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Robin Writes: Drive big or go home

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 6:24 am

By Robin Garrison Leach

My car is evidently out of style.  I didn’t think so until I began looking around at stoplights and on the highway.

I drive a sedan. It is the shape of cars most of us have owned at one time or another over the last 50 years or so; long front, low roof, long bumper, four doors. It’s the car kindergarteners draw.

It isn’t that old. I still have a warranty on the drive train (whatever that is). My odometer has a sensible, sedan-sized number showing, and my tires still have good tread.

But my car is just that. A car.

Now, every vehicle I see has a different shape than mine. And all of them promise more excitement strictly by virtue of their names.

SUVs have taken over the world. While I was rolling along in my Sonata, enjoying a smooth, sensible ride, the rest of the driving population decided they needed something different.

A SPORT. UTILITY. VEHICLE. A car with a square back and a taller top to project a more progressive traveling experience.

They putt past me in various sizes, but all have given up the sleek, gradual slope of a back bumper. They don’t have a trunk; they have an open area behind the back seats to accommodate their groceries.

It’s not that I don’t like the style of these vehicles. I’ve just never entertained the idea of my needing a utility vehicle. I need my car for driving on pavement. I don’t plan to suddenly scale a mountain or navigate a dusty trail, searching for adventure.

Where are all these drivers going that require a bigger, sturdy block of metal? Is the mileage better? Is the ride smoother? Am I missing something?

The people in the SUVs around me are not outfitted in shades and safari hats. Their arms are not planted akimbo on an open window frame, tan from off-roading. They’re not hauling heavy equipment atop the inevitable hitch on their flat back bumpers.

Most drivers around me look middle-aged, many are toting children. Some are my age, looking cooler and somehow more substantial than I do inside my round car.

They’re sitting higher than I am on their bucket seats, and I wonder if the world looks/feels different up there.

And even though some of these cars are mini or mid-sized, they intimidate me in the way their Lego-like bodies border my turtle-like car on every side.

It’s not just the style of car I’m driving that makes me feel out of fashion in the motoring world. The color of my car clashes with today’s palette.

My Sonata is bright blue. It gleams its vivid primary color and stands out in the sea of dull hues around me.

The SUVs everyone seem to be driving are painted in colors that make my eyes sad. Gray. Black. Dull silver. Midnight blue. persona-bereft white.

Oh, there are occasional flashes of red out there on the road. And even an occasional lime green KIA Soul will flitter past. But when did we strip our vehicles of individuality?

So, here I am, driving my pretty sedan, sitting just inches from the striped highway line, and wondering when my car became so outdated. Do people around me see me as a granny in her jalopy (God love her)?

Now that I see how the driving landscape has changed around me, maybe I need to catch up. I guess it’s time to enjoy this new car-shape experience.

I have a hankering for SPORT. I want the option of UTILITY capabilities. And all that comes in a new VEHICLE.

There’s no way I’m getting a dull color, though. I’d pay good money for a purple SUV.