Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Here's where you can put your radar, "Dude"

Ok, so the newest "important" innovation offered by the Dodge Durango is radar. It's installed in the front grille, and it can detect how close you are to the nearest car. And it communicates with the Cruise Control system, so I guess it automatically adjusts the distance to keep you safe. Or something.

"In this competitive world," our favorite unseen monotone self-satisfied Dodge spokesperson tells us, being able to tell people 'hey dude, my car has radar' is a "game changer."

And this is where the commercial loses me. First, what's the "competition?" Who am I competing with when I hit the road in my 2003 Honda Civic? What am I competing FOR? Is the narrator actually telling us that being able to tell others that "my car has radar" is going to get me-- what? Girls? Better parking spaces? That promotion? Survival? What? I mean, help me out here, please.

"The SUV is back." Oh, gee, that's great news. Hey Dodge, here's one person who never missed them. Last time I checked, gas prices were still hovering at just under four bucks a gallon. Do you REALLY think that radar-controlled cruise control, and not decent gas mileage, is what it'll take to get us back into the showrooms?

One more thing. I don't believe for one minute that innovations like radar in the freaking grille, rear-view mirror cameras, or cruise control do anything to make the drivers of these vehicles "safer." In fact, I suspect that at some point someone will issue a white paper revealing that all these "safety features" really accomplish is the creation of a false sense of security, not to mention providing a license to drive distracted. After all, the car is doing all the driving, right?

Maybe the narrator DOES mean to tell us that driving IS a contest for survival. It's me and my radar-free, cruise control-deficient, hands-on radio Honda Civic v. the guy in the Durango who has been told that he's basically just a passenger and should feel free to adjust the seat temperature and yak away on his cell phone, the car will let him know it's getting too close to me. Considering the size of those things, I don't like my odds.

Oh, and "dude?" Really?


  1. Thank you for reminding us of the safety feature that should come standard with all vehicles: a driver whose head isn't wedged up his ass. No amount of high-tech frippery can compensate for an absence of brainpower.

  2. "What's the problem, officer? So what if I was texting my girlfriend and eating a bucket of chicken while cruising at 60 MPH? Dude, I got Radar!"

  3. I can just see the board meetings at the agency which created this. Someone raises the notion that commercials seldom talk the way the under-45's talk to each other. "Dude", they all agree, should be bandied about in the next ad. Anything which follows that word will be seen in a special familial light. "Dude, my uncle has an enlarged prostate." "Dude, you've got food on your shirt." "Dude, my car -- get this: has RADAR!!!" "Dude, my car has doppler radar." "Dude, I'm a tornado chaser." "Dude, leave me the **ck alone."

    It's wearing me out - our need to be permanent teens. I agree that these potentially-breakable additions constitute one more reason for not watching the road. The fact is the Durango is a good 17 feet off the ground. It should come with a barometer, too.
    Dude, it totally should.

  4. I saw an SUV called the "Sequoia" today, and my guess is that it was only slightly smaller than the tree for which it is named.

  5. There is but one Dude, and his name is Lebowski. Amen.

  6. It's as if they can't even be bothered to disguise their contempt for the poor fool asked to spend all the money on the upkeep on the bloated thing.

  7. I dont understand how "these times" are any more or less competitive then they use to be. Also, "game changer" is just one of these words or phrases that is being used with total disregard for its true definition.

  8. Maybe it's because you're so high up off the ground you really can't see the small, compact, fuel-efficient car in front of you? *shrugs* It's another of those bells and whistles they slap on to suck your money through a false sense of extra security/safety--which, as you pointed out, gives idiot drivers the idea they can jack their idiot levels another fifteen or twenty (thousand) notches.

    Cars that are supposed to be able to parallel park themselves just make me nervous. Never driven one, have no desire to. That's complicated enough I think it's folly to turn all control and involvement over to the car and its sensors to execute successfully. The sensors should be tools an alert driver uses to assist them, nothing more.