But bigger is better! BIGGER IS BETTER!!

typed for your pleasure on 21 June 2005, at 4.16 am

Sdtrk: ‘To Alison’ by Ecstasy of St.Theresa

You know what I like doing? Getting into the left-hand lane in front of an SUV and driving slowly. The feckers deserve it, frankly.

I’ve never liked sport utility vehicles. They’re overly large, horribly inefficient with fuel, and 95% of them are just plain ugly (with the exception of the Aztek and the H2O, both of which somewhat resemble vehicles that SHADO would’ve used). However, it’s recently struck home with me why so many people feel compelled to purchase the damned things. I was showing my friend Mari some pictures of the various pre-2000 Mini Coopers, and she was astonished at how small it was. ‘How could you drive something that small?’ she asked. ‘I’d be afraid that I’d get crushed under somebody’s tires!’ However, that whole mindset really came screeching to my attention when I happened to catch something on a local newscast recently:

Smart Car Promotion Draws Criticism

You’ve seen the ads where Casino Windsor is giving away three smart cars, but did you catch that tiny print? Right at the bottom, the ad says “not street viable in U.S.A.”

The smart car, sold in Canada, has a small diesel engine and a little motor that does not meet U.S. emissions regulations, and U.S. Customs won’t let it in the country.

In Detroit, there are signs advertising the promotion, but if you win, you won’t be able to drive your prize in the United States. Casino Windsor said despite all the advertising, the rules are clear.

If an American customer wins the car, he or she has an alternative to take $14,000 in Canadian money instead.

There were plans to import the cars at one time, but right now, the plans are on hold.

Now, I’m seeing the sentence ‘The smart car, sold in Canada, has a small diesel engine and a little motor that does not meet U.S. emissions regulations’, and reading it as ‘The smart car is not vast and heavy enough to compete with our ridiculously large vehicles, and as we don’t really want people to be flattened like pancakes by an Escalade, the US cannot allow it on the roads’. They could’ve added ‘Three days’ worth of fuel for an SUV would keep a smart car running for three months,’ but that wouldn’t be entirely professional.

It’s really struck me why most Americans just don’t buy smaller vehicles. They want something larger that they’ll feel ‘safe’ in. You’ve got some tosspot going, ‘Well, if I don’t drive something that takes up one and a half parking spaces, I won’t feel safe from someone else driving an SUV.’ So that tosspot buys an SUV, wherein someone else says, ‘Well, if he has a huge vehicle, I want something equally huge, otherwise I’ll get crushed under his wheels’. So that person buys an SUV. And so on, and so on. It’s the Arms Race, only on four wheels.

As far as I’m concerned, the argument ‘what if you need to haul around a family, or a lot of people?’ no longer applies. Go buy a station wagon. Remember those? They looked rather like long cars — I know it seems fantastical, but it’s true, they once existed, you can see them on Google. Besides, I’m fairly certain that most people who own SUVs probably don’t have more than five people in their family, anyway.

I suppose you could reason that I wrote this post due to the fact that I was shagged off that Smart cars aren’t street legal in the United states. But it just goes to show what kind of mentality we have driving round on the roads today. I guess people really dig having to spend $40 – $50 to fill their fuel tank each week. Reason no.478 to move to Toronto: Smart cars are legal.
If I had that kind of crazy disposable income, however, I’d rather buy a pre-BMW Mini, or a Fiat 500. I’d love to drive a smart car, but even I think they’re too small to own

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

*picks up monitor, flings it across room* on February 22nd, 2005

Not exactly a 'People Person' on February 5th, 2006

11 have spoken to “But bigger is better! BIGGER IS BETTER!!”

  1. veach writes:

    I LOVE the smart car. I drove one in Germany. ON THE AUTOBAHN! Even though it only has a 3-cyl Mercedes engine I had it over 130kph (over 65mph) with the A/C on. When I turned off the A/C it got another boost of power and went 140kph.

    I almost bought one. Fully loaded with power everything, slap-stick optional automatic (just like a race car) it would have been a little over 11K$US. But I learned the customs issue before I bought it and didn’t get it.

    They run on unleaded gas. It’s just that they don’t HAVE to run on it. The filler nozzle for the gas tank doesn’t have that little hole in it. That is the only reason.

    They have removable plastic fenders and door panels. They are made by the Swiss company Swatch, and they are just like driving a tall mini (because you sit low in in mini cooper but you sit high in the smart car).

    They will eventually redesign their emissions so they can get into the American market. And then I will own one.

  2. SafeTinspector writes:

    I think that Hummer ownership is only effective at gaugeing the relative intelligence of the wealthy bastard you’ve found yourself standing next to.
    Did you know what the most common complaint Hummer owners make after one year of ownership?
    Bad gass mileage.
    Says a few things about the kind of people that buy them, huh? If you bought it expecting anything better than abysmal mileage, you are living in a world of fantastically unrealistic expectations.

