Going for a drive
We agreed to go test-drive a couple of vehicles today. We know that we’re going to buy a new car sometime this year, and my preference is for a Jetta. However, we didn’t know how the different engines compared to each other, so we decided to go drive one of each today.
The first car, the four-cylinder, was acceptable, certainly—the engine fired up faster than the four unionized hamsters that run my current car. But it whined a bit when I pushed it to highway speed, and it was working harder than either of us would have liked. We turned around and brought it back.
I thought I had a handle on things; I had an idea of how touchy the brake and accelerator were, and felt fairly confident when I got behind the wheel of the six-cylinder version. Since the car was almost out of gas, the salesguy had to ride along with us to the gas station.
He plopped into the back seat, and I knew that I couldn’t give the same level of blunt commentary that I had on the first drive, when Jeff and I were the only people in the car. Oh, well, I thought; I’ll save my comments for the ride home.
The salesguy began to prattle about the various features of the car while I adjusted the seat and mirrors. I eased the car out to the parking lot as he continued to talk; I tried to concentrate on driving instead of his sales talk. I pulled up at the edge of the dealership and prepared to make a right turn onto University. Expecting this car to behave like the first one, I applied the same amount of pressure to the accelerator—and the wheels spun madly. I clutched the wheel, trying to keep the car steady as I pulled out, and the guy kept talking.
“Did you see that? It’s a really neat thing on this trim level: there’s a little light that comes on in the dashboard when the car senses you’re spinning or skidding. Did you see it?”
The sarcasm meter immediately went off the scale. The car being steady once again, I flashed a look into the rearview mirror and said, “No. To be honest, I was more interested in watching the road.”
A few minutes later, he’d gassed up the car, and I was beginning to get accustomed to the higher sensitivity in this car’s handling. I’ve always joked that some cars are like blunt instruments; you use your entire foot on the accelerator. There are others, though, that require more delicacy and control; I end up using just the flexing of my toes to change acceleration in those.
We were cruising along at a happy 70mph, and I turned to Jeff and said, “The engine’s awfully quiet. I think it’s bored.”
The salesguy was quiet. Probably out of fear.
On the way home, I turned to Jeff and said, “Does the VR-6 come with cruise control?” He nodded and said yes.
If I end up getting that car, I think it’s going to be necessary. My toes were itching to flex in a bad way. I could almost see my clean driving record cringing in fear.