal with that vehicle, unless such a system has an AGM battery and heavy-duty starter included, no sale!
Depends on the vehicle. That’s why manufactures are going to electrically driven accessories rather than belts. You’ll recall that one of the reasons the Prius is the world’s most durable and reliable vehicle is that it uses electric motors rather than belts.
This, I will NEVER buy a vehicle that has stop/start, ever. Even if everything else is perfect this is an instant no sale.
I don’t mind the idea of a stop/start system for longer periods of time, but the fact that they can engage at a stop sign if you hesitate for a second or two is absolute madness.
@ quaquaqua – Yes, I’ve noticed that as a pedestrian. On some cars, stop/start even kicks in a stop sign, which seems crazy.
I actually don’t think the general idea of start/stop is bad. I do a lot of sitting at red lights and actually would realize a fuel savings from it. The devil is in the details on this one. I think it can be implemented well or implemented badly.
Perhaps a programmable delay would work. Thirty seconds would be reasonable, as most traffic light cycles seem to be around a minute. Itâd make drive-thru lines bearable, too, as I always shut the engine down, and of course as soon as I do, the line starts moving or the food appears! :-p
Well fact is they get CAFE credit for implementing it, it is the cheapest way to increase CAFE. Good systems won’t shut the vehicle off if the cooling load is high enough. I had a rental Expedition last week where the temp was ~100. I did pull up the auto stop/start in the center display a couple of times for kicks and it said that it was on due to ambient temps. It did shut down when I was driving at night and it was only 85 but wouldn’t necessarily stay off.
Yes there is a CAFE credit for start stop (just like there is for being “Flex Fuel”). This is the only reason for stop/start, gaming the system.
To add to that, there’s an on-paper MPG credit for adding off-cycle systems (stop/start), and additional credit if it’s made non-defeatable.
Customers detest the feature, but automakers implement it in degrees where the credit is needed. In many smaller low margin cars, it’s non defeatable for max credit while other vehicles customers are at least given the option to turn it off on a given drive cycle.
Stop/start works brilliantly in hybrids, because only the gas engine shuts down; you still have full electric power for propulsion and all electrical accessories. And, the gas engine can shut down when descending hills and braking, not just when the car is at a full stop.
It’s reasonably transparent in gas/mild hybrid belt starter generator applications like the Ram 1500 with etorque. The starter motor to ring gear noise on other systems is most annoying.
Have you noticed yet at stop lights when the light turns green half the cars around you suddenly start up? I have and it’s most annoying
“Have you noticed yet at stop lights when the light turns green half the cars around you suddenly start up? I have and itâs most annoying.”
So much this. You can hear the newest and shiniest cars choking and buzzing back to life from across the parking lot. The less new but still pretty shiny stay on but sound like something is broken with the constant clicking and ticking from their injectors. Meanwhile the dented up beaters driven by maids and day laborers purr so smoothly that, at least when the muffler isn’t rusted out too, you can barely even tell they’re running.
âHave you noticed yet at stop lights when the light turns green half the cars around you suddenly start up? I have and itâs most annoying.â
Yeah, I’m starting to notice that. It also explains a bit why when I’m at the front of the line why I’m leaving the ICE-mobiles so far behind without even trying. Ah, the joys of instant torque.
Start/stop is awesome as implemented in hybrids. In my Highlander, I can sit in a parking lot waiting for someone in total comfort, without sitting in a cloud of my own exhaust.
I agree it’s often annoying in other cars, although if you are doing heavy city driving it really can save some fuel.
Got to disagree with this one. I see no reason for the motor to be running when the car isn’t moving. Especially at ENDLESS Florida traffic lights. My M235i had no problem keeping cold air going for the 4 minutes or so of a traffic light – BMW added mass to the evaporator to make that work. Or if conditions don’t warrant it – just hit the button to temporarily keep the motor running and waste gas as you like.
I haven’t driven a vehicle with one, but the top mounted infotainment system seems inconvenient to me. Clearly it isn’t as every manufacturer is doing it now, but I’m not into it at all.
These are a most interesting feature. Supposedly in California you are not allowed to have a GPS stuck to your windshield due to distraction or blocking your line of sight, but these screens are doing the same thing.
Overall, I was disappointed by that well-reviewed car: super-numb steering, mushy gas pedal paired with a twitchy brake pedal, and the feel of the buttons and dials was cheap and insubstantial to me. Oh, and the infotainment setup was pretty lousy, with a lot of trouble connecting via Bluetooth.
The demise of the naturally aspirated engine is a tragedy that cuts across virtually every vehicle segment.
I’ll only half agree. When you have a small car who’s normally-aspirated engine can only push about 80-100 horses but weighs over 3000# then they really need more power–especially in hotter climes. A 1.6L to 2.3L engine often isn’t enough to push around a compact pickup, sometimes.
They shouldn’t be selling 80-100 hp engines to power 3000 lb cars though. A bigger engine should be fitted in that case.
As for heat, the last thing you want in a hot climate is forced induction. Cooling requirements increase dramatically over an NA engine making the same power.
The compression ratio is lower in a turbo than in a NA vehicle so try again. Example Genesis V8 11:1 vs a GTI 9.6:1.
The other flaw in your argument is your mistaken idea that the turbo is somehow always on. It’s certainly not during steady state highway driving. And depending on your driving style it could almost never be on boost.
The pickup I was talking about was a ’97 Ranger, notably smaller than the new model. While 112 horses works nicely in cool air, when temperatures touch 90Â°+ the engine would lose almost half its power–something to do with how the Mass Air Sensor worked once the engine was warmed up. On the other hand, the wife’s Fiat 500Pop ran just fine, winter and summer, with a 101horse N/A 1.6.
Problem is that both Ford and GM have stuck tiny 2.7L turbo fours in their full-sized, near-5000-pound monsters and that’s just asking for trouble.
The static compression ratio is lower-yes, but since the volumetric efficiency of the engine is a lot greater than 100% the ACTUAL compression ratio is a lot greater than the static ratio. How high depends on throttle position.
“the turbo is somehow always on. Itâs certainly not during steady state highway driving. And depending on your driving style it could almost never be on boost.”
Turbos are not an on/off operation. Their boost levels are highly dynamic. Due to their restrictions on the air intake of the engine, under most throttle conditions, they must providing pressure to the engine above 1.01325ish bar. How high above atmospheric pressure depends on throttle position.
It’s well known that the current crop of downsized turbocharged engines in truck duty will have worse Brake Specific Fuel Consumption than comparable output NA engines when worked hard. Their benefit is in light load. Under high load/high cylinder pressure/temps they have a greater need to overfuel to prevent meltdown. De-rates are common.
This too, I donât want a car that wasnât designed with the correct sized engine and requires a turbocharged engine to make up for an improperly specced displacement.
This is crazy talk. I just changed my Fiesta ST’s intake so I could actually hear the freaking turbo working. It is inpreceptible otherwise…just feels like someone dropped a 5.0 HO from my youth in a tiny little hatchback…except it turns and will pass a gas station.
Honestly, with cylinder deactivation on the big V8’s, and DOHC’s making the V8 as wide as a 460 in some applications, I think the inline turbo is the only sensible choice if you work on things yourself. Plus my Dad’s 5.0 F150 honestly feels sluggish compared to my 2.7 TT. There is nothing hard to reach under there.
You guys act like modern V8’s are still like those TBI 305’s your granddad’s Caprice had in it.
Now if you get a twin turbo V6 in a transverse application, you are nuts. Then again, any transverse V anything is a packaging nightmare.
Forced induction is not some new technology…it has been around since the 30’s. For crying out loud you could get a freaking Duesenberg with a supercharger…or was the SJ motor undersized and too unrefined lol.
This is crazy talk. I just changed my Fiesta ST’s intake so I could actually hear the freaking turbo working. It is inpreceptible otherwise…just feels like someone dropped a 5.0 HO from my youth in a tiny little hatchback…except it turns and will pass a gas station.
Honestly, with cylinder deactivation on the big V8’s, and DOHC’s making the V8 as wide as a 460 in some applications, I think the inline turbo is the only sensible choice if you work on things yourself. Plus my Dad’s 5.0 F150 honestly feels sluggish compared to my 2.7 TT. There is nothing hard to reach under there.
You guys act like modern V8’s are still like those TBI 305’s your granddad’s Caprice had in it.
Now if you get a twin turbo V6 in a transverse application, you are nuts. Then again, any transverse V anything is a packaging nightmare.
Forced induction is not some new technology…it has been around since the 30’s. For crying out loud you could get a freaking Duesenberg with a supercharger…or was the SJ motor undersized and too unrefined lol.
Preferring the power curve of a good naturally aspirated engine is not the same as saying turbos are unreliable or newfangled technology.
I just resent the fact that every car/CUV under the sun comes with a 2.0T, the upgrade engine in larger vehicles is usually a 3.0T or 3.5T, and even high end performance cars are virtually all forced induction. Apart from the VW Atlas and Porsche GT3/4, I don’t believe there is a single German vehicle sold in this country without a turbocharger. The Camry has the last V6 in a midsize sedan. Etc etc etc.
