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December 30, 2007

New Car

Hey, we bought a new car over the holidays. To figure out which one we bought, you probably only need to know two things about me:

  1. I have four children.
  2. I grew up in Canada, with attendant liberal guilt.

The car is nice; it has all kinds of doodaddery like syncing with my phone via Bluetooth, keyless entry/start, and automatic headlights. Of course it has some annoying software features, in how it deals with lights left on after the engine is turned off, how the radio controls work, and so on. This is the sort of thing where Microsoft would probably make it a configuration option and throw it into the hands of the user. Car manufacturers instead make a choice, I guess based on thinking what would satisfy the most users. Maybe they walk through scenarios like we do and match the design to the requirements that emerge, but I'm still baffled by some of the choices (the most obvious one is supporting the "the reason they left their interior lights on is because they want to drain their battery" scenario which most cars seem to nail, but there's also the "I don't see why somebody would want to be able to see the name of the song that is playing AND have access to their presets on the same screen" decision, some thinking about preventing carjacking during remote engine starts where I don't quite see what situation they were concerned about, and a few other minor ones). Still those are nitpicks, and the car has no more design choices I disagree with than any other recent car I've owner (my first car was a Honda Civic that was so basic that every control was the end result of decades of refinement, so there was nothing I didn't like).

There has been this rumor floating around the Internet that the little gas pump icon on your dashboard indicates, via the side that the nozzle is on, which side of the car your tank is filled from. This is the report from our three cars:

  • My old car: icon nozzle is on the right, tank is on the right.
  • My new car: icon nozzle is on the right, tank is on the left--but next to the icon is an arrow pointing left.
  • The minivan: icon nozzle is on the right, tank is on the left.

So it looks like the rumor is bogus--based on my evidence, it's more likely that the icon nozzle is ALWAYS on the right, and your dashboard may or may not have some way to tell you which side the tank is filled from.

Posted by AdamBa at December 30, 2007 10:52 AM

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I hope the hybrid is working out well. One thing that the American cars we've had always seem to have is the arrow/triangle telling you which side the fuel door is on, whereas our Vibe (which is basically a Toyota) did not. Also, the little lanyard to attach the fuel cap, so that you don't leave it on top of a fuel pump in say, North Dakota...

Posted by: JEB at January 6, 2008 07:58 PM