Sunday, August 9, 2009

You've got a big engine - use it!

One of the things that really irritates me about our local drivers is that on the one hand they complain constantly that they need big cars with big engines because small, fuel-economic European cars are either unsafe, too small, or the engine isn't big enough. On the other hand, these are the same people who drive at 19mph in a 40mph zone in a car on their own. Why post a blog entry about this? Obviously because this is what happened to me this morning. I was forced to endure one of the worst commutes of recent months because I got stuck in roadworks behind someone who was driving a Saleen-modified Mustang. Normally you wouldn't think that would be an issue, but this joyless driver was doing 14mph in a 55mph work zone. Every bump in the road, every construction cone that was slightly out of place, and every corner caused the brake lights to come on. He was either nervous, talentless, or too stupid to own a car of any sort.
But here's the point - if you own a 5.4l V8 that is capable of putting out over 500bhp, damn well use it! Most American drivers don't need most of the cars they own. A 32v Northstar engine is a complete waste of time - so is a Hemi - so is anything modified with a supercharger or a turbo unless you're actually going to benefit from it. So instead of bitching about why you need a behemoth of a car riddled with 1950's 'technology', why not buy something modern? A Smart car, or a Fiat 500, or a Ford Focus, or a VW Polo Bluemotion. These are all respectable cars (well - in European form anyway) that are perfectly safe, perfectly roomy, and perfectly fuel economic. And they're all still capable of going faster than 14mph in a work zone.

1 comment:

Silas said...

Several months late, but I do agree. For heaven's sake, I drive a Volvo 940, and I have no problems getting it up to the speed limit. The thing has an anaemic four-pot that wheezes out 114hp on a good day, coupled with an antediluvian automatic gearbox that leaves it doing 3000rpm once it's up to freeway speeds, and the whole lot controlled by a throttle which, like all Volvo throttles, has about an inch of slack, about a quarter inch of useful travel, and then another inch of slack before the kickdown cable notices you need a bit more torque. This box of boringness is regularly held up on freeway onramps by people with badges proclaiming such things as "V6", "V8", "32V", Power Stroke", "i-Force", and other such "I have more power than you" boastfulness.

I do wish people with powerful vehicles would drive them as if they owned them, rather than as if they borrowed them from their grandmothers.