“Preferring the power curve of a good naturally aspirated engine is not the same as saying turbos are unreliable or newfangled technology.”
This is correct. Even completely leaving out any reliability argument, turbocharged and naturally-aspirated vehicles drive differently. Especially in performance applications.
@jack, I agree, but that wasn’t the Original Posters point. I like a good v8 too…and a v12 for that matter. But the constant refrain of “turbos suck as do all things modern” on here is idiodic. My only non performance one is my truck and it is fantastic. However had I opted for the 2.0t in my wife’s Santa Fe I don’t think it would make it any better…minus the metal shavings in the crankcase bit of course. Turbo 3’s in a Buick? Madness. Turbo 3 in the new Euro Fiesta ST? By all accounts, brilliant. I’d rather work on an online turbo than a modern V anything that is in anything smaller than a full-sized truck too.
I’ll take the 2.5T in my Mazda any day over the 3.5 v6 in that Maxima or v6 in the Camry. I don’t like revving the car up just to get it moving. Both v6s are loud once the cars got moving.
Art, you act like the sophistication of a car introduced in 1928 has some correlation to the throttle response of an AP1 S2000 or E46 M3. I haven’t driven an SJ, but I have driven enough prewar cars to know that sometimes you needed to adjust the ignition advance curve with a lever to derive the best throttle response, which wasn’t that big a priority compared to avoiding detonation or bucking.
Good luck. You’re living at the whims of tyrants. When they decide you can’t buy a real new car, your compliance heat pump will turn into a pumpkin even as you rationalize sitting at home waiting for your soylent green.
Do you think Epstein killed himself while on suicide watch in high security as his CCTV camera’s happened to fail? It would be consistent with your automotive views.
Oh this is Rich Todd. A Toyota Fanboi lecturing a Fiesta ST driver that he drives a “compliance heat pump” Yes Todd, because everyone that has reviewed my daily driver has proclaimed it to be an underpowered compliance mill…not one of the best driver’s cars of the decade.
But hey, Toyota builds a driver’s car too…well at least they slap their emblem on it. Oh wait, that’s a turbo. Well there is the FR-S…which everyone says needs a Turbo. Maybe a Miata…which everyone has been crying needs a Turbo since like 1989 and supports a whole cottage industry to address that. Nobody likes that GTI either.
There are poor implementatations for sure. Frankly I’m not a fan of the ones geared specifically towards fuel economy…turbos are best as “power adders”, not fuel savers.
I got my 2.7 F150 because it was the best driving of the bunch. Period. I drove V8 Ford, Ram, and Chevy trucks. For a daily driven truck that isn’t worked every day but that can work when needed, it is a brilliant engine. Pretty much every review agrees with me as do people writing checks. You can still get a 5.0 truck as well as the na v6. Most don’t and yes, they stock them. My dad just got one of the plethora of XLT trimmed 5.0s on his dealers lot.
The Fiesta ST just goes to show how good the segment has gotten, a segment that is pretty much all turbocharged. Hot hatches always handled. Now they are quick too. Incidentally it has a real handbrake too, something lamentet here. 3 pedals, all that stuff. A real appliance. Anyway, enjoy your Toyotas…I like to wear sweatpants sometimes too.
A Fiesta ST is no quicker than my old Civic Si sedan, which is uncompromised by a turbo-direct-injected engine or a body with a giant hole where a rear deck and bonded in back window would add to rigidity. Buying the pickup which you think drives best for daily use really makes you some sort of driving excitement aficionado.
The engine in your ST is a compliance heat pump, not the car itself. Putting a 1.6 turbo into a subcompact is certainly preferable to putting it I a compact, midsize or CUV, but that doesn’t change the it exists because of regulations that are in the process of changing so it can be wiped off most of the world’s streets for the particulate emissions it creates. Particulate emissions that good old long-life, low maintenance port-injected gas engines don’t spew.
So which did you have? I had SI’s back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and they were a hoot, but you had to rev the snot out of them to make any power. Not that that is bad per say, just different and not as much fun to drive under the VTEC in normal traffic. Solid cars though. Also had a 15 for a while. It was as quick in a 0-60 sprint, sure, but when you started hustling it around the 500 or so pounds it spotted the Fiesta were felt. Fun, but different. You might say it was compromised by being a bit of a porker. I’ve hustled tham both around a track. The Fiesta would walk it in the twisties. The only thing I have owned that is close to as much fun was my old E30 BMW and an FD RX-7.
There are those of us that much prefer a Turbo’s power delivery. Always have, even back in the old laggy days.
Frankly the last SI’s that were really special were the late 90’s ones. I wish they would build a Fit SI…that would be more akin to the SI’s of old and get my attention. Of course Honda of today cant get out of its own way. The Civic Type R is wonderful so long as you dont getting fuel washing down the cylinders or mind looking like you spun out in a Pep Boys. An ILX with that driveline would be cool, but again, Honda.
Still better than Toyota. Is there a Toyota powered performance oriented Toyota south of the Lexus RC? Supra gets me a BMW, 86 gets me a torqueless wonder of a Subaru motor the Toyota people cant figure out how to put back together after recall work. I had hopes for the Corolla hatch but have been disapointed.
Anyway, the engine should be matched to the car. A 1.6 Turbo putting down nearly 200 hp in a 2500 pound wrapper is plenty of motor. The turbo spools quick and is matched well to the gear ratios and has makes torque everywhere. A nice match. a 200 hp NA motor would be fine too, but ill always grab the turbo in a hot hatch. BMW does a nice job of matching the powertrain with the car too. Lucky for Toyota…The Supra will probably be the best driving Toyota in a long time.
And oh yeah, the truck is a utility vehicle. I really only drive it when I need a truck. Wasn’t really grabbing an “enthusiast vehicle” there but hey, if you want to hustle 5000 pounds and 20 feet through the twisties more power to you.
Note you no longer have the civic. So what color automotive sweatpants do you drive now? I know you said Toyota was the only new car worth buying. Did you grab the RAV like all the other basic B!+ch3s? Must be a hoot.
And what the h3ll does Epstein have to do with anything. Oh wait, You thought he was going to put a bunch of billionaires and politicians in jail. Thats cute that you think that happens. Let me guess, your politicians would make everything wonderful if those idiots on the other side would get out of the way. Never mind they all spend the same money on the same crap and never change anything. No, nothing was going to come of it…not that I’m not glad he is dead though. Dont really care how it came to be but if he was murdered we should give the killer a medal. Maybe OJ did it. We know he could beat the rap and all of the dolts in this country could waste another couple of years arguing over it.
@ Art Vandalay: “Frankly Iâm not a fan of the ones geared specifically towards fuel economyâ¦turbos are best as âpower addersâ, not fuel savers.”
— First off, I want to say I agree with most of your reply to Rich. However, I have to disagree with the quoted statement. Turbos tuned for fuel economy offer their best benefits in highway driving, when absolute power is unnecessary for most drivers. Admittedly, they’re not that great in town, however, as they’re tuned for cruising, not sharp acceleration, and therefore tend to use more fuel, not less, and are typically grossly undersized for the weight of the vehicle.
You stated you have a 2.7T F-150. You seem happy with it so I’m not going to argue its benefits as far as that goes but I have to question the capabilities of the truck overall, even with everything you say about it. Simply put, what is your realized fuel economy and what is your towing limit?
Almost exactly 1 year ago, I purchased a 2019 Chevy Colorado with the 3.6 V6 under the hood. On a highway drive going upstream along the Susquehanna River (actually between Lancaster and Selinsgrove, PA) I’m able to achieve a pretty easy 27mpg despite traveling 5mph above the posted speed limits along most of that distance (excepting heavy traffic bypassing Harrisburg.) The truck is rated at 7000# towing.
I think I’ve averaged just under 23 in mostly suburban commutes. When I was driving it back and forth from Huntsville to Augusta it would do 29 if I held the speed limit on the highway, but I was around 25 with the cruise typically set at 75. It is a Supercrew by the way.
My travel trailer is 5200 pounds (30 feet) I think the truck is rated at 7500. I pull the camper plus 4 adults, and a bed full of gear and bikes plus the load in the trailer. It does very well but the fuel hit is noticible…like 12-13 usually. Alot of that is aerodynamics I believe. I’ve pulled 4000 pound vehicles with very little hit to mpg, but the trailer has the arlerodynamics of a parachute.
I had a midsized truck. I think it was rated for that but honestly the longer wheelbase on the big truck makes it way nicer and I have 2 teenage boys so the big cab is great. It’s our road trip vehicle in addition to the other duties.
Also the typical areas I pull the travel trailer in is North Georgia, Eastern TN and Western NC so you are talking pretty serious inclines. It does good. My smaller camper and the Frontier was single digits for comparison.
@Art Vandalay: I have to admit I’m impressed. If I may ask, how did you find a 5200# 30-foot trailer? I haven’t had any luck finding anything longer than 24 feet in that range.
@Vulpine…It is a 2005 model Gulfstream. I paid 2 grand for it at an Army MWR auction (formal rental, but it never moved…was used as a cabin). It needed a new Power inverter. It was rough around the edges (liiked like the RV in “The Walking Dead” basically, but it cleaned up OK. I actually lived in it for 8 months while my house was being built. It doesn’t have any slideouts or any of that jazz like alot of the newer models, so that probably saves some weight. It’s basic, but suits our needs and the price was a steal.
