Automotive appliances and common sense: Bye bye Nissan Primera, hello Chrysler Sebring

Automotive appliances and common sense: Bye bye Nissan Primera, hello Chrysler Sebring

I was glad to get rid of the Primera. It’s just not me. While it handles fairly well, it’s not quick enough and I didn’t find it that comfortable. The Sebring’s a different kind of beast. Sitting three grand cheaper than the Primera it actually represents a better choice. Gnarly underpowered engine aside, it’s more comfortable and is visually more interesting (though, I wouldn’t say it’s that pretty).
What it has got is a cup holder that heats or cools a cup (it doesn’t fit a bottle…grrrrr). And that lead to a conversation with Allan, Classic Car’s editor, about in-car appliances. Allan said that in the US he’s seen people shaving, having breakfast, putting on makeup, reading the paper and a whole host of other non-driving activities while on the freeway in rush hour. So I postulate that the worse traffic gets, the more demand there is for in-car appliances. Want to whip up a latte on the North-Western? Plug in your travel-barista – it grinds the beans, steams the milk and provides them deftly combined into a soothing froth-topped concoction in a cup that definitely won’t spill it into your groin.

Perhaps that’s why we need all these driver aids; or maybe, that’s a reason we shouldn’t! People get comfortable with just having to sit in a car and point it in a direction, not having to think about changing gears, departing from the lane, tailgating, maintaining a constant speed, etc, etc. So, they do more and more.

In the olden days, a person walked in front of a car with a red flag – it kept the speed down! People said you’d never be able to travel faster than 30mph because you wouldn’t be able to breathe. Then we found we could breathe and travel at speed at the same time. And we could talk! So, if we can talk and breathe, we can listen to a stereo…which means being able to change the tuning and volume. And if we can do that, we can also talk on the phone. And on and on.

The way around it isn’t to legislate arbitrary rules: thou shalt not use a mobile phone. You might as well write: thou shalt not do anything in a car that distracts your attention (including carrying children). It’s all stuff that reduces our ability to deal with emergencies. So, let’s legislate against emergencies. Now, where’s my latte?

I was glad to get rid of the Primera. It’s just not me. While it handles fairly well, it’s not quick enough and I didn’t find it that comfortable. The Sebring’s a different kind of beast. Sitting three grand cheaper than the Primera it actually represents a better choice. Gnarly underpowered engine aside, it’s more comfortable and is visually more interesting (though, I wouldn’t say it’s that pretty).
What it has got is a cup holder that heats or cools a cup (it doesn’t fit a bottle…grrrrr). And that lead to a conversation with Allan, Classic Car’s editor, about in-car appliances. Allan said that in the US he’s seen people shaving, having breakfast, putting on makeup, reading the paper and a whole host of other non-driving activities while on the freeway in rush hour. So I postulate that the worse traffic gets, the more demand there is for in-car appliances. Want to whip up a latte on the North-Western? Plug in your travel-barista – it grinds the beans, steams the milk and provides them deftly combined into a soothing froth-topped concoction in a cup that definitely won’t spill it into your groin.

Perhaps that’s why we need all these driver aids; or maybe, that’s a reason we shouldn’t! People get comfortable with just having to sit in a car and point it in a direction, not having to think about changing gears, departing from the lane, tailgating, maintaining a constant speed, etc, etc. So, they do more and more.

In the olden days, a person walked in front of a car with a red flag – it kept the speed down! People said you’d never be able to travel faster than 30mph because you wouldn’t be able to breathe. Then we found we could breathe and travel at speed at the same time. And we could talk! So, if we can talk and breathe, we can listen to a stereo…which means being able to change the tuning and volume. And if we can do that, we can also talk on the phone. And on and on.

The way around it isn’t to legislate arbitrary rules: thou shalt not use a mobile phone. You might as well write: thou shalt not do anything in a car that distracts your attention (including carrying children). It’s all stuff that reduces our ability to deal with emergencies. So, let’s legislate against emergencies. Now, where’s my latte?

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