One of the dangers of driving review vehicles

Most of the time, being an auto reviewer is a pretty sweet gig. I get to drive a different new vehicle nearly every week, which is cool. But sometimes, having different rides all the time can lead to problems.

I took my family skiing over the weekend, and we got to take a 2016 Lexus GX 460 for the trip. It was a whole lot nicer ride than Clunk, which is what we call our ’94 F-250. It rode a heck of a lot smoother over the bumps and humps of ice and snow in the road than our truck would have, and at 18 miles to the gallon, it got just a tick under three times the fuel economy Clunk would have gotten.

My wife was happy the Lexus had seat heaters, and I was glad for the three-zone climate control and the ventilated seats. She had the freedom to crank the heater on her side to “Broil” and set the seat for “Deep Fat Fry,” and I turned the air down to “Polar” on my side and turned on the seat cooler. Clunk doesn’t give us any of those options. Even though it has a heater and air conditioning, it’s really only capable of one temperature of air coming out of the vents: “luke-cool.” OK, so maybe that’s unfair. After it warms up for a few hundred miles, it’ll churn out “tepid.”

But that Lexus was sweet. Maybe it was too nice, actually. At one point along the way, we stopped at a convenience store, and Amy ran in to get some drinks. When she came out, maybe she thought the Lexus was too fancy to be our car. I don’t know what her reasoning was, but she came out of the store, stepped up to the Toyota Tacoma parked next to us, and hopped in on the passenger side.

She said she doesn’t know who was more frightened – the gratuitously pierced owner of the Toyota or herself – but she apologized for getting into the wrong car and bailed before he could react. That’s the downside of driving a different vehicle every week – it’s sometimes hard to remember which one is ours. I’m just amazed I haven’t done that yet.


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