February 08, 2016

Car complaints

While my car is in the shop, I've been renting this little hatchback, a Hyundai Veloster. I like economy cars, also on those occasions when I rent a vehicle. This one is leaving me a little cold, though.

First off, the name: what the heck is a veloster? One expects most car models to be named after something, after all--an animal, a place, an emotion, a concept. I ask again: what the heck is a veloster?! It seems to be missing a syllable or something. Is it an attempt to evoke Jurassic Park (Velociraptor)? Or should I be impressed with its speed? (I've not tried to determine the maximum acceleration rate, so maybe it really is best-in-class 0-to-60 or something like that.) It just makes me want to snicker or cringe, or even better to snicker while cringing.

The thing handles well enough, though. But the really big thing that I don't like about this car: the sightlines and external visibility do not impress me. I usually use the mirrors less to check my blind spots before changing lanes, for example, compared to looking over my shoulders. Looking over my right shoulder in particular, given the structure of the rear windows and the C-pillar, I can't see a thing in the right blind spot. So I need to use the mirrors more, which is against my usual style. I don't like to depend on the mirrors with their potential for visual trickery (misjudgement of scale--see the aforementioned Jurassic Park for an amusing allusion to same). And the visibility out the rear window, mirrors or no, is not much.

Speaking of the rear-view mirror, there are three buttons along the bottom for OnStar, SOS calls and something else. (The rental came with no owner's manual for me to consult, so I don't know what the last button is.) Now if I want to use the dimmer switch, the natural place for me to put my thumb for the typical leverage on the mirror's edge is right where one of those buttons is. Suppose I don't feel like pressing that button while I'm flipping the dimmer into place? Too bad. So I have to use a less natural motion.

Ergonomically, I have a bit of a problem with the placement of the power-window and locking switches on the door's handrest a little farther back than I think they should be. Also, in the middle, where I would expect the armrest to extend to support my right elbow, it doesn't come far enough forward to do so.

One final (slight) flaw that I just discovered this evening, which really has nothing to do with the car as such: it's kind of difficult to properly brush snow off of a white car at night, because it's so hard to tell where the snow ends and the paint begins. I could gripe a bit about how the snow seems to want to accumulate in an exasperating manner in and around the door handles, especially on the third (rear) door; but that would be just peevish.

I will say that the important controls are laid out well enough and seem to work comfortably. The gauges are fine, too. I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out the MPG graph that's available in the onboard computer, but I'm not particularly concerned about it for the few days that I'm going to be driving this car.

So, while this Veloster is practical enough for short hauls for a single rider like me, I don't see myself hurrying to own one.

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