Gone are the times when we could compare vehicles solely on their performance and handling merits. We long for the good old days when the hardest part of reviewing SUVs like the 2020 Chevy Equinox vs 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe was finding our damn readers. But hey, the face shield, mask, military-grade front door deadbolt, and hermetically-sealed living spaces aren’t so bad, right? Other than the profound sense of isolation and the mind-numbing sound of our dishwashers running 24/7, we love having the extra time to procrastinate about all the things we should be doing (next up: online Mandarin lessons). Luckily automakers – agile and responsive conglomerates that they are – feel our pain and know we need mobility. But how? Won’t the murder hornets get us?
Fear not, grasshoppers (ahem, honey bees), for our moles tell us that some fast-tracked designs have made their way through the annals of General Motors’ executive offices and the paranoid general public is about to reap the benefits. You might have a long list of worries, but thanks to our hero, the modern automotive engineer, swarms of mad insects, and the germs that hover over our society like a foul green mushroom cloud can be scratched off post-haste.
What We Know
Sources tell The Lemon that these newly redesigned SUVs – tentatively named The Protector Series – will include a retractable ‘bubble tube’ that extends with a hydraulic pump-powered system built into the driver’s side door. Dubbed the I-Don’t-Have-A-Garage Package, this feature allows you to simply press the red ‘emergency-air-filtration-sealing-thingamabobber-extension-protective-device (EAFSTEPD, for short) and your trip from the front door to the vehicle will be hornet- and germ-protected, thanks to the HEPA air filtration unit and 3-ply clear plastic tubing. We don’t know pricing yet, but we’re hearing it’s a small $35,000 add. Well worth the extra $500/month, for sure.
On the inside, the infotainment system features two short-cut CNN and Fox News toggle options, giving drivers on both sides of the aisle access to the flavor of bias they need in order to continue on with their rigid and inflexible belief systems while underway. In fact, once a selection is made, the system automatically sends regular hate mail to the discarded entity on your behalf. Simply select ‘with expletives’ or ‘without expletives’ and the system does the rest.
Because we expect the murder hornet swarms to impact driver visibility, the conventional belief was that driving would remain treacherous and largely impossible for the foreseeable (or not seeable) future. Relax! The brains at the factory are burning grey matter faster than the hornets can multiply. Traditional windshield wipers are going to be replaced with a set of Mad-Max style hood-mounted bug zappers that will neutralize incoming swarms with an electrical charge, while a uranium-containing well receives and dissolves the hornet corpses upon contact. This was no small feat, but luckily the incumbent White House occupant is a staunch supporter of all things nuclear (we sure hope Congress isn’t reading this – fingers crossed).
Warranty and Maintenance
We have a good news/bad news update on the expected cost of ownership and maintenance requirements for your new doomsday escape pod on wheels: in fact, you’re likely going to get a 1 month/100 mile warranty, which should adequately cover you until the predicted end of civilization as we know it. Meantime, you’ll be one of the lucky few who can still pop over to Trader Joe’s for some cauliflower gnocchi. Who doesn’t want to keep up that vegan lifestyle while the world crumbles down around them? Priorities, friends!
The components of your Protector SUV are all titanium and military-grade, so the GM team has partnered with your friendly local military base for all vehicle service. Your service team awaits on the airfield, so be sure to make time for an appointment, obtain the proper gate access credentials, and check the back spare tire compartment for your complimentary orange vest and hardhat, as you’ll need those to enter the base and exit your vehicle. Be prepared for a temperature check at gunpoint, full-body cavity search, and a brief deviation to the interrogation room if your background contains anything troubling. Oh, and don’t forget your bubble tube. The hornets don’t respect Federal boundaries.
As for cost of ownership, well, it’s on the high side. An oil change is expected to run you around $1,500, but remember – you can’t take your money with you, and you can’t put a price on freedom! We recommend applying for a GM Rewards Visa so you can accrue massive amounts of credit card debt at a soul-crushing APR of 37%. You’ll accrue points toward aftermarket add-ons like flush-mounted side spikes and full-body barbed wire framing (in your choice of gunmetal or matte black for that monochrome look). Luckily all service appointments include a complimentary car wash, so the body parts of those hornets won’t affect the paint, and you can drive your tank with pride.
Your vehicle has a GVWR of 9,600-lbs., which may seem like a lot given the overall length is just shy of 120-inches. Remember, though, that those HEPA filters weigh a lot. The vehicle’s weight distribution also increases your risk for a rollover due to the high center of gravity achieved by the roof-mounted self defense-only Dillon Aero M134 Minigun. Remember, this option is illegal unless the zombie apocalypse commences. Defend responsibly. Anyway, drivers will need to come to a full stop at red lights and stop signs whenever turning, as completing a turn at any speed will cause a Flintstones-like tip, and you’ll find yourself ass-over-teakettle in the middle of the intersection. And then the zombies will eat you.
Fuel economy is estimated to be a doomsday-appropriate 4 MPG city / 8 MPG highway. Let’s face it: you’re going to visit the gas station a lot in this thing, but these days doesn’t a gas station stop sound more exciting than an EDM festival? We thought so. The team at GM knows you need distractions, so the vehicle’s weight (plus the fact that there just wasn’t room for a large fuel tank), will keep your calendar full. The good news is you can still get a bag of Funyuns and a Charleston Chew while you’re there.
Performance ratings are still rumors, but we’re hearing a 0-60 time of about, well 60. Don’t worry, though, because the 76-speaker surround sound concert grade 83885759229-watt subwoofer-boosted premium select supersonic sound system will make it feel like Sean Hannity (or Rachel Maddow) is riding shotgun. You won’t want your drive to ever end! The interior appointments are unique too, with plastic-coated antimicrobial bucket seats that emit a continuous stream of Purell sanitizer to keep your body coated with germ-fighting chemicals while you relax and drive. Pro tip: due to the 2% bleach additive, we recommend changing to an all-white wardrobe. This will put you on the right team in the hero/villain, comic book archetype our society is moving toward, so extra style points to the car makers for always being a few cultural steps ahead.
We admit, much of this is rumor, but our sources are well-placed, and we know the folks in Motor City are constantly monitoring the headlines and equipping this next round of SUVs with the life-saving components necessary to navigate the rest of the shitshow we lovingly refer to as 2020.