I will say @Vulpine, I like the Colorado…I have spent time with it and the Ranger and I like the Colorado better were I in the midsized market. I wouldn’t like towing my camper with it though just because based on my experience longer wheelbase is highly desirable. Plus the fullsized rigs came with options like trailer brakes and stuff. Plus my oldest is 6’4″ tall and his little brother isn’t far behind. Maybe if I didn’t do the mountains and what not. So long as you arent loaded with too much gear though and get something with a more modern profile though the Colorado should be up to it. With respect to towing I think most modern motors are up to these loads power wise…remember it wasnt too long ago we pulled with 300 straight sixes and small block v8’s typically well under 200 HP (closer to the 100 mark on the 300). You just want the truck to be big enough to punch a decent sized hole in the air and not get shoved around too much by the trailer.
Once my kids are out and I can downsize (probably a way smaller trailer) I really want a regular cab F150 with the 3.5 EB, leather, a console, and Lightning logos.
@Art Vandalay: I doubt you’ll find a reg-cab F-150 any more (though you might) but I’m a fan of the extended cab, despite the issues people claim for the suicide-style back doors. One advantage the F-150 has (or had) was a reasonably flat and accessible cargo floor back there, something I’m not too enthusiastic about with my Colorado but which I also can’t remove because about twice per year I carry my mother-in-law and her granddaughter back there. Not often enough to demand a crew cab and to me the crew cab is a waste of space (sacrifice bed for cab and vice-versa.)
After a year I’ve gotten quite comfortable with the Colorado and it’s got more horsepower in that V6 than I ever had in any of my prior V8s (175 in a 302c.i.d.Ford Windsor (small block)) and about 225 in an Olds Rocket 350(both early 70s vintage.) The ‘Rado has 300+hp and just shy of that in torque, IIRC. I know the 2.7EcoBoost pushes very nearly 300 horses but I’ve watched too many turbos blow under load and simply don’t trust them.
As for the camper, I envy you your find. Wife and I are wanting a comfortably-sized unit but she wants nearly all the Bells and Whistles and then complains about the price.
No a turbo doesn’t dramatically increase the cooling requirements when making the same power. Fact is the burning of the fuel is the primary source of heat input. It far outweighs that of the friction and heating of the intake air due to compression.
So if engine A and B are making the same power the more efficient engine will be using less fuel to make that same power and thus put less heat into the engine. Raising the effective compression makes the engine more efficient. So while the heating due to compression will rise the heat input from fuel will fall.
I’m not talking about steady state cruising, I’m talking about running the engine hard, which is the only time a properly tuned engine should care what the temperature is outside.
Heat soak is really only a thing with a poorly designed intake and an undersized intercooler. You can get the same effect on your grandpappys Cadillac with that massive hunk of iron sitting atop the motor.
— Tell that to my former ’97 Ranger, which lost significant power in the heat of summer, whether the run was long or short. Starting with a cold engine, it ran just fine but shut it down for a little while (up to a couple of hours) and re-start it for the return trip and it felt like it’d lost half its power (more likely only a third or a quarter.) And this, by the way, was with a manual AND the AC turned off. I ended up putting in a compressor on/off switch and an electric fan to replace the crank-driven fan and realized some improvement… but not much.
Incidentally Vulpine, one of the things the Luddite peanut gallery on here is always crying about is plastic intake manifolda.
Yet the greatly improved the situation you describe. Having a big hunk of metal sitting in the V of an engine retains way more heat than a lightweight plastic one. I’ve seen one crack. Then again, also had to weld a metal one that cracked at the water inlet so that’s a wash.
The Ranger had an inline four at 112 horses. The air intake was plastic and had a big, high-volume conical air filter on it. Even so, I replaced that with a K&N to no effect on summertime power though did realize improved fuel economy when cool. One of the problems, though, is that the air intake was a roughly 3sq.in. hole in the right wheel well with the rest of the air coming from behind the radiator. I thought about modifying that with a more open air box (K&N kit) but that wouldn’t have brought in any more COOL air (by comparison.)
Not one of those open element conical filters sitting in the engine bay @vulpine? If so then yeah, I don’t doubt it sucked in hot weather…Engines don’t like sucking in hot air.
Not an open-element box, my friend. Factory filter was the conical one but the air intake TO that filter was extremely restricted as far as cool air was concerned. Iike I said, only about 3 square inches in the wheel well.
I don’t have it, but I don’t think I would like auto start-stop. I’m not against hybrids though, in theory, that sort of do the same thing.
But there is a definite difference in how a good hybrid start-stop feels and even the best of the conventional start stop engines. I’ve been driving Ford Hybrids for 6 years now and we’ve racked up an easy 200k between them.
I don’t really notice the starting and stopping on them, however I rented an Expedition with it last week and when it was cool enough that it would shut down you could feel it when it shut off and started up.
With the hybrid system as used on the FWD Fords (and Toyotas) the engine is spun up to idle speed or more before fuel is given to the engine, while the conventional systems rely on a starter that can only spin it up to 1/3~1/2 of idle speed and they add fuel with the 1st revolution. So nowhere near as smooth of a start. The motor also allows control of the engine coming to rest, so again it smooth on the Hybrid and clunky on the conventional.
Push button on/off starters, touch screens, digital gauges on the dashboard, donut spare tires (if you’re lucky) – the list is long.
Push button starters are one of the best things to happen to cars. Every time I see a Cobalt going down the road I’m terrified it’s going to lose control and crash into me due to how finnicky a cheap ignition switch can be. The rest of your complaints are pretty minor, too. Turbochargers, clunky transmissions, poor visibility — these are the things that should be infuriating everyone.
My wife (and presumably other women) love it because they don’t need to find their keys in a giant purse.
Plus it’s not as if traditional ignition switches are a pinnacle of reliability, so I fail to understand what’s being lost from “the good old days” here.
IMHO the problem with pushbutton start is that it’s binary and there’s essentially no signal to the driver to inform them what state the button is in. My mother-in-law has had issues with the one in her Sienna which has had more than its share of electrical problems. Her van stalled as she was parking, and because the engine was off she got out and walked away. The fact that her accessory load and engine computer was still activated never occured to her that it would be a problem, so getting into the van after the battery died similarly became an issue because she lost the physical key insert of her fob ages ago and never noticed because she never uses it.
I personally like being able to turn on the “accessory” position to run windows and the radio while leaving the engine, HVAC, and ECU off. While many implementation of the PB start make provisions for this, it is rarely intuitive. I would far FAR prefer a multi-position dial, even one with a momentary position for the starter, with demarcations to be basically a direct replacement for the ignition cylinder with a knob instead of a key as an actuator. I think such a device would have eliminated some known fatalities in the runaway vehicles where people didn’t think to keep holding down the “start” button to shut off the engine.
I now have a push-button starter, and I heartily endorse your second para. I do, in fact, like the convenience for the typical trip, but any non-typical trip involves figuring out how the thing will act, and some things are no longer seamless (e.g., in my old car, the radio stayed on as long as the key was in the ignition; now, once you turn the engine off, the radio turns off as soon as a door opens).
“I personally like being able to turn on the âaccessoryâ position to run windows and the radio while leaving the engine, HVAC, and ECU off. While many implementation of the PB start make provisions for this, it is rarely intuitive.”
— Rarely intuitive? While that may be true for some cars, I’ve found the exact opposite true in FCA cars. To start the engine you MUST press the brake pedal before and while pressing the start button. If you don’t, it automatically goes to ACC mode and will not start the car until you press the brake pedal and press the button again. Getting out is almost as easy; press the button to stop the engine and then, with your foot off the brake, press it again to enter ACC.
OR, you can program the car to keep the radio on for up to 20 minutes after you turn off the ignition, even if you leave the car. Good when you have to stop and wait in the car for a period of time (your passenger goes into a store and says, “I’ll be right back,” for instance but can be confusing to passers-by when the radio is blaring and nobody is otherwise near the car.
I’ve found pushbutton to be quite intuitive but I agree I’m no fan of ‘Start/Stop’ methodology.
Really excellent points cdotson, this over-engineering of simple auto-functions is becoming more trouble then it’s worth
Foot off brake, push button once for ACC, twice for ON. I usually push the button twice to âboot upâ the car, then hit the button a third time while hitting the brakes to start after pausing for a half-second.
“IMHO the problem with pushbutton start is that itâs binary and thereâs essentially no signal to the driver to inform them what state the button is in.”
Except when they do it w/o proximity unlock. I had a rental that had the push button start but you still had to fish the fob out of your pocket (or purse) and push a button to unlock the car. So that advantage is lost.
Exactly! The antenna is already there for the keyless ignition, so put a touch-sensor on each front door handle and be done with it!
Push button start is BRILLIANT. Why should I have to insert and turn a metal key to activate an electronic circuit?
Digital dash? Also great as I can configure it to display whatever I want. Visibility is sometimes an issue.
Lack of spare? Agree! Saving .05 MPG to be stuck on the side of the road doesn’t seem like a good compromise to me. That said my current car has no spare so I take my chances. Run-flats are terrible so no thanks.
