Blog: Graeme RobertsStripper with a satellite dish

Graeme Roberts | 22 November 2010

Stripper with a satellite dish - Alamo

Stripper with a satellite dish - Alamo's Hyundai Accent had DIY mirrors, windows and locks but included satellite radio

Three days in LA on the way back from my native Antipodean land necessitated a rental car so to the land of Alamo I went. "Take any compact in the line" translated into two white Chevy Cobalts, only one of which had an ignition key, or a pleasant blue coloured Hyundai Accent so I went Korean for the duration.

Both the sedan body style and what one UK magazine memorably referred to as 'hearing aid beige' interior would be non-starters for the UK as would the entry-level specification which results in DIY locks, mirrors and windows when electric everything seems to be standard on just about everything over here these days.

But the Accent started on the key, got me everywhere I needed to go on the city's overcrowded freeways and had some nice automated touches such as a sensor than only activates the passenger airbag if someone is in the seat and a four-speed automatic that automatically selects an economy mode when justified. The little 1.6 had just enough grunt to scurry up freeway onramps without being run over by a Hummer but the car - GS spec - could have done with a bit more sound insulation to 'ush the mechanical noise and tyre roar on those concrete roads.

The bit I liked, didn't expect in a 'stripper' and didn't discover until my second drive, was the XM satellite radio, the first time I've tried this in a car. I lost count of the channels - seemed to be loads of sport options - but appreciated a fine mix of jazz varieties, 60s and 70s music and a traffic/weather channel devoted to LA, and all without the interminable ads that blight the city's FM channels.

Hardly an option one expects to find in the lowliest line at the rental lot.

This week, the return from lands of blue sky, sun and warmth to one of grey, drizzle and freezing has been tempered by the arrival of a BMW 520d Touring wagon to play with. More on that when I stop drooling...


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