I pride myself on taking care of my car -- not so much in the looks department as in keeping it running. After 22 years with my 1988 Ford Escort (purchased new), it was time for my third car. Over the years, after someone backing into the front corner, being on fire twice, a tree falling over it, and being rear-ended twice (the second rear-ending put the appearance into its death throes), it was time. Being a tall guy in a short world (at six feet, five inches), I don't just fit into any vehicle. After much research and test driving, I ended up in a 2012 Subaru Outback.
The transition from 23-year-old auto technology to the modern world was impressive and also disappointing. As I drove the car and adapted from a small car that was a snug fit to a large one that fit very well, my little paradise began to fall apart. All the cars I have owned have been manual transmissions. So is my Outback. Yet it didn't take long for the first monkey to start taunting me.
Emergency flashers are probably one of the least-used features on a car. So where was the emergency button placed? It was in the middle of the center console, behind the stick-shift, level with the shift knob and about two-and-a-half inches away when the lever is in a forward position. More so when I first got the car but still happening on occasion, when I reach for the shift, one of my fingers will skip off the button and turn on the emergency flashers. Sometimes I catch it and turn them off. Other times, I would be driving down the road and then notice the flashing lights on the dash. I have contemplated finding a clear piece of plastic to mount over the button to help prevent the unintentional fingering, but I have yet to do so. Why did they choose that placement? Maybe because it looks nice and provides nice visual symmetry.
The seat warmer switch is also a problem. While it is a nice feature on a cold day, why did they mount it facing up on the center console, between the seat and double-drink holder? Driving my mother to a doctor's appointment, I took a drink and put the cup back in the holder. I unknowingly hit the switch, and for the next 20 minutes, I was trying to figure out if the AC was working. There I was, hot, just sitting there driving while the AC was blowing reasonably cool air. In the meantime, I was getting hotter and hotter.
And don't get me started about the radio.
This entry was submitted by Richard Bedell and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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