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Wild Rides: The Toyota Prius Isn't the Angel Everyone Thinks It Is

:blink:

http://www.houstonpress.com/2009-04-23/news/wild-rides/

Sorry, but I'm calling bogus on this. There was an "unintended acceleration" scandal about Audis back in the 1980s or so. There were breathless news reports just like this one, but eventually it just turned out to be uncoordinated drivers. History repeating itself..

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Sorry, but I'm calling bogus on this. There was an "unintended acceleration" scandal about Audis back in the 1980s or so. There were breathless news reports just like this one, but eventually it just turned out to be uncoordinated drivers. History repeating itself..

I wouldn't rule it out completely. The Prius relies on a HUGE amount of computing power and software to control hardware that is an order of magnitude more complex than what's on the road in most cars. All of that complexity dictates that failures and unintended system behaviors are more likely to occur.

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Sorry, but I'm calling bogus on this. There was an "unintended acceleration" scandal about Audis back in the 1980s or so. There were breathless news reports just like this one, but eventually it just turned out to be uncoordinated drivers. History repeating itself..

Oh this brings back memories. I vividly recall my parents bringing home a shiny new 86 Audi 5000S from the dealer in San Antonio just one day before the 60 Minutes episode ran. The car depreciated like a rock after that. Loved that car too!

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Any other afficionados of really small, inexpensive cars? I'm all about a 5 door with great gas mileage, currently driving a Scion. I'm getting about 32 in the city and can't justify a $25K new car hybrid for a bump in mileage. But, My BF saw a new Kia Soul up close and was fairly impressed. I also noticed the new Suzuki AWD compact/crossover, but I'm guessing the mileage is crap.

I love that Kia ad with the gerbils.

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I wouldn't rule it out completely. The Prius relies on a HUGE amount of computing power and software to control hardware that is an order of magnitude more complex than what's on the road in most cars. All of that complexity dictates that failures and unintended system behaviors are more likely to occur.

While it is true that the propulsion system and the battery recharge system are pretty advanced, the accelerator and brake linkage are fairly standard stuff. With the number of Priuses on the road, I would expect more than just a couple of stuck accelerators to be reported. Few vehicles have as high a customer satisfaction rating as the Prius, so while I wouldn't rule it out completely, at this point, it wouldn't stop me from buying one either. The 2010 model is supposed to have a battery pack that lasts the life of the car.

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Any other afficionados of really small, inexpensive cars? I'm all about a 5 door with great gas mileage, currently driving a Scion. I'm getting about 32 in the city and can't justify a $25K new car hybrid for a bump in mileage. But, My BF saw a new Kia Soul up close and was fairly impressed. I also noticed the new Suzuki AWD compact/crossover, but I'm guessing the mileage is crap.

I love that Kia ad with the gerbils.

I have always loved small cars, ever since I first drove an MG Midget. My current tiny fave is the MINI, but I like the Smart. I'm starting to see more of the Smarts on the freeway. Guess it took a few months to get their nerve up.

I'm still waiting for the next generation with the big mileage.

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Any other afficionados of really small, inexpensive cars? I'm all about a 5 door with great gas mileage, currently driving a Scion. I'm getting about 32 in the city and can't justify a $25K new car hybrid for a bump in mileage. But, My BF saw a new Kia Soul up close and was fairly impressed. I also noticed the new Suzuki AWD compact/crossover, but I'm guessing the mileage is crap.

I love that Kia ad with the gerbils.

Count me in with the small 5-door aficionados. I would definitely go for something like the Kia Soul or Scion xB/D. The point of crossovers escapes me. There's no particular need for 4-wheel drive and I hate a high center of gravity.

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While it is true that the propulsion system and the battery recharge system are pretty advanced, the accelerator and brake linkage are fairly standard stuff.

Linkage? There is no linkage. The brake and throttle pedals are just inputs for the computer's software. That's the only way you can control a gasoline engine and two motor/generators. That's the only way you can have regenerative braking. Yes, there is a throttle flap, and yes there are hydraulic brakes, but the computer controls both. The computer also simulates brake pedal feedback to the driver since it isn't attached to anything.

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  • 4 weeks later...
No need, TJ. It occurred to me that certain drivers recognize that they are poor drivers, and they recognize the need to surround themselves with tons of metal to protect themselves from themselves. Drivers that use their vehicle as a rolling living room, complete with phone, tv and stereo, are much less attentive and much more prone to accidents, either by causing them themselves, or by their inability to avoid one. They also may have their hands full of Big Macs and cokes, reducing their ability to take evasive action. I can understand why inattentive drivers would feel the need to drive larger vehicles.

