Choosing the Right Car…
the Key to Fall Adventure
– Driving, across the country or merely a state line or two, is the
quintessential sport. Our cars transport us to destinations like
family reunions, vacations and honeymoons. You won’t find it on the
front page of the sports section, but driving, windows down, music
blaring and sunshine hot on your face has become a tradition that’s
getting more popular every year.
Like lemonade stands and drive-in movies replaced by today’s
mega-theatres and air-conditioned malls, cruising has evolved to
include not only today’s safer convertibles, but other vehicles that
lend themselves to the particular tastes of the driver.
“They say getting there is half the fun, and if you’re driving
one of this year’s newer vehicles to your vacation destination that
really will be the case,” says John Davis, host and executive
producer of MotorWeek, a weekly automotive magazine show produced by
Maryland Public Television.
Davis says you’ll be seeing a lot of pickups, SUVs and
convertibles out there; and unlike in past years when people might
rent “fun” cars specifically to drive on vacation, “the latest trend
is for people to travel in their own vehicles. It’s a comfort thing
as well as being more economical,” says Davis.
“Besides, you can almost customize what you drive these days.
People are buying vehicles that are good for more than just getting
to and from work and running errands, they’re buying cars that have
a lot of storage space and are also fun to drive, ” says Davis,
whose show tracks trends in the automotive industry.
So-called cross over vehicles, which combine the features of a
car with those of a sedan, minivan or sport utility vehicle, are
really gaining in popularity. “They are the widest, most imaginative
group of vehicles to enjoy in the history of the industry,” says
Vehicles that fall into this category include the Pontiac Vibe,
Subaru Baja, Honda Element, Scion xB, Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota
Matrix, and Chevrolet Avalanche. They cover a broad range of prices
from under $15,000 to well over $40,000.
“They are very versatile, there’s no doubt about that,” says
Davis. “But like the traditional SUV, they tend to be tall, and
taller vehicles by their very nature can roll over easier, so you
still need to be extra careful when taking corners.”
Rollovers can also be a worry for another popular summertime car:
convertibles. They tend to be slower to respond to driver inputs
because they are heavier than your average sedan, but Davis points
out, they have come a long way. “Convertibles used to be flimsily
made and clumsy to drive, and really rattled over rough roads. Now
they are better built, with better suspensions, and are much safer.
Along with front airbags, many convertibles can be ordered with side
impact airbags, while a few have pop-up roll-over bars that
automatically provide extra protection for occupants. Most also
offer electronic driving aids like anti-lock brakes and electronic
Cruising still has the devotion of the American driver as it has
for years, but with some 210 million registered drivers on the road,
it does require us to be more conscious. Not just about safety, but
other drivers, and local laws as they relate to aggressive driving
and cell phone use. So, toss the cell phone in the glove
compartment, strap on your seat belt and enjoy your next road trip.
Courtesy of ARA Content