Last Rides Premium Selects: All XUsed Up
The Envoy XUV is one of those unicorns I seem to recognize on the street immediately. As the owner of a Taurus X, I sometimes wonder how my arduous life would change had Ford went ahead with it’s transformer counterpoint to this sub-niche of vehicle. Then I realize, [s]“Probably, I would be scrounging for more weird, rare electric roof trim garnish power regulators at the junkyard.”[/s] “Probably not much.”
I imagine the boys in Ford’s marketing department took one look at their competitor’s commercial, mouth agape, and finally decided they just couldn’t compete with such formidable before-it-was-cool ’80s promotional panache. One of them, no doubt, pointed out, “They’ve even got the sort-of a song that I kind of know!”
The thing that struck me about this example, found in a Joliet yard, was it’s fantastic condition (other than vultures lightly pecking at the fresh carcass). I mean, you just don’t see many ten year old models at all, unless they’re irreparably smashed, or irreparably a Sebring.
Quarter million miles be damned, times must not be too bad in America anymore.
The 5.3 under the hood is still in one piece, so chances are good the your camshaft is trashed, too sort of dialogue wasn’t a factor in it’s demise.
It’s [s]unicorn horn[/s] removable mid-gate was still waiting for a patron to have the “This isn’t a tailgate. It’s a trim panel,” argument at the checkout counter.
Then, evidence of the previous owner’s medical afflictions helped fill in the blanks. Nothing will send a Mitsubishi to the junkyard faster than a piece of paper that looks like this, it seems. The name on this one, is “high profile” around these parts, and if you can somehow figure out what I have omitted, please don’t. This is a fictional piece, and I would like to keep it that way.
The McGill empire was going through a transitional period.
“I’m just saying…don’t be surprised when I graduate, that there’s nothing for me,” Reece told his father.
The old man broiled in the passenger seat. “Don’t give me that bullshit. Your ancestors, who lived out their lives in indentured servitude, would punch you right in the mouth if they heard you say that,” said an irate Patrick.
The young Reece withdrew to the driver’s door of the Envoy. He should have known. At any moment, the old man would additionally remind him about working for the family business, most likely reminding him about how he started it all with a single questionable 1970 Autocar. “…and you can always work for me,” added Patrick, pulling out his Medtronic Access Review DBS controller. Ever vigilant after going through some issues with his implant’s battery, he checked it’s condition. Holding the remote to his chest, it beeped, and verified a good state of charge. Such an action repeated itself several times throughout the day, mostly done out of habit, and boredom.
As the Envoy cruised high above the Des Plaines River with a smoothness rivaling a maglev train, Reece observed the filthy snow that was still piled up along the sides of the tollway well into March. The frigid sight induced an application of Carmex. A crosswind came out of the west, causing the wind whistle from the aft-most window to intensify. Reece compensated by turning up the volume on his My Gold Mask CD, which was hopelessly jammed in the radio. This track was one of his favorites. He hadn’t listened to it in over a year, since leaving for FAU. However, when Dad said, “Give it a rest,” and turned on XM MSNBC, he didn’t protest.
Reece slowed the XUV on the off ramp for Route 7 where the brakes cried out their hunger for more pads. Reece and McGill senior did what they normally did, which was simply glance in the general direction of the anomaly.
As they waited for the light the boy inquired, “So how is the new…calibration?” regarding his father’s follow up procedure.
“It’s a little better. There’s still some little tremors…but I don’t think anything will change that now,” said the man, lifting his hands to show a faint car-waxing motion with his right extremity.
Reece faced forward, realizing the light had turned green. The S…UV arched across the intersection, and then summoned their attention with a “Boong Boong Boong”. Reece looked down at the information center, and turned to his father almost with glee. “ Reduced engine power!”
Reece buried his foot in the gas and turned his hazards on in preparation for what would assuredly be a lazy journey back to McGill Trucking. The men were experienced in these matters from when the throttle body failed five years prior.
“Goddamit,” said Patrick, “Try to turn it back off…or on…fuck.” He was referring to ‘the trick’ they had learned from Trailvoy.com. Sometimes that would make the problem go away for a short time. Reece tried this technique in a church parking lot, but the power remained elusive.
“Come on stupid!” Reece shouted at his rear view mirror. A Cavalier honked behind them, it’s driver dumbstruck by the meaning of a pair of flashing tail lamps and a pointby. The Cavalier finally made the pass, it’s exhaust sounding like compressed air being released while the man at the wheel delivered a Luigi death stare at the hapless GMC.
“I told you that you needed to get rid of this piece. What’s gonna happen when I’m not around to drive you? They’re gonna find you in a snowbank somewhere after you get stranded,” Reece told his father.
Patrick didn’t respond. He pulled the Blackberry from his pocket and dialed his wife. “We’re having some car trouble right now. Yeah. It’s just driving slow again. We’re gonna be late to the meeting. Just see if those guys can wait a bit longer.”
