QOTD: Under Pressure?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd under pressure

We all know someone who’s had a kid. Yup, procreation still happens in today’s enlightened society, and with that babymaking comes a rapid accumulation of stuff. It’s a scourge, and this disgruntled, childless writer has long railed against the steady onward march of this phenomenon.

Y’all are spoiling your children. They’ve got too much stuff.

More often than not — almost inevitably, really — this new addition to the household precipitates another change in either the driveway or garage.

Whereas couples once used to trade in their coupe or sedan for a minivan or wagon, they now take ownership of a compact to midsize crossover. Yes, I’m thinking of my friends’ Hyundai Santa Fes and Kia Sorentos. Once upon a time, young Steph and his sister, joined by his mom and dad, managed just fine in a hatchback, wagon, or sedan — even on family vacays. Of course, there was little in the way of frivolous stuff to bring along. If it didn’t fit, it didn’t make the cut.

Again, you’re accumulating too much stuff. One’s level of stuff shouldn’t dictate the vehicle; the vehicle should dictate the amount of stuff brought along. But it’s a free country, I guess. Do what you feel you need to do.

Of course, many people who do make the switch might not be doing so entirely of their own volition. Pressure from parents and in-laws and babymaking friends might push them in the direction of a RAV4 or Equinox or Escape or Odyssey. “You’re gonna need that room,” they’re told, helpfully, by their procreating comrades.

It seems, if you’ll indulge yours truly, like a phenomenon seen in the world of (gasp!) guns. For many decades, going all the way back to the late 19th century and the advent of smokeless powder, certain calibers were seen as perfectly fine harvesters of whitetail deer. And the .30-30 Winchester topped the list. An easygoing intermediate caliber chambered in handy, lever-action rifles that never break or die, the old .30-30 became the backwoods deer cartridge. You didn’t need anything else. It’s still relatively popular, as it never stopped excelling at this very task. Lately, however, as always seems to happen, gun makers are busy adding the latest wonder round to their respective model lines.

In 2020, that would be the 6.5mm Creedmoor. Hard-hitting, flat-shooting, and capable of great accuracy at incredible ranges, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is an excellent hunting cartridge almost no one needs. Its ballistic superiority is only realized at ranges of 400 yards or more, making it a pointless acquisition for the legions of backwoods hunters who never shoot beyond 200 yards, at the absolute limit. And there’s already a host of century-old cartridges designed to shoot two fields over.

Yet the capability of this new round is a draw. If you wanted to, you could shoot that far. The potential is always there, much like the cargo volume and all-weather abilities of an AWD crossover. Anywhere you want to go, anything you want to bring along, you can. Can’t do that in a useless four-door sedan or hatch that’s perfectly fine for most tasks and delivers better fuel economy to boot!

New parents, or people undergoing some other change in their lifestyle, will undoubtedly face some pressure to switch vehicles, even if it’s unnecessary. Has that person ever been you? What was the vehicle suddenly so unsuited to the tasks at hand, and what was the proposed solution? And did you make the switch?

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jul 08, 2020

    If I would have been born and raised a generation later my parents would have had a minivan instead of a station wagon and if I were being raised today I am sure they would have had a crossover or suv. Different times and different vehicles but still the need for a vehicle that will haul the family and things around. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Nick_515 Nick_515 on Jul 08, 2020

    No kids for me and my wife yet. But we have siblings that don't drive and somehow are often around. Plus we just bought a house. So we do need capability. After several sedans, I got an Audi hatchback. Whoa! A glimpse of what I was missing. But ultimately I decided the Audi was best used as a regional car, not road-trip car. I didn't like driving the turbo engine at 80 mph for hours on end. And it wasn't comfortable enough. We lucked out when a very nice professional lady was selling her E91 BMW in our region. It is a glorious color combination (with burgundy leather seats, which I think were really an M3 thing), every single option available at the time (sport package, Harman Kardon, parking sensors, pano roof, etc etc). I jumped on it. Just yesterday we had to return from visiting relatives. Three people and all their gear, barbell and weights, spare tools from an older relative (garden tools, chainsaw... the works), and an IKEA trip where we picked up a not insignificant amount of furniture that came in very long packages. All of it fit with the hatch closed (though my armrest was furniture boxes), and we don't have a trail hitch, any rooftop capacity, etc. Car was stable, fast as usual, and cool and quiet. 80+ mph for 400+ miles. 24 mpg on 91 octane. I've had this car for over a year now, and it is by far the best automobile I have ever been lucky enough to own. I do miss sedans and how they drive, but I'm never going back.

  • Inside Looking Out Enforcing laws? It is so yesterday! Welcome to California!
  • Lou_BC You'd think cops would have an understanding of the laws they are supposed to enforce.
  • Merlyn I’m on my second Spark and love it! I can pass any car I’ve never had a problem going up a hill it does just fine. As for cargo I can fit three suitcases, two book bags and still have the front seat for a passenger. Not sure what point this guy is trying to make. I have hand free phone service and Sirius radio plug in my phone and have navigation. I would buy another spark in a heartbeat.
  • Buickman I won't own one and I'll be happy!
  • Jeanbaptiste Ever since y’all started sending your damn geese down here we’re just been waiting for one of you to show up.