I have blurry recollection of a small stuffed bear back when I was a tot. It was grey and had a gloomy face — not something you’d call an attractive toy. Neither my sister nor I had great fondness for it. It was always neglected. But it had the great distinction of being a stuffed toy. Stuffed toys are things that no one needs but everyone has.
Over the years I’ve seen many new-parents feel bewildered over their infant’s dislike for several things — stuffed toys included. Those bite-sized humans obviously don’t have any say in the matter so they keep getting more of the stuff.
Some might have some say in some matters though, as I found out a couple of years ago. A couple-friend’s daughter was literally few minutes old when I first held her and we instantly bonded. She is very fond of me — or so I think — and plays with me thinking I’m her age. She’s barely 3-years-and-some. I’m about four decades older.
A great big performance crossover was delivered to me for a review. We were preparing to go meet the same friends and I thought I’d take the silly hippopotamus.
For a really long time, people in this part of the world didn’t understand the use of long polyester straps hung on the side in their cars. It was only after getting fined by traffic authorities that people learned that those straps were called seat-belts and they apparently saved lives. No one wore them for their life-saving attribute though, it was mostly not to get fined.
So it’s no surprise that child-seat and ISOFIX were alien concepts for the longest time.
Anyway, all of us decided to go for a drive and we anchored the child seat in place and the little girl — who was a diaper over one in age at the time — in it. The crossover was worth its weight — a smile under 2.5 tonnes — in worthy horsepowers, all 500+ of them. That made it quite rapid — something that I expected everyone to be impressed by. They weren’t. The adults felt scared; the baby was impassive.
A couple of months later, we decided to visit them again and by sheer luck I had a loaner again for a few days. It wasn’t crazy powerful, but was a reasonably enjoyable sedan.
The same process. Fix the child-seat, drive enthusiastically, scare the adults and look back at the little girl. She was giggling and made funny sounds. I’m not making this up. It was refreshing. I smiled back and drove to the highway-lined coffee shop that we’d set out for.
A child that small doesn’t have biases and that’s a great thing — a great indicator.
I’ve never understood the obsession with maniacal crossovers — the power-soaked, grotesque reflections of their vanilla kind. Driving means you’re going from one place to some place else. For a large percentage of population, it’s merely an exercise. For others, it’s an occasion.
If driving is merely an exercise for you, you don’t need a big-ass crossover with stratospheric power. Trust me. And those for whom it’s an occasion, you don’t have a big-ass crossover with crazy power. I trust you.
And anyway, if you’re trying to go somewhere in a hurry, do it in a fast sedan. It’ll be immensely more enjoyable. If you want crossover-levels of practicality, go for a fast estate car. Personally, I don’t think crossovers are any more practical than estate cars, and the latter look infinitely better. They even have exactly the same badges as the stupid crossovers — AMG, M, RS. Just, they’re more special.
These power-crazed crossovers are like the stuffed toys — no one needs them, but everyone apparently has them. And that needs to change.