If you’re waiting for a sign, here it is. Get your car inspected before you buy so you don’t overpay. TireKickers!
You know that golf cars are great little machines to drive you and your golfing buddies around the course. You also might think of them as moving refreshment stands, bringing you icy beverages and your favorite treats. Some of the posher ones might even hold your clubs or provide a radio—but it’s time to get that stock image of golf cars out of your head. They can, and do, provide so much more than a simple means around 18 holes.
Here are a few things that some golf cars feature that may surprise you. Golf may be a traditional game for ladies and gentlemen, but that doesn’t mean golf cars have to stick to the course. However, when they do, why not indulge in something more than what’s expected?
You know the importance of ergonomics at work and at home—but what about at play? Ergonomic features in your golf car can make your ride even more pleasurable, whether your car is for a day on the links or regularly takes retirement community guests around the grounds. Developed via ergonomic software, seats are taller and larger to encourage proper posture. Consider the Signature Edition 4-passenger for a comfortable, ergo-friendly ride.
When your golf car is used more for turf work than leisure activities, you might be facing some rocky (or snowy, or sandy) terrain. The IntelliTach 4-wheel drive system, available on the Carryall 295, 295 SE and 295 with IntelliTach, keeps you and your employees safe. This feature senses the outdoor terrain and adjusts accordingly. It’s the easiest 4×4 to use, taking the wonder and work out of navigating tricky driving conditions so your drivers can focus on the project at hand.
You’ve probably seen those old school golf cars hauling around guests at airports and apartments at bumbling speeds. However, you don’t have to sacrifice efficiency for space when you choose a model like the TransPorter 6. It offers six seats, including the fold-down backseat, but can travel up to 17 mph. That’s about as safe of a break-neck speed that’s available, and it’ll get your guests where they’re going—whether it’s to the pool or the next flight.
Just like ants, some golf cars provide exceptional power even for their relatively small size. For example, the Carryall 295 with IntelliTach can lift up to 500 pounds with zero counterweight and travels up to 25 mph. And the hauling and loading? It can take care of 1,200 pounds and boasts 12-inches of ground clearance. It’s an insane workhorse, which means your workload is drastically lightened.
As any avid golfer knows, there are 18 holes on a course because there are 18 shots in a fifth of whisky. While you may not be imbibing at every hole, it’s still important that the hospitality golf cars on your property are equipped with plenty of goodies. Something like the Café Express Deluxe can carry 150 12-ounce bottles, has a water drain system for easy cleanup and three separate compartments. It’s a mini food truck designed for the course.
There’s the perfect golf car for everyone, with features designed to simplify your life. Sometimes sticking to the basics makes sense. But in the case of golf cars, why settle?
You need a suitable ride to get from your LARPing activities to Dungeons and Dragons sessions. You also want to be eco-friendly in your choice, whether that means waiting for Volkswagen’s new hydrogen-powered option or choosing a classic that doesn’t require more manufacturing in order to call it yours. If you’re a geek on a mission for the perfect ride, there are many options.
However, no matter what you choose, make sure the ride is road-ready with safety precautions. If there’s a crack in the windshield, get it fixed first. If the tires are worse for wear, make your first stop a tire shop. Otherwise, here are some of the best cars for geeks to add to your bucket list:
’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88
Ideal for horror geeks, this Oldsmobile is featured in every single Evil Dead movie and in the vast majority of Sam Raimi movies in general. The famous director never explicitly says why he features his college car so much, but his friends have suggested his first “intimate moment” took place in the back seat. According to the Daily Beast, there are many reasons we love horror movies, and if that’s where you geek out, you’ll love this ride.
2015 Golf GTI
This ride won accolades from Yahoo! and Motor Trends as well as from a slew of lesser-known parties. Renowned for energy conservation, performance and just the right amount of sleek lines, it’s the no-nonsense car you need to have. Check out what the judges from Motor Trends have to say about it and you’ll see that it has just enough cabin space for all your Cosplay gear.
