June 04, 2010
I ran a comparison of the several headroom specifications, and it looks like the number is not as meaningless as I thought... Behold (inches):
Toyota FJ Cruiser : 41.3: - I fit comfortably
Toyota RAV4 (3Gen) : 40.8 - I fit ok
Toyota Yaris (3D) : 39.4 - I fit barely
Lexus IS : 37.2 - I am unable to fit no matter what I try, and I tried hard and long (moonroof is mandatory on IS).
Lexus HS : 38.0 - I am unable to fit.
What we see here is that in general these figures give us a rough idea of what to expect, although the number for the HS is a lie, according to my experience: it is not easier on my neck than IS at all. Perhaps some creative accounting was involved.
Just for kicks I went and checked the spec for Mercedes C300: 37.1, BMW 128i: 37.9, Infinity G37: 37.7. The is no hope. I am destined to be confined to SUVs forever. On the other hand, Yaris?
UPDATE: Kazriko pointed me to the database at theautochannel.com that permits to sort by headroom (within a body style, but sedans include Fit). If we discard the cars in which I would not want to be caught dead and too freaking expensive ones, we get:
Honda Accord : 41.4
Infinity G37 sedan : 40.5
Infinity G37 coupe : 39.4
Mitsu Lancer Evo : 40.6
Nissan Sentra : 40.6
Nissan Altima : 40.6
Honda Fit : 40.4
MINI (no sunroof) : 38.8
The winner is clearly G37, because it seems like they make one without a sunroof (unlike Lexus, Benz, and BMW -- for shame, guys). The one I listed above is probably a sunroof model. That is of course only if we discard Accord for being HUEG, which appears to be the right kind of big. I remember testing them and being suitably impressed. I tested Fit too, and it's really nice, terrific actually.
Now, Nissan also has a few consumer cars that I forgot about. Poor Nissan, nobody likes you. Although strange, where is the Z? Or non-Evo Lancer, for that matter. And finally, MINI's number is suspiciously low, but I know that I can fit in it, although as tight as in Yaris. But perhaps it was my sheer willpower and self-delusion.
June 01, 2010
Today I drove a loaner HS400h, the Prius-based Lexus. The main impression is, everything is crazily electronic. Also, driving it is what I imagine driving a Yurikamome train would be like (except that of course Yurikamome is computer-controlled and has no engineer). Especially the whine when braking really is cute. Did I say that Yaris was a car for weaboos? Well, this is the car for weaboos with too much money. Unfortunately, I am so used to a real car, that driving Prixus leaves me unimpressed.
The biggest issue for me is the same as usual: despite being taller than the IS, HS miraclously remains equally constrained in the headroom. I had to drive it while tilting my head or bending like an earthworm all the time. This is all the more galling givin how it's not just taller than IS, but also wider. It is a massive car.
That aside, the computer UI offers an amazing innovation: mouse cursor. That's right, things we take for granted since 1984 Mac finally were recognized by automakers (well, an automaker). In every car I tested this far -- BMW, Lexus, Infinity, etc. -- they went to crazy lengths to design a UI that was different from the computer one. I suspect the influence of PhDs who spent their baren careers in futile attempts to improve upon the cursor. Well, no more: HS offers a mouse, at freaking last.
The controller is similar to Thinkpad's nipple, but it's so much easier to use, there's just no comparison. I hate the blasted nipple, because I cannot control it precisely enough to point. But HS' "nipple" is big and has a long travel at each axis, so it's convenient and pleasant.
But there must always be a fly in the honey. Computers being computers (or underpaid programming monkeys to whom Toyota outsourced the programming being what they are), I stepped on a bug within 10 minutes of taking the keys. The Miku Hatsune MP3s that I downloaded from Amazon won't play. The system shows the filename, but cannot read the tag and skips them. Brilliant, Toyota. My $110 radio in RAV4 plays them just fine!
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