The Crossover Blahs That Don’t Have to Be

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It’s a shame that crossover are so much alike – because they don’t have to be so alike. 

Their shape, yes.

It is defined by the nature of the crossover. Or rather,  the reason people buy them – which is the space they have on the inside relative to their footprint, outside – and relative to a car of the same overall footprint. A mid-sized crossover, for instance, will have about three time the cargo-carrying capacity as a mid-sized sedan. And to put a finer point on it, a compact-sized crossover will usually have at least twice as much cargo-carrying capacity as a mid-sized sedan and more cargo-carrying capacity than even a full-size sedan. 

This makes them much more practical as family cars than cars – and without being minivans, which are even more practical but have a look all their own. 

Most crossovers are made to look like SUVs – hence the overlap term, crossover SUV – even though they’re almost always based on cars. But they ride higher off the ground like an SUV and usually have or offer an all-wheel-drive system, which gives them some of the poor-weather and off-road capabilities of an SUV but with better space-efficiency on the inside and (usually) somewhat better gas mileage. This is because most crossovers have smaller engines than most SUVs and usually weigh less, being less heavy-duty than a typical SUV – which is usually based on a truck-type layout and often directly related to a truck.

But they do look a lot alike – and that makes it hard to get excited over this one vs. that one. It makes it hard to tell this one from that one.

That may be the nature of the beast. But it doesn’t mean there couldn’t be reasons to get excited over this one vs. that one. Because there used to be some remarkable differences – they just weren’t easy to see. 

For example, many crossovers used to be available with a manual transmission – sometimes, even with a V6 engine. Toyota used to offer that combination with the RAV4, which made that model (so equipped) one of the greatest sleeper performance cars available  . . . when it was available. Now both have been taken off the table. The current RAV4 comes only with a four cylinder engine paired only with an automatic transmission.

It is now one of the most likely to put you to sleep crossovers on the market.

Even if it’s just a manual transmission – paired only with a four cylinder engine – the result is a vehicle that gives you something more to do than tap a touchscreen and try to stay awake. Subaru is one of the last manufacturers that still offers a manual-equipped crossover – the 2022 Crosstrek. Interestingly, the Crosstrek is one of the most popular crossovers in its class, a class in which none of its rivals offers a manual.

Most Crosstreks are equipped with an automatic transmission. But it’s not inconceivable that the possibility of being able to do more than tap and swipe – and try to keep from falling asleep – has made the Crosstrek more appealing psychologically, even if most people end up not shifting for themselves. Kind of like the way the presence of a Corvette in a Chevy showroom helps spur sales of Chevys that aren’t Corvettes.

How about a diesel engine?

Once-upon-a-not-so-long-time-ago, there were several crossovers that offered them, including the VW Tiguan and Touareg.The former offered mileage on par with a small economy car in a far more useful crossover package while the latter offered titanic torque and Clydesdale-like towing capacity  – close to 8,000 lbs., which is about 3,000 lbs. more than most gas-engined crossovers can handle.

Imagine a diesel-manual crossover . . .

Isn’t it nice to imagine such possibilities? It’s a shame all that is possible – just about – is the consolidated-homogenized four cylinder gas engine paired only with an automatic transmission. Some manufacturers  try to infuse some verve by upping the power output of these four cylinder engines – usually, by turbocharging them. Some more verve could be infused by making the presence of the turbo more noticeable – as by not muffling it. Other than the increased power, it is very difficult to tell there’s a turbocharged engine in there . . . somewhere.

Of course, not everyone wants ti hear the whistle – and the pop of a wastegate would probably alarm most people.

But manuals – and diesels – have mainstream virtues. The manual lowers the price of the car, because a manual costs less to build than a modern electronically controlled automatic transmission. It is also more likely to last longer, being a simple piece of mechanical equipment. And it gives the driver more control over the car – as well as makes the car more fun to drive.

Especially if it hasn’t got much engine.

You’ll get better gas mileage, too. Don’t believe what they tell you about how “efficient” automatics are. They test well – that’s all.

Diesels are capable of hybrid-electric fuel economy – without the hybrid-electric drivetrain. Without the cost of the hybrid-electric drivetrain. Which cost largely effaces the hybrid-electric’s fuel savings.

