Car stats - Myth-Weavers


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Car stats

Car stats

I'm not one of those people who identifies with his car. To me, a car is a tool that I use to get myself and sometimes luggage and/or equipment from one place to another.
But I've had my current car for nearly a decade, and expect it to wear out pretty soon.
So I was looking around, and not thrilled with what I saw. More on that later.

One question though: why does every car company insist on telling me their zero-to-sixty numbers? Honestly, if I have to get from 0 to 60 in less than 8 seconds, something is seriously wrong. Want to impress me? What's the 60-to-0 number for when I slam on the breaks because someone else did something seriously wrong? What's the stopping time and distance? That would seem to be just as important a number, if not more so.


0-60 is important if you drive in heavy traffic conditions. If you are getting on an onramp merging with 75mph traffic on a busy highway you want a vehicle that can not only match the speed of traffic, but a little extra power so you can smoothly slot in safely. I've driven cars that had weak getupandgo and didn't always feel confident maneuvering in the aggressive traffic of cities like Houston and Atlanta. Atlanta was worse since they don't believe in access roads and you go from side street straight into interstate (they also don't believe in straight roads either).

60-0 factors more into a car's safety standards and you'll see that pitched as anti-lock breaks, active suspension systems, and a slew of other technical jargon and features. The vehicles that you hear those things touted on are 4-door sedans and minivans. Why? because more women buy those than 2 door coupes. For better or for worse, men are sold on power and women are sold on safety.

I hate to tell you this, but that's not universally the case. Interstate highways have a uniform regulation, but otherwise they can vary greatly from one city to the next and from state to state. Also, some 'on ramps' are literally ramps and you have to accelerate uphill; a difficult feat if you are rocking a three cylinder Geo Metro like I did way back when. Combine that with the fact that many drivers don't respect the solid white line and exit as soon as they pass the curb instead of waiting till the dashed line where on ramp and exit ramp meets and your acceleration distance is cut in half.

Edit: I lived in Corpus Christi Tx for a while and the people there had a severe lack of understanding of the concept of merging. The access road had a yield sign where the off ramp came down and you had to merge with exiting traffic so that you could shift over and get onto the (uphill) on ramp. Every other driver would come to a full and complete stop at the yield sign and wait for a break in traffic so that they could then go and get to the onramp. 0-60 suddenly matters when you are expected to be going 35 already and the exiting traffic is not slowing down from the 65 they were already going.

I'm with Penchant, having access to good acceleration is also a factor in safety. After a poorly designed clover interchange when you've got like 100 yards to get up to highway speed after a tight turn that kept your speed low, for instance... or elevated highways where the on-ramp's incline cuts down on your ability to get to speed. Being able to kick it in the tail makes for safer driving in those cases.

Not as much as the other stuff you mentioned, but it certainly can be. It's a component in having better control of your vehicle.

We have a small family car with 70 horsepower, which was the lowest available in the model (Skoda fabia combi). I never experienced a problem getting sufficient speed. Just shift to a lower gear when accelerating uphill with heavy load.

No experience with automatic gears, so I have no idea how that affects the issue.

Just don't buy a diesel if acceleration with a small engine concerns you.

EDIT: and turn of the airco

Only a decade? That car should just be getting warmed up! My Tacoma's 20 this year, with ~323K on it. My "new" commuter car is an '08 Yaris that's up to ~181K. I average 500 miles a week most of the year, so I rack up miles. And I hate car shopping, monthly payments, and the higher cost of insurance and tags. So, I look primarily at longevity when I buy. I don't want to do it again anytime soon -- and I buy used to start with.

Although, for my car, when I started shopping, I looked first for mpg (since that was the whole point of getting a commuter (I don't much care for cars), then cross-referenced on longevity. (And I was severely disappointed in the complete lack of improvement in mpg in 15+ years since my last commuter, not counting hybrids.)

Well, I am hoping to get another decade out of my Pontiac Grand Prix whatever. I'm just looking that sooner or later it will eventually die.
I'm in CA, the part of CA where we have pretty good on-ramps (even if they're going up), so that even the wussiest car can get up to 55 before it reaches the freeway.

One other thing on most new cars I've seen that bugs me is the big tablet computer display in the center where the stereo and A/C controls are supposed to be. "Oh, that's so you can use the GPS maps." I use paper maps. I don't need GPS to tell me where I'm going. I actually deplore people's growing reliance on computers to tell them what to do. "Well, it's also tied to the back-up cam so you can see in the blind spots." Well, that's actually mildly useful, but somehow I expect people are going to rely on the camera rather than actually turning their heads around to look. So still, no, not seeing this as a good thing. I'm archaic borderline luddite. I like to press actual buttons, not smudge touch-screens. At least give me the option, folks.

I'm not sure if it's a sad thing, but it's perhaps a sobering thought: computers are better at doing those things than you. May as well accept it.

In another decade, you might be able to buy a car that does all the driving for you. I sure hope I can, but I'm afraid our present car will fail a couple of years short of that milestone.

Otherwise: the cheaper brands still tend to have the option not to have fancy options. That's one of the reasons I bought Skoda, together with the fact that the technology they used was tested first by Audi-drivers, then by VW-drivers and only then implemented in Skoda, which has very little defects left.


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