We love Mickey Kaus of Slate's take on automobiles. It's a refreshing breath of occasionally-odd, rational, literate writing about cars from an everyman's perspective. However, we're a tad worried about ol' Mick's eyes; he seems to think the Subaru B9 Tribeca is a supremely attractive vehicle. While we don't mind Subie's corporate nose on the Impreza, all of us here at Jalopnik are completely nonplussed by the aesthetic appeal of the atrocity gracing the faux-edgy blob of Fuji Heavy Industries' mom-mobile.
While Kaus admits he's not exactly thrilled by the Tribeca (although he likes it more than the Honda Element and Mazda 3), he discovers that things get a lot more fun with the transmission in sport mode and the traction control switched off, bringing him to the most interesting revelation of the article, namely that there are now four types of drivers:
[The] Four Levels of Stability Control, in order of ascending driver speed and skill:
Level One: Driver doesn't care about going fast because driver doesn't care about driving. Might as well let a computer prevent any dangerous loss of traction. Turn stability control ON.
Level Two: Driver cares about driving and road feel, but not about speed. Doesn't drive fast enough for wheels to lose traction. Turns stability control OFF for aesthetic reasons.
Level Three: Driver drives fast fast enough for wheels to slip. Turns stability control ON to help him around the corners faster.
Level Four: Driver is so highly skilled he wants the tires to slip, in order to produce the entertaining high-speed drifts he knows how to control. Turns stability control OFF.
While we'll generally agree with the Mickster on those tenets, we also tend to like to leave the electronic nanny on in the rain; especially while driving high-powered vehicles with touchy throttle tip-in. The above saving throw with the 20-sided die restored our faith in Kaus' ability to write outside the auto-industry norm, but we still think he oughta get his vision prescription checked (does WaPoCo do medical and dental for bloggers?). [Thanks to CTE, who swears he'll update his blog at lunch today, for the tip.]
Pushing Subaru's Buttons [Slate]
The Truth? You Can't Handle the Truth: Jalopnik Reviewer Makes Waves in SF [Internal]