A car for today, a car for the future

Not long ago — in fact it was on Tuesday — I was traveling in Seattle and took the shuttle from the Seattle-Tacoma Airport to the rental car facility. I was to pick up my Enterprise car and do 24 hours of work in the area and then head to Los Angeles, where I am now.

It’s important for the story that I tell you that because I rent with Enterprise essentially every time I travel, I have Platinum status. (Last night at LAX, when I asked the agent if I could use one of my four free upgrades that I receive annually, he replied, “Sir, we don’t have ‘Platinum’ at Enterprise.” I replied, “The hell you don’t!” I actually did not say that to him. I said, “Yes, you do, because I have Platinum status.” Do you see the deft use of logic and persuasion I employed there? He agreed and we proceeded. But I digress.)

So, I have Platinum status, whether or not the agent at LAX believes it. But I was in Seattle, and the agent believed it, God bless her.

And because of my status, I asked if I could be upgraded from the sub-compact I had been put in. (I picked the sub-company unintentionally. I usually book a full size, which is only a dollar two or more than other cars, but it is what I want to be in during an accident rather than a smaller car that’s more like a desk chair with a steering wheel. Booking online, I picked the “We choose” option, meaning Enterprise gets to pick a car for me that’s “at or better than” the level I’m paying for. I chose “sub-compact,” because I wanted to save money and, surely, I’d get “better.”)

Here’s the kicker.

The agent — despite my status, which should have been apparent from 50 feet away — was not able to upgrade me from sub-compact, because they were short on cars. And when I mean short, I mean that the car they put me in — the only other car being a 1977 Pinto that was missing a hubcap — was a Chevy “Spark.”

And as the name “Spark” might imply, it’s not even a “flame.” In fact, two times out of three, it doesn’t even become a flame. In fact, it’s the thing that ignites the flame. A spark actually appears the moment before the flame, and disappears. Meanwhile everyone is warming themselves by the flame, soon to be a fire, while the spark is quickly forgotten.

So I’m in a Chevy “Spark,” and then it dawns on me.

I realize that I have a very marketable idea that occurs only to those who have Premium status with Enterprise. Someone with any other status with any other car rental company does not have these kinds of ideas. They just don’t. End of conversation.

“A new kind of car for a new kind of world”

I’d like to be the first to introduce you to the all-new 2022 Toyota Taco.

As its name might suggest, the Taco is small enough it can fit into one hand — metaphorically speaking — but also can be pimped out with our higher level trim packages to give you that ride you might find only in a vehicle that costs more than $129.95, not including local sales tax, out-of-state sales tax if you live outside Rhode Island, or shipping.

Please note this new Taco owner above.

He is smiling, which means he’s happy in 15 different cultures. In some ancient cultures, however, this facial expression denotes extreme displeasure, but none of us really has to worry about that, right? Ancient cultures are ancient for a reason.

The Toyota Taco is all-new this year, with multiple upgrades available if you want more than the basic “S” trim level.

  • First, the LX trim includes a windshield. The gentleman above is sitting in the LK, because he was smart, frankly. This is why he is smiling. We recommend this as a minimum trim, because at the S trim level, only children under the age of 5 are allowed to sit in the seat.
  • The next package is the XLE trim, which as the letters might suggest, is pretty damn swanky. It’s so swanky that we are going to surprise you with how many acceptably good things come with this trim. Trust us. Swank city.
  • The final trim, the luxury trim package, is the ZX-7. The ZX-7 comes with these newly designed enhancements:
    • An engine. (The lesser trim packages do not include an engine, and I should have mentioned that at the outset.)
    • A removable and disposable coffee cup with lid. Additional cups and lids may be ordered separately.
    • A seatbelt. We recommend the ZX-7 level for this enhancement alone, because the U.S. Department of Transportation will not allow you to start the engine — if you have one, that is, which you will if you get the ZX-7 trim package; again, trust me on this — and then your Taco will sit in the garage next to the grandkids’ Big Wheel, which last year Congress approved for use beyond the end of the driveway. That will not be you, in the Taco, if you do not get the ZX-7. Again, the ZX-7 trim package is the one you want if you want to actually drive the Taco.

I hope we’ve been clear about which trim package to get. (HINT: the ZX-7.)

The Taco comes as a kit weighing only 60 pounds. Because of this, we have partnered with various other hard goods manufacturers that also require some assembly.

In the month of March, our strategic partner is Ikea, and you may order a Taco in red or beige along with Ikea’s bestselling “Fartyg.” We have not yet received final confirmation on what kind of furniture a Fartyg is or whether it goes in the living room or the laundry area, but it is made to the most demanding Swedish standards, which exceed even our own. (We actually got the better end of the deal here and feel fairly confident that Ikea will not renew our partnership in April. We’re not real happy about that, to be honest, but I kind of get it.)

Finally, putting the Ikea Fartyg together requires no more than an Allen wrench and a Philips head screwdriver. The even better news is that the Taco requires only an Allen wrench, which just so happens to be the same size required for the Fartyg. Why do we make it so simple, you ask?

Because we’re extra like that.

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