21 December 2008

I got it!

For the past twelve hours, I've been the proud new owner of a silver Hyundai Genesis. In the above photo, I took delivery and have brought the car over to the dealership's parts department to pick up the official Hyundai iPod cable (unfortunately not free, but $30), after spending a few moments discussing my past Hyundai vehicles with the sales staff.

It was a miserable day, due to lingering jet lag and delays in paperwork for dumping my BMW. But I'm so fed up with the continuing reactionary politics in SoCal - including all the McCain-Palin and Yes on 8 bumper stickers still around me - that I just can't be seen in a BMW anymore. A Hyundai that carries the spirit of my past three months in Asia, complete with a Buddhist-themed vanity plate, is the best statement I can make on the crumbling Los Angeles freeways - to those cocky Hummer and BMW drivers.

Yes, the vanity plate is on order. The dealership has to order a normal plate for now, but I put in my separate order for a vanity plate. The vanity plate will be held at my designated DMV office, where I'll be able to turn in my normal plate for the swap.

Also, this is the first car that I am naming. Actually, my rental Sonata back in South Korea was the first car that I got to name. The rental Sonata was Gwaneum Zero, and this Genesis is Gwaneum One. Yes, I am naming my cars after my transgender matron saint.

Gwaneum One is NOT perfect. It's less tossable than the BMW 3-series (though it still handles very well - more like a Mercedes or a Lexus), and lacks the BMW's full tool kit. And the trunk, for that matter, has much of its interior unlined - I'd expect such cut-rate treatment in an Accent, not in this $40K luxury car. But it's a much bigger car with many more features, and still the best car I can buy at any price; the features of the top-end Technology Package, including the rear parking camera and the navigation system, work flawlessly. The nav uses Hyundai's DIS - Driver Information System - a knob that looks like the BMW iDrive, but works much better.

My wallet is $3oK lighter, but I am glad to have made the trade. I can't stand the BMW brand anymore, between its reactionary politics and its cut-rate customer service. When I gave up the 3-series, I saw it disappear into the CarMax service bay - and was relieved. I didn't miss it at all, and didn't even want to take a farewell photo.

Looking forward to years and years of wonderful journeys aboard Gwaneum One!