If pushbutton start cars used some kind of universal fob or phone app, then I would say they’re a nice advancement. But if you own multiple vehicles, it’s a pain. A guy who used to be able to put small, thin keys on a key ring and have easy access to his vehicles. Who’s going to put more than one fob in their pocket?
That is really a complaint against keyless entry. You can’t buy a car with a thin key blade anymore, even traditional ignition keys are all enormous and have the lock/unlock/panic buttons right on them.
In my case, I did have the dealer cut a âpractice key,â which I can use so I donât have to dig the keyless fob out of the leather case on my key ring to get to the backup key. I use that to crack my windows on a warm day when parking; on Hondas, you can open the windows and sunroof by turning the key to âunlockâ twice and holding it, and you can close the portals by doing the same thing, except turning the key in the opposite direction.
Raises hand. That said I keep my keys on a lanyard and generally carry them around my neck. My only “complaint” is that certain companies’ fobs are all identical so if you have multiple vehicles from that company it can get tricky to use the correct one. For example I have a Mazda6 with proximity sensors; I can hit the button on the door and slide in without worrying about the fob at all. My mom, whose spare key I carry, doesn’t have a proximity sensor and so using the key is required to unlock her car. For the longest time I had to try both of them to get into her car. Then I bought rubber fob covers and the “problem” was solved.
Automatic Climate Control. I hate it when the system kneecaps the a/c on a sunny day because the temperature’s right. Don’t get me started on how it ruins the defroster function. I end up fiddling with Auto systems far more than manual ones and they’re harder to manipulate into the proper state causing further driver distraction. Give me three knobs or GTFO.
You win again cdotson, when given a choice I will always pick the manual controls, you know the ones that you turn-up when too cold and turn-down when too warm?
Iâm exactly opposite: when I had a Nissan Versa rental a few weeks back, I was constantly fiddling with it, especially the fan speed! With auto-climate, I can turn the A/C off if I donât need it, and itâll still tweak everything else as needed.
If the sun is beating through the windshield, but the A/C isnât cranking, perhaps the vehicle either doesnât have a sunlight sensor to compensate, or the sensor is bad. If absolutely necessary, Iâve found that turning the temperature down a couple degrees, then resetting it a couple minutes later, can help.
That’s BAD climate control. The good systems are set and forget. I don’t think I have touched the climate control buttons in my BMW in 5 years. Set to 70F, summer and winter, and it works perfectly.
I tend to set mine to about 68 in the winter and 72 in the summer. The only time I really override the system is in the morning when there’s dew on the windshield and the system doesn’t put on the defroster. As soon as the windshield is clear I slam it back to auto.
@tankinbeans: May I assume you put heat on the glass with defrost on dew? Because cooling it will make the dew worse, not better.
Yes. I bump it up a few degrees and hit the defrost button. Usually it only takes a couple minutes before it’s good to go.
@tankinbeans: That’s good to see, because I’ve seen so many drivers turn on their AC after a rain in already hot and humid conditions and then try to use the defrost to clear the dew on the outside of their windshield and develop even heavier fog on the inside of the glass. In one case, a passenger van full of people nearly ran over a traffic policeman as they were leaving the county fair after a rain because the driver literally couldn’t see through the windshield except for a tiny dry patch at the bottom-center of the glass. Because it was hot and humid, they attempted to cool the cabin down for the passengers rather than trying to clear the glass properly.
Even now, too many people don’t understand how that’s supposed to work. I, myself, once had to teach a policeman how to properly clear his windshield during a traffic stop. He thought the policy meant to turn the AC as cold as it would go when the instructions were to turn it on to dry the air. When he added a little heat to the temperature control, the glass cleared almost immediately. (That was 40 years ago.)
I hate manual climate control and am very glad it’s going the way of the dodo for this exact reason. Most auto systems, for me, are set and forget (or sometimes adjust the temp a degree or two). Manual systems have me constantly fidgeting with all three dials, and I get really irritated after a while.
16 Highlander Hybrid (3-zone, and always spot on) 08 Lexus LS 04 Acura TSX 11 Lexus LX (4-zone) 89 Taurus SHO 08 Pontiac G8 19 Chevy Bolt (single-zone; biased too much toward front vents) 16 Ford C-Max (not good at figuring out humidity; lots of manual defrosting) 13 Subaru Forester (brain-damaged; often used high fan speed for no reason)
When it is hot and humid the ACC systems I have used all turn the compressor off for too long letting it get humid in the car.
Our Avenger we just crank the fan until it gets cooled off (takes a few minutes) and then put the fan on low. Then, when it gets cold you can adjust the temp should the need arise. ON a long trip you seldom mess with it past the first few minutes as it is cooling the car off.
The Nissan we need to leave it cranked a long time. The A/C sucks in that car and the ACC would probably work fine since it never cools very well and the compressor wouldn’t be off very much.
My dream system would include a humidity sensor (very affordable these days) and a logic table tied to human comfort (temperature and humidity) and smart enough to know when and how to clear the windows for good visibility.
The automatic climate control systems I have used do not do a very good job in the ‘shoulder’ seasons (spring/fall) because they only know the temperature. (Relative humidity where I live is relatively high.)
(If you want to be entertained/frustrated, study the implementation of climate control – particularly the Recirc function – on early EV’s. The systems were clearly designed by traditional HVAC engineers who just couldn’t grasp the idea of no waste heat from the engine. If you adopted their thought process, you would always open the windows when operating your furnace in winter.)
Wants include: Visibility. Headroom. Dials/knobs that you can actually operate while driving. Velour upholstery. Colour matched instrument panels/dashboards. 60/40 split front seats. Amber turn signals. Rain gutters. :-) Proper ignition switches rather than push buttons. Keyholes, particularly on trunks. Currently have one that I can’t get open and will have to take to a bodyshop as the electric release has seized. Manual window cranks. Engine displacement Whitewalls Chrome!!!!!!!!!! Long hoods with proper hood ornaments, and possibly coach lights and opera windows?
Things I don’t want: IPads glued to the instrument panel/dash Touchscreens Scrolling through menus, a wonderful idea while driving Auto engine on/off while idling/stopped at lights systems Turbo everything CVT everything Thin tires
VELOUR. My Mazda6 seats are made of nylon and felt. They are impossible to keep clean and every single piece of dirt or hair gets embedded in them. Velour solves all of these problems. Scream it from the rooftops, I want it so bad as a seat fabric I’d probably even buy a freakin’ NISSAN if it came with it.
My old Jetta had no safety nannies but when the CV joint let go it most definitely swerved without my input
I think it is time you speak with a reputable builder and resto-mod the car you want. Anymore, if you find the right car to begin with and the right builder if you can’t/don’t want to do it yourself and have a car built to your specs for more or less than what you would pay for a loaded Highlander or whatever…55k.
A fuel injected engine swap/AC/Cruise/Electronic Auto or MT (GM at least) can be done for 15k or less. You can even add updated safety seatbelts in most cases.
@Morgan: If/when my ship ever comes back in, as mentioned before a Lincoln Mark IV Pucci edition. Full body off frame restoration. Remove all of the emission controls and have that 460 CID engine blueprinted and allowed to reach its maximum potential. Put in a modern transmission to handle it. Possibly fuel injection? Upgrade its existing ABS system.
I sure hope is does for you, while I would consider finding a wrecked Coyote powered F150 and drop that driveline into your Lincoln…Build your dream car as you see fit. I hope you find one, there would be nothing cooler than a restored/updated Lincoln at Cars N Coffee or whatever show up and talk meet you fancy.
I can see your point on the electronic trunk releases: supposedly, that eliminated a problem area in Hondas!
Funny! Twenty-five years and four of the damn things, and never a problem with the trunk or fuel-door releases on any of them! Now, if the battery goes kaput, I have to pop open a panel on the package shelf and hopefully I can find a release cable there! There used to be key locks on the package shelf to allow you to flop the seat(s) down (and crawl through into the trunk and kick open the anti-entrapment release), but no more!
A resto-mod of that Mark IV would probably be just what your Old Man ordered! Didnât know those had anti-skid brakes available; from what Iâve heard, the big GM PLCs had it on all the wheels, and the big Chryslers had them in back, as optional equipment.
Yep in 1970, Ford added an anti-lock braking system to the rear wheels of Lincoln Continentals as an option. It was standard on the Pucci, as was a dual exhaust. And a sunroof, which is one option I could live without, as I prefer a T-roof.
If I ever get my automotive dream to come true, I’m fairly sure that I will have no trouble convincing any of the single women in the retirement home to go cruising with me. And Huggy Bear will be speechless with jealousy.
Amen! I can’t stand the garbage materials they are calling seat covers these days. Wafer thin vinyl with sand paper rough synthetic crap in the middle passing off as cloth. Have already seen some Fords and Hyundais with cracks or the sewing coming apart in these modern seats I would love to see a return to the far easier to clean and durable cloth as used on the 2000-2016 W-body Impalas.
