I logged more than 500 miles in a rented Santa Fe, a modest-sized SUV from Hyundai, on a mini road trip this weekend. While I'm no expert on cars, I do know that this brand of car hasn't always had the most stellar reputation, but the company's products have supposedly improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, helping to increase Hyundai's rather paltry U.S. market share. And based on my latest experience, I have little to say against that claim. The car had some nice kick to it; it handled well; all the accessories and controls worked just fine; and it seemed to have relatively decent gas mileage for its class.
That said, I'm once again glad that I don't have to put up with the headaches of car ownership. No loan payments, no insurance, no maintenance, no gas. Plus, having a car again for a few days seemed to put me into a funny mentality: one where you put great importance on parking as close as possible to your destination, and feel cheated or annoyed by any situation where you have to walk any notable distance to retrieve the car. Our family used to have a joke about this as we circled the parking lot of various malls in search of a good spot. It's funny how such car-based values resurface so easily after not being in the driver's seat for so long.
Another reason I'm glad to be back in public-transit-and-taxicab land? Fewer worries when the motion of the car (be it a subway or an auto) makes my eyelids want to droop.