Monday, October 01, 2007

Legal on the road, driving skills, starter car and origami.

When I first got my driver's license back in 2001, one of my parents' worst fears was realized. [Among many others, most of them irrational. Like me picking up smoking at age 25 due to "peer pressure". Wow I am still an impressionable child. Oh, and pregnancy.]

I mean, I was (still am) legally allowed to drive. The family car. Their car.

Being a newbie driver, my driving skills were put into question. "Can you really park without denting the bumper?" "Are you sure you passed? Is your driver's license fake?"

They were petrified that I would wreck the car. Their car. So mom actually wanted to get me a starter car, say a cheap car so any scratches, dents and all other damages to it would be ok. It would cost much less to repair the starter car than the family car. The starter car was worthless to begin with, so any damage to it was insignificant. That was her logic.

Perodua Kelisa

I protested vehemently. The car was just an accident waiting to happen. C'mon it is a mobile casket. It's just an aluminium origami with an engine.

I kindly informed mom that I would rather NOT drive (and be chauffeured around by the 'rents) than to climb into a moving origami car. Dad defended mom, extolling the benefits of a small car. Parking in a congested city would be a breeze. Yes it is a small car, but the cons far outweigh the pros.

I can be a careful driver but should a tired truck driver doze off with a ton of cargo bulldozing its way towards me at 80km per hour, I would be a squishy mush.

[Yeah I painted the 'rents a very very gruesome picture. And yeah, I was chauffeured around (till 2006) for as long as I can remember.]

Seriously, why would ANYONE produce such a car is beyond me.

Proton Kenari -- Oversteer and Understeer all in 1 vehicle

It is small, the center of gravity is too high and at high speeds, it will roll over. Remember this is not a sturdy SUV with air bags all over. This is aluminium origami. The car looks small and you may be wondering how it can even travel at high speeds. Well some owners modify the engine and race them on the highways. Tragic accidents happen. People die.

Proton Waja Crash test

People buy these cars because they are cheap. A car is just something that gets them from point A to point B. With the worrying safety climate, skyrocketing fuel prices and the limited spending power, it makes sense to get a small and affordable car.

But it is also a shame that the company churns out similar looking crap every year or so with similar features, while safety features are seriously lacking not improved. I actually feel sorry for the people. They are generally excited when a new make is released, with many opting to upgrade to the new make. I feel sorry because they actually support the company, but their loyalty is not reciprocated by the company. If you call mass production of crap appreciation, then that's all you are going to get.

How I feel towards all crappy cars is that market themselves as "economical" is apparent. They are unsafe, a road hazard and basically an engineering mistake.

That is where they belong.

I would rather NOT drive than to jeopardise my life and those of my passengers in one of these. Plus I realize that they are not going to give me a car in one of those "prove everyone wrong and put my foot in my mouth" deals.

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