Reese felt a shock. Oh shit, he thought, how did he know about the meeting? He braced himself against the wheel in anticipation of the shitstorm.
“What do you mean it’s already over?!” Patrick yelled. “Look. I’m still a part of this damn company!” Reese could hear his mother on the other end trying to break things to his father gently. His grandiose plans of acquiring another dead trucking firm, when they were struggling to hire and pay more drivers, just wasn’t going to work. A rift was growing between the elder McGill, his wife, and his best friend.
Reece tuned out and listened to the click-clock of the hazards as his father yelled into the phone. I don’t want any of this crap, he thought to himself. Working with family is the worst. A career of surfing, golfing, and traveling Europe would suit him just fine. And when the facility to do that ran out? Whatever.
Finally, the screaming stopped.
“I’m just going to head home,” said Reece.
Patrick washed down a pill with some bottled water. The meds kicked in. His anger was gone. He now felt dejected, betrayed, robbed of the world he created.
“You should just take me to the casino,” Reece replied, laughing. “I’m not taking you to Joliet! Especially, not in this thing.” He hit the overhead Homelink button and the double wrought iron gates swung open.
The old man punctuated the end of their journey with a depressing statement of fact. “I told you this would be the last car I ever own.”
Reece could only respond with “Come on, Dad,” while his father waddled into the large manor house with an abbreviated gait.
Reece stayed out on the drive and began to vape. As French Vanilla filled his lungs, he observed the flurry-laden dark clouds rolling in to put an end to an already shortened day.
“This is bullshit,” he said. This meaning not-Florida during spring break. He puffed and looked at the Envoy, juxtaposed to the fancy stonework and brick paver driveway. Sure, back in the day, the $40,000 fully-loaded GMC was impressive. Reeve even showed off the clever engineering of the magic gate and retractable roof to his buddies. That was back before the “Clear Roof Obstruction” notices, failed glass regulators, smoked switches, a transmission, bad HVAC components, a weary fan clutch, some dead lifters, and lots of puzzled technician labor hours turned it into an Envoy of Theseus. For the amount spent, Reece estimated there could have been a ‘sweet-ass G Wagen’ sitting there.
“Hrmfff,”, he exhaled.
When Reece came into the house, his father greeted him with the signed pink slip to the Envoy.
“Here. It’s yours. Do whatever you want with it.” The last part of that statement was said in a way to allude “Get it fixed, and use it.” Reece clumsily replied, “What? I…come on…” The old man then disappeared into his study.
The Envoy’s shifter was put into neutral to coast down the hill at a higher rate of non-PCM-regulated speed as it entered “the prison city”. Reece silenced the hazard relay for the final time. He summoned the man from the office that he had spoken to on the phone earlier, who popped off his chair with an excited “Let’s take a look.”
“Hey, this doesn’t look too bad. I might just sell this.”, said the man.
“I would strongly recommend that you don’t,” said Reece.
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- MrIcky It's always nice to see a car guy put in charge of cars instead of an accountant. I wish him well and look forward to some entertaining reveals. I think he and Gilles may be the only industry people that I actually enjoy listening to.
- Master Baiter It doesn't matter whether autonomous vehicles are better or worse drivers than humans. Companies with deep pockets will find themselves sued over incidents like this. Enough lawsuits and the whole business plan collapses. Cheaper to just put a human behind the wheel.
- MaintenanceCosts How many dogs are wiped out by human drivers annually?Which type of driver wipes out more dogs per mile? Per trip?Without some context there's not much information here.
- SCE to AUX I hope the higher altitude doesn't harm his zeal or his career.
- SCE to AUX Probably a fair price. This is a car I can't own, since it's not made for 6'6" people.
It is most likely if this were a pickup truck someone would have fixed it. Most SUVs are less likely to be fixed after they get older and require major repairs. If you remember an article a couple of months ago about SUVs like Suburbans, Tahoes, and Expeditions being junked that were not that old. I doubt there is a large market for used Trailblazers, Envoys, and the Isuzu and Saab equivalents. I have seen a number of these on the pay day used car lots.
I have seen many newer Suburbans,Yukons,and Tahoes but there are not many older ones on the road. Mechanically these vehicles are the same as the full sized trucks and will last a long time but when they get a few years on them there is not a lot of demand. The Envoy in this article could have easily been fixed with a replacement transmission if that was what was wrong with it and it would have run for many more miles, but few want these and that is why they end up on the pay day lots and then in the salvage yard. Anyone that needed a good used vehicle with capacity to tow but didn't need an open bed could get one of these for a very good price. The overall mechanics on the GM and Ford suvs are sound and will last a long time but they are about like the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis in that few want them. At 233k miles someone got their money's worth, but it still had some life left in it.