Sunday, May 25, 2008

Safety & Gender-Sensitivity: The Path To My First Car, Part 2

Many car makes and models speed across my mind. From reliable Toyota, I fancy the ruggedly handsome FJ Cruiser, the versatile RAV4, the classy Camry and the groundbreaking Prius. Its close rival Honda has the sleek Civic and the equally versatile CRV.

Audi comes across as something new to crave :-). The thought of having a car from a (German) company whose products are not as mass-manufactured and ubiquitous as Japanese companies’ is enticing. Plus, I dig its insignia which looks like a double infinity or olympic rings.

Subaru is a relatively novel Japanese car company and is quite a practical alternative if chosen based on unit prices and fuel economy. I have also gotten wind of several first-hand attestations to a Subaru's comfort and ease of driving.

BMW and Mercedes Benz are also considerations, but mainly because these are embodiments of German auto engineering. I doubt these will stay long in my list considering the high cost of ownership and maintenance, despite BMW's offer of no maintenance cost for 4 years or 50,000 miles. The elevation in social status that comes with driving either is currently not essential to my existence.

The one factor I deem MOST IMPORTANT is SAFETY, so I look for ABS (anti-lock brake system), airbags in crucial locations, impressive road & crash test results, VSC (vehicle stability control), etc. Most car companies have the first three as standard features, VSC is often optional. In that respect it's only a matter of optimizing one's choices.

During my search I chanced upon a group that keeps track of which auto companies are gay-friendly and which ones are not. According to Gaywheels, a gay-friendly company offers domestic-partner benefits to their GLBT employees. I was baffled to see Honda and Acura on the unfriendly list. Hyundai, Kia and Suzuki were also mentioned but I couldn’t care less. In a matter of principle, Honda was off my list.

There are many deliberations as I go about my search for the car perfect for my lifestyle, comfort level, principle, need and taste. Will it be a sedan or an SUV? Japanese, German, or American (to help the economy, I thought)? Tried and tested or avant garde? Brand new or second hand? Regular fuel or alternative energy?

Between a sedan and an SUV, I’ve been swerving towards the latter owing to my preference to get on a car by scooting up instead of scooting down; I like the feel of a seat much more elevated from the ground. I also believe a raised seat will allow a better view of the road. But I discovered it only felt that way. Several driving lessons on a sedan afforded me an equally competent view of the road.

Safety-wise, rollover probability is less likely in a sedan because of an SUV's large base center. A sedan is also more financially attainable than an SUV, considering not just the unit’s price but gasoline expenditure in the long run as well. I'm single with full-time employment in one establishment not requiring travel, therefore I expect to do only light city driving that does not entail a huge amount of cargo for which an SUV will come in handy. Until the need arises and until there's a significant change in my buying power, getting an SUV will have to wait.

For now, the pros of a sedan outweighs the ones of an SUV, and so a gay-friendly sedan it will be!


  1. Pedro, I'm excited as you are to see your first car! But you really know how to build up the suspense huh. Grabee sa research!!! :-D

  2. Ako din 'di ko na mapigilan ang excitement. But at the rate I'm going it's still quite a distance to the finish line. I hope I'm not being overcautious. Nakakapagod manaliksik, pramis. :)