Daily Podcast: In Praise of Vanilla

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

I like vanilla ice cream. I know: as a guy who chooses "media" from the drop-down menu of professions, I should be into something exotic like swordfish pecan or Quaaludes and cream. But vanilla has a Zen purity that appeals to my inner minimalist (which I can't find from time to time 'cause he's so damn small). In the same way you can discern an ice cream maker's skills by sampling his or her vanilla, you can tell an automaker's prowess by assessing the quality of their plain Jane models. That's one reason TTAC is proud to review cars at the lower trim levels. It also explains my satisfaction upon hearing that Justin's sending me his MINI Cooper [non S] review. And one of the unremarked but remarkable reasons for Toyota's success: the low end models don't make you yearn for the higher end stuff. Contrast this with Detroit, where "strippers" often seem carefully designed to make you spend more money on something significantly better. Which works fine IF you take the financial plunge. I mean, I can imagine there will be a lot of pistonheads sitting in a V6 Pontiac G8 spending every moment of the journey wanting the V8. If that's NOT true, then I'll take it as a sign of genuine progress.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Oct 04, 2007

    I finally heard the podcast: damn cubicles! The Tundra is being promoted hard and discounted heavily in Texas. I see plenty of them, which comes as no surprise given the heavy promotion. Keep in mind Houston has the Toyota Center (Basketball) and the adjacent Tundra Parking Garage. Johnster: as a Mark VIII owner, I see more poor diagnosis and repairs on these limited-production coupes than any other American car. Engine computers rarely fail (its usually sensors) and if you want a computer, you use an Internet-based electronic junkyard and have it shipped to your doorstep. And there are guys who makes a living stripping rare cars like the Mark on eBay. Lazy mechanics are great at throwing parts to fix a problem, and not so great at finding parts when it requires more than access to the yellow pages. This is true for both dealers and private shops. And the consumer loses. (so do Mark VIIIs)

  • Frank Williams Frank Williams on Oct 05, 2007

    Sajeev Mehta: I finally heard the podcast: damn cubicles!

    Sajeev, just take in a set of headphones and tell everyone you're taking a 10 minute smoke break but since you don't smoke you're taking it at your desk with headphones instead of somewhere outside with cigarettes.

    Or if that won't work...

    If your desk telephone has a headset, find a computer headset that looks as much like it as possible. Then while you're listening to the podcast, minimize your browser, open a line on the phone so the right lights are lit, hide the phone headset, and make noises every now and then like you're agreeing with whoever is on the other end of the connection. If someone tries to interrupt, just shush them and point to the phone.

    Cubicle newbies! Sheesh!

  • Virtual Insanity Virtual Insanity on Oct 05, 2007

    I don't see too many Tundras when out and about, but I do see a good amount of the SUVs. Still, I see more Detroit trucks than Toyota trucks around here in my corner of North Texas.

  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Oct 05, 2007

    Frank, you are awesome. If that works, maybe I can take longer "smoke breaks" to podcast with RF too! Hmm...