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An Indication of Cars to Come: the Smart Car by Daimler-Chrysler

Perhaps you’ll forgive me for jumping on the (mini) bandwagon. And sure, it might sound ludicrous for a grown man to even consider driving something that seems more suitable as a toy for children ages 8-12. But if there is any one thing that would serve as a good indicator of our present and imminent future, it appears to be the Smart car produced by Daimler-Chrysler.

In considering the topic of “What’s Next?,” we would be remiss if we did not consider our current trends and how they compel us toward the future. It is no surprise–though some might still debate–when I say that global warming and other environmental factors have relegated us to our present desperation. With gas prices that could only be considered “grand theft oil” and a rapidly expiring supply of crops, seafood, and other items irreplaceable, it is no wonder that our economy is spread so thin. As a result, every sensible person is considering going “green” in order to save their other hard-earned green.

So, of all things, why the Smart car? First, just to set the record straight, I am not arguing that everybody a year from now will trade in their Mercedes and BMWs for one of these. (I would suppose it’d be a different story if they all had Hummers, though). But if we looked at the Smart car as a symbol, rather a bookmark of this generation, then we will see that every person is interminably linked in some way or another to the elements of this car.

What defined the generations a century earlier was the Ford model T. With the explosion of this automobile came a movement towards industrialization, a marker of a new revolution. It was a telling symbol of societal status at the time; it was an object that was rare, loud, expensive, and elegant. The people of the time looked at that car careening down the road and were convinced that surely a new era in the United States (and the world) had arrived.

And now? Almost a hundred years later, it still somehow circles back to that motor with four wheels, albeit a different machine altogether with appeal for different reasons. It is a symbol of our current generation and its relevant issues, and possibly so for many more years to come. The Smart is economically conscientious (around $12,000), convenient (helpful for parking, being no greater than 250CM in length), enviro-friendly, technologically advanced, and simply fun.

That means that almost every person roaming through the Internet next year will somehow be linked to this car, one way or another. Whether it is directly by searching for their next car, or indirectly by looking for the latest developments in technology, or analyzing trends in our current ecosystems and economical landscape, the Smart would have told us all–simply and matter-of-fact.

Now, if it only told us how to pick up women. But alas, a car can only do so much.

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Hyundai Tiburon Car Review

I like Hyundai’s a lot, and this is mostly due to the company’s innovation and attention to detail. Korea’s auto giant has made a name for itself, as a viable player for prospective car buyers. The reasons are simple, as they manufacture reliable, decent performing vehicles for a reasonable price. Hyundai does not want its name associated with BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes. It does not want to mentioned in the same sentence as Daihatsu, or Yugo either. Hyundai wants to be mentioned as a competitor and a option to Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, and Toyota. They have done well with this, and are selling record amounts of vehicles internationally. Their lineup is impressive, and as a salesman in the automotive business, I have found they have a lot to offer. Their vehicles are well made, and I have a Santa Fe in my family that is an absolute joy to drive. Its a shame that the Tiburon does not live up to the rest of the Hyundai line.

Tiburon in Spanish means shark. This vehicle certainly has a mean look with its aggressive styling, but it really should be called, ” Tres Pereza de toed.” The Tiburon gets a lot of “looks,” and this car is aimed to the 16-25 year old market. The sloped hood looks nice, and the back of the car has just the right amount of curve to give it a aerodynamic appearance. However, appearances aren’t everything, and the Tiburon does not drive or handle like a sports car at all. I have driven previous years GT versions with the 2.7 V6, but I was stuck with the 2.0 liter DOHC 4 cylinder GS model.(There’s not much of a difference)Total horsepower is 140, which does provide for great gas mileage.(24 mpg city/30 mpg highway) However, a sports car is supposed to provide some “serious performance.”

The engine is not responsive, and barely pushes enough juice to be described as adequate. I would compare the acceleration experience of the Tiburon to a mid to late 90’s Saturn SL sedan, which I consider to be absolutely unacceptable. You can push the “pedal to the metal,” but there’s just nothing there. Its almost like acceleration is a mundane experience that is supposed to be unpleasant, and the Tiburon delivers on that with flying colors. I even tried some “aggressive shifting,” and still nothing worth writing home about. In addition to the lackluster performance, the engine makes a distinctive whining noise that is not appropriate for a sports car. Even going from 3rd to 5th gear is a slow experience, and I’m guessing that zero to 60 second time is around 9 seconds.