So why can’t you find a diesel-engined crossover anymore (the last one was the Chevy Equinox) and why is it almost impossible to find a manual transmission in a crossover? It’s not because diesels are “dirty”- or because automatics are more efficient. It’s because diesels aren’t quite zero emissions – at least, that’s the excuse proffered – and manuals don’t test as well.

The car companies must comply with near-zero “emissions” regs, even if it would be better for the “environment” if more people drove 50 MPG diesel-powered vehicles than 35 MPG gas-engined ones. And it helps them comply with the latest gas mileage requirements to program an automatic to achieve higher numbers on the test that is used to rate a vehicle’s gas mileage – even f t doesn’t actually deliver that mileage in real world driving.

Even if a properly driven manual delivers better mileage in real-world driving.

In other words, it’s a game – and we’re the losers, every time.

. . .

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  1. Can an electric vehicle be linked with a manual transmission? Do electric vehicles need any type of transmission in the first place? Just a question.

    • Most have a gearbox but because electric motors have mostly linear torque curves there’s no need to change gears to keep them in a peak rev range or anything like that. Back when people were converting small Japanese pickups they’d leave the transmission in place but leave it in 2nd gear in the city and third for the highway.

      • RK: most electric motors have a liniar torque curve, but they have a limited rpm range. Full throttle at low rpms overheats them, and they dont spin as efficiently at high rpms. By leaving the 5speed functional you can get the extra torque multiplication of 1st gear, and the lower rpms for cruising in 5th. Especially if you like to exceed 60 mph.

    • Yes. And electric motors work better with manual gearboxes. Manufacturers use single speeds cause its good enough. it used to be fairly common to pull out the ice engine of random economy cars and install an electric motor, heavy duty suspension and 1000# of golf cart batteries. Ive seen such vehicles on Craigslist usually with 5-10 miles of range left cause the batteries were old and they could no longer afford the toy.

      With recent advances in motors, controllers and batteries, its actually pretty affordable to convert a broken econobox into a short range high power light weight toy.

    • There was a Honda, I can’t remember if it was hybrid or electric, that had one. I think it was only available for a couple years though.

    • The answer is yes.
      One of the cheap ways to an EV conversion is to use an MT. It allows for a cheaper electric motor to be used.
      There’s one such build on “Rich Rebuilds” Youtube channel

  2. I got a crosstrek manual based on an Eric review. I like it! Its peppy enough and I throttle that little engine to more than keep up with traffic. Sadly I read that 2022 is the last year the manual will be offered. And oh – you can’t get a manual with the stronger engoine or a factory sunroof. Still one of my all time favorite cars. Great visibility especially compared to the cavelike interiors of other brands and no nanny tech besides the seat belt chime. I imagine the new version coming out will be ruined.

    • I ordered a manual crosstrek. Wanted to like it but it was too slow, and had too many nanny features. The crosstrek sport is better even tho its cvt, cause it has adequate power. I got a wrx but its too low for dirt roads. Modern cars are very disappointing

  3. I’ve had a RAV4 V6 for 8 years now ,and i’m never ceased to be amazed at how fast it is. Even after owning a good share of powerful cars ,and motorcycles over my lifetime
    It’s getting up there in miles now,but I plan on running it as long as I can.Especially,considering you can’t get anything like it these days.

    • Keep it, Rules!

      Well worth the cost of doing so – which shouldn’t be much as these things are anvil-like. My GF has a RAV4 with a manual (but not the V6). She can drive. It’s one of the reasons I dig her!

    • Have you considered an an engine and/or transmission rebuild when the time comes?

      I had a friend who messed up his RAV4 but he had a rarer 2 door and was amazed at how much value the vehicle had despite being a non-running vehicle when he let it go.

      If I were in your shoes, I’d be looking at all the ways to keep it.

      • Hi Jump,

        One of the many great thing about RAVS is there are so many. Yes, most came with automatics from the factory. But the bodies are identical and drivetrains can be interchanged. If I had a rotted out RAV with the V6/manual (or just the manual) I’d find and buy a sound used body as transfer the guts.

