(Ed. - The views expressed in this post are those of Dan Roth and not Autoblog in general. Dan asked if he could channel the grumpy old man inside of him, and for better or worse, we took off his leash.)
Our morning commute often gives us time to contemplate our navels, as the traffic engineers haven't spent enough time with TrafficSim around here. When the radio gets too boring, it's always interesting to analyze the vehicles around us. Here's some stuff we think is gangrenous, and some is just crap.
Toyota Camry Solara
Please go away. You're ugly. Yes, yes, you're a Camry, rah rah. You're ugly. Especially the convertible. Please just give us a two-door version of your only mildly less ugly Camry sedan sibling, if you must.
Big cars that were once small
The Civic was once a small car, now it's almost as big as Accords once were. The Nissan Versa and Dodge Caliber are similarly not-too-small cars being marketed on the pretense of being compact. The Fit is a step in the right direction, and we realize that all the required safety gear makes light cars largely a thing of the past, but the efficiency-lovers among us can't square the fact that these cars were once small and efficient, and now they're larger and less efficient.
Follow the jump for more items on the hit list.
Not enough glass
Apparently, people feel cocooned in safety when the doors come up to the top of their ears. We'd rather see out, thanks. This problem is compounded by the fact that rooflines often make concessions to style now, leading to tiny little windows and big, fat blind spots. Gone are the days of lots of glass and low beltlines.
What useless pieces of crap. The only thing worse than an automatic with a "manual gate" is a poorly programmed automatic. A lot of times, you get a twofer with trannies like this - they're never in the right gear and constantly second guessing you, and the manual modes are dopey, slow and worthless. Maybe this is the easy way to make people feel like they can "drive real good." We'd rather have three pedals and a stick connected to something.
What, did everyone forget how to use a map? These things cost thousands of dollars, often can't be programmed while the car's in motion (by your co-pilot, of course), and vary widely in UI quality. We're carping on this one, though. Nav systems do make sense for some folks.
Auto-dimming rearview mirrors never fail to blind the crap out of me. The auto climate-control tends to blow cold air on my feet when I wanted it to stay warm till I decide. Rain-sensing wipers? Come ON! All of this automation adds up to eventual failure points. Not only that, they remove the driver from the act of driving. If you don't want to be bothered to turn on the windshield wipers, perhaps you should telecommute.
This borders on heresy for an automotive blog, but gas is too cheap. Who among us wouldn't love to give up sitting in gridlock? You could drive for pleasure. Of course, this would have to go hand in hand with massive improvements to public transportation. Adding additional taxes on to fuel to fund light-rail improvements, offer incentives for developing biofuels and sustainable sources of energy would be wonderful and worth it. Pay now or pay later - and if we're going to have to pay anyway, we may as well attempt to be less beholden to energy sources from unstable regions of the world.
Why are these even used anymore? They're fiddly to repair, don't perform as well, and just plain old stink compared to disc brakes. They may be cheaper, but the only place a drum brake belongs is in the hat of one of the rear rotors, as a parking brake.
Well. We've spewed an awful lot of vitriol here. Perhaps it's time for another coffee to tame that edge. This has been cathartic, though. We feel better, how about you?