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As an auto glass installer for the past 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work on, and many times drive, a myriad of different vehicles — some expensive and exotic, but more often old, cheap, and beat-up. One of the services we offer is a pick-up and deliver service, which our customers really appreciate when the weather is inclement so we can’t work on their vehicles outside.

This morning we had to do a pick-up and deliver on a 2011 Kia Sorento SUV located about three miles from our shop over city streets. As usual, I was the one selected to drive it. I had looked forward to driving the Sorento for quite some time. It looked like a pretty neat little vehicle, one that I might even consider buying someday if I decided I was in the market for an SUV.

But things didn’t go quite as nicely as I had hoped or expected. The first thing I did as I tried to get in the Sorento was to bang my head on the top of the door opening. This is a design flaw that is becoming increasingly common these days. The door opening is simply too low. I don’t suppose it makes a whole lot of difference to young people who are lithe and supple, and flexible enough to slide right in through those door openings. But for those who are tall, or older and stiffer (like me!), it is a giant negative. Just what I want to do is bang my head every time I get into my car. I really don’t know why the automakers are designing their vehicles like this now, except that it probably has something to do with a styling compromise. I just wish they’d think of the comfort and ease of use by their customers, and stop. I can understand it if they want to make a young people’s sporty car low and sleek, but I am finding it disturbing that they’re making so-called “old people’s cars” like this now. What older person is going to be happy with a car he can’t get in and out of?

So I managed to squeeze under the top of the door and enter the vehicle. I found the seat fairly comfortable, but when I attempted to adjust the seat’s distance to the foot pedals and steering wheel, I found that when I got it so the pedals were too close, the steering wheel was still too far away for comfort. Now when I drive a customer’s car, I try not to adjust things too much, so the customer doesn’t get upset that their car has been messed with. I just adjust it enough that I can sit comfortably so I can drive safely. And maybe the seats, pedals, and steering wheel can be adjusted by the owner so this isn’t a problem. But I found it a bit off-putting.

I started the vehicle up, after putting on my seat belt; the engine was fairly quiet and smooth for a four-cylinder, and took of for the shop. What a surprise I was in for, as the ride was rough. I could feel every bump and tar strip on the road, and the suspension system bounded and pitched, trying to throw me into the ditch at every chance. Only on the smoothest, flattest road did it ride comfortably.

Well, needless to say, I won’t be shopping for a Kia Sorento next time I need a car. It’s true, different tires and suspension systems (this one could have been “heavy-duty”) can make a vehicle ride poorly. Perhaps the standard tires and a softer suspension set-up would have made all the difference in the world. But this experience made me decide, at my age, maybe I better stick to a car, and not a small SUV.

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