  4. Eric, regarding your remark on the latest Bryan Hyde shoe, “somehow these bureaucrats got this power”. They got it from the legislature, by the legislation stipulating that this or that or these bureaus had this authority to create these regulations to facilitate enforcement of the legislation. Even though the bureaus find no restraint from imposing regulations that have little to do with the legislation, and so they put forth what they please.
    Regarding automatic transmissions doing better on the test than in the real world, it harkens back to the “no child left behind” dictate, which forced teaching to the test rather than educating. Which is what almost put Volkswagen out of business. By creating a vehicle specifically designed to pass the test, with disregard how it performed in the real world.

    • Hi John,

      Yup. One of the many necessary reforms on the road back to some degree of sanity – sensibility – is that lawmakers and lawmakers only make laws. That it be unlawful to delegate legislative power – which is what the power to regulate is – to unelected bureaucrats who cannot be effectively held accountable for the abuses they commit.

      • As far as I know, it’s illegal NOW, since the Constitution does not grant any branch authority to delegate its powers, which is exactly what this is, the delegation of legislative authority to the executive branch. Of course its also illegal for the legislature to delegate authority to “coin money and regulate the value thereof” to a private bank.

        • One would think, but no. As recently as IIRC 2019 SCOTUS has said ‘Auer Deference’ is in place. see also ‘Chevron Doctrine’. It’s the world we live in when agencies have this much power.
          note: topic comes up in the firearms community often.

          • Hi Manse,

            Yup; but it’s still an abdication of the legislative duty as specified in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is constantly making up new “law” – and contravening the law. Many examples of this but the most obvious and most egregious of them is probably the “compelling state interest”
            in curtailing the clear prohibition in the Fourth Amendment against warrantless/unreasonable searches. It is impossible to conceive of anything more unreasonable than searching random groups of people without even the pretense of probable cause – as at so-called sobriety/safety “checkpoints.”

            • Agree completely. This nation of people have allowed the elected leaders and judiciary to view the Constitution through a quantum window. It’s only in effect when they say so or need to control people and steal. In other news, I mounted a Warn 12 and new bumper. Kids today don’t understand the pure joy of wrenching. Maybe if more did it we wouldn’t all the crime. sigh.

            • “It is impossible to conceive of anything more unreasonable than searching random groups of people without even the pretense of probable cause – as at so-called sobriety/safety “checkpoints.””

              Remember what happened in Bahston after the marathon? That wasn’t random groups at a checkpoint, it was rolling armored vehicles and searching every home. No need to get in the cahr to have your rights taken under the guise of “safety”.

              • Replying to myself with a second thought:

                Anyone remember the movie Heat? The LA shootout scene supposedly inspired the North Hollywood shootout that left law enforcement “under armed” and scrambling to the gun shops to be able to fight back. I believe this was a false flag operation to justify the militarization of the police.

                Boston bombing was a false flag to justify home-to-home searches in clear violation of the fourth amendment.

                I’m pretty big into military firearms and more importantly the history of firearms and their effect on historical outcomes. History may be written by the victors’ pen, but in reality, it is made with the gun. I don’t wanna sound like an armchair commando, but if I were a LEO in LA during the shootout, all I would have needed was an old Winchester 30-30 and a safe spot to take “the shot”. But this event was used to justify armored vehicles and AR-15s (which are/were under powered for the body armor the perps had.) as necessary components to continue to “keep the peace”.

                After Boston, armored vehicles and AR-15s (and M16s/M4s, and I’m willing to bet a lot of HK MP5s) were turned against the citizenry, as the government had intended all along.

                • Indeed, Jump –

                  The Boston thing also gave us the first “lockdowns” of the civilian/adult population. I cringed when it was happening because I knew it was a test-precedent. I understood that if the innocent people of Boston submitted to this – to being ordered, without any legal basis, to “shelter in place” with their homes – that the creatures who run the broader government would also understand the significance. Would be emboldened to use the same tactic again, in broader contexts.

                  No one complies their way out of tyranny. They get the tyranny they submit to.