Statistics bear me out. In spite of having the heaviest vehicle fleet in the worls, US traffic fatality rates are at or near the top against nearly every other country. Despit having much smaller vehicles and hillier and curvier roads, countries such as Germany, France and Great Britain have fatality rates one half of the US. Since the vehicles are smaller, and therefore by your logic, less safe, this gap can only be attributed to the fact that Europeans actually pay attention to driving.

Sigh. Not everyone who drives bigger vehicles watches TV, eats big macs, or talks on the cell phone. I've mostly seen people (mostly females) doing such things in smaller "cute" cars.

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Its free. Pretty much any service station will take it for you. There are some public drop off locations around too, although I do not use those.

My neighbors dog loves to drink the fluid as it runs off down the curb. He always gets pretty sleepy afterwards.

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  • 1 month later...

I have a dent in a door about half the size of a fist, middle of the metal basically, not near an edge. My brother-in-law says to use dry ice, rub it on there and as the metal contracts it will pop right out.

Bad idea? Risk of messing up paint or other stuff? I would hold it in a rag or something, no direct contact, and just rub to cool the area down I guess.

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. Not having a driveshaft tunnel running down the middle of the car, also allowed a larger interior in an otherwise smaller overall car.

Oh, yeah, as the middle of three boys, I remember how much it sucked to have to straddle the huge hump under the middle seat of an 82 Lincoln Towncar.

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I have a dent in a door about half the size of a fist, middle of the metal basically, not near an edge. My brother-in-law says to use dry ice, rub it on there and as the metal contracts it will pop right out.

Bad idea? Risk of messing up paint or other stuff? I would hold it in a rag or something, no direct contact, and just rub to cool the area down I guess.

I would pay a pro. This guy got out a tough dent for me on an Acura TL a couple years ago: http://www.houstondentpros.com/home.html

flipper

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Im digging the new Buick Lacrosse - I never thought I would ever say that about a Buick !!

http://www.leftlanenews.com/buick-lacrosse.html

They definitely have the look and value-for-the-dollar going on, similar to the Lincoln MKS. Not sure if it will lower their average buyer age by much, but it is a step in the right direction.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pretty sure this is a first cousin to the new Buick Regal/Opel Insignia.

Yeah pretty much, the Saturn Aura was the previous cousin of the Opel Insignia, but not anymore of course becasue of the death of Saturn. (New Aura was planned to be released 2010/2011-ish.) The LaCrosse took its place and is the new cousin of the Insignia.

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Yeah pretty much, the Saturn Aura was the previous cousin of the Opel Insignia, but not anymore of course becasue of the death of Saturn. (New Aura was planned to be released 2010/2011-ish.) The LaCrosse took its place and is the new cousin of the Insignia.

I believe the Buick Regal is also going be sold in the US in a couple of years. This is for the Chinese market now and is an Insignia clone.

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I believe the Buick Regal is also going be sold in the US in a couple of years. This is for the Chinese market now and is an Insignia clone.

Thats pretty cool, I like the Regal better than the La Crosse. I looked for some info on it and found this.

The Buick Regal -- which is a near carbon copy of the highly praised Eureopean-spec Opel Insignia -- is said to hit production lines in August 2011.

***

With a few minor tweaks to the suspension and engine, he mentions, the attractively designed car has the real potential to be a sales success within the American market.

Link

Edited by UpuPUp!
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Any other afficionados of really small, inexpensive cars? I'm all about a 5 door with great gas mileage, currently driving a Scion. I'm getting about 32 in the city and can't justify a $25K new car hybrid for a bump in mileage. But, My BF saw a new Kia Soul up close and was fairly impressed. I also noticed the new Suzuki AWD compact/crossover, but I'm guessing the mileage is crap.

I love that Kia ad with the gerbils.

Just saw this... I'm with you. I drive a Mazda Protege and love it. If I were buying a new car I'd get the Mazda 5 (microvan), since it would have room for a friend or two of the two rugrats already occupying the backseat. We were just talking last night about what car we would get if we won a million bucks. We agreed we'd still get the Mazda. Or maybe go wild and get a little Volvo 5-door. We are wild, wild, wild people.

