New Truck

Well, the replacement for Olde Faithful Pick-up arrived on the 23rd. It has more frills than I’d planned on or wanted, but it was the last one in this color in this distribution district, and I did not have a choice. If I’d known about the froo-froo when the salesman located it, I might have turned it down, but it arrived and so the bank and I have joint custody. It is more nimble than the older one, and as I’d feared, the electronics are very distracting. I don’t like having motion in my peripheral vision, and the multi-function display (MFD) scrolls the artist and song info from the radio station when the radio is on. There is also a “heads-down” display that shows the current speed and extraneous info located on the instrument panel between the tach/temp and speedometer. That means the needle-indicated speedometer is offset and smaller. Eventually I will get used to it, but at the moment it is another distraction.

The truck, a Tacoma, handles well. I have not taken it off-road, but in moderately deep snow it is steady, assuming you don’t try to drive like a maniac. Even with true Four Wheel drive, Newton will kick you in the teeth if you forget that ice has a coefficient of friction down there with buttered glass. The rear wiggles a little on slick spots, as you’d expect with no load in the back, but it feels nice and firm otherwise. The power steering is lighter than I’d expected, so I have no trouble squeezing in and out of parking spots.

The seats and other non-knobby interior bits are very much like the old Tacoma. No heated seats, no massage, no magic cup holders or super-duper luxury seat-covers appear. I need to put my old seat-protector back in, but have not gotten around to it.

The rear window(s), including the beer-can window, are just out of my reach with the ice-scraper, so that has not changed any. The tailgate does lock, a nice change, and the bed seems a titch bit shorter, I think because of the tech gear incorporated along with the tailgate camera assembly.

The “off-road” bits are fascinating from a “why is that necessary?” view. I can see the lockable rear differential for getting out of ditches, mud and sand. Having to select the proper terrain (am I on lumps, very rough roads, sand, mud, or crawling out of the above?) so the steering and drive train can properly compensate and adjust seems excessive. Because these things are hard-wired into the vehicle, I can’t take wire-cutters to them, and I could not have had them removed prior to delivery.

Which leads to another interesting thought: what happens when the tech takes over and starts driving product design? We’re talking about a pick-up, a vehicle designed to carry stuff and two people (unless you are in a state that still allows passengers in the bed), and probably to pull a reasonable sized trailer. How much computer involvement should the operation of the vehicle require? Zero. Once you add in “safety” requirements* and the fuel efficiency and exhaust quality regulations, it increases a little, but I’m not comfortable with the level of computer control in this and other modern autos. There are too few “failure mode” pages in the very fat owner’s manual. Because tech will fail. It fails at the worst possible or most inconvenient moment, per Murphy’s Law and  Boykin’s Addendum to Murphy’s Law (The likelihood of failure increases with the log of the increase in computerization times the square of the distance from pavement and/or people. Thus, you aircraft’s GPS-based navigation system will crap out at Flight Level 240 over Nevada while you are in the clouds and take the radar and MFD with it.)

So it’s not a bad truck, I like the color, the gas mileage is truck-like, and the seats are pretty comfortable. I don’t love the tech, but I can learn to ignore it.


  • When the vehicle starts and the computer boots up, the MFD has a big warning in English and French about looking around for traffic and obstacles when the back-up camera is on. Apparently people assumed that if it wasn’t on the screen, it didn’t exist, and got hit or ran over things.

7 thoughts on “New Truck

  1. The locking diff is great, I’ve installed them in several trucks aftermarket because I like them so much. On the other hand, the rest of that “off-road” garbage is just that… garbage; designed as far as I can see, solely in order for a salesman to hype when selling it to a city slicker who wants an “off-road” truck with all the bells and whistles to show off while cruising the strip on Friday nights.

    Boykins Addendum is why I hate anything unnecessarily electronic on any truck of mine; and the rate of failure increases exponentially with every mile driven off pavement. Jarring potholes and dust are NOT electronics friends.

    Otherwise, congratulations. Enjoy it, curse it, and duck tape will cure the distracting radio display. 🙂

  2. I had (some bastages stole it) an XM receiver in the car. I made a point of disabling the ‘stock/sports ticker’ right off. Annoy distraction – and no useful information for me, really. Don’t care about sports scores, nor how Amalgamated Lint or Consolidated Fuzz are doing just now. And the winky blinky crap can begone and never darken my towels again.

    • I set my two radio stations and then have done my best to ignore the thing since. Not being able to get onto the roads to drive helps, followed by roads being in “interesting” condition and other drivers doing “mildly exciting” things because of said road conditions helps even more.

      Ah, the first major snow of the season. I suspect the body shop employees will be toasting the New Year with a bottle of the good stuff.

      • I have come to loathe pretty much all broadcast radio. The alleged music I find annoying or repetitive, and the commercials are noxious. I can go with NPR but then, well, it’s NPR. XM I generally had set to 40’s (occasionally 50’s) or old time radio shows if the trip was long.

  3. “Zero!” Second that. Worst thing that ever happened to vehicles.

    Funny thing, we’re just getting snow here in Maine, too. It’s about a foot deep so far. I’m trying to hold off plowing as long as possible because the ground wasn’t frozen when it started.

    • Plowing with the ground unfrozen sucks, (and yes, I have recent experience to reaffirm that) but I plow with an ATV, so I daren’t let it sit unless I know it is going to be cold and the snow stay powdery. Also I’ve found snow acts as insulation, and it takes forever for ground under the snow to freeze, while if you plow it, (and it isn’t immediately recovering it with snow) and leave it open, one good cold night will do wonders.

      • I know it. We did hit a little cold snap along with the snow. Until two days ago, we were having an extended midwinter mud season.. Just hoping it will stiffen up a bit, I daren’t wait too long either.

        (Nice contraction. I don’t think I ever typed that before.)

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