Tesla Model S
This is the option for a geek with plenty of moneybags and swag, but it’s a sweet choice if you can swing it. Clearly the most luxurious green model of its time, the bad news is that it got a bad reputation for catching on fire. The good news (kind of) is that you’re still more likely to get into an accident in any car then get caught in a Tesla fire (and nobody was harmed in any of them). If you want to lead the way for green geeks, a Tesla is the only way to go.
1979 Pontiac Trans Am
Of course, you parlayed your computer skills into a not-so-small fortune and it’s finally time to buy the car the cool kids drove to sporting events while you toiled away at your keyboard under fluorescent lights. If you grew up in the 80s, you know all the cool kids drove a Trans Am. That can still be a reality, and today they’re affordable (even fully restored) and will still garner plenty of admiring glances. Who says you can’t re-do your childhood? Get the car you’ve always dreamed of for a steal.
Trying to predict the future of the automobile is like trying to predict the weather. There’s the farmer’s almanac method which examines the last century of trends and cycles, then mathematically predicts what’s most likely to happen. Then there’s the meteorological method which involves Doppler radar, satellite imagery, and computer models. In this method, well-educated experts analyze the data to produce a percentage chance of an outcome—usually, something like it will rain or not, odds are 50/50.
There’s a third method that involves Granny Clampett and a beetle she keeps in an old matchbox…but in all seriousness natural observation can’t be completely discounted. It’s maybe odd that the first two methods don’t involve stepping outside and looking up.
So let’s take a look at the automobile, it’s industry and environment in 2019 from all three viewpoints.
The automotive version of the Farmer’s Almanac might be the Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index. It says that the fourth quarter of 2018 was not as profitable as it could have been and the market may be heading south.
The meteorological approach would see a number of new tariffs for the market put there so that we might compete with China for manufacturing jobs. This includes all the pieces which make up a car, the engine, the tires, the transmission shafts and so on. But manufacturing jobs will be hit hard by automation in 2019.
Fewer imports mean less crude oil burnt to bring goods from China, but a bigger cut to fuel consumption is coming from electric vehicles. This is where we get some conflicting indicators. GM is closing plants because it gambled on hybrids that no one seems to want to buy. So fuel economy may not be the single biggest driving force in market decisions. And the current power grid and generation level can’t handle charging all those cars, so it’s not likely that electric cars (EVs) will quickly supplant traditional ICE Cars (internal combustion engine).
If EVs are truly more reliable and the cost of fuel, which has come down, is the big car consumer driver then we’re heading for a big oil surplus in three to five years, along with cheap used cars, and almost no new ICE Cars being purchased. This will mean a temporary boon for repair shops as the driving public buys cheap surplus used cars to exclusion of new cars (unless they’re EVs). For more on that theory see our post from 12/28/18.
The tariffs won’t hit for a couple months into 2018 and then we’ll get a better idea what the impact might be.
The Almanac student would point to the fact that new cars price tags have gone up and up. Some of this could be that EV’s are in development phase more than really in the production phase. Companies like Tesla have released their luxury versions first because it’s better able to absorb the high cost of buying something so new to the market. Even as Tesla moves on to more consumer-friendly car models their price won’t fall until they get into their second and third rendition (where new the new model uses the old assembly). Also, more EV manufacturers will enter the market and need to go through the same cycle.
If we exclude EV’s entirely we still see a trend to more expensive new car prices as the amount of mandatory safety features increases every year. However, it’s likely that the big driver of cost in cars is that makers aren’t able to sell as many. The reduced demand should bring prices down, but not if automakers believe that the people opting to not own a car are a cheap car buying people.
In other words:
With young and old not buying cars, that leaves only the more affluent of the smaller generations to market to and they’re not as afraid of a high price tag.
The car meteorologist would notice the number of creative financing options popping up. (Whoever heard of an 18-year house loan, right?) Well, if manufacturers think the answer to their woes is to sell fewer, but more expensive cars, then it’s likely we’ll see longer term car loans. Many experts are predicting that your FICA score will become more volatile as technology can now track your income and debt down to the minute. It puts the whole subprime loan process into a new light.
Assuming all the above is true we’re looking at a giant used car market coming, which could see lenders sending consumers to car inspection services, to verify the condition of their next purchase as early as June 2019.