              • Indeed,

                It was one of those “exigent circumstances” things. But grossly abused. It’s one thing for cops to be hot on the trail of a dangerous person, see him enter a premises – and then follow. I do not say I approve of this. But there is at least some arguable basis for it. But randomly entering homes at will? Just because they’re there – and the person they are after could conceivably gone into any of the homes on a street or in a neighborhood? As far as I am concerned, such an outrage entitles the homeowner to defend their homes – and any action to harm those who do defend them as criminal assault/attempted/actual murder and so on.

    • Re: teaching to the test
      That reminds me of a story.
      My kid was in middle school and the teachers leading up to the ‘test’ went bonkers. Literally making kids cry, etc….
      I told my kid, this is about them not you. Stand up for your peers and let them all know it, the truth. He did, they tried to call him out, but they couldn’t cause they needed his high scores.
      hahaha. Obviously, the Principle found out about it, but sided with the kid. Changed the whole dynamic at that school. Little win.

  5. Remember when I was with my ex going to and from Pittsburgh for the day how it’d be better if it were a manual hatchback instead

    In the future, someone should make a niche brand that sells whatever the limit is minus 1 of manual diesel crossovers to avoid all the reqs that Uncle would put them through, be a quasi-boutique brand that would really change the convo, no matter what Uncle says

      • If I had the $$$, I’d create such a brand that skirted the regulatory #’s, so I can create muscle cars and stuff the way they should be, rather than what Uncle demands.

        Pipedream for the future

      • Exactly, but “Semi-street legal” where if they went over a certain amount made then they’d be subjected to all the rules and regs everyone else is, so if they wanna make a Trans AM clone with a Tremec and LS/Big Block and its 50k+ is the max they make, they make 49k so they still are niche enough to work for those who want it, but also not at risk and stuff.

        Anyone do anything like that?

  6. If only they still made station wagons, the ideal mashup of car and cargo capacity. Wish I had an early 70’s Plymouth wagon that had the tailgate that could swing open like a door or lie flat like a traditional tailgate.

    • I think the last holdouts were the VW jetta sportwagen, or the VW golf all-trac. The Subaru outback is the most “wagony” of anything left. It started off as a wagon, back in the day. I have a 14 jetta sporwagen, and its a great car. Lots of room and good mpg’s, considering how big the car is. (2.5L five cyl and 5-sp manual)

        • There goes speed demon Eric bragging again.
          A bad influence on readers of his blog.
          Good drivers never scare passengers.
          If you want to drive 147mph, go on a test track, and do not carry passengers. Shame on you.

          • Richard,

            Why do you insist on styling it “bragging”? I merely stated what I did with the car. My (ex) father-in-law is a very timid guy who also had difficulty keeping his car in its travel lane, tailgated regularly… but like many such people had a strange dread of “speed.”

            There is an almost cultic obsession with “speed.” As if that and that alone were synonymous with “safe” driving. Of course, there is no standard for “speed” – just arbitrary numbers posted on signs. Brock Yates pummeled the speed myth with his original Cannonball Run. Average speed – about 100 MPH. No accidents. No one harmed. Why? Because “speed” under the control of a competent driver is not a problem. Incompetent driving is, however, a big problem.

            I find that people obsessed with “speed’ are usually not high-skill drivers. It makes perfect sense to me.

            PS: I’ve ridden my sport bike well over 170 on empty stretches of road, too.

            • Driving 147mph and scaring your passenger is not the mark of a good driver.

              Anyone with sense knows that.

              Apparently not you.

              The same applies to driving 170mph on a motorcycle.

              Your excuses are lame.

              By merely mentioning the incidents, you are influencing other drivers with lower driving skills, who admire your website, vehicle tests, and discussions of automobiles.

              Perhaps readers who came here with common sense will admire “cool” Eric, who ignores speed limit laws, and apparently the normal speed of the flow of traffic because he likes fast.
              Unless you want to claim the flow of traffic was 145mph when you were in that SUV, and 170mph when you were on a motorcycle.

              You freely write about breaking speed limit laws. I complained about that because it served no purpose.

              Now you brag about exceeding speed limits by HUGE margins.

              You obviously could not care less that you WILL negatively influence readers who admire you. I’m not one of them.

