Suckus maximus. Two weeks ago today my wife and I drove 400 miles to Tucson to buy a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek. We had been planning on getting me a new car within the next few months, and that Monday I got an email from Subaru saying that they were having a 0.99% for 48 month special deal on Subaru-certified used vehicles. I had planned to get a Crosstrek and done a lot of online research and drove one in El Paso when I took my wife's Subaru Outback down for a new timing belt.
The one that I bought was a dealership car used by the service department as a loaner and had 6,000 miles on it. We had a couple of extras put on like body molding (I HATE getting my doors dinged!) as it was already well-equipped. It has a system called EyeSight which is two cameras mounted next to the rear view mirror that watches vehicles in front of you and can brake the Subaru if the distance starts closing rapidly. It also watches for lane deviation and has an adaptive cruise control. The cruise is great: you program the speed that you want to cruise at and the distance you want between you and the vehicle in front of you (three steps) and it will maintain the speed and distance as best it can. And it does an excellent job. The Interstate 10 corridor between Tucson and Phoenix is annoying because it is always busy, lots of big rig trucks, and variable speeds. But the EyeSight was SO nice! I dialed it in at 75, and though the traffic wouldn't let me cruise at that speed, it kept a very safe distance between me and the vehicle in front. And if I changed to an empty lane, the speed would come up. It made for a VERY pleasant drive.
Since we'd driven 400 miles to Tucson to get the car and it didn't make sense to not go another 100 to Phoenix and see my parents, so we had half a day Saturday, took them to a friend's restaurant for Sunday brunch (Craft 64 pizza/brew in Scottsdale – highly recommended) and headed home Monday morning. The car was wonderful. Once we were out of Tucson headed back to New Mexico and the traffic opened up and it was great. Good mileage, and the gas tank is 16 gallons versus 13 for the Toyota Matrix that it replaced, so I can get approximately 500 miles on a tank! It'll be so nice having to fill my tank every other week rather than twice a week as I drive 40-50 miles a day to/from work.
It's been wonderful. I don't use the adaptive cruise control going to work as it's 16 miles down a mountain, losing 4,500' in the descent, and I don't want to risk the brakes, so I use the normal cruise control mode. It mainly uses the throttle to control the speed and does a good job in descents, much better than my Matrix. The Toyota couldn't hold a set speed going down a mountain, so I'm very happy with that feature.
The EyeSight system isn't 100%. Severe weather conditions can cause it to turn off (with appropriate dash board alerts) as can road conditions, both of which have happened in the last week. There's no connection between the EyeSight and the steering, just the throttle and brake. So in a really heavy rain storm it'll turn off, as it did Monday. In a REALLY dark night or in a curvy road stretch with lots of trees it'll sometimes turn off. It does see color but it doesn't see in to the infrared, so it's limited to the range of the headlights.
So the car doesn't take decision-making from the driver, it just stands by in case something happens that the driver doesn't notice it. When anti-lock brakes and airbags came out, accidents temporarily went up – they don't prevent accidents, they improve your safety. They aren't a substitute for good driving. Interestingly, I find myself driving slower in the Crosstrek, not that I was a super-fast driver normally. The only complaint that I have is that the trunk space is a bit smaller than the Toyota's even though the overall dimensions are about the same. And the car is perfectly balanced – the engine is a horizontally-opposed Boxter engine, a signature of Subaru and Porsche. It gives you more horsepower with lower weight, which is really nice when heading up the mountain. And I LOVE the larger gas tank, though the smaller trunk will be annoying. Oh, and ground clearance! The Toyota had about 5”, the Subaru 8”! That's going to be so nice in the snow! We know we're going to have a wet winter, but we don't know if it'll be cold enough for snow or if it'll just be lots of rain. So we'll see if I need to get snow tires or not.
So that's pretty awesome. Now comes the suck.
Thursday night I was scheduled to drive up to Ruidoso for a sleep study, it's about an hour from Alamogordo where I work. I have been avoiding this for a long time because I do not want a CPAP machine. My lung doctor ordered an overnight oximetry study and it revealed in the wee small hours of the morning that I had an oxygenation problem with my levels dropping below 87% for an extended period of time. So I acquiesced to having the stupid study done. And that was Thursday night.
So Thursday night it was done. And it turned out surprisingly well. The way it works is they size you for a mask and explain how the CPAP machine works, they hook all sorts of electrodes to you, and you go to sleep. If you have X number of breathing problem events in Y time frame, they'll wake you and hook you up to the CPAP machine for the rest of the night and tune the pressures. The full data is analyzed by specialists and they decide what you need.
I had no serious events! I never hit the level that was specified for using a CPAP! The technician said that I had no oxygenation problems and that in his opinion I might have mild apnea, so we'll see what happens.
There's two routes to going home from Ruidoso to Cloudcroft, you can go down to Alamogordo then back up to Cloudcroft, or you can cut through the reservation and have a much more direct path. The disadvantage of the latter is that you're driving through an area with lots of cattle, elk, horses, etc. On the road. I passed huge elk, ponies, etc. And unbelievable numbers of cow patties on the highway.
About 6:45 I was on the highway less than a mile from my house and I hit a baby deer.
It couldn't have timed it worse. I had a truck coming at me in the opposite lane on my left, and I had mountain on my right, and a baby deer in front of me. It was no higher than the top of my hood, which isn't very high. And it was the exact condition where the EyeSight system can't do diddly to help you. Swerving left would put me in a near head-on collision, swerving right would run me up the side of the mountain and possibly roll the vehicle. So I hit the deer.
It exploded. It actually exploded. I kid you not, there were pieces of deer flying through the air.
It makes me sick to my stomach just to type this.
The body shop that I normally doesn't do estimates on Friday, so I have an appointment to get that done Monday. The hood, left front fender, grill, left headlight – all damaged. I'm not sure if the bumper is, they'll find out. Bumpers are dense foam core, similar to styrofoam, designed for a low-speed collision. It's then covered in the rubbery/plasticky skin. The body shop will figure that out.
I hadn't had the car for two full weeks and I had my first collision in 21 years.
The airbags did not deploy because I was braking heavily and took the speed below that threshhold. I wasn't physically injured, and the car will be fixed. But it's going to bother me for a long time.