Help – It’s Loaded!

Or should I say “fully loaded”? You guessed it! I bought a new vehicle last week. My more than a decade old, completely basic SUV was getting too noisy and unreliable. I’ve spent too much time and money in the garage lately so I decided it was time to take the plunge into 2013.

And I’d do it in style. The older you get the more help you need, right? And there’s always an app for that…

Since I’ve finally started to go to the gym, I thought I wouldn’t need the additional exercise of manually stowing the third row seats, or adjusting the seat every time I’m sitting down to drive. So encouraged by a cheerful lady from my art society, who had just told me she bought a fully loaded SUV last month for her 93rd birthday – no kidding, and had only been back to the dealership twice to learn to operate the touch screen computer, I decided to go for the Limited too. I deserved it. But more importantly, the Limited Edition would give me unlimited help. That’s a bit of an oxymoron, I know, but that’s how it seems to be.

I browsed on the internet and found a dealership that had several Limiteds in stock. The internet manager responded within an hour and his email had a picture of him in the left upper corner. He looked reliable, like a grandpa, probably a bit older than me, with a dash of white hair. We made an appointment for the next day.

I was right. He had two grandkids, 6 and 3 years old. And he could operate the hundreds of different features with ease. He navigated the screens from entertainment to navigation to climate to phone without a hitch! He fluently demonstrated the many steering wheel controls, the sunroof, the seats, the pedals and you name it. That gave me confidence: I would be able to handle them too, like my 93 years old friend.

Then we took a ride. Just pressed the button and off we went. So smooth. Easy steering. I even overtook a bus to test the torque, it was definitely there! And back we came to the dealership. I backed into a narrow spot – with the help of the rear view camera. It started peeping when I came close to a little tree in the corner – oh my. I am lousy in parking so all assistance I could get would be welcome – and probably save the new ride from premature wrinkles. So far so good.

Then the friendly grandpa paired my cell phone and uploaded my huge phonebook. We could always remove it if I didn’t buy the vehicle, he assured me.  So now I was ready to practice the voice commands. I asked the car to call my husband.

touch screen

You need to know that he doesn’t have an English sounding name, and that I didn’t make an effort to pronounce it in English. But the car’s phone was obedient, I could hear it ringing. I expected to hear “Start me up”, my hubby’s signature call back tone. But there was no music. Instead someone answered in Swedish, in Sweden! I was lucky it wasn’t 2 a.m. there yet, we are still on good terms. But I concluded that I’d need a bit of practice to get friendly with the invisible phone operator. Need to teach him (I’m sure it’s an him) my accent perfected by living all over the place, just like I’ve done with Siri. We are friends now, at least most of the time.

Later that afternoon, the Limited came home with me. Since then I’ve taken a few short trips enjoying the smooth ride and my classic rock station. But I’ve also been sitting in the driver’s seat customizing the limited’s unlimited help. I’ve had ample support from Bumble, my poodle, who really likes the new ride and doesn’t complain even if we never get out of the garage. We just enjoy sitting in there pressing arrows, OKs, and making the touch screen full of finger prints, his and mine.

We are determined to master the computer, show him who’s the boss, without going to the free class offered by the dealership on Saturday. Wish us good luck, if you may.