The overall driving experience is poor, and there is a lot of cabin noise. Hyundai usually performs well when it comes to insulating cars from the road, but they have failed miserably here. If you like to drive on the highway, then the Tiburon will make you absolutely dread it. At 45 mph and above the noise is almost unbearable, and the stereo doesn’t help much either. There’s also a strange wind noise at high speeds with the windows up. Visibility is only average out front with the low profile size of the vehicle, and there are massive blind spots in the rear.(Both sides) The rear window is hard to see out of, although it does have an outstanding defroster/rear wiper.

Handling is minor league, as the steering movements feel choppy and forced. The turning radius is terrible, and it almost reminds me of doing a u-turn in a much larger sized vehicle. Braking is a nerve racking experience. These brakes feel mushy, and lack the feeling of stability during application. However, they do seem to work fairly decently when it comes to stopping, so this is a “mind over matter issue.” However, a lot of drivers, including myself, like a total sense of security with this issue.

The seats and overall comfort are way below average, even when compared to other sports cars. The drivers seat has a bit too much support, and I had some minor lower back aches from driving this car. I’m sure chiropractors love this vehicle, and it must be unbearable for long distance driving.(The most I drove it was an hour at a time) The materials used on the seats feel cheap, and it is a pain to move the seats forward or back. Room is also a issue, as I felt trapped in the drivers compartment. There is very little wiggle room, and my knees were almost on the dashboard while driving.(I’m 6’2) The back seats are absolutely useless, and won’t even fit a small child comfortably. The trunk is decent sized for this type of vehicle however-just don’t put the kids in there if they complain in the back!

Hyundai’s craftsmanship and interior quality have improved drastically, but the Tiburon must have been left off of the list. Its cheap throughout, and I find the little buttons to move the windows/power mirrors aggravating. The whole interior has a “cheap plastic feel”, and the features are weak. The air conditioning seems to struggle during hot days, and the radio system needs drastic improvement. If you are going to drive a sports car, you need a system to go along with it. The CD Radio in the Tiburon reminds me of the old preinstalled car radio from the 1980’s. The gauges do not fit in this as well. I think Hyundai needs to give them a more aggressive “racing style” look as well-its just too bland. Illumination is decent, and all of the controls are easy to read.

Due to these shortcomings with the Tiburon, I cannot recommend it. The only thing I can say in a positive light is that it has a great warranty. All Hyundai’s come with a 5 year/60,000 mile bumper to bumper and 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranties. They also are guaranteed to pass federal emissions standards for 8 years/80,000 miles, and you get 5 years of roadside assistance. I hope Hyundai replaces or improves this vehicle, so that it conforms to their standards of excellence. The rest of their lineup is above average, but the Tiburon gets a failing grade.

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Benefits of Personal Injury and Medical Payment Car Insurance Protection

On your car insurance policy, you have the option of carrying personal injury protection (PIP) and/or medical payments (MED) coverages. These coverages cover medical expenses for you and other certain covered individuals arising from a car accident. These coverages are optional in some states and required in other states. This guide will explain why you should carry these coverages to fully protect yourself in a car accident, even if you have health insurance. Keep in mind that these coverages vary greatly from state to state and, while I will keep it as non-specific as I can, you should consult a licensed insurance professional in your state for more details.

The first reason to carry PIP/MED is because it often provide benefits that you car health insurance does not. If you miss time from work (whether or not you are paid with accrued leave), incur funeral expenses, have to hire someone to perform household functions you can’t in your injured state, or if your doctor thinks you may benefit from a non-traditional treatment regimen-your PIP/MED coverage may provide coverage for these items. You health insurance, most likely, will not.

In addition to these expenses, PIP/MED generally provides a broader blanket of coverage your medical expenses. As already stated, it will cover non-traditional treatment such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and acupressure. Furthermore, it usually doesn’t require you to treat with a physician that is in a certain provider network, nor are there limitations as to which types of specialists you need pre-authorization for.

Depending upon which state your call home, there may be no deductible or co-payments for your PIP/MED coverage. If your health insurance does, PIP/MED will be useful in filling in those gaps of coverage. If you have a co-payment for prescriptions or no prescriptions at all, PIP/MED will cover the difference. If you health insurance does not cover certain medical devices and you need a tens unit, your PIP/MED coverage cover it. These gaps in coverage can add up to significant sums of money, and it helps having PIP/MED coverage to bridge the gap.

In some states, you can collect benefits under PIP/MED coverage and your health insurance. Yes, you can have your doctor bill your health insurance, who will pay the doctor’s bill. You can also have your doctor send you a copy of the bill and instruct your PIP/MED carrier to pay you directly, since the balance was already paid in full by your health insurance. This perfectly legal because you are paying premiums for two different policies and some states require both insurance companies to pay you despite having overlapping coverage.

