Friday, September 17, 2004

Definitely More Than You Need

My friend Gina's outrage at this freak of vehicular nature reminded me that I was going to post about my one day adventure in the GMC Envoy XL.

GMC has an expression: "Not More Than You Need; Just More Than You're Used To."

Nowhere in the history of car slogans has there been more b.s. flung in the face of consumers.

That thing is the very definition of "More Than You Need." Mike Brady is about the only person who needs to seat seven adults comfortably, and he was still able to accomplish this somehow with a station wagon. The people driving this thing are commuting to work in it. They aren't being purchased for busing around families. Of the 4 Envoys I saw on the road to work while riding in one myself, NONE of them had more than just the one driver in them. Taking "More Than You Need" to heart, I'd say they could have accomplished the same commute in a small car. Hell, they even could have done it in a luxury car for all I care. They weren't hauling around 3 safes, a pallet of lumber and a refridgerator back there (and trust me, this isn't an exaggeration. It can seriously hold all that shit). They were commuting to work.

I used $12 worth of gas to travel 102 miles. $12 gets you a quarter tank in this behemoth. Doing the quick math, that's a $48 fillup with the cheap gas. I spend that much on gas in a week (that's two and a half fillups using the mid-range gas, not the cheap gas, including my weekend driving). It would cost me exactly $60/week just to commute to and from work and do nothing else in this thing, so probably more like $70-80/week including weekend driving.

I've felt safer driving a 10 ft. U-Haul box truck filled to capacity. This thing's center of gravity is so high that even small shifts and corrections to stay in the middle of my lane had me feeling like it was starting to roll. It wants to go straight and straight only, so any amount of turning at speed was met with some disagreement in the mass and inertia department. Seriously, this thing is a boat on wheels, and it handles like one. I'm normally a very comfident and typically semi-aggressive car driver, and I was white-knuckling it driving this thing on the highway. I guarantee you that if I was given one of these for free, I could flip and roll it on the very first try in a large parking lot. It's that unstable. Sure, city surface street driving in it is fine, but there is no way this vehicle is safe for anyone above 45mph.

Finally, it's massive. And I don't just mean heavy. This thing is loooooong. I actually hit a display stand at the gas station with the back end of this thing just trying to get it around the gas pump to re-fill that quarter tank of gas. I even gave myself more room than I normally would if I were driving my car, and I still hit the display with the back side of the truck. The wheelbase is so wide that I think I could almost fit my entire Civic inbetween the outside edge of the two wheels.

To summarize: Nobody short of a bus service needs this truck. More Than I'm Used To? You got that right. More Than I Need? It goes without saying. It's more than anyone needs.

Just food for thought, but in ten years as a paramedic, I never once had to pull a dead body out of a full-size truck or SUV. Say what you will about fuel consumption, but they'll keep you alive one hell of a lot longer than ANY piece of Jap-crap on the road. We don't want to discuss the mutilation I've seen inflicted on the bodies of those who thought they'd be better off in a little foreign rolling beer can.
I'd be interested, Patrick, to hear how many bodies you pulled out of Jap boxes that were HIT by an SUV.

My point isn't that riding in tanks isn't safe. My point is that tanks aren't safe for everyone else.
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