    Anyway, on the smart car:No, really, the deisel engine doesn’t meet emissions standards. If it were classified as a truck it would have a different standard and would pass. Get them to put a little bed on the back and call it the “Smart Pickup Truck”
    But ultimately, the real answer is to apply the passenger car standards to trucks, not the other way around. Only that way will anyone ever make capitol investment in product development of greener technologies a priority.

  3. SafeTinspector writes:

    Oh, one last:
    I drive a Ford Escape with a 4cyl engine. and a manual transmission.
    Gets about 28MPG on the freeway, pretty close to what I was getting with my Focus.
    Know what my registration says my Escape is? A station wagon. 🙂

  4. Patrick writes:

    As a point of note, I saw a ad for the H3 (new Hummer)..it’s actually *smaller*
    Granted, it’s still freggin SUV sized, but now it’s not like a tank on wheels anymore.

    I think it’s a pathetic attempt to keep up with the increasing buying trend towards smaller, more fuel efficient cars. I’ve often told Genevieve that I *hope*, I *want* gas prices to be what they are in Europe. ‘Cause, if just common sense won’t keep people out of these monsters, maybe $5.00 a gallon will do it 😉
    It’ll also start a trend towards more centralized city living, which, as a Detroit’er, you have to be in favor of 😉

  5. SafeTinspector writes:

    H3 could actually be used as an offroad vehicle, unlike the rediculous H2. But still, how many of them will ever touch a dirt road, let alone an off-road situation?
    Probably 1 in a hundred or less.
    Thats why I always use spiritual projection for all my commuting needs.
    Two candles, one cc of mouse blood and a waffle iron are all you need. Very environmentally friendly.

  6. Penda writes:

    14,000 in Canadian money? what the hell and I going to do with 4 cents?

    Hey – speakng of driving around aimlessly, I was watching the Hellraiser VHSesss you gave me an eon ago, and at then end of II was video of you and He Who Shall Not Be Named at Rosco’s of all places, the RenCen, and the DPL, and cruising for parking spots. I probably have the order of those wrong, but whatever.

    It was like finding an Easter Egg on a DVD!

  7. Davecat writes:

    Veach –
    You drove one on das Autobahn?? You lucky bastard!

    SafeT
    Are you being serious about the many tosser complaining about their Hummer’s (don’t even get me started on that nickname, btw) mileage?? Wow.
    Like the pic says, retarded adults..

    Patrick –
    Unfortunately, with ultra-sky-high gas prices, that would gouge those of us who drive regularly-sized vehicles, but something needs to be done. I suggest snipers. 🙂
    And believe me, I’m all for a new, improved public transportation system for Detroit, but with our current playa mayor in office, that ain’t gonna happen. You probably didn’t hear of the semi-recent scandal where he was caught using public funds to buy himself a Lincoln Navigator..

    Penda
    You have found an S/D Easter Egg! Well done!
    It kinda goes without saying that I miss those days. 🙁

  8. SafeTinspector writes:

    For an article to make your fists ball up in anger:
    You gotta be fucking kidding…
    On the consumer complaints:
    They’ve gotta be fucking kidding…

  9. Davecat writes:

    *counts backwards from ten, exhales*

    Yeah. This is why I don’t read the news.

  10. nyanman writes:

    Reading the archives, decided to comment here. I actually drive a large SUV at times, as I use a tent trailer for camping in the summer and need the power of a small SUV to tow it.
    Not only that, but I have friends who have the best excuse for driving giant pickup trucks: they use them for work, as they are in construction. As soon as you use a large vehicle to do something you actually NEED one for, it’s justified.
    Still, a small car is needed to get around town and such. The alternatives are just too expensive when you can’t put fuel charges for hauling on an invoice.

  11. Davecat writes:

    I have to admit: at first, I wasn’t sure if your comment wasn’t contextually-generated spam — cos it’s happened before — but I partially agree with you. If it’s a large vehicle being driven for work-related purposes, or if you just naturally do a lot of hauling, then it makes sense. And if you make more trips related to that sort of business than any other type of trip, it’s not exactly practical to have one large vehicle for transporting, and a smaller one for non-transport voyages. But it seems to me that a lot of people have SUVs simply because they’re trendy. Like I’d said, these are people who are regularly hauling, at the most, a gaggle of kids to their soccer game a couple of times a week. Which, again, could be just as easily done with more fuel efficency in a station wagon. It doesn’t make sense, but then I’ve never been one to follow trends. And usually most of those people tend to drive their SUVs as if they were sports cars, which really gets on my wick.

    If you’re gonna drive something big — not necessarily for hauling materiel — I say drive a motorhome! Or even better, the Landmaster from ‘Damnation alley’. Drive that bastard, and you have my total respect and awe.

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