I also hate hate hate the ridiculous oversized rubber band tires they are forcing down our throats. They suck in the Winter months which are 5 months of the year, cost more in most cases, ride harsher and are noisier. We can only dream of color matched instrument panels and dashboards/steering wheels as there is no color in car interiors any more other than black and tan with a few greys- all non colors.
Has anyone here run over something that made your tire fail? (Raises hand) Yeah, that can of fix-a-flat is gonna make the two-inch hole in your tire all better.
The whole spare tire thing needs to be rethought anyway. I have a spare, but it’s rusted solid against the undercarriage, so what good is it? But, I also have a phone to call AAA should I get a flat, so it’s kind of a wash
At least Buick stuck a subwoofer in the space that could have the spare tire in it for my Regal. I’ll take bass over the spare. When roadside assistance runs out I’ll think about AAA.
A couple weeks ago this exact thing happened. At midnight. On an extremely poorly lit road with a speed limit of 65. Luckily I had my spare since the hole was too large for anything to fix, even temporarily.
If I must have one “content” complaint, it has to be the airbags. Not so much because they don’t work (they do, after all) but the simple fact that they fail so regularly and need replacement sometimes even before the vehicle is out of warranty suggests that while the concept is good, the execution could be better. I’m wondering, however, if less… explosive… means could be developed that are more passive than active.
So much modern design already wraps around the driver and front seat passenger that an impact can do more injury simply because so much material is wrapped around you. Bashing your knees on the underside of the dashboard used to be almost impossible–now it’s almost inevitable. And the knee-level airbags are a failure as they’ve proven no more effective than nothing at all. Get that dashboard skirt out of the way and let the steering column collapse, as it used to for some models. That would be far more effective.
Side airbags are effective–for keeping the passengers (and driver) safe from flying glass in a side impact but wouldn’t a plastic film on the inside of the glass be just as effective? Meanwhile, they’re likely to break their necks in such an impact because the high belt line on the vehicles stops the body from shifting, with only a momentary pillow to stop the head movement… one that could be more effective IF the shoulders could move a little more and take advantage of that same pillow. For that matter, why do those “curtains” fall from the overhead when they would be much more effective coming up from the door. Their design is all wrong.
All that said, the modern “infotainment” stack has been made difficult to use on average and very distracting in some cases. Oh, having the information is good but accessing that data is quite often problematical, especially when all you’re trying to do is change stations or choose a different music track. Voice control helps but is not always accurate. At least it lets you keep your hands on the wheel… most of the time.
“For that matter, why do those âcurtainsâ fall from the overhead when they would be much more effective coming up from the door.”
It’s harder and more expensive to engineer them to come up out of a moving door vs down from a fixed roof?
@jmo: “Itâs harder and more expensive to engineer them to come up out of a moving door vs down from a fixed roof?”
— How do you figure that? If the door is moving, wouldn’t you WANT the air bag to move with it? And as far as difficulty with engineering, I’d like to see how. The top few inches of the door is essentially empty space, penetrated only by the window glass itself, the mirror control cable/wiring and the manual lock button, both of which are at the extreme front and rear of the door. A curtain airbag could easily be placed in that space and work to push the head away from the door even as the door itself is moving towards the occupant.
Gotta learn to think outside the box. Those high belt-lines made more empty space in the door, not less.
@jmo2: Sorry, dude. I don’t want a broken neck because my torso is going to the right while my head is going to the left.
Have you ever been in an impact where the side curtain airbag deployed? I have. I was struck in the driver’s door by a young lady in a Malibu who had failed to stop with the rest of traffic and took a carom off of a rollback truck. The side curtain airbag deployed, the front ones did not. The only injury I had was some temporary deafness from the airbag going off. If the airbag had not been there, my head would have gone out the window. How do you think that would have worked out for me>
I didn’t say don’t put it there, I said mount it differently, to where it comes up from below rather than down from above. Would not have affected your individual experience one whit but would have been much more logical AND efficient from below. Would also help reduce the thickness of the A-pillar as the side curtains are a part of why it’s so thick.
What youâre saying, I think, is put an airbag in the door panel right below the window opening; the window would roll down behind the airbag assembly.
@sgeffe: You got it. The door is already much thicker there than it used to be, to make up for the massive amount of bracing for side collision protection. The air bag assembly should fit in the top few inches as easily as it fits above and reduce the thickness of the headliner trim and A-column.
For that matter, it would also mean the bag falls out of the way when it deflates, making it easier to see and escape the vehicle after the crash.
Imagine driving home from the BMW dealer in your new X7 (only $900/mo to lease, according to bmwusa.com), motoring up a 2-lane road, and you come upon a line of slowpokes going 38 in a 50 zone. You drift left to take a quick peek to see if it’s possible to pass…and the lane-departure nanny kicks in and the X7 swerves back to the right on its own.
I refer to all these safety nannies as “Luigi.” Remember the movie Cars? “You don’t know what you want. Luigi know what you want.”
You must never have driven a car so equipped. The car won’t swerve you back to the right if you maintain control of the steering wheel. And if you use your turn signal (as you should), lane departure/prevention will not kick in at all.
I actually agree with Matt, I have driven a Camry with this crap feature and it does swerve the car back the other direction. Itâs extremely dangerous even when your expecting it. I however was not expecting it the first time it happened and came the closest to wrecking a car that I can remember.
Also Iâm not using my turn signals at 2:00 AM on a empty Texas highway, if a cop saw someone doing something that stupid they would probably pull them over under suspicion of drunk driving.
Why? Itâs not the law, no one is there to see it, and I clearly made an effort to look if Iâm getting over. The only person putting on their signal in that situation is a drunk driver. Itâs not a tiny nudge itâs a swerve that could spill a beverage located in the cup holder.
“Itâs not a tiny nudge itâs a swerve that could spill a beverage located in the cup holder.”
“Texas Transportation Code – TRANSP Â§ 545.104. Signaling Turns; âUse of Turn Signals(a)âAn operator shall use the signal authorized by Section 545.106 to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position.”
In my state it is not a question of legality, they are not required. Dollars to donuts no one would ever get pulled over in Texas for that anyhow. It is certainly not a tiny nudge itâs a swerve that unbalanced the car to the point of being dangerous. Quickly resolved however by defeating the setting.
Donât try to associate your own capabilities or lack there of with everyone else. Iâm not wasting time signaling to the dark. If your mirrors are set right there should be no blind spots.
You have total confidence in your own perception that the highway is empty? You couldn’t possibly have made a mistake?
Most near misses I get into on my bicycle are because a driver was totally confident that the street was empty, but it actually wasn’t, because I was there.
Yes I can make a mistake but itâs much less likely at 2AM that a car randomly showed up without me seeing headlights. Damn near impossible I would say. No one on a bicycle is going to keep up with a car going highway speeds so Iâm not worried about that.
The car is probably being driven by a drunk driver without headlights. I nearly got hit (in my car) by such a driver while trying to turn onto a totally dark street a couple weeks ago. The only way I avoided it was because my wife somehow saw a paint reflection out of the corner of her eye and screamed.
In that scenario would a signal have solved anything? Assuming they were even aware enough to recognize the turn signal what is the likelihood that they would have realized up to that point that they didnât know you could not see their car?
A blinker is not going to save you if someone is so unaware of their surroundings to have their own headlights switched off.
X7s swerving into the opposite lane without any signal are a big part of what’s wrong with driving around here.
And if the coast is clear you pass so just use your turn signal. If you use you signal and the coast is not clear you just turn it off and return to your lane. It’s really not that difficult.
And ask yourself why are you signaling. To let someone behind you who may also be thinking of passing know that you may be starting to pass. You want to give them as much of a heads up as possible. Your last minute signal when you see the coast is clear is not a safe practice.
Or you stay back far enough that you can see whether you have enough space to pass without illegally and blindly driving in the wrong lane and risking a head-on collision.
Iâm continually shocked by how many of the B&b unwittingly reveal that they are terrible drivers whenever we talking about safety nannies.
The Toyota lane departure prevention system just gives you a gentle nudge in my experience. You almost have to take your hands off the steering wheel to notice its presence.
There is a difference between lane departure prevention and lane centering. I have experienced the latter on a Nissan Rogue with Pro Pilot Assist, which actively keeps you centered in the lane and you have to exert some effort on the steering wheel to move off-center. The system reminds me of those amusement park rides where you “drive” a car and there is a steering wheel, but your lateral motion is limited by a guide rail down the center of the track.
On my commute, thereâs a few overpasses which are being painted a section at a time, with one lane closed, and the traffic shifted partially onto the shoulder. The nudge in the steering wheel isnât that powerful, and can be overridden, but I can see where it would be disconcerting if youâre not expecting it, not aware that the car has the system, etc. The wheel doesnât buzz or vibrate, but actually kicks back at you.
I currently own a 2009 Pontiac G6 which has most of the stuff that I like (nearly full gauges, power everything, AM/FM/CD/XM radio, three knobs for the HVAC system) and one thing I don’t like (sunroof).
