So I spent a fair part of the afternoon leafing through the 564 pages of the new(ish) Venza’s owner’s manual. One of them. It has a freaking library of owners’ manuals!
Godlmighty, it’s like learning to navigate the Starship Enterprise. Actually, most of the stuff is at least vaguely familiar, though tricking everything out in electronics creates an endless learning curve.
- Set clock, p. 206: press press button to bring up “hour” function, press button press button press button till you get to the right hour; press button to bring up “minute” function, press button press button press button press button PRESS BUTTON till you find the right minute out of 60; thank god it has no “seconds” feature.
- Reset average fuel consumption, p . 206. Press clock button, navigate function, press reset button.
- Try to find driving range, p. 206. Press clock button, navigate to function, view number of miles left before you run out of gas. [Really? You couldn’t figure out that if the gas gauge says about an eighth of a tank to go, maybe…just maybe you should fill up? Seriously?]
- Test headlights, pp. 212-13. Okay, this is pretty normal. Except for the fog lights. And the side lights. And the side mirror lights.
- Figure out and test fog lights, p. 219.
- Figure out and test front and back windshield wipers: p. 221, pp. 225-26. Figure out whether windshield wipers are Type A or Type B. (Why???)
- Find cruise control, p. 227.
- Figure out how it works, pp. 227-30
- Try to figure out what VSC is and whether the car has it, pp. 238-39. Whatever it is, it appears to be standard and evidently kicks in automatically. Kicks in what remains to be seen.
- Try to figure out if the car has “intuitive parking assistance” and what it is, pp. 231 ff. Whatever it is, it’s crazy-making. Try to forget it. Whatever it is.
- Find the emergency flasher button, p. 430. That was dumb: it’s self-evident.
- Figure out how to set “dual” and “simultaneous” air-conditioning modes, and WTF “simultaneous” means, p. 289.
(This is INSANE!)
- Note operation of air outlets’ “mode” turns on a variety of fans to the back seat: pp. 290-92.
- Find and operate defogger buttons, p. 292-96
- Reset automatic and defogger modes, p. 294-95.
** Remember to turn air-conditioner’s recirc off before turning car off!!!!! **
- Find coin holder, p. 318. Coin holder? WTF? The ashtray is a flickin’ COIN HOLDER?
- Find auxiliary box type B, p. 317.
- Find auxiliary box type C, p. 319.
- Find seat heaters, p. 324. Interesting: there aren’t any. The saleslady seems to have…uhm…been mistaken. Again.
- Find carpet retaining hooks, p. 328.
- Find cargo and shopping bag hooks, find auxiliary box, p. 330.
- Find luggage cover anchors, p. 331.
- Try to program garage door opener, p . 334-35. Need fresh battery.
- Find compass on mirror, p. 339.
- Find engine coolant temperature gauge, p. 186. Wait, what? A recognizable car part? On the dashboard? Must have been an oversight…
Coin holder? The ashtray is a coin holder? What?
Google “what happened to car ash tray.” Learn that ash trays have been phased out of cars over the past couple of decades. Only a few high-end European cars (wouldncha know it) still have them. Why? Political correctness. Trying to discourage the sheeple from smoking, because it’s soooo bad for them.
Well. Yes. Smoking is bad for us. But really. Is it up to a gigantic automobile manufacturer — one whose employees engage all sorts of sleazy and questionable sales tactics — to make us quit smoking? Is it any of Toyota’s goddamn business? In the immediate sense, it’s a lot riskier to fiddle with electronic doodads than to smoke while you’re driving.
Not surprisingly, this righteous development has an unintended consequence: People who smoke WILL smoke. If there’s no ash tray, they’ll tap their ashes and throw their butts out the window, thereby starting brush and forest fires.
Isn’t that helpful!
My retrograde father used to say the surrounding cultures in which our American oil camp was inserted were still in the Dark Ages because their overriding philosophy was “what was good enough for my father is good enough for me.” Well, when it comes to bigotry, he could have done Donald Trump proud (though he had more sense than to vote for a clear and present clown)… But still, despite his rampant xenophobia, he could’ve had something there. If you don’t change, you petrify.
Still… You can’t help but wonder…if it ain’t broke, why fix it? How many ordinary functions in a car really need to be complicated by computers? Do you seriously need a little glowing letter on your rear-view mirror to tell you which way is north? Do you need “intuitive parking assistance” of crazy-making complexity to maneuver your car into a parking space? Would the Civilized World really regress to the Middle Ages if we never achieved these advances?