Wednesday , September 18 2019
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The Pointless Flex

Summary:
It’s amazing what you can do in a three-row/eight passenger SUV   . . . but not many people do it anymore. This 2020 Kia Telluride I’m test-driving right now (reviewed here) can hustle through the curves faster and with less effort and much more margin than my ’76 Trans-Am. Which is no small thing because in its day, the Trans-Am was the best-handling high-performance car made in America. It was designed for speed; everything else was secondary. The Kia is a family hauler. But it hauls better. One hand on the wheel through the esses and not even close to pushing it at speeds that would have the Trans-Am’s rear end slip-sliding and near the break-loose point. Its 15×7 inch BF Goodrich radials as dated as the 8-track in the

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It’s amazing what you can do in a three-row/eight passenger SUV   . . . but not many people do it anymore.

This 2020 Kia Telluride I’m test-driving right now (reviewed here) can hustle through the curves faster and with less effort and much more margin than my ’76 Trans-Am. Which is no small thing because in its day, the Trans-Am was the best-handling high-performance car made in America. It was designed for speed; everything else was secondary. The Kia is a family hauler.

But it hauls better.

One hand on the wheel through the esses and not even close to pushing it at speeds that would have the Trans-Am’s rear end slip-sliding and near the break-loose point. Its 15×7 inch BF Goodrich radials as dated as the 8-track in the dashboard.

If something solid – a deer or a slower-moving car – appears in the road ahead of me I might as well turn the 8-track up up (KISS, Destroyer) as apply the brakes, both having about the same effect as far as slowing the car down in time.

That’s how far we’ve come in the intervening nearly 50 years.

But we’ve also gone much farther in the other direction.

People no longer like to drive (much less corner) fast. Or they’re afraid to. Either way, they rarely do so. The Kia is wasted on them. A Corvette is absurd.

The Safety Cult has practically destroyed car culture, but – oddly enough – not cars. Which are much more powerful now than they have ever been. This is an across-the-board truth. Any current family sedan accelerates to 60 faster than almost any ’70s muscle car; runs a quicker quarter mile – and has a much higher top speed.

The family sedan’s brakes (which are four wheel discs) stop the car faster, the tires (which will be 17s or 18s at least and probably rated for 130-plus MPH) are grippier  . . . everything is better. And yet, almost everyone goes slower.

Chiefly because they’re terrified of the consequences.

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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