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Expanding on the Gadget Bloat post – a scholarly approach

An MIT economist details the interesting relationship between the overall weight of cars, their more powerful engines, and how that has conspired to make today’s much more efficient engines less efficient in the real world.

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Hatchtopia Feature: Gadget Bloat

My employer has a Ford Escape Hybrid available to drive for various errands and trips that those in my office occasionally make.  It’s a nice enough vehicle, fairly comfortable, but cheaply made and strangely noisy.   Now, fair warning, I’m a Ford fanboy and shareholder and have been a Ford guy pretty much as long as I’ve been in to cars.  My dad had a series of Ford trucks when I was young and an annoying kid in the neighborhood was a Chevy honk, so it was only natural.

That said, I really want to like the Escape, but I just can’t.  It’s cheap on the inside and the CVT transmission of the Hybrid model makes the engine drone like a constipated buffalo.  If I were a betting man, I’d say that Ford designed the Escape  to meet a certain price point – and it shows.  The interior plastics are of a lower grade than many children’s toys (I was going to say Lego, but that would be grave insult to the building blocks), the aforementioned engine drone grates on the nerves and the overall feeling is one of tinny cheapness.

But, it’s got so many gadgets!  Neat stuff like power windows, locks, seats, automatic climate control, cruise control, power mirrors, power, power, POWER!

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