A few weeks ago, I rented a Dodge Dart (highly praised by Steve Dahl in his "hit" song "I'm a Wimp", of course) while on business. Verdict; the seat was a relief after spending the previous six hours in airplane and airport seating, as it actually supports the back. Controls were intuitive, and the vehicle was pretty much trouble free. Plenty of head and leg room (at least for the driver), and the main down side is something I've noticed with almost all economy compact cars; it's a chore to get it up to highway speeds.
On the better (and more expensive) side, my pickup gave me a couple of reasons to try a "very expensive car rental" (loaner while the truck's in the shop), and this time it is a turbocharged Buick Regal. Now don't get me wrong; this vehicle is not going to by lining up for the quarter mile with the Mustangs and Camaros anytime soon, let alone that Tesla, but especially after about 3000 rpm, it's a fun little car--and the turbo lag seems to me to be a nice little "safety feature" that will help keep drivers out of trouble, at least a little bit. From "the line", acceleration is a little bit slower than my pickup (love that old small block) or Acadia, but after about 10mph, it's quite sprightly.
Fit, finish, and comfort were at least "good enough for me", though my kids have noted that headroom and legroom in the back seat are not the same as in the Acadia, and there is a surprisingly spacious trunk that came in handy bringing supplies for the church potluck last night. Controls are reasonably intuitive, and like that Dart, it was trouble free.
One side note here relating to government fuel efficiency standards; both of these cars get about the same mileage, and are pretty much about the same size, weight, and shape, as the 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme my wife and I used to own. Maybe 10% better mileage or so, but one would figure that engineers 22 years ago were working with the same Carnot cycle and laws of mechanics and aerodynamics as they are today.
Which is, of course, exactly the case, and it's exactly why government fuel efficiency standards are simply an attempt to legislate the laws of physics and chemistry, a fool's bargain. It's time to end CAFE.
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