              Only a total loser would brag about driving 145mph and 170mph on a public forum, thinking it makes himself sound cool.

              145mph scaring your passenger, a relative, and 170mph on a motorcycle, are not cool — they are the reckless behavior of a fool. Who makes libertarians look bad –because the freedom to do reckless driving does NOT mean bragging about it and influencing others is a good idea.

              I assume my final comment here will not be published, but it is only intended for one person.

              • Richard,

                I don’t really care what your opinion of a “good driver” is. I stand on my record of zero accidents over several decades of driving hundreds (probably thousands, all told) of new cars of all types, ranging from basic economy cars to 200-plus MPH hypercars. You are clearly one of those myopic, speed-obsessed people who regards anyone who drives faster than they think “safe” to be “unsafe.” It’s a silly – a simplistic – association.

                Let me hip you to one example that proves my point. On the German autobahns, it is routine for cars to operate at hugely varying speeds. A Porsche runs 180 along with a Peugot doing 80. Both drivers use their mirrors and maintain situational awareness. The slower driver does not squat in the overtaking/high speed lane. He yields/gets out of the way before the Porsche overtakes.

                People like you freak out because the Porsche is doing 180. Because you think 180 (or 140 or even 80) is “too fast,” according to some completely arbitrary metric. Such as your comfort level with a given speed. Which you believe ought to be imposed generally.

                It’s so tiresome dealing with mentalities such as yours.

                You then go on to do what every control freak collectivist does – blame me for what someone else may do. Unlike you, I consider other people to be responsible for what they do – just as I (and I alone) am responsible for what I do. There is no overlap there. It demeans others to impute their actions to others – and it is an abuse of others to heap blame upon them for the actions of others.

                By your standard, Brock Yates and Dan Gurney are also “fools” and “reckless”for driving across the country in less than 35 hours at an average speed of 100 MPH. You’re in no position to shine either man’s shoes.

                • Eric: anyone who drives slower than me is a dangerous obstacle, anyone who drives faster is insane, anyone driving the same speed is stalking me. Econobox drivers are poor slobs, suvs and trucks are to compensate for small dicks. Truely the only reasonable people drive hatchbacks at 10 to 20 mph over the limit, no other drivers should be allowed on the road. Vans are unnecessary, cause you shouldn’t have more than 3 kids, and you shouldn’t camp cause there are hotels.

                  Jk. That seems to be a common mindset.

                  • Yup!

                    You’ve neatly summarized the habit so many Americans have of expecting – demanding – uniformity, according to their own completely arbitrary standard.

          • Bragging? No way.
            ‘Shame on you’? hahahahah……
            I guess individualism is lost on a lot of us. I’m sure if his FIL said let me out he would have obliged.
            I like John’s answer too. We call it a test.
            Is this bragging?:
            I regular did 160+ next to other bikes doing the same thing, each trying to beat each other (on a race track). Scared the crap out of ME. The problem for me was when you were doing that, it was like 45 seconds of doing relatively nothing on the daytona high banks (with concrete walls next to you while you were turning), so you had to try hard to keep focus. Didn’t work most of the time with thoughts like “I hope that valve keeper was put in right, etc…..”

  7. My wife’s Kia Sportage is woefully underpowered despite its small stature. Most annoying, though, is the stupid computer will reset recirculating air to drawing outside air. It’s a known complaint in the Kia community. I’m sick of the nannies in every facet of my life.

    • Ditto, Mike –

      While new cars have many virtues, they are peremptorily nannying/controlling. It’s hugely aggravating to have to deal with a car that vies for control of itself with you. The problem is the de facto standardization of all of this retard-proofing – the “assistance technology,” as it’s styled. I have no problem with it being available for the retards who need it. But I cannot abide it being forced on all of us.

      • I remember driving home a newly purchased 08 MX5 that had a thing called DTS (Dynamic Traction and Stability control). I had no idea what it did, which if left on attempted to “correct” your driving. Upon pushing it through a curve on two lane blacktop, it started acting a bit squirrelly. Which is not a good thing while anywhere near the limit. I got home and read the manual, and realized it was trying to correct my intent to have a tiny bit of drift on the rear wheels.

