Saturday, December 18, 2010
If I See My Friends, I'll Duck Down Under The Dashboard
Babba actually drove a third generation Prius today. I was surprised at what a substantial car it is. It felt like a rock solid mid-sized car, not like a golf-cart. It was very futuristic, especially when coming from a 93 Oldsmobile. My neighbor bought it for the gas mileage. When she compared other 40 plus mpg vehicles like the Honda Fit, the Prius won out. Now if they can just solve the problem with the pause when it switches from regular braking to dynamic braking it would be flawless.
How boring, driving is supposed to be about leaky mufflers, slipping transmissions, stuck windows and oil leaks. I'm not sure I'm ready for George Jetson's car, but I was impressed with its power, ride and refinement.
My first car, a 53 Chevrolet Bel Air (actually found in a widow's garage with 26K original miles) seems like a chariot compared to the Prius. It had 20 plus grease fittings in the front end, required an oil change every thousand miles, had tires that went flat on a weekly basis, had a 6 volt battery which the radio drained in three minutes and needed a tune up every ten thousand miles. It had a three speed transmission; at 25 mph you were in overdrive and at 50 mph it took 600 feet to stop. The steering wheel was the diameter of an extra large pizza, but you needed it to be 30 inches wide because with the king-pin steering if you didn't slow down to 10 mph you didn't make the turn.
We have come a long way from the Model T which came with a shop manual. In an urban setting with gas costing $7/gal the Prius would make sense. However, for now I'd get a Corolla and skip all complexity of a hybrid, plus at least I could change the oil in it on a rainy afternoon. It's hard to put a price on feeling useful.