Test Drive with No Radio

In a serious case of re-spurning, Catherine and Oliver and I went out to Charlottetown Toyota to test drive the new Echo Hatchback this afternoon.

Regular readers may recall that we rented the European version of this car in Spain back in May, and waxed about it.

Fast-forward two months, and what does crazy Steven Garrity do (as briefly revealed here) but take up the gauntlet, and actually go out and lease one.

After a high-level secret meeting of the web intelligensia this afternoon at Cora’s, Steven drove me home in his new Echo and, feeling our street cred sliding away, we had no choice but to test drive ourselves.

Here’s the weird thing: the test drive cars have (a) no radio and (b) no air conditioning.

Now I’m not an expert, but I can tell you that 99% of people, when test driving a car on a hot summer day, will immediately do two things after adjusting the mirrors: crank up the stereo and crank up the A/C. I would imagine, given the Echo’s target market of young rockers, the percentage for the Echo demographic is more like 99.9%.

But because both radio and A/C are “dealer-installed options,” the cars on the lot are barren of these features until post-purchase, and so the car you get to test drive feels like some sort of Government-issue proto-car, stripped of all its toys.

Weird.

Anyway, not in any way to detract from the tiny wonder of a car that is the Echo Hatch (esp. compared to its Sedan brother, which is almost archetypically ugly), we realized that much of our attraction to a tiny perfect car had to do with the tiny perfect life we lived in Spain. We three are a big lot, physically and stuff-wise, and as much as the idea of zipping around town in a fuel efficient dynamo appeals to me, I think we’ll stay committed Jetta owners, at least for a while.

In the meantime, if you see a sleek silver Echo Hatch prowling around Charlottetown, piloted by a gallant young web-buck, give a wave and a nod to Steven. Who knows, he might even offer you a ride home!

Comments

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on August 27, 2003 - 02:25

Update: some photos, and the MP3/CD player is surprisingly good — a clean, simple interface.

Dan James's picture
Dan James on August 27, 2003 - 03:15

I’ll make the sales pitch for Steve as he seems to be too polite too: Anyone wanting to buy a nintey-something dodge spirit that has six cylinders of jaw dropping power and only one hub cap contact Steve, he’s got an extra.

Peter, I did a street cred check this evening. You checked out. Jetta’s are good. Red ones in particular.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on August 27, 2003 - 04:53

Dan, that was a terrific sales pitch. Do I smell a second career in the making??

As for Echos, they don’t really send out that “young rocker” vibe. No offense to you Steve (or anyone else really), but when I see an Echo I think middle aged lady with Winnie the Pooh junk proudly displayed from bumper to bumper. However to your credit I have to say though, the hatchback makes all the difference in the world to that little car. So score one for Steve. YAY!

I also like the ever growing fleet of silver cars these young SOBs seem to be sporting. Who will the brave one to get the orange car to make it all complete?

Alan's picture
Alan on August 27, 2003 - 13:20

Being the soon owner of a red Ford Focus Wagon, I can confirm that small hairdryer-powered cars are exactly “rocker”. The Echo was just too small and the VW too much for our in the city needs — though they are the cars the Lord drives. Careful placement of goofy stickers will make all the difference.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on August 27, 2003 - 13:36

Since my rocker status seems vaguely (put politely) in question — allow me to share the contents of my frist for-Echo MP3 cd:
<ol>
<li>MxPx</li>
<li>Sloan</li>
<li>Copyright</li>
<li>The Watchmen</li>
<li>Pedro the Lion (stolen from my last car)</li>
<li>Moxy Fruvous</li>
<li>Zwan</li>
</ol>

Of course, with the power of MP3/CD — it’s an entire CD (or two, in the case of Pedro the Lion and the Watchmen) per artist, not just a single track.

If you see a silver hatchback Echo driving by, listen closely — you may hear some bad harmonizing with Moxy Fruvous’ Bargainville.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on August 27, 2003 - 16:58

Ok Steve, you’re winning me over a little more on the idea of Echo (not that I need to be won over at all, like who the hell am I to judge). The mp3 cd is good.

It’s just that what it comes to cars, I’m a very hard sell. But Steve, the pics look great, it certaily is a nice looking little car… just keep the Pooh stuff off of it, and you can keep that rocker status. :-)

Jevon's picture
Jevon on August 27, 2003 - 17:13

Glad to see you are still listening to Copyright Steve. I think that was the most agonized-over CD purchase I have ever witnessed. ;)

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