It is a Hyundai Tucson and it is a dreaded SUV. it is also one of the very few cars that I’ve owned in which my relationship is passionless. Actually, when I think about it, this Hyundai is the first vehicle l have ever bought from my left brain. We ended up with the Tucson for three reasons, it is one of the few small SUVs that has a differential lock so it should be at least sort of off road capable, we rented a Hyundai on a drive to Albuquerque and it was surprisingly quiet and comfortable, and most importantly, it comes with free service for 75,000 miles – including a brake job and the 60,000 major service – and Hyundai has a 10 year 100,000 miles warranty.
My justification for buying such a practical car – if soulless, using the term very broadly – is that buying this vehicle will be like an arranged marriage in which the bride and groom learn to love each other after the marriage. And I think it may already be happening. Yesterday, we were driving over a narrow road that had the right shoulder covered in packed snow, I stopped with the two right wheels on the snow and the two left wheels on dry pavement and floored it. The Tucson drove away quicker than I expected with no wheel spin, channeling all the power to the wheels on dry road. That is sort of astounding and it is all done electronically.
Hyundai has taken on the same philosophy as Samsung, trying to get a jump on the competition by betting the house on an emerging technology. Samsung was making cheap TVs, limping along in the world of Cathode Ray Tubes that everybody knew how to make cheaply. They got out of the CRT business and took a flier on the, then, very esoteric and expensive flat screen technology. Now they are the leading manufacturer of flat screen TVs and monitors. With Hyundai, it is the world of auto-related electronics. The car – and I’m using car in the most general sense – drives OK, but it is not outstanding; this is not a car I would take out to drive the Pacific Coast Highway for fun, but it is quiet, comfortable, and fast enough. What is outstanding are the peripherical electronics like door handles that light up when we get close to the car or a tailgate that opens automatically when we stand next to the back of the locked car. I think that it is the electronics that also control the traction.
As an aside, I was reading a couple of days ago, that smartPhones take such good pictures, not because of the lenses, but because the software is getting so good at interpreting the raw data (much like our brain interpreting raw data from the eyes). The reason the software is so effective is because the cost of development can be written off against the sale of a huge number of smartPhones. High-end digital cameras never sell at the same rate resulting in the software, used to fine tune the picture, being much cruder. We are nearing the time when smartPhones will take better pictures than profesional grade SLRs. End aside.
Ending here seems slightly incomplete but there is not any more to say. In the meanwhile, we are planning our first big trip…to Big Bend National Park in Texas. Hopefully, the Tucson will work perfectly.