Having driven a myriad of newer cars, there’s plenty on there that I don’t care for or feel I need with the exception of two things: Bluetooth and blind spot warnings. Happily, I can retrofit Bluetooth to my older car inexpensively, but I don’t think I have the same option for the blind spot warnings. Until I get around to replacing the car, I guess I’ll have to keep my head on a pivot…
FWIW, I would check to see that there’s an actual linkage and cables on the cars that do have a brake handle. It’s hard for manufacturers to avoid the cost savings with e-brakes. And yes, they’ve always been *parking brakes*. It constantly amazes me how many people think that you don’t have to set a parking brake on an automatic car.
Also, on cars that don’t have a button for stop/start: Use the transmission in manual mode. It keeps the engine on at stop lights. I used on the 2016 Malibu I was driving for a while, it drove like a regular old car.
Totally random thought, but who here actually enjoys a sunroof? I sit pretty far back and every car I’ve driven with one, it’s not like I can see it or enjoy it. It doesn’t feel like it’s above me, it just feels like it’s behind me. Just enough to let light in and add glare to my touchscreen. And let’s not forget the reduced headroom.
I love sunroofs and open them as often as possible in vehicles so equipped. “As often as possible” meaning (a) weather permitting and (b) driving at 45 mph or less. I’ll also have all the windows down. For me, it’s not about staring up through the roof; it’s about fresh air. It boggles my mind how Americans, whether in their homes or their cars, will have their windows closed and the a/c on on days when it’s in the 70s with low humidity.
A/c is great if it’s really hot or if you’re moving at highway speeds; wind noise gets old in a hurry for me.
I spent months waiting for an Alltrack SE to come available, and 95% of the reason was the sunroof. I sit about 3/4 of the way back, and my view out the sunroof is fine. Especially when I’m in some new city, I love being able to look up and see buildings above street level. I also like being able to peek at my bike on the roof rack.
I will say that I almost never opened my old one: way too much wind noise under most conditions (and I like windows down). I haven’t determined if the new one is any quieter. OTOH, I do like being able to tilt it open for a little passive cooling when parked in the summer sun.
I hate sunroofs. Annoys me that they are either standard equipment on a lot of cars I like, or else you are relegated to a relative stripper model.
It seems sunroofs are a love/hate thing. I love the visibility you get and even the cooling, but sun glare and wind noise can be an issue.
Interesting thing there… my wife’s Fiat 500 had a perforated ‘window shade’ built in that could be pulled forward when its sunroof was open which let you see out but both reduced wind noise and limited the sun glare. Don’t see that on other cars.
I love sunroofs. In the long dark winters around here they add a bit of desperately needed light. On a nice day they’re a way to get a bit more outdoor atmosphere into the car. The only car I’ve owned in the last 20 years without a sunroof is my Bolt, and that’s only because a sunroof wasn’t available.
The panoramic sunroof in my Highlander is the best one I’ve ever had, and it fundamentally changes the atmosphere of the car when the sunshade is open. I had to look quite a bit harder (and pay more) to find a Limited Platinum version that came with it, and it was absolutely worth the effort and money.
Quite often I drive home with the sunroof and the rear windows open. That way I get a good airflow through the car but can still hear my music.
I like sunroofs even though you’re right that most of the view is behind you if you’re driving. I like the option of having more light in the vehicle, and I generally drive with the sunroof in the tilted-up (vent) position. But I don’t drive with the windows down, no matter the weather, because the wind noise is too great. Also for my wife with allergies, windows open in the car or at home is simply not possible.
I’m specifically looking for a sunroof in my next car. I love having it open most of the time, winter included. I can pop the sunroof all the way open along with the rear windows to get ventilation without buffeting.
The main argument I have against sunroofs is that they were a bad compromise in the late 70’s when convertibles went away. Just a hole in the roof with a shade. Not really the same experience.
They were more practical for me when I smoked cigarettes, but I quit long ago. I’ve had a couple of the factory installed ones get debris in the drains and then they’ll leak water all over the interior. Plus, you get to pay $1K or more for the privilege of having a hole in your roof and a possible leak, too.
Now, the panoramic sunroofs are very enticing, but they’re a devil to fix when they go bad. At least they’re a lot closer to the open roof idea, not just a booby hatch above your head.
I love sunroofs. It brightens up the interior and also breaks up the interior ceiling. Without a sunroof it’s just an expanse of cloth that looks cheap.
The last car I bought I was going to buy something else and they told me I couldn’t get the options I wanted with a sunroof. So I said, “Sorry no deal.” I went and found another car that let me get the combo I wanted because no sunroof no deal.
Iâd be a little uneasy about the panoramic ones: with more complicated openings and sunshades, a bad design could be rattles galore and more!
Cars designed to be expensively maintained at the dealer. I do like to check my own oil, change brakes and water pumps myself. Why must all water pumps be timing-chain driven now?
Tiny-displacement engines with turbos. For some weird reason I don’t feel in-control when I drive these.
Correct me if I’m wrong but some cars no longer even have an engine oil dipstick. I think it might be BMW.
> Dark/black wheels a.k.a. (to my eyes) Steelies where the owners was too cheap to buy hubcaps. As if that look for the winter was supposed to be desirable. Saves manufacturers big time to just paint and forget a wheel though, so maybe it didn’t come from a focus group… ;) > Stop/Start > IPads glued to the instrument panel/dash > Lack of a spare tire. Also RunFlats. > Rubber band tires, meaning insufficient sidewall for the real world (not counting track use here). Can’t buy a comfortable ride together with strong HP and Torque if I want it. > Anything that isn’t a shifter sticking up from the console for automatics, ie; buttons to select, dials to select. And especially a button to choose ‘Parkâ on a stick? WTF? > Electronic parking brake
I’m with you on the “Rubber band tires”-I always try to forego the larger wheel options due to the increased cost, increased tire cost, increased potential for wheel/tire damage, and ride quality degradation-and the trade-off here is what? Slightly improved handling (everything else being equal, negligible in many cases from what I’ve read), and “looks cooler”. And yeah, it is frustrating that “performance” versions of various vehicles often mandate that you include this dubious “upgrade”.
The reason for the “rubber band tires” is extremely simple… lower rolling resistance. No give in the sidewall means the tire doesn’t deform and absorb energy while rolling–giving you better fuel mileage. Honestly, if it even gives you 1mpg more, I’d be surprised.
The “upgraded” wheel/tire packages generally are heavier and result in worse fuel economy, not better. Configurators often indicate a 1 mpg or so advantage for the base trim of a given car. For example: http://www.hyundaiusa.com/elantra/specifications.aspx?%20specs
Check the tire pressures. I’m betting the ‘rubber band’ is rated to a lower pressure than the slightly smaller wheel, too.
Minor issue: I hate the big ol front center console that seems to run through just about every car now. They’re so wide!
Cars without them, especially in the footwell, feel roomier. Like my departed Grand Marquis, Roadmaster. I suppose the death (or dying) of the column shifter accounts for this.
Vent windows. They were lost a long time ago, but I am still a bit cross about it. I keep them open on my 57′ with the windows closed they provide the perfect cross breeze when driving with little added in the way of noise.
And if you drive in summer with the windows down, it provides you with something to hold onto as you hang your arm on the door ledge. Just like John Milner!
With your comment about the Mark IV up-thread in mind, when did Ford start putting the power vent windows in that would roll down before the main window did, when did they remove that feature, and did any other manufacturers have something similar back in the day?
I honestly can’t remember. We had a 1970 Country Squire which I believe had vent windows. But I don’t think the 1973 T-Bird did. Nor did the Mark IV’s. So I would guess that it happened sometime between those years?
My VW Type IV had ‘scalloped’ windows. The top of the window was lower at the front so that you could lower it to get some ventilation without having the rest of the window open.
I think Town Cars had vent windows into the 80s…power ones too (the square panther based ones did). I know Rangers did well into the run as well, at least as an option…not power though.
’66 Toronado started this trend, yes? I think the industry touted this as modernization, but it was decontenting pure & simple.
Had to drop a shekel to avoid that look on my Accord. The 2nd-Gen Acura TL REALLY started the ball rolling on this!
Auto headlights! On the wife’s Infiniti even at max sensitivity they come on AFTER its gotten pretty dark out. On my C7 I have the opposite problem – they come on when a cloud passes overhead. Having automatic off is a good feature (no more dead battery) but auto on? ARRRHHH Let me decide when its “dark” out. I don’t need lights in a tunnel or parking garage or while sitting in traffic under a tree!
Prime example of how this annoys me to no end: car is in my garage, start car and lights come on, put car in reverse, reverse cam display dims to the point of being too dark to see because the silly lights are on since the car thinks it’s dark outside. What is the point of the backup cam if I can’t see it?!?
@JMII: “I donât need lights in a tunnel or parking garage or while sitting in traffic under a tree!”
— Yes you do, on all three. You may not need them for yourself but you need them so others will see you. That’s one reason why DRL became so important and were, temporarily, mandated in many states, if not Federally. Even now, with my 2019 Colorado, I have it set to run DRL beside the automatic lamps (which even turn on when the wipers are running in the rain.) I don’t worry as much about forgetting to turn them on when it gets too dark to see my dark-blue truck without taillamps. Maybe they’re not necessary in YOUR garage, but they are highly helpful in a parking garage and are required for tunnels in most states.