        • My wrx came with a “hill assist” i didnt realize how it worked, my car kept stalling out randomly including at flat intersections which was embarrassing and scary. You turn the car back on asap and dump the clutch at high rpms to get going again. Turns out that you can turn off that feature, and I havent stalled or launched hard since then.

        • The worst car I ever drove was a 2008 toyota highlander. After gerring fairly comfy and confident with my rental car, I tried turning onto a rainy highway at 50% throttle. One wheel slipped a tiny bit The dashboard lit up, chimes went off and It completely turned off engine power for a second. Nearly got hit. Then I went on a dirt road and it kept flashing and beeping and cutting power. Absolute pos.

          • One issue with “stability control” is that if you drive on gravel roads much at all, the thing is constantly adjusting throttle, and BRAKING, independently, on all four wheels. Several years ago, I noticed a lot of the cars in the parking lot at work had a rather heavy coating of brake dust on their wheels. After driving a car that had stability control for a while, so did I.

      • And funny thing is: The names of these features are all opposite of what they actually do! Take “Traction Control” for instance. When it engages, it simply cuts the throttle as to remove power applied to the (slipping) wheels. Well, I don’t know about you, but in the snow, I’ll take a little slippage with a little bit of forward motion anytime! Especially, over complete grip (that will never come) as if the snow wasn’t there! Now, to be fair, I judge the “Traction Control” to be of use with wet roads, or hitting the puddle.

        My truck has “pre collision assist” or some such thing. First level of engagement is flashing the entire instrument panel red. Second level is automatic braking. Sorry, but I certainly require no “assistance” to get into a “pre collision” situation!

        Same with anti-lock brakes: I know how to not lock up my brakes, thank you very much.

        • Amen, Tom!

          “Assistance” is itself a hugely insulting term. What competent person is in need of all this “assistance”?

          One that especially gets my goat is when they style a driver usurpation measure as being “pro” of some kind… a “pro” who is too much of an amateur to handle anything himself.

        • All this excessive safetyism creates the exact opposite effect. Back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I was a SCUBA diver. At that time there were two kinds of tank valves, a K, and a J. The J valve had a built in 300 psi “reserve” limit. If your tank hit 300 psi, the valve would cut off your air until you released your 300 psi reserve. I never used a J valve. My thinking it would be much better, and safer, to keep a close eye on your tank pressure gauge.

          • Hi John,

            I’m seriously considering ground school as the first step toward acquiring my private pilot’s license. I am trepidatious about the degree of Safetyism I will encounter but am hoping people who fly are serious people and not like the people I have to deal with on the road!

            • Do it, good experience and knowledge set to have. It will definitely get your mental skills sharpened up.

              Several pilot friends they are smart folks, one retired professional one private with his own plane. I’ve gone up several times liken it to motorcycling in the air! Same idea re: you best pay attention every minute or else …

            • I went through that a few years ago. Most pilots I spoke with recommended I do it, except for my eye doctor and an instructor. They both recommended getting a flight simulator and spending a few months getting used to it. Don’t just play, actually do the whole thing from engine start to park, with ATC and flying in the patterns. If you’re still interested and have an extra $8000 (sport rating) to $15,000 (IFR), and a few years to dedicate to the task.

              Now, if you can find a reason to fly for your business, that’s a whole different story. One reason why doctors and lawyers are pilots is because they can do some work at rural towns and somehow deduct the flight costs.


              • Hi RK,

                I can’t afford an airplane – but I like the idea of knowing I could fly one! That’s the main thing. Though the idea of possessing something like a Piper Aztec of Beech Baron does get me a little excited…

                • Those prices are for learning, not owning an airplane. Stick time costs, instructor time costs, fuel costs, everything costs. Owning a plane adds certification and mandatory maintenance costs, which must be done by certified mechanics (although I’m sure there are people who will sign off on the work you might do), using certified parts. You can find many bargains for GA aircraft that are in good shape but are in need of mandatory maintenance. The FAA keeps all that stuff locked down tight, justified by safety and insurance requirements. Can’t say I disagree with the intent, but it seems to me the risk of using a defective part is greater than any fine imposed by Uncle.

