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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard it a million times around here, referring to various vehicles- "it's an appliance". Usually, this is posted with a none-too-subtle little sneer to the tone, implying the poster's vast superiority of taste and style over the mass of sheeple who just buy the appliance. But I'd like to rehabilitate the word, and the concept.
My pocket is the permanent residence of a Leatherman Juice multitool. It's a little thing, kept on a keychain, and it comes in handy about 87 times a day. It's ergonomic, well-designed, and utterly utilitarian. It's not my favorite knife- that honor falls to the serrated Spyderco knife in my expedition pack, which could amputate limbs- but it's my most useful one. I'm not in love with it, I just rely on it constantly and take great satisfaction in its simple utility.
So it is with cars. We all like the big raunchy pulse-pounders. Yeah, roadsters and mid-engine sports cars and 420hp sport sedans and AWD rally heroes are all well and good, and very fun. Yeah, RWD and a perfectly sorted suspension and steering that forms an extension of your nervous system is cool. But I'd like to give some respect to the thoughtfully-designed, useful, reliable, stalwart appliance-cars. Sure, the heroes get the headlines and the fawning- but I think we'd all be far poorer without the appliances. Like it or not, most of us don't spend our time carving canyons and autocrossing- we spend our time putting around town, helping friends move, hauling slobbery dogs, going grocery shopping, going skiing, hauling crap back from Home Depot.
Now, I'm not talking about every boring compact sedan on the road, but rather the cars that really push the boundaries of innovation in the realm of efficient utility. I think the epitome of this kind of car is the Honda Element. Spacious, relatively efficient, a million seating configurations, you can sleep in it, hose-out floor, useful in too many ways to count. Honorable mention is due the sporty, yet cavernous and insanely useful Pontiac Vibe, with its plastic load floor and two-prong electrical outlet. Slightly less capacious but along the same lines is the Mazda3 hatch. I'm also a big fan of the Jeep Cherokee (tough, capable, reliable as an old dog), the best-of-all-worlds Subaru Forester, the Honda Ridgeline. The Scion xB is about the best use of space for footprint I've ever seen. The Mazda5 mini-minivan just occurred to me as well. Hell, even the somewhat dippy-retro Chevy HHR and PT Cruiser deserve mention.
I guess I've gotten my point across. In my book, being innovative, useful, and thoughtfully designed around satisfying my needs is just as laudable as bitchin' handling and power.



Modified by Turbiodiesel! at 11:05 AM 9-10-2005
 

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Re: (Turbiodiesel!)

Quote, originally posted by Turbiodiesel! »
Yeesh. only one reply?

the reply confused me....so I refrained from posting until someone else did. lol.
I agree with you.Besides, 95% of the people here drive an appliance. Be it that VW or BMW they like to think is the top of the line stainless steel refrigerator or that Aveo or Accent that is the small college dorm fridge. For the most part, everyone uses their car to go from point A to point B. A car is only as fun as you make it. I can have fun in most any car. But, it doesn't negate that its built for one purpose - a mode of transportation. Now, when you get into things like Porsches and Ferraris and limited (no, not your "limited" GTI) or hand-built cars or specialty (as in cars like Miatas, S2000s, M3s, etc), thats when you go away from appliances.
 

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Re: (Turbiodiesel!)

Fantastically written. I've gone on defense of Ford Taurus', uh, Tauri before. For the price you can't buy more car, and if you don't drive em like you stole it they'll provide years of safe, reliable service. They aren't fun to drive, though they do handle well, and they aren't sexy, though they're hardly offensive looking. They're superb at doing thankless day in day out work and should be recognized occasionally for that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pokey-
I agree with what you said, but I'll add something. It's not just a mode of transportation, even in the utilitarian sense I'm advocating. It's a million other little things- how much space is there for your dog, and can it hop in easily? How much usable space is there? Can you carry home a load of groceries securely? Does it have the space for bulky cargo? It's not just how well it gets you from place to place, it's how well it helps you deal with life.
For example, my wagon. In the last 4 days, I've helped a friend move with it, I retrieved my bike from a rack near a bar (rode there got a little too loose, got a lift home instead of riding), hauled a couple pairs of skis, and drove two couples and a single to dinner. It's not just that it gets me from place to place, but that it does everything else I ask of it with so little compromise.


Modified by Turbiodiesel! at 3:21 PM 9-10-2005
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Depends if it has one of those handy filtering water dispensers
 

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Re: (Turbiodiesel!)

that is exactly why i bought my xterra. i have 2 two door little cars (three if you count my gf's 20th) so we needed something to do the grunt work. moving the dog around (75lb mutt that he is
), moving stuff around, going camping, snowboarding, etc. i couldn't do these in my other cars (i tried in the rado a couple times
). granted i still like to drive the X but it is a truck and drives likes a truck but that's what it's for. so http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif for the "appliance cars" because everyone needs them.
 

