Impressive looking ride, no? The 2005 Hyundai Elantra mixed sleek lines with exceptional materials and powerful engines to… no, you’re right. It’s a pretty basic rig. Low cost, decent quality, generally run of the mill.
So why is it featured here? Two words: towing capacity. Read on…
The early 1990s were rife with interesting small, sporty coupes and hatchbacks. Most were based on existing economy car platforms to keep the costs down and few are still in production to this day. Why? Blame it on the SUV. It used to be that people, while they might not have necessarily felt safe in a small car, at least didn’t feel like they were in mortal danger at any given time.
But back to the early 90s – when you consider the prevailing styling theme of that era, combine it with the… well, interesting color palate available, the roads of the United States were a veritable snack bowl of Skittles. Greens, teals, magentas, coppers and the like were slathered on small, amorphous blobs originating from manufacturers around the world. Many of these cars honestly were not very good. Most were forgettable. Except one…
A few years ago, I took a trip to Australia. I went by myself and maintained a strict budget, as I knew that like the United States, Australia is a BIG country and I’d need a rental car. Or two… or three. See, Qantas Airlines does this deal occasionally where you can fly down under, then have a couple of additional flights within the country for free. It was quite a deal and made for an awesome adventure.
I flew into Brisbane first, and had a car rental reserved before I left the states. I’d asked for a compact – with the only option being that it be an automatic – I figured it would be best to get used to the idea of driving on the wrong side of the road before trying to wrangle a stick shift as well.
The 3rd generation Honda Accord was produced between 1986 and 1989 and in my opinion, was one of the best looking mainstream cars of its time. The low, wedge-shaped hood was accentuated with pop-up headlights, a low beltline and clean, straight character lines. Designers of today’s cars could learn a lesson from sitting in a mid-80s Honda and beholding the fantastic sightlines afforded by the large glass area. But I digress…
March 7, 1992 was an unseasonably warm day in Kansas City, Missouri. As often happens, those early season warm spells make minds turn to summery pursuits – lawn mowing, rec room pool games, late evening backyard football… I was 17 at the time after all. It was the spring of my junior year in high school and life was carefree and easy. Except for one thing: I had no car. Unfortunately for my mom, the location of our suburban house honestly offered no way to get around without one. I say unfortunately because just a couple of months earlier, I had failed to yield the right-of-way while driving her car and wrecked it… pretty good. That car was fixed, but I still had to get to my grocery store job somehow and the family taxi service didn’t enjoy the 11:30 PM run after work.
Something had to give.
You may have noticed a couple of new articles posted last week. I will be attempting about 3 updates per week, so we’ll see how that works out.
Also, the menu bar above now has “Shop” and “Gallery” links. In the coming weeks, I will have a lineup of clever t-shirts bearing the Hatchtopia logo that you fans can shamelessly wear about town to provide free advertising to my blog. The gallery section will eventually be the repository for my better “Hatch in the Wild” photos, which if they are any good, I may offer for sale as well.
As always, if you have any ideas for stories, cars to feature, locations of oddball hatchbacks to photograph, whatever, let me know in the comment section.
Oh boy, you’re thinking. Three posts in to this new blog and already, we’ve hit rock bottom. A Chevy Malibu? Bastion of rental fleets and retirement homes across this great land? Yep.
Bear with me for a minute here. The Malibu Maxx (you know it’s good – there’s an exxtra ‘x’ in there, ya know) is actually a useful and somewhat innovative “extended five door sedan” – that’s what Chevy called it at least. Among its interesting features is a rear seat that adjusts fore-and-aft to create a limo-like rear seat experience and a real parcel shelf that supposedly holds up to 200 pounds at several different predetermined heights. The seats, when not being adjusted horizontally, can lay flat out, creating a huge cargo area.
I saw one. Here in Salt Lake. No, really. A random French hatchback, in the parking lot at Smith’s on 400 South, sporting a license plate from Principat d’Andorra. According to Wikipedia, Andorra has a population of approximately 85,000 souls – which makes this sighting all the more unusual. Makes one wonder just how many Andorran Citroen Saxos there are in the world, and how many have made the long trek to Salt Lake City, Utah.