Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lileks' New Car


James Lileks just bought a new car - a Honda Element. I know this model is popular, and I do find it aesthetically attractive, but I think it's a pretty dumb car to buy, especially for a guy with a family. Here are some points against the Element:

Suicide Doors - The rear doors of the Element open backwards instead of forwards. They're called "suicide" doors because if a car strikes the door from behind (sideswipes you) when you're standing in the doorway, the door will crush you instead of just tearing off away from you.

Seatbelts - In order for the rear door to open, the front passenger has to open their door, which also means taking off their seatbelt, since the seatbelt is connected to the door. This strikes me as really dumb in general, but especially if you have a little kid who probably has to be dropped off a lot.

Seating - The Element only seats 4. The rear seats are individual buckets like the front, so you can never put a third person in the middle anywhere.

I don't know. I can see how it's a cute and functional car for young people, but it just doesn't make sense as a family vehicle to me. Maybe this is Lileks' fun car and they have a minivan too or something.

8 comments:

sally said...

I don't understand the purpose of the suicide doors. Is it so that you can open the front and back door to create a space large enough to get a full-grown grizzly bear into the back of your car or what?

Tam said...

I think that's more or less it, yeah. I think there's no pillar between the doors.

Debbie said...

I don't get the name. I could see "killer doors," but how are you going to kill yourself with this design? Drive the other car into your door using remote control?

Tam said...

I guess the idea is not that you commit suicide using the doors, but that you'd have to be suicidal to buy such a thing.

Debbie said...

So you're just asking for death. Like people who dress provocatively are asking to be raped. No, I still think the term should be "killer doors." Or "doors of death."

Tam said...

OK, but just remember: Doors don't kill people. People kill people.

sally said...

I propose "doors for people with 7 repeats in the DRD4 gene and/or who regularly transport grizzly bears in their car" for simplicity.

rvman said...

I think they were called suicide doors because you could open them while the car is going fast - regular doors just blow back shut. So you could, if you wished, jump out at high speed. (This was with 'suicide doors' which weren't locked down by the front door.)

I suppose the blocked suicide doors are good for keeping a back-seat kid in (she can't open the door without the front also being opened). The 'grizzly' sized opening also allows for loading big strollers, kiddy car seats, that sort of thing. But yeah, it isn't much on the family functionality. It certainly gets you out of carpool to the soccer game.