We end where we began with the XUV and that's at the end of the XUV. The retractable rear hardtop is all that distinguishes the XUV from any other full-size SUV. It's unfortunate that the lumbering and slow mechanism is the lone selling feature. There isn't much use in it and it distracts from a number of the really positive aspects of the XUV.
Even as I get settled into a cushy Lexus RX330 for the next Garage feature I can't help but miss the simple layout of the dash, dual-zone heated seats that warm just the back if you want, cushy leather front seats, super easy to flip up rear seats and the secure feeling of driving such a beast.

Of course there is a lot I'm not going to long for.

XUV Open Top

Mainly the loud road noise when the rear separator is dropped down, the rattles of the rear seat belt buckles against the doors, abysmal visibility and mushy brakes will not be remembered fondly.

I can understand why many, many people would actually like this vehicle. It is extremely easy to drive for such a behemoth and has more utility than most other SUVs due to  the nifty rear roof feature. But all that comes at a price and I?m not sure how you shell out $41,000 for this sucker. I did get 16 miles to the gallon in mixed city and highway driving and that makes it not much worse than our Jeep Cherokee?s V6. Maybe the fact that this is going the way of the dodo in a few years will bring out major incentives. Then the XUV might actually start selling.

*A few housekeeping issues. These two shots were taken with a new (yet still used) digital camera. It?s a 4 megapixel over the 3 megapixel I had been using. Does anyone notice a difference on the larger images (just click on the smaller ones)? Please lend some feedback.

Also a few months ago I had to buy a new computer because my old one decided to blow up. Yesterday the 60-day trial on my MS Office ran out. I already use Mozilla Thunderbird for e-mail and went all the way and got OpenOffice.org (OOo) to replace Word. I just can?t warrant shelling out the $200+ for the software. OOo?s word program might take some getting used to and it seems to automatically try and guess the word you?re typing. That looks to be a dangerous thing for bloggers who have to type fast. So please let me know if you notice even more typos than usual. Thanks to our Open Source Blog for the tip on OOo!

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