|04-28-2012, 10:32 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Valley Forge Natl Park
Rental car adventures
Well thanks to Enterprise I have had a few experiences with cars I normally would not have touched in a thousand years.
The 2012 Dodge Charger
Lets continue to sully the brands of classic American muscle cars by... oh this is actually OK. It looks mean, drives like your classic Chrysler boat, but is comfy and quiet and the slushbox transmission seems more hit than miss these days. One could do worse.
The nice thing about the Charger was how quiet it was on the highway, which made the Pennsylvania Turnpike a joy. The drive I have to make is about 2 hours, and usually I find that to be just beyond annoyance territory. Like hey isn't this trip over already. A new Dodge can manage to make that less annoying with its quiet and soft ride. Let's just not pretend it's a muscle car just because it has a tachometer and an override to its comfy automatic transmission.
The 2013 Ford Flex
WTF IS THIS THING HOLY SHIT
They upgraded me. The office was busy. Somebody didn't care enough to say that this was twice the weekly price and I had booked it for 10 days. Well here I am, driving around in this big-ass MEGAVAN which Ford has the audacity to say is a "crossover". Meant to carry 7 passengers, or, one figures, 2 passengers, 4 children and up to 25 soccer balls. This thing will be carting around 1 driver for 1000 miles. But the good thing is that it came to me with 500 miles on the odometer, and its dumb Sync system is willing to pair up with my phone in Bluetooth mode.
But the coolest thing is the rear camera backing-up system. When you put this thing in reverse, its 7" display shows the rear camera with a 1982 video game display:
Now you match your parking goal with the lines, get close as you can to the red "goal" and you're parked perfectly. An audio prompt sounds when you're going to hit something directly behind you. And the car detects traffic on both sides that is going to be in your way, and sounds the alarm if it seems dangerous.
That is very cool. And damn if the thing doesn't drive approximately as well as the Dodge. That is to say, both of these cars are boats, but the Ford deserves credit for driving about as well as the Dodge while being the ridiculous vehicle that it is. A box. A modern Mini, Tripled.
As for the transmission, well I am a long-time manual driver, a serious driver, and I always enjoy complete control of a vehicle. But you know -- and it is a terrible admission -- giving that up for a while has not been a bad experience. I mean good god damn, if I'm going to be eating dinner and talking with the old lady on the phone while changing lanes and giving somebody the finger, the last thing I need to consider is whether to downshift to fourth. Especially in a megavan, that's some advanced driving right there.
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