Everyone knows that men and women generally have vastly different ideas of what an ideal car should be. Most men prefer speed and luxury while women often want something large, safe and comfy to prepare for the four children she intends to have. Well who’s to say that you can’t have space, speed, and luxury? Aside from that, is a minivan or Montero Sport really safer and more comfortable than let’s say a corvette? Probably not and here’s why…
Granted, “sports vehicle” refers to a car for those who enjoy the sport of driving, not taking your kids to sporting events such as soccer, but that doesn’t mean cars like that can’t serve such a purpose just as efficiently. In fact, a well maintenance Jaguar will probably get you there faster leaving more time for pregame pep talks.
Safety is always on the forefront of everyone’s mind when choosing a vehicle especially when that vehicle will be used to transport one’s family. So let’s take a look at the all mighty trusted minivan and put it up against one of speed racer’s whips. The 2010 Honda Odyssey, in most poles, was rated the best minivan a mom could buy, ranking 2 out of 7, and scoring a 9.9 in safety; all at a price of roughly $25,000 brand-spanking-new. However, the 2010 Genesis Coupe, a car designed for racing, ranked 3 out of 18, scored a 10.0 in safety, and will cost you $31,000 right out of the showroom. So why is the smaller car safer and more reliable?
We’ll explain; keep in mind that the Hyundai Genesis Coupe has just as many seat belts as the Honda Odyssey, and a specifically features a car seat latch, but unlike the Odyssey, it’s head rests are designed to prevent whiplash. But that’s not what makes this sports car competitively safer.
Air bags are key. It’s true the Honda Odyssey, like most minivans, and SUVs have airbags all throughout the car much like the Genesis Coupe, however, the simple fact is that the interior of the coupe is a tighter space thus offering more protection. If you line a large box with bubble wrap and place a small glass vase in it, then shake it aggressively, chances are you’ll be left with tiny little shards of glass when you open the box. On the other hand, if you take a small box, line it with bubble wrap and place a vase of the same size in it, then shake it up just as aggressively as the last, you are more likely to have an in-tact vase when you take a peek. The same physics apply to the inside of a car with airbags. No matter how big and intimidating your minivan is, it will not protect you and your family from thrashing around inside if your worst fears become a reality and your vehicle flips.
Speaking of which, let’s compare the aerodynamics of a sports utility vehicle verses a sports car. Now there are dozens of aerodynamically designed cars that can cut through tension like a razor blade but to be fair let’s use the 2011 Jaguar XFR for this comparison, while the new Phantom could pose a better argument, you can’t honestly fit five people in it comfortably. For our SUV we’ll use the Cadillac Escalade, a vehicle that commands respect without question. 10 out of 10 reviews put this truck at #1 for best SUV- but that won’t keep all four wheels on the ground when taking a sharp turn, even if you are doing the speed limit.
Granted, it’s not like every time you turn a corner your trucks going to flip, but in a sports vehicle you probably couldn’t roll it if you tried. The element making this possible is called G-force. All pro racers and drivers know very well what this is and depend on it with their lives. G-force is “gravitational force” caused by the acceleration of, in this case, a vehicle. In English, that means that when a vehicle moves quickly essentially, the wind around it becomes dense. This force can either be applied upward or downward depending on the aerodynamics of the object, again in this case, the vehicle. The less space between the ground and the bottom of a vehicle, the less air can be trapped underneath it causing the G-force to be applied downward pressing the car closely to the earth.
SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade have giant wheels allowing a large amount of space between the ground and the bottom of the vehicle. Even if you customize your truck to have the smallest wheels it can harness, and keep it as low to the ground as possible you will still have at least ten inches between you and the ground. This allows for a lot of air and pressure to become trapped under your vehicle, therefore the faster you go, the more force is applied upward from the ground to the car. In addition to that, the height and weight of the truck make it difficult to take sharp turns, that’s why a driver must slow down rather than speed up when turning a corner.
Now the Jaguar is designed to utilize this force with features such as the rear spoiler and large front air intakes. These features cause the force of the wind to be applied from the top down so even on sharp turns and slippery roads, the wheels will never lift up. You literally have to drive it off a cliff to get it to flip. You get the point.
The concrete truth is you’re safer doing a buck-ten in a Lamborghini Gallardo than you are doing sixty-five on the highway with a Jeep. And the price difference between the two isn’t that far off. Both fully loaded, The Cadillac Escalade will run you about $67,000 while the Jaguar XFR is about $80,000.
Finally, let’s talk comfort and cup holders. Yes, women love cup holders, especially those who need lots of coffee to stay focused throughout the day. Whenever talking luxury, it’s mandatory we mention a Benz; the car make so beautiful it’s no wonder she has a woman’s name. Any Mercedes-Benz can make the LX 570 feel like a school bus, no offence to Lexus, but let’s narrow it down to two models; the E550 and the CLS 550. All three of these models feature approximately 382 horsepower 5.5 liter V8 engines and they’re all beautiful. The difference is in the inside.
While the CLS 550 only seats 4 and the E550 seats 5, both Benz’ have heated, leather seats and feature driver drowsiness monitors in addition to four-zone climate control. The Lexus has a DVD player in the back and a cool box in the front to keep your drinks cool- not ideal for coffee. As the Benz lacks the cool box, it does feature Sirius Radio and Traffic, as well as 6 disc changer DVD/CD players in the back and duel ambient lighting. It doesn’t get much more comfortable than that. As for price, you’ll pay no less than $77,000 for the Lexus LX 570; the Benz CLS 550 will run $74,000 and the E550 is about $57,000. The choice should be clear.
If you want comfort and safety, ditch the death traps and get a Benz. So other sports cars raise some concerns about price? Buy it used, care for it well, and it will still out last any gas-guzzler you can find. Have fun shopping and drive safely… in a sports car.