Oh, and the sensitivity of most of those automatic lights is adjustable, though maybe not with all cars. Usually has to be moderately dark for the interior lights to dim in both my vehicles though I will acknowledge that when I have the sun-blocker up in my windshield, the instrument panel stays fairly dark for about a minute after removal. (I’ve seen some cars where they’ll brighten when you pass under a street or highway light if they’re too sensitive.)
On my new Accord, I had to dial that sensitivity back one setting, as just before dusk, the lights would be on but the IP would still be at daytime brightness, but would dim while going under an overpass, then flip back on again; itâs because that sensor is located in a different spot on Accords with auto-wipers.
Speaking of auto-wipers, Iâm sure thatâs something about which the B&B has differing opinions! Me: theyâre OK mostly, but it would be nice to be able to switch to normal delay if needed. (Iâm not sure how those will be in the winter when a chunk of snow might temporarily blind the sensor, for example.)
@sgeffe: I can’t speak for all brands but my wife’s Jeep seems to look at the quality of what it’s seeing–or rather, the granularity. It works automatically when it detects individual droplets across its vision but if the glass is merely wet, as in not wiped during a rain because it wasn’t running, it won’t go into auto wipe until the wipers have crossed its sensor view at least once. Same with snow, where the wipers won’t trigger automatically until the windshield has been scraped and manually wiped (usually with the washer to help clear the ice) the first time.
I don’t know the actual programming but it seems to simply trigger if the car is running and droplets or flakes suddenly appear rather than trying to work off of a static image. The lens’ focus appears to be right on the glass and ignores any background view. (I think only people who have used manually-focused cameras will truly understand how this works but I could be wrong.)
Truth be told I’m actually pretty happy with my first ever new car (2018 TourX) – feeling the AWD push me around two cloverleafs this morning like they were my own personal skid pad, iHeartRadio cranked up, accelerating out of the turn onto the interstate…
The headrests they’ve been putting in cars for the last 12 years or so. Tired of having my head and neck forced forward and down at an unnatural and very uncomfortable angle by these things. Literally ruined the ownership experience of a couple of otherwise very nice cars that I have leased.
I’ve crossed multiple cars off my shopping list due to this feature alone. Toyota/Lexus and Volvo are among the worst offenders.
And please don’t tell me they are “head restraints” not headrests. Because #1 that’s not what innumerable owners manuals call them, and #2 The NHTSA regs say that the headrest is supposed to be no more than one inch away from the back of your head at all times. Try keeping your head “no more than one inch” away from the headrest while in a moving vehicle without your head actually touching the headrest-it’s impossible-so, in effect, the NHTSA itself is telling you your head is supposed to be lying against the headrest while driving.
Check that, I forgot to mention it on my list. There are some vehicles that I cannot drive because of the positioning of the head rest/restraint.
Yes, I’m turning left. Yes, I’m using my signal. Yes, I’ve seen the car you’re warning me about. Kindly shut the expletive up.
Definitely not fond of the various assists (with the lone exception of adaptive cruise control, which I love when done well), but those are generally able to be turned off, so no real harm except to the bottom line (they were an option package I could skip on my new Alltrack, thank god).
However, rear view cameras are not optional, and I don’t like them. First, I’m convinced they make bad drivers worse, by encouraging them to stare at their dashboards when backing up. Second, they’re a distraction to me, suddenly taking over my screen and making me look when I’m trying to focus on my surroundings. Finally, on my VW, while I appreciate the cleverness of hiding it behind the badge on the back, every time it activates I feel closer to the day I have to repair it.
If the cameraâs implemented right, with a large display and moving guidelines, the sight picture is better than turning to look out the back. If Iâm not dealing with potential cross-traffic or the like, itâs just as easy to use the camera and all three mirrors.
If I have to turn, or have things possibly crossing my path, then Iâll turn my head or glance over my shoulder.
If the camera is unusually small (last-generation CR-V, pre mid-cycle changes; 2019 Nissan Versa), Iâll back up the old-fashioned way!
Plastic âbumpersâ, no matter how hard manufacturers try, they simply do not integrate and look anywhere as good as a good metal bumper. And worst of all is the replacement prices, when I replaced the bumper on my Frontier insurance paid the collision shop $109 to replace it labor and parts. Good luck doing that on a plastic bumper.
And obviously the easy ones are turbos, tiny <4L engines, and start/stop, both horrible scourges meant for the anti-enthusiasts.
With no bumper in the front, and the radar unit for the Adaptive Cruise and other HondaSensing bits located front-and-center, an errant brush with the back of the garage or other love-tap, or a large rock through aforementioned sensor plus the intercooler for the turbo, could be a multi-thousand-dollar day!
I park so far away from the front of parking spaces, in order to avoid the bollards, that I should probably be arrested! I think the parking sensors will have me covered, but I donât want to count on it! And unfortunately, my depth perception sucks!
@sgeffe: Where I can, especially with my pickup (Chevy Colorado) but also with my wife’s Jeep Renegade, I tend to back into a spot if I am able, or pull through from the opposite lane, so that I always pull out rather than backing out–again, if I can do so without disrupting others. I’ve had more than a few spots taken because I pulled past to back in but not all THAT many. The ability to pull straight out when leaving reduces the risk of backing into the path of a passing car (that here in the states is remarkably common, especially in shopping center lots as compared to street-side parking.) It seems too many drivers looking for spots won’t or can’t notice when a supposedly parked car has its back-up lights illuminated.
I blame part of that on GM’s idiotic habit of having the reverse lights illuminate as soon as a vehicle is unlocked. When I was a cart jockey I used to wait for irritating amounts of time because some GM was unlocked, but the reverse lights were on. Eventually I had to start forward and hope for the best.
I despise this GM “illumination” feature (using the reverse lamps as ‘courtesy’ illumination). It is a problem as a driver and as a pedestrian (while walking through a parking lot). Illuminated backup lights on any vehicle used to mean one specific thing (i.e., I’m in gear and headed your way), now we’ve made it ambiguous.
Because of the timing of the implementation, I have always blamed Bob Lutz, but someone might know more of the story.
@tankinbeans: Hmmm… I will admit I’ve seen that but I didn’t know they stayed on even after the doors had been opened. Logically they get switched on to help the owner find their car when they unlock it remotely. My Colorado turns those lamps off after I remote-start it, even if I haven’t unlocked the vehicle yet (in fact, you have to double-lock the truck by remote before it will start the engine remotely.) Since I back in, even at home, I never see the backup lights after I open a door without remote start. I’ll have to watch and see if GM has changed things from older models. But the lights on do help you find the vehicle when you’re hunting through a parking lot.
I get that many people don’t like the fact that all of the lights on a GM car fire up when you key the security system. But, if it’s your mother/wife/child trudging through a parking lot or deck, you’d want as much light around them when they approach the car, too.
FWIW, all of this stuff is programmable, too. The owner can set how long the the lights activate or even if they activate; most people buy a car and never look at the manuals to figure this kind of stuff out. Maybe if there were an app for that…
geozinger, I see what you’re saying, but a better solution or implementation of what you’re suggesting would be to have the service lights go on and stay on until Mrs. Tankinbeans and Tankinbeans Jr. get to the car. This way there aren’t the false positives that other drivers have to contend with. The illuminated reverse lights end up being like the boy who cried wolf and drivers ignore them after awhile. That doesn’t make anybody safer; it just confuses people. For what it’s worth, I turned the entire system off when I had my Pontiac years ago. I didn’t find it particularly useful.
I want a lot of exterior light around the car when approaching it. If that means that someone who’s looking for a parking spot it disappointed, so be it. If it forces folks to pay attention or slow down in parking lots/decks, better yet. Too many mindless people piloting 2+ ton vehicles as if they were the “Only Car on the Road”(TM)…
Service lights as I’ve defined them, perhaps lazily, would be the brake lights, headlights, side marker lights. Anything that would be running during night time driving.
I’m not worried about disappointing drivers who think a person is backing out when that person isn’t backing out. I’m more worried about people ignoring the reverse lights altogether because they’ve been conditioned to believe they simply mean that a vehicle is unlocked. Most general drivers have already proven they can’t be bothered with situational awareness.
I would be happy with am implantation of flashers if it’s important for extra lighting to find the car.
There are certain items on a car that should only mean one thing. A reverse light should only mean that “I am in the vehicle, and am backing up.” It shouldn’t mean “my vehicle is unlocked and I might be leaving or I might not.” Flashers in a parking lot aren’t likely to cause the same confusion.
The idea of the hazards lighting up isn’t bad, but just as with the back-up lights, they send a mixed message.
The reverse lights wouldn’t be lit up on the interstate unless there’s a wiring malfunction. They should only light up when movement is imminent as in “I am moving from my spot and waiting for an opening.”
I’m not going to complain about modern feature content–I like almost all of the recent additions!
Not because it’s an issue for me as a driver; I really don’t mind. But because it’s dangerous to people outside cars. It dulls people’s sense of speed and prevents them from hearing horns and shouts. I commute by bike. There’s no purpose in using my bell around modern cars, and even if I shout at full voice plenty of people in cars with their stereos on can’t even hear me. The quiet also results in people not realizing how fast they are going; they’ll wind up at 40 on neighborhood streets or try to pass my bike when there’s no room to pass because I’m already going much faster than they think.
