Why I Like the Veloster Turbo

Several people have said “oh noes” you can’t get rid of your MINI, or “what an ugly piece of crap, how can you want one of those!” so I thought I’d point out some reasons that the VT appeals.

  • Price. For $26k or so I can get a sporty looking vehicle that can do 0-60 in just under 7 seconds, has sunroof, rear camera, 7″ touch screen with Pandora, bluetooth, navigation etc…. I can even plug my PS3 into it and play games on the screen. I can’t get a comparable MINI, Audi, BMW (not that I ever would) etc for that
  • Looks. I happen to like how it looks. Unlike the last point, we can agree to disagree.
  • Cost Savings. I do about 23,000 miles a year, 2/3rd of that on the motorways. Quick fag packet calculations… my MINI currently gets about 25 mpg, let’s say gas is $4 a gallon so that’s $3680 a year for the hot juice. The VT is advertised as 38, so lets say I actually get 34, gas is #3.80 a gallon so that’s $2570. I just saved a $1000 in gas. And I’m still having fun.
  • Rarity. For better or worse I like vehicles that are different. My first car in the USA was a Toyota Paseo, have you ever seen one of those on the road? Exactly. So the VT appeals as it will be a car that turns heads (even if only to puke) and therefore appeals to that inner need I seem to have for attention (ah, the old dance competition days….).

So there’s a few reasons. I think the car is going to be very hard to find for a while, but I really would like to get one before my MINI is up for registration at the end of August. My choice is for a Vitamin C (read: copper/orange), Manual Transmission with the Ultimate package but I may have to give up on colour, we’ll see.

Paper or Plastic

Now this question is as age-old as the chicken and the egg but as my mind scours the internets for more details of the Veloster Turbo I ask myself paper or plastic? Manual or Automatic ?

Like many, I am from the old school of thought that if you aren’t shifting you aren’t driving. And certainly in mixed traffic there is often satisfaction from a quick gear change and a whirl of the engine to get you into the clear. But on the flip side I spend a lot, no almost all, of my weekly driving in stop start traffic and the shifting is no longer any fun. I dream of having an automatic that I can just nudge along with my right foot.

So as I think towards the next car I wonder if I should go with the manual, or spend the extra for the automatic ? Don’t really know.

A New Pet Peeve

Maybe not so new but I am seeing a lot of this recently: people driving on the hard shoulder around ‘tight’ curves. So, a typical US-style clover-leaf on-ramp to the freeway, the driver in front of me takes it on the hard shoulder. And not just a little but all the way over. Now this in itself wouldn’t grind my gears but they take it slowly, so I am going faster than them and still on the road and I have to decide whether to overtake or slow down. I always slow down but I just don’t get it.

In other news I am 3 miles away from 123k on the odometer, never had a car do this many miles. Still going strong though.

Fear of CHP: A Short Story

One of my pet peeves is cars refusing to go faster than any law enforcement vehicle on the freeway, even if they are going below the speed limit. So Tuesday on my way to San Diego I am about halfway and there is a longish incline to go up before a long (and fast) descent. A third of the way up the hill a black and white SUV joins the freeway and a quick check of the speedo shows under 75 so I’m not bothered.

The SUV turns out to be a Sheriff, I pass him as he accelerates and I watch in the mirror just in case for some reasons he wants to pull me over (yeah, paranoid much?). He starts to catch up but I am already watching my speed as just the other side of the crest there is a CHP about 50% of the time, and with such a nice steep downhill it is easy to get up quite some speed.

Looking in the mirror I see that everyone who was behind me is alongside or behind the Sheriff, it’s like the start of a race, everyone following the pace car. I notice the Sheriff is getting further behind, he must be slowing down, and yet still no one will go by him. I reach the top of the hill and sure enough there’s the CHP vehicle; I don’t even brake. The SUV must now be doing about 55 and still no one will pass. Ugh, it’s making me crazy.

The Sheriff pulls over to talk to the CHP and within minutes I’m being passed by vehicles doing at least 80 or 85. CA drivers, I can’t stand most of them.

Building My Own Plane (no MINI content)

Thought I’d share my latest, um, pastime – I’m going to try building my own plane, and so I’ve created a website for it:

Not sure if I have the skill, time or money to get it done but we’ll find out, click on the image to go to the site.

Gran Turismo 5 and The Stig

So I was at E3 this week and one of the games on display was the (heretofore) mythical Gran Turismo 5. I remember when I joined Sony 4.5 years ago GT5 was “imminent” and yet only this week has it actually been seen in the wild, for real. But what does this have to do with you, dear reader? Well, GT5 is the ultimate driving sim (my own loyalties totally aside) and in this demo video premiered at E3, you get to see The Stig driving the Top Gear test track….. start paying attention around 58s into the video.

Coming November 2010 for PS3. Too right, it only does everything 🙂

Car Warranty Spam Calls

I’m getting a lot of cold calls on my cell phone to do with expired car warranties right now. This is annoying because, well, at 80k miles I doubt I could afford a warranty even if someone wanted to sell me one and also because my cell phone number is only known by a handful of people, so who is selling my cell number (yes I am looking at you scumbag credit card companies).

Most recent call was interesting – apparently, my car had expired! Well, I can’t see me wanting a warranty in that case.