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What is the best car to hail in NYC?

If you live in a city, you may often take a form of public transit, whether it is a bus, or train/subway.  However, in today’s fast-paced world, not everyone has the time to deal with its inconsistencies and many delays.  You are an important person.  You have places to be, tasks to accomplish, and people to meet.  Therefore, you opt for a taxi, or one of the various ride-hailing/sharing services.  In the case of the ride-sharing services, outside of New York City, you get someone in their own personal car, which can vary enormously.  If you did not know, in New York City there are a few restrictions, and do not allow people to use their own personal daily-drivers (also most people do not even have personal cars), so you tend to get the same few makes and models.  They are all quite similar, but all are surely not created equal.

Photo Credit: (Anthony Wallen)

For the sake of this discussion, I am going to exclude cars you may find in the “premium” car classifications (i.e. UberBlack), such as your Mercedes-Benz, or Cadillac’s.  When you are on the street with numerous shopping bags in your hand, or you are too drunk to stand-up

straight, you are going to call for a car. Also, because you spent all of your money on the latest Canada Seagull jacket (or whatever), or ordered too many bottles at the club, you are going to go for whatever is cheapest.  If you order a taxi, you will likely end up hailing a Ford Crown Victoria, Toyota Prius, or Toyota Camry (all yellow of course, or green if in Brooklyn).  From a ride-sharing service, you will often see at the bottom of your phone screen an image of a Honda CRV, Nissan Altima, sometimes a Lincoln MKT, but most likely a Toyota Camry (all in black, because they have to be here).

The Toyota Camry has a near monopoly on the industry, and on paper makes sense.  They are reliable, pretty safe, and as most are the hybrid versions, fuel efficient.  Camry’s are also are a wildly popular choice for people’s own personal cars.  It is solid value for the money.  When I myself get in one for a ride, I see all of this.  However, I personally develop a case of mild depression and confusion when I am in one.  The ride and comfort is not all that great.  Interior sound dampening is subpar, and the suspension is a couple of sticks with marshmallows on the end.  Maybe that is just because the one’s I ride in have harder lives than the average Camry, but it especially baffles me why so many people have them when you experience the Camry’s bigger sibling the Avalon.

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In my opinion, the Avalon is far superior to the Camry.  I would even say it is the best car you can hail in the city out of the common ones mentioned above.  For every five rides from a ride-sharing service, you probably get the Avalon once, but when I strike that 20% chance of getting an Avalon, I am thankful. The Avalon, even though under its body it is just an elongated Camry, it does not feel like it from the rear passenger seat.  The suspension feels like it uses jumbo marshmallows instead of regular, giving it that slightly more forgiving ride, and the extra legroom in the back lets you breathe your own air, instead of the driver’s air.  Do not even get me started about how much quieter the cabin in the Avalon is than the Camry.  If the Camry was a library, the librarian would yell out, “Sussh”, every time the driver accelerates.  In the Avalon, you could read the entire tax code without distraction.

Now, I am not saying that the Toyota Avalon is overall one of the best cars out there.  What I am saying is, if you are going to hail a car in the city, cross your fingers for an Avalon, because you are in for an adequately pleasant ride (driver is a wild card).  If, you are a parent who has medium-sized children, and do not want them to form mild cases of depression, work a little harder to get the Avalon.  Judging by the base hybrid models, it is just $10,000 more, but how can you put a price on your children’s happiness?

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