30 mph in my 1995 Legend, which was a quiet car at the time, feels faster than 50 mph in my Highlander. And some cars are even quieter and more isolated than the Highlander.
@dal20402: You haven’t ridden in a new pickup truck, have you? My Colorado is quieter than any car I had before it, and that includes my ’86 Toronado.
The newest pickup I’ve driven was a ’15 Ram 1500 with a Hemi. It was reasonably quiet, but not as quiet as any of my three recent big Toyotas.
“30 mph in my 1995 Legend, which was a quiet car at the time, feels faster than 50 mph in my Highlander. And some cars are even quieter and more isolated than the Highlander.”
I think that this is mostly the ride height. After a couple of years of calibrating myself to a half ton’s 6′ vantage point, driving a rental Malibu – which was at least as quiet as my last two trucks and distinctly quieter than the GMT900 that I had before that – felt like I was absolutely flying.
The perception of speed (or lack) is especially amplified BELOW 30mph! The low-speed following on my ACC is a Godsend, because toddling along behind someone driving at a posted 25mph (if not less, in a school zone) feels like youâre not even moving! Especially if the actual street, sight lines, etc., suggest that a faster speed, say 30mph, would be more appropriate.
I have friends and acquaintances who are LEOs and first responders. Their biggest complaint is that folks are far too buried in their phones to pay attention. The other half is cars are better at isolating you from outside noise, in addition to stereo systems that have incredible capabilities these days.
I bicycle as much as I can, and my head is always on a swivel. I have lights and a bell, but that’s useless in traffic when folks are cocooned in their cars, playing with their phones. The Harley guys with their “loud pipes save lives” slogan… These people can’t hear or see me when I’m driving a white minivan honking and flashing my lights. I don’t know how you’re going to get them to see you…
My biggest complaints (visibility, ongoing loss of headroom) have already been touched on a little. The next biggest one for myself is the increase in Xenons and other projector-type headlights. I appreciate that they are absolutely better headlights, but they also throw more light at oncoming cars. I find I’m getting blinded by other drivers more and more (I’m sure it’s also a little from aging), and considering I mostly drive in populated areas, that brighter, clearer light isn’t doing much good. I wonder if it’d be possible to let the auto-headlight function work a little more precisely, and dim them a little more, or automatically dip them if full low-beam power isn’t needed.
What is the worst thing about growing up? You have to grow old but you don’t have to grow up. I am in my mid seventies so I have grown old. But in my heart I am still in my mid twenties and I still enjoy life jut as much as I did back then I still enjoy a good handling car on a twisty road but I enjoy a motorcycle on that twisty road even more. I don’t know how much longer the ride will last but for you younger people out there, you try to enjoy everything that comes along. And don’t believe people that tell you that life ends at fifty or sixty. Life is what you make it and you can make it great. I know this question was supposed to be about cars not about us drivers but I couldn’t resist telling the younger ones to enjoy life. Remember, like the beer commercial says, you only go around once so grab all the gusto.
Transmission button and knob shifters (in addition to all above) Also, low profile tires. Frame-style driving lights
Screw the rule, the #1 thing keeping me from being interested in most new cars is a lack of a stickshift. I simply loath automatics.
But otherwise, I miss visibility. I miss wagon versions of almost everything. I hate cars on stilts for no purpose.
But the lack of sticks saves me tons and tons of money. I would have an Alfa Giulia and an F31 BMW wagon in my garage if I could get them properly equipped. But I can’t so I keep my perfectly nice old BMW wagon and suffer with a GTI instead of an Alfa.
Lots of people rag on the pushbutton transmission selectors in Hondas and the like. Itâs a brief learning curve: I had it mastered by the time I was done with a two-hour test of an Accord back in March, which I did just to make sure I could live with the 2.0T. (I watched a YouTube video for a second time just now where a Honda salesman was explaining that shifter, and discovered that if you need to pop the transmission into Neutral while above a walking speed, hitting Park or Reverse will simply disengage into Neutral. After I got my Accord, I practiced finding the âNâ button without looking..still, nice to know how it works with other ways.)
However, there is a BIG problem if the battery dies, and you have to move the car into position to jump it, or if the tow truck doesnât have the dollies that the repossession folks use to position the car for a tow: most cars have some sort of manual release where you pop an access panel somewhere in the center console and shove the backup key into a keyhole. Then you can release the transmission.
On the new Honda 10-speed with the buttons, you have to pop the hood and find a âcontrol shaftâ on the transmission body, onto which you place a wrench and twist to release the transmission! (Itâs eeeven better if you have the ZF 9-speed, as a special tool is needed to manipulate the release, and if you donât reset the release before you start the engine after the battery is restored, you could DAMAGE the transmission! I havenât been able to figure out if the 10-speed could be damaged in any way, and in any case, I have all the incentive in the world not to find out!)
I miss clean designs and rear headroom. I hate all of the fake vents and tacked on crap. A Civic type R has more crap tacked on it than a 78 Cadillac. It is idiotic. Even as much as I love the Fiesta ST, I’d love it all the more if all of that was wrapped in a cleaner body like an old early 90’s Sentra, Civic, or even a gen 1 Saturn Coupe.
One of the things I miss most is a true 2-door car. Stop calling that lift back or hatchback a 3-door (of which there are far too few) and give us proper 2-door cars for those people who only carry back-seat passengers once in a Blue Moon. And personally, I refuse to drive a sedan if I can avoid it… even if the manufacturer calls it a 4-door coupe.
And LOL at the turbo hate. It is crazy how good Turbos have gotten. It isn’t 1982 anymore. Typically the ones people complain about are in cars that a ferrari V12 under the freaking hood couldn’t save. Yes, that little turbo 3 in a buick sucks, largely because the car it is bolted into sucks. The one in the Euro Fiesta ST however, doesnt seem to suck. Crap cars are crap. nothing new here.
— Which is why I will never own another Ford. I’ve owned three and driven many; to me, they’re all crap. If the engine’s good, the body rots. If the body’s good, the engine rots. My wife feels the same way for similar reasons from a far different family background. Even my own dad, who believed a car was nothing but transportation (no emotional link to any of his cars) only owned three Fords in his lifetime and he didn’t like any of them after owning them a few years.
Different strokes. I don’t recall ever having a bad Ford, but some were the exception rather than the rule (350k+ miles.on a 2.9 v6 for example.). The truck is at 60k and no issues this far. Not to much to break on the Fiesta (no powershift). I’ve owned probably 30 cars in my lifetime (counting disposable Italian cars in Naples). The truly bad ones can be counted on one hand. A 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser, a 1986 Alfa Romeo 75 (so sweet when it did run though), a 1990 Caprice, a 2003 S10 Purchased new, and maybe my wife’s Santa Fe just because even as a Ford fan, I have never gotten a recall that said “oops…we left metal in your engine, our bad” yet it has yet to self destruct at 40 k. Really just need it to hold out until the dealer markups go away on the new Bronco though.
I think the best Ford I had, I put roughly 40K miles on it. The worst I got rid of with less than 4K.
My Ranger (inherited) was fun to drive when the temperatures were moderate (below 80Â°F) but a dog when the temperatures rose into the 90s. In so many ways I loved that little Ranger but I could never get past that low power and wasn’t willing to spend the bucks to upgrade to a more modern engine (seriously considered the 2.3T EcoBoost, if I could have found someone to perform the swap but it wouldn’t have been cheap… and I got the truck for free.)
Life is way to short to drive around in the automotive equivalent of sweat pants. Sure they are comfortable, but do I really want to give up on life yet?
And honestly if you buy a turbo hooked to a CVT, or honestly anything hooked to a CVT, you have pretty much given up. I feel the same about most automatics in general, though some are unavoidable.
@Vulpine–Agree on most Ford products, my father had only 2 Fords during his lifetime and for the most part didn’t like them. Both my grandfathers steered clear of any Ford product. I have owned 3 Fords 2 were good and 1 was terrible. Not saying I would never buy another Ford but I have concerns about double clutch automatics and turbo motors and yes I know most of the manufacturers are going to turbo motors along with CVT transmissions but I am still very wary of them. Maybe the problems with turbo and CVTs will eventually be ironed out but I don’t want to pay for the privilege of being the guinea pig.
You know what I miss too…those 90s designs where everything was angled towards the driver. The MN12 Thunderbird, the Bonneville of the era, and many others placed the radio, climate control, etc pointed at the driver. I miss that. I’m the one writing the check for the car…why do I care if my passenger has to crane their neck to tune the radio…they shouldn’t be screwing with it anyway.
I do…I would put Pontiac Fiero badges on it and present it as a third gen Fiero to the Corvette types.
I may actually do this BTW…it is a ton of car given the price and that is from a professed Ford fan. Ford has sort of left me high and dry though…They offer some Mustangs in that price, but I’ve never been a huge Stang guy and an I’m inclined to believe that an LS sitting in the middle of that platform would make me forgive alot. And for those reading my earlier stuff, yes I would prefer it with a turbo 6. But until someone makes a kit to drop the alfa giulia quadrifoglio v6 in one and affix Dino badges, I’ll be fine.
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