Edited by sarahiki
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Just saw this... I'm with you. I drive a Mazda Protege and love it. If I were buying a new car I'd get the Mazda 5 (microvan), since it would have room for a friend or two of the two rugrats already occupying the backseat. We were just talking last night about what car we would get if we won a million bucks. We agreed we'd still get the Mazda. Or maybe go wild and get a little Volvo 5-door. We are wild, wild, wild people.

I'm thinking I would consider a Scion xB or xD. Good mileage, good reliability, and as I've pointed out before I prefer trim boxy shapes over the more modern bloated look.

08ScionXB01.jpg

Or a Kia Soul

kia_soul_production_2.jpg

I would kind of like a Golf but I would worry about the quality.

3.jpg

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Just saw this... I'm with you. I drive a Mazda Protege and love it. If I were buying a new car I'd get the Mazda 5 (microvan), since it would have room for a friend or two of the two rugrats already occupying the backseat. We were just talking last night about what car we would get if we won a million bucks. We agreed we'd still get the Mazda. Or maybe go wild and get a little Volvo 5-door. We are wild, wild, wild people.

Mazda builds great cars that have PERSONALITY. Best of all they're a better deal when used than a Honda/Toyota since they're just as reliable but don't quite retain their resale value as well.

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Just saw this... I'm with you. I drive a Mazda Protege and love it. If I were buying a new car I'd get the Mazda 5 (microvan), since it would have room for a friend or two of the two rugrats already occupying the backseat. We were just talking last night about what car we would get if we won a million bucks. We agreed we'd still get the Mazda. Or maybe go wild and get a little Volvo 5-door. We are wild, wild, wild people.

I had a rental Mazda5 for a drive between DC and Raleigh, and it was very nice. Sunroof, MP3 input, the works. I was so impressed, I tried to convince my partner to get one for his mom (we ended up getting her a RAV4 instead because she didn't want a "minivan"). The 5 is a supremely practical hauler, though I would worry about having people in the third row in the case of a rear end accident. There just isn't much space between the hatch and the seats. Other than that, it's a sporty ride.

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I'm thinking I would consider a Scion xB or xD. Good mileage, good reliability, and as I've pointed out before I prefer trim boxy shapes over the more modern bloated look.

08ScionXB01.jpg

Nice box. Where is the car that came in it? Badum bum. ;)

I have been drooling over these lately:

volvo-c30-rdesign.jpg

volvo-c30-28-08-08.jpg

flipper

Edited by flipper
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Mazda builds great cars that have PERSONALITY. Best of all they're a better deal when used than a Honda/Toyota since they're just as reliable but don't quite retain their resale value as well.

Yep, that is why I bought my Mazda 6. It's five years old now, but aside from the damage that I've inflicted on it, it has been very reliable. And it's not just that it looks sporty, the suspension system allows me the freedom to scare my passengers by nonchalantly taking freeway ramps at 80 or 85 mph. That's always fun.

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Nice box. Where is the car that came in it? Badum bum. ;)

I have been drooling over these lately:

http://www.zcars.com.au/images/volvo-c30-rdesign.jpg

http://www.carpages.co.uk/volvo/volvo_images/volvo-c30-28-08-08.jpg

flipper

Yeap, I have a weakness for those boxes.

The C30 is nice looking, but it is odd that it doesn't come in a four door version.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And the lovely and attractive Acura ZDX has been officially announced. Carpocalypse may now begin.

http://www.vtec.net/..._item_id=842420

10zdx-01.jpg

From the article you linked to:

The segment bending ZDX features stunning coupe-like styling with the added benefit of a commanding presence and flexible utility.

When I think of something that has a commanding presence, I think of Gen. George S. Patton or Superman's Fortress of Solitude or--on the road--a Dodge Ram 3500. Mind you, that doesn't mean that I want to drive anything that is described as having a "commanding presence". Seems like something big and unwieldy that imbues you with so much confidence could easily get you to do stupid and risky things. I'd much prefer something described as athletic, nimble, safe, efficient, low-maintenance, responsive, and that gives good road feedback. Perky headlights would also be nice. ;)

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Honda will have a version of this called Crosstour. I don't quite get the fastback SUV craze. I think it all started with the Aztek.

I think the Crosstour is more like the Toyota Venza, while this Acura model is more like the X6. I still cannot believe that Honda sunk precious resources into this thing. It's ugly from every angle. And they still don't have a V8 luxury sedan to compete with the likes of Lexus and the Germans. They can justify their RL's V6 all day long, but they aren't fooling anyone but themselves.

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