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Re: (JrodVW)

Quote, originally posted by JrodVW »
Fantastically written. I've gone on defense of Ford Taurus', uh, Tauri before. For the price you can't buy more car,

A 2004 Ford Taurus sells for $9995 at the Hertz used rental car lot.
A 2004 Ford Focus sells for $9995 at the Hertz used rental car lot (yes, same price, same seller (Hertz), both cars former Hertz rental cars).
Now, the Taurus is more car (i.e. bigger) than the Focus, but not everyone will say that it is a better car than the Focus.
The Focus is an underappreciated car -- it does most "appliance" tasks quite well (and comes in practical wagon and hatchback options), while also being a good car for the enthusiast with its sporty handling and fun to drive characteristics.


Modified by tjl at 6:58 PM 9-10-2005
 

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Re: (Sortafast)

As much as I am pushing my Passat to the boundaries of sport wagon territory, it is an appliance. I bought it because it is a very fun appliance to drive.
 

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We love our CR-V. Roomy, good mileage, great visibility, and in 70k+ miles, not a single thing has gone wrong with it, ever. It's even still on the original tires. The black plastic bumpers never get scratched. The high-profile tires absorb potholes. And it's great in the snow. It also makes the perfect TSD Road Rally vehicle. A true utilitarian appliance vehicle if there ever was one.
 

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Re: (GTI 20v)

Quote, originally posted by GTI 20v »
We love our CR-V. Roomy, good mileage, great visibility, and in 70k+ miles, not a single thing has gone wrong with it, ever. It's even still on the original tires. The black plastic bumpers never get scratched. The high-profile tires absorb potholes. And it's great in the snow. It also makes the perfect TSD Road Rally vehicle. A true utilitarian appliance vehicle if there ever was one.

Ever see the old Civic wagon? That was the CR-V's ancestor (and even had optional Real Time 4WD). But it was cheaper and more fuel efficient than the CR-V, making it even more of a utilitarian vehicle. But as a bonus, it had good handling also.
 

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Re: (tjl)

Quote, originally posted by tjl »

Ever see the old Civic wagon? That was the CR-V's ancestor (and even had optional Real Time 4WD). But it was cheaper and more fuel efficient than the CR-V, making it even more of a utilitarian vehicle. But as a bonus, it had good handling also.

But did it have a picnic table in the trunk? I think not!!!!
 

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Re: An Ode to the Appliance Car (Turbiodiesel!)

Quote, originally posted by Turbiodiesel! »

Mine's a 2005 in Nighthawk Black Pearl Metallic, AWD EX with an automatic. I installed a $50 bug guard, the Hondaline splash guards, floormats, and $35 in a home made full length cargo liner for the back and called it a day.
Granted, the driving experience is relatively uninspiring but the beauty of the vehicle is that it never begs to be modified nor does it really need anything to be useful on a day to day basis. During my first month of ownership I helped move my inlaws from storage container to their first house in three trips, carried friends to Nogales, Mexico to go to lunch and to shopping and have hauled bicycles, furniture, dogs, and all the while have gotten about 26 mpg... not too shabby considering its' size and relative hauling capabilites.
Over labor day weekend I hauled around my wife and two of her female guests around Phoenix acting as the official chauffer to various malls, spas, nail places, etc.. and the entire time I didn't worry about having to "crab" out of a parking lot due to the car being too low. The air conditioning works great, it has plenty of space, and even the snobbiest of mid-30 year old women say "man it has a great stereo and it is cute inside."

All in all it is cheap, relatively efficient, and I know that the resale value, safety (2005 had side airbags) and reliability will be top notch. It it cheap to insure and heck... it keeps all of my various Mk1 Volkswagens from being exposed to the daily grind that they aren't really suited for.
All hail the Appliance car, one should never be without one.
 

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Re: An Ode to the Appliance Car ([email protected])

Quote, originally posted by [email protected] »
Over labor day weekend I hauled around my wife and two of her female guests around Phoenix acting as the official chauffer to various malls, spas, nail places, etc..

Good lord man, what horrific sin did you commit to be given that inhumane sentence?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: An Ode to the Appliance Car (GTI 20v)

Quote, originally posted by GTI 20v »
Good lord man, what horrific sin did you commit to be given that inhumane sentence?

Bet that weekend scored you some brownie points. You couldn't PAY me to do that.
 
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