One way dealerships and automakers might partner to respond to changing conditions are with leases and cashback services. The idea is to make cars more like cell phones where you buy the car but the trade in value follows the market better when you return it to the maker’s official dealership. Then you can turn it in toward the new model. One could imagine it coupled with levels of extended warranty so that after a year you can upgrade at a good trade-in price and the next buyer would get a special extended warranty based on mileage. This might sound like what already happens but it’s not. This plan would take some of the sting out of the new car depreciation but offer people more flexibility that they have with a lease.
The car meteorologist says there is a host of new EV and hybrid models coming out, including the Lexus UX HUV and the Jaguar’s i-Pace. There are also new manufactures entering the market. A startup called Rivian (https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/27/rivian-electric-truck-suv-r1s/) is going to enter the market in 2019.
The car almanac reader says it’s a bit too early to tell if EVs area fad or a revolution. Most of the time cost of operation is a major influence and power rates may not always be cheaper than gas and diesel. Many new technologies have false started a few years before they actually took off. The more expensive the item the slower it’s adopted.
As for dealerships, CarMax has become the number one used car dealership in the world based on volume. But their system isn’t perfect (you can’t get it inspected pre-purchase) and just because they have a lead doesn’t mean they won’t get competition. There’s no barrier to entry for their system. In fact, it’s likely that they’ll get at least one big competitor in 2019.
Certainly, the appeal of new models means new car dealerships will thrive, but what about long-term? It seems that optimism is declining in both new car sales and used car sales. The optimism for used car dealerships is down to about 57% from 60%, according to the Kelley Blue Book. It should mean that when new car dealerships are declining that used car dealerships pick up, but that doesn’t seem to be happening and it’s not clear why.
One thing is likely, 2019 will see hybrids start to fade as European clean diesel and longer range EVs start to take market share.
The car meteorologist points to sudden interest in mid-engine design. Mid-engine cars aren’t new. In fact, it’s basically the first design for cars (see 1901 autocar). It’s common sense that placing the heavy engine closer to the back wheels increases torque and evenly distributes the weight. It’s become quite the rage in sports cars where performance is more important than a back seat. But Chevrolet is gambling on a mid-engine Corvette in 2020. (Note that cars stated as 2020 are sold in 2019. An advertising gimmick, but it confuses some people.)
A mid-engine just means it has an engine located centrally between the axles. Confusingly, there is also a rear-mid engine type car. It’s possible that automakers who embrace EVs will go to a low engine/battery compartment that sits entirely below the seats and between the wheel wells. This might enable them to build all their car lines on the same base frame and engine platform. Imagine a thick car-sized surfboard with wheels attached that you can just attach seats to and then add a body over.
The car almanac reader says that certainly, the SUV fashion will remain. At least Ford is banking on it by bringing back the Bronco. The last Bronco was manufactured in 1996 but in order to compete with jeep, the design has been rejuvenated. In many ways, it looks more like the Ford Ranger than the 1996 Ford Bronco.
Is there a devastating storm brewing that will leave the American auto industry in turmoil or is it just shifting from ICE cars to EVs?
The car meteorologist would say that apart from giving cars a facelift and what appears at concept car shows is relatively unchanged from past shows.
The car almanac reader points out that new trends move slower with expensive items (like cars) and the current power grid won’t sustain an army of electric cars. Unless the government does another round of incentives it’s unlikely EV’s will grow their market share drastically in 2019.
So the net answer is the American Car Maker should be able to ride the storm if there is one, but no one really knows, except perhaps Granny Clampetts weather bug. The weather bug has rolled onto it’s back and started wiggling its legs, so 2019 will ease in deceptively slow, but big changes are coming in the spring.
PS if you thought we’d update you on autonomous driving cars…well, the weather there changes by the minute. Look for stretches of long desolate highway in the southern Midwest (Arizona/Texas) to be upgraded with paint and electronic location devises so that driverless semis can be tested. The shortage of drivers and brutally boring sections of road with relatively stable weather conditions make it a good place to implement automated driving. Market forces will power this so it will happen, but maybe not 2019.
But Granny’s weather bug remains convinced that we’re five or more years away from regular use of AVs. That’s a controversial opinion these days, but Granny stands by her bug.