Since we’ve been doing these Ask Bark columns at the beginning of the year, I’ve received well over a hundred questions from you, our loyal readers. While I truly want to answer all of them, some of them don’t need a 1,000 word response, so they’ve been languishing in my inbox because I can’t turn them into a full column on their own.
So, today we’ll be doing some quick hits and answering several questions in one column. In other words, here’s your chance to call me an idiot multiple times, which I know that some of you are already quite giddy about.
Let’s get to it.
My lady lives 650 miles away. Most of the time I fly to see her, but over the past 18 months I have put 40,000 miles on my Ford F-150 due to the odd weekends where it’s too expensive to fly, I can’t board my dog, or I want to do a detour and visit my parents in Arkansas.
What do you think is the best vehicle for frequent, long road trips? There has to be come kind of calculus that will help determine a balance between comfort, economy and longevity, but I keep coming back to my F-150. Also, breaking off the relationship with the lady is not an option.
Thanks for the formal greeting, Mr. Steve. Gosh, so many variables to consider, and less than a thousand words to do it in! Let’s get to it.
When I was a kid, there was a plentiful selection of automobile choices for old people. There were Buicks. There were Cadillacs. There were Lincolns. There were Oldsmobiles. There were even a few Japanese cars that clearly catered to the elderly. “Enlarged Speedometer Font” was an actual option on more than one vehicle when I was younger.
But what about today?
One blah Monday morning, you’re commuting to the anonymous office park some 90 minutes away from the bedroom community you call a home in your equally anonymous Toyota Camry Hybrid, listening to yet another story about Congress kicking cans down roads and/or some wacky antics your favorite DJs had the past weekend while you take another swig of that mermaid-branded caffeinated goodness.
The Avalon has been something of a caricature since it wafted on stage in 1994. The stretched Camry was low on soul, devoid of style and soft of spring. In short, it was the Buick that wouldn’t leave you stranded. Since then Toyota has struggled to divine a mission for their full size sedan, a problem complicated by the re-invigoration of the large sedan market by the American brands. In hopes of resurrecting sales numbers, which have slid to 25% of their 2000 year shipments, Toyota has injected something hitherto unseen in an Avalon: style. Is it enough?
Sergio & Co aren’t the only ones partying it up in Vegas. Toyota is hosting its own bachelor party in Sin City, complete with products like a new Avalon, RAV4, Scion tC and a next-generation Corolla described as
“…cool. It is hip, it is fun. It is everything that the consumer is not expecting in that segment.”
The closest I’ve ever come to dying in a car was at the wheel of a Toyota Avalon, and I credit the nice, long wheelbase, stable handling and strong V6 engine for helping me avoid a major catastrophe. The new 2013 model, with its swoopy styling, looks like something that just might get you into trouble rather than keeping you out of it.
Toyota released a teaser of a new sedan with an “…elegant yet athletic look.” The sedan is apparently a production ready car and not a concept and if it really is the new Avalon (what else can it be) it looks like that the stodgy old retiree-mobile is getting some youthful new duds. Sort of like seeing your Grandpa wear Air Jordans because he bought them for $29.99 at Marshall’s. Except this time, it seems to be intentional.