The Perfect Vehicle?
Start You Engines
How many of us are guilty of this? A friend asks for car buying advice. They’ve never dreamt of autocross, track, or trails. They just need to get from Point A to Point B. “What’s a good price for this used CR-V?” they inquire.
The practical response they seek is often overwhelmed by our enthusiasm. “A crossover? Are you crazy? How boring! You will fall asleep and crash and die on the way to work!”
You can probably guess where this is headed—especially if you’re as guilty as I am: “Blah, blah, blah CHASSIS DYNAMICS, blah, blah, blah STEERING FEEL blah, blah blah SKID PAD.”
By the time you’re done overwhelming your audience, you’ve driven them toward another “NPC-Mobile” because most drivers only care about comfort, tech, and price.
There seems to be a dogma sworn to by all car enthusiasts. Here are its three main commandments:
Thou shalt drive the most analog vehicle possible.
Thou shalt prioritize the driving experience above all else.
Thou shalt #savethemanuals.
So, where does that bring us? Dogma demands adherence. It also forms a slippery slope. Ergo, I actually own what is most likely one of the purest enthusiast vehicles in existence! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…
The 2008 Craftsman YT3000 Lawn Tractor!
Capable of 0-60 in, um, never, this 21 horsepower, Briggs-and-Stratton-equipped weapon is perfect at slow-car fast. Its rear-wheel drive platform and cast iron steering rack ensures you will get around every corner…eventually. Every single linkage is mechanical, so you get excellent grass feel? The hydrostatic transmission is a bit of a let down though. I can’t believe they didn’t include a manual option! I totally would have bought it.
But wait, there’s more! This beast can really roar! The engine note is so loud, the cabin so open, that you need to wear hearing protection just to deal with the sonic fury. (There is a bit of a drone around 440hz, but I find it to be downright musical.) Plenty of practicality is built into this little monster as well. It can tow a small trailer, push a small snowplow, bag up leaves, and even mow you lawn! You will probably not care about these things—or the five-gallon fuel tank—thanks to all the fun you’ll be having hooning around your yard.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Ok. This is another ridiculous thought exercise of mine—a parody of how those of us who write about cars probably sound to the laypeople out there. We would never recommend someone trade in their new do-it-all CUV for a riding lawnmower. Would we? Jokes aside, it’s time to remind ourselves that there’s nothing wrong with looking for a little fun in what we drive and encouraging others to do so as well. But it’s also important to remember that there are many levels of fun, and there are many points on the spectrum of sacrifice. Guiding those who seek the best balance of comfort and performance may require us to find a little better balance for ourselves.
Bill hosts a blog and YouTube channel that lead him to think more deeply about what it means to drive. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.