Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Kiss 'n' Tell

So, I haven't been posting much lately--mostly I've been too busy making out with my new Prius. You know how it is, when you first fall in love, and you can't think about anything but the one you are totally crushing on? Yup. It's like that.

Do you think it's cheap to sleep together after the third date? Because I'm totally having the Prius' babies. Think how cute a baby Prius would be! Kind of like a Miata, with better gas mileage.

The touch screen in the center of the dashboard operates just about everything except the brake pedal, and it won't get you a Diet Coke, but short of that, it's amazing. Kind of like an iPhone, only bigger, and you can drive it. It takes voice commands for phone calls, gives incredibly useful driving directions--better than Google maps, or even your own husband/wife. Too bad Amelia Earhart didn't have a Prius navigator along instead of Fred Noonan, know what I'm saying?

I've had the car for a couple of weeks now, and I'm finally starting to notice a few things that are less than optimal. Some things are probably not included to cut down on the weight and improve the gas mileage, so I don't begrudge those--things like motorized seat adjustments, for example. It doesn't come with all the DVD screens and cup holders and skee ball lanes you can get on the minivans these days--it's a "family car" potentially, but not really a "mom car"--you'd never get the entire soccer team in it, for example. It supposedly seats five, although the middle back seat is pretty slim.

A major improvement (other than the gas mileage) over my last vehicle is that the Prius has an auxiliary jack in the center console between the two front seats, as well as a 12 volt outlet (what used to be known in the quaint old days as a "cigarette lighter"). This allows me to plug in the iPod directly to the stereo system, avoiding the hassle of finding unused FM frequencies. With the purchase of a nifty little "car kit" from Belkin, the iPod plugs into the outlet, and the audio jack runs from the charger to the auxiliary jack, which produces better sound than plugging in through the headphone jack. The downside? The iPod can't be controlled through the stereo controls, so you have to manually change playlists, albums, whatever. This can apparently be addressed through the addition of an aftermarket item, but shouldn't it be standard? If satellite radio capability is standard, can't they do the same for my iPod?

Another minor stereo glitch is the way that it posts information from radio stations. The audio screen shows six (pre-set) stations--the one actually playing is highlighted, and shows the name of the band and the song--more or less. There are only a limited number of characters visible at any time, which means that you have to watch for a significant amount of time to get all the information. Distracting much?

There is a "message" option, where a separate screen shows the station, band and song in an easy to read format, with no odd broken lines, no time delay to scroll. BUT! The message screen DOES NOT work while the car is in motion.

The other glitch is that once you change stations, the last bit of message remains on the screen--posting old data about what WAS on the LAST time you tuned in to that station. So I was driving around with "FOGHAT" staring at me--which I assure you I did not actually listen to.

Every day it seems I learn something new that the car can do, or else there is something new I can customize. I turned off the annoying reverse beep, programmed in my default destination for the GPS navigation, enabled Bluetooth for my cell phone and entered my four most frequently called numbers.

So, I'm off to see what else I can do with it. It's like a really good boyfriend--it's perfect, AND it can change!

1 comment:

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