                  One thing that can reduce your costs is to find a local school with a simulator. Aspen School District has one that’s open to the public after school hours, for example. I doubt you’ll find one in the woods though.

            • I’ve thought of such most of my life. Have two brothers who are pilots, one professional (carrier pilot, retired) and one private. They even bought me pilots school, which I turned down.
              My reasoning was I pushed machines and my body most of my life on every darn thing I could. I can’t explain it, but I even do it on my stupid farm tractor. Always to the limits, with many bad results. I think I realized that I would do the same thing in a plane. Don’t trust my natural instincts.
              Even as i have aged, and have calmed down a lot, I will never be a pilot.
              If you do similar things, think long and hard about piloting.

              • Hi Chris,

                I have that same design flaw! However, I’m older and calmer now and think I could handle it as I am a pretty meticulous and OCD person when it comes to machinery. I respect the power/capability. I am going to do this – provided one thing, which I have yet to ascertain. If the flight school requires Diapers, I will never get my wings.

                • I’m sure you realize this already, however, mistakes on a bike/car you almost always walk away from with calculated risks. Not so in a plane, especially the little crappy 100mph units you most likely would be flying.
                  My hornet pilot bro built a harmon rocket, fast experimental, and he says he wouldn’t fly a crappy cessna, etc.. if you paid him. They are most dangerous at takeoff, according to him, they just don’t have a good climb rate, again according to him.
                  I might be able to get you a ride in the harmon rocket if you’re interested. But be careful what you wish for, he makes ya wear a parachute. However, i would, and have, trusted him with my life.

                  • Hi Chris,

                    Much respect to your Hornet pilot bro. Anyone who achieves that level of proficiency is operating at an olympian level. I have an older friend who flew F4s during the Vietnam era. A soft-spoken dude whose skill I have always been in awe of.

                    • Thanks Eric. Is my younger bro who took over my dreams of doing it myself (bad eyes did me in). What those guys went through starting from the Academy (most of them) is truly amazing. Their craft is second to no one (that I can think of). They endured much with a lot of fallen friends as well. I too have the utmost respect for them, especially combat vets. Makes me tear up thinking about all the truly amazing stories, good and bad, I’ve heard.

            • Eric

              1980’s & 90’s Private pilot, Insturment Rated 2000+hours. Owned two airplanes, Mooney and Meyers 200D. Government nanny in “most” cockpits.
              Its called ADS B. In my opinion the best way to get started is with an aero club. Good way to save
              a little money and meet other enthusiasts.

      • I hear you! And auto updating the nanny controls. I am still aggravated with my 2020 3 series for auto updating all assists to engage each time the car is started. I undo them manually before setting off. Even the bmw dealership could not find a way to undo that. Makes you wonder what the heck your car is gonna to to you the next day. I am becoming seriously jealous of older cars on the road these days.

  8. Manufacturers can’t take a chance anymore. There are “too many” and no one has a large market share. An investor will take a chance on Tesla becuase Elon is so great at guerrilla marketing and cracked the code for acquiring government graft. They won’t take a chance on Ford or GM straying too far from their wheelhouse, especially when it comes to marketing to women drivers.

    Way back, when the big 3 were the only game in town, they could take on the risk of an Edsel. Or a Corvair. Because if you were a GM buyer, you were going to buy something from General Motors, it didn’t matter what. And if consumers got an exotic lemon they only had to live with it for two years or so and then went back to the tried and true. And in the long run, maybe some of that radical stuff in the Corvair found its way into the normal production line too.

  9. ‘the possibility of being able to do more than tap and swipe – and try to keep from falling asleep ‘ — eric

    Driving my gf’s 4-cylinder Nissan Rogue crossover, with its CVT transmission, is a real snooze compared to my first-generation RAV4 with 5-speed manual.

    The Rogue requires brake taps on long mountain down grades that the RAV4 easily manages with engine braking alone. On one such long grade (Slate Creek on Hwy 87), the Rogue blew a rear tire with a bang — the only moment of excitement the Rogue has ever afforded us.

    They’ll have to peel my manual shift vehicles from muh cold, dead hands …


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