Cars, cars, cars
The VW isn't ready yet. I'll have to burn a personal day to pick it up mid-week. It's nicenthat [Oneonta Volkswagen](http://www.vwofoneonta.com) is conscientious but speedy would be nice, too.nnThe rental car picked up two tickets on October 1st while parked in front of our apartment:n* Expired inspection (9/30)n* Expired registration (9/30)nnThanks guys. Glad to see that New York City is attending to really important matters like crime and poverty and not wasting enforcement efforts on petty things like issuing n30-day fix-it tickets.nnThe tickets are not my problem- I'm just a customer- so we drove up to Enterprise innKingston to exchange the car. They swapped the Nissan Sentra- which, by the way, sucked- for a Toyota Prius, a hybrid gas/electric car. I was leery but it's pretty good and other than getting 50mpg on the highway it's very much like driving any other small, inexpensive car.nnThis model has four doors and a hatchback and the interior is roomy. The seats are comfortable- which is good because adjustment is limited to setting the distance from the dash and the seat angle- and seem high up. The car has adequate power and decent acceleration, much to my surprise, but going up hill around turns you feel it “hunt” as the transmission balances output from engine and motor. Handling is okay- planted with a little understeer- and limited body roll. The ABS brakes are strong in the drop anchor, stipplednblack stripe kind of strong.nThe gauges are set at the bottom of the windshield which seemednodd at first but I got used to it in minutes. The dash computer with full-color touch screennis cool and one probably gets used to it, but even after reading the manual I was unable nto safely operate it while driving. Fortunately, there are basic controls on the steeringnwheel and below the screen for the climate control and stereo.nnWhat I don't like about this rented Prius? First, the key. It's an oblong black box about the size of a match box with lock, unlock and emergency siren buttons but no nexposed metal. Those buttons are the only way in and once in, you need push it into anslot. Half the time I couldn't get the trunk unlocked and had trouble finding thenspring-loaded flap covered slot on the dash in the dark. nMy other gripe is the push button operation of the vehicle.nI'm sure the target market loves this but you do everything with buttons. Press Power once to go to accessory mode, once more to actually start the car, a third to shut it off. nThere is a magic duration different for each press and it is longer than I expect. Park is selected with another button and shifting drive, neutral and reverse is done with a self-centering joystick. There's no tactile feedback on any of these buttons and it takes a little getting used to.