Driving in China
Odometer (Legend): 519,285
Odometer (ILX): 26,034
No, I haven’t shipped my cars overseas for a lap around Asia (yet!).
Can you imagine having to apply for a lottery to be able to get a license plate for your vehicle? How different things would be for me if I lived in another country.
In an effort to curb traffic congestion, the largest city in China (Shanghai, at 23 million people), is looking into ways to limit access to plates. In Beijing, the capital city, such a system is already in place. Only 240,000 plates are issued per year. This works out to one driver out of every 75 applicants being successful in getting a license plate! See this article for more information.
My friend Ben lives in Shanghai. He shared this picture with me with a “then and now” look at the city. The top picture here was presumably taken in the 1980′s. Ben says that old parts of town are being demolished and new luxury apartments and retail stores constructed at breakneck speed.
Shanghai has 12 metro train lines and 273 stations. The “Maglev” train that runs from the airport has a top speed of 268 miles per hour. Acura models are sold in China. Ben reported seeing this Chinese ILX advertisement in the airport:
The “Urban Spirit, Urban Force” is loosely translated to “The city: My main stomping grounds.” Per Ben:
So, for example, if I wanted an ILX in Shanghai, a hybrid (from what I can tell from the website, it’s the only one available in China) costs US$52729, once you add in the cost of the license plate, by the time it’s registered and on the road, it will have cost you over US$70000. Now that you’ve spent $70K, you still don’t have a place to park. Parking spaces run up to US$300 a month, or if you want to buy one, US$100K. Gas costs upwards of US$5 a gallon. This is in a city where the average salary is US$8500 a year.
This is what Ben’s morning commute bus ride looks like around 10 a.m. in Shanghai. Still very heavy traffic nearing city center.
Here are 2 pictures that Ben recently took of a Honda Legend in China. The city truly takes its toll on vehicles, so this car looks like it’s seen better days.
I definitely take my freedoms as a driver for granted. I have the ability to freely register as many vehicles as I wish, to hop in the car and travel on “non-toll” roads, and spend only a fraction of the fuel cost that someone in Europe might be paying. We have it really good here. And for that I am grateful.
New Innovation for the ILX
Acura continues to be at the forefront of innovation when it comes to driver safety and convenience. This week, it was announced that the ILX is one of Honda/Acura vehicles that will offer integrated support for the iPhone’s “Siri.” With just the activation of the hands-free link and Bluetooth, drivers may now keep their eyes on the road and utilize Siri functionality. From a press release dated 1/30/13:
Later this year, owners with a compatible iPhone1 running iOS 6can direct Siri to perform a number of specific tasks while they safely keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Using Eyes Free mode, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further and minimizes distractions even more by keeping your iOS device’s screen from lighting up.
Something to look forward to when I upgrade from my “regular” iPhone 4!
Legend Lovers Unite – Michael’s 1994 Legend LS Sedan
On Wednesday night, a new Legend friend came over to my home. Michael happens to live just a few blocks from my house, and he’s as much of an Acura fan as I am. Having owned a 1991 sedan previously, he’s currently in a 1994 LS Automatic with 191,030 miles on the odometer.
Barely broken in! This car is equipped with Koni red struts, an aftermarket sound system, and other goodies.
The interior is in fantastic shape. According to AutoCheck, this car lived in California until 2007 when it moved to the Phoenix area, and it’s been here ever since. There’s not an ounce of rust on the body.
Interestingly enough, Michael’s car used to be Desert Mist Metallic – the same color as my coupe. At some point before his ownership, it was repainted pearl white.
He took me for a spin and it drove as solidly as a Legend should!
Thanks Michael for stopping by!
Quarter Million Mile…Lambo?
I saw this article today on Jalopnik about a 2004 Murcielago with 258,098 miles on the odometer that was just recently wrecked. Days before the accident, it had undergone a $47,000 service. To put that into perspective: This Lamborghini required more maintenance dollars on a SINGLE service than my 1994 Legend cost to maintain over its lifetime, with double the number of miles. That number, by the way, is $34,148.54 that the Legend’s had spent on it.
Back in the “real world” of cars:
The ILX looked cozy today tucked into my corner parking space at the office.
Someone got creative with exterior decor on his or her Honda CR-V. Those are Post-It notes!
I fueled up on the way home with 91 octane Shell gasoline at $3.40 / gallon.
The ILX is returning 32.0 mpg currently. I can’t remember when I last reset it, but the EPA estimate according to the factory window sticker is 31 mpg highway, so I’m beating that (and with mixed driving, too).
New ILX Owner Brent
Tonight I witnessed a friend of mine taking delivery of a brand new Acura ILX 2.0 automatic in Polished Metal Metallic with Parchment interior.
Brent traded his 2010 Acura TL in his new car at Acura of Tempe. Here are his new and old cars, side by side. His TL had only 34,000 miles on it.
Customary key handoff photograph! I wish I would’ve had my better camera on-hand:
And a quick shot of me, Brent, and our ILXs.
Congratulations Brent! Hope you have fun with the new ride.
How is winter treating everyone? The next time I get into the Acura ILX for my morning commute (at a chilly-for-Scottsdale 55 degrees) and quickly switch the seat heaters to “HI” for maximum heat, I’m going to think of this guy in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
He’s in a Subaru WRX STi that doesn’t feel like starting at -44 degrees Celsius (which converts to -47 degrees Fahrenheit):
The closest I’ve driven to the Northwest Territories was a neighboring province called the Yukon, back in 2006 during my Alaska trip with my dad.
Thanks to my friend Tony in Toronto for sharing the video link.
Stay warm everyone! Happy Friday.