Finally, if you have a friend or coworker riding in your car with you, your health insurance will not pay for their medical bills. Your PIP/MED coverage may. It certainly is not your responsibility to make sure they have coverage, but it they are among the many that do not have health insurance it is a good feeling knowing that they will be protected in your vehicle. Even if they are entitled to an injury settlement from your insurance policy or someone else’s, that settlement may be months or years away. Meanwhile, the medical bills continue to accumulate.

In conclusion, PIP/MED isn’t just another way for your car insurance company to milk more dollars from you. It can provide helpful benefits in the event of a car accident. Again, this content is very general and the available coverages are very specific on a state-by-state basis. I hope that I have piqued your interest enough that you will have a discussion with your insurance company to obtain more information about this coverage.

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The Best Car I Ever Owned. What Makes a Good Car?

What makes a good car? You may be complaining about your car because it is too old. It might not be stylish. It does not mean it is not a good car.

The best vehicle I ever owned is the vehicle I have now. It is a 1999 Toyota Corolla. I bought it two years ago. It is the best ever because I have done nothing but change the brakes and the oil. How can a car that old be so reliable?

The answer is simple. It was owned by someone who took good care of it. I thought they were kidding when they said it. I even talked the price down. Every time I take it to my mechanic he marvels at it. The car is the Sylvester Stallone of vehicles.

I owned a Chevy pick-up truck before this. It took a lot of gas and was very noisy. It was also not very reliable and I never took it out of Texas.

Now I take the Toyota everywhere.

I am not endorsing one car brand over another. The point is to buy something in shape. A maintained older car is better than a run down newer car. The Chevy was from 2003.

A good car today should be good with gas. Gas prices are rising. Unless you have a good job this is a problem. Even if you have a good job it is still not good for the environment. I can drive for days with only $25 dollars.

I love my car for personal reasons, too. It does not have to be new. It does not have to be stylish. It needs to run and run well.

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Review of DisneyPixar's Diecast Car Toys

Pixar’s “Cars” is a great movie, but I think one of the best things that came out of it is the toys. Specifically I’m talking about favorite characters such as Lightning McQueen, Mater, Doc Hudson, and the rest of the gang all recreated in the form of little matchbox cars. It’s obvious, yet clever: How can an animated movie about cars NOT spawn a whole line of diecast car toys?

Collecting these toy cars is strangely addicting. Maybe at first you think you’ll be content with McQueen, Mater, and a few other guys. But then maybe you see a fairly rare car, such as a Lizzy or a Chick. Hmmm. What an opportunity. Who knows when you’ll run across them again? And they’re only four bucks each. What’s the harm in grabbing a few more?

Well, anyway, you can probably see how easy it can be to get caught up in a quest to find more and more Cars toys.

The quality of the toys is actually impressive. Many of them are very true to the actual characters, down to some of the tiniest details. Take Chick Hicks and Filmore, for example. These guys are filthy with bumper stickers. You’d think nobody would bother replicating words and numbers on such a tiny scale, but many of the “stickers” are readable with the aid of a jeweler’s loupe or a good magnifying glass. The Chick and Filmore cars are a couple of my favorites for this reason alone.

If you really like Ramone, you’re in luck: There are several Ramones to choose from. You can get him with different paint jobs: Yellow, purple, green, and now red.

Sally is probably one of the worst of the lot, unfortunately. (Aside from the ultra-cheesy plastic Buzz and Woody cars.) She isn’t quite rounded enough, and her headlights are a dull, flat grey. She scarcely resembles the movie Sally.

The Mater cars have problems. Although the detail for Mater is excellent, the manufacturers had to make part of him out of plastic. There probably wasn’t any other way they could duplicate Mater’s tow cable in reasonable detail. While they did a good job, it would be all too easy to break. Can you just see a little kid using Mater’s flimsy plastic tow cable to tow around the other cars? But again, I’m not sure how this design could have been avoided.

I also have a gripe with the Stanley statue that comes with Red. This thing is entirely made of plastic. Although the Stanley “statue” itself looks pretty good, you can tell just by looking that the base is obviously plastic. That ruins the whole effect.

Wingo, Boost, Snotrod, and DJ (The four cars who pick on Mac) barely resemble their movie counterparts, unfortunately. Don’t get me wrong, they have all the right shapes and features. But without the bright neons that made those characters stand out at night, they’re quite dull by comparison.

Overall, though, these are great toys to own if you loved Pixar’s “Cars” movie.