minutia press.
More on the Sazuki SUV

I've had my rented Sazuki SUV for over a week now, and have some strongly held opinions about the car. My background in cars: Mercury Capri, Subaru GL Hatchback, Saturn Hatchback, Toyota RAV4. All of those cars were standard transmission.

The Sazuki SUV I rented has an automatic transmission. I would have thought they would be better by now, but they are not. The engine races when it should chill, and doesn't know when to shift. It's like my car is perpetually in drivers' ed.

Based on my experience with the Subaru and Toyota cars (and my wife's former Subaru Legacy), I had the misconception that Japanese cars are better in the human factors department. For example, my Saturn had two side mirrors; the position of the driver's mirror could be controlled by a mechanical lever within easy reach of the driver. Of course, that miror could also be adjusted by just rolling down the window and moving the thing. The passenger's side mirror had no such lever, so you had to get out of the car and walk around to adjust it.

The Sazuki is more akin to the Saturn than to the other Japnese cars I've owned. The four-wheel drive has to be engaged, and I'm not sure the front wheels have a differential on the drive. When turning, the wheels slip noticably. I still have not figured out how to lock and unlock the car. If you lock the doors and then shut the driver door, the lock pops back open, like those old America cars used to do. I think they want you to use your key to lock the doors, but the switch therein is bad and so the doors don't always lock.

The Sazuki is a 6-cylinder and while it has more pickup than my RAV4, it also guzzles gas faster.

I miss my RAV4 and will be glad to have it back.