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April 23, 2004

Back in the day, I used to play street hockey almost every afternoon. Toward the end of high school I even joined a league here and there. I wasn’t very good, but that’s neither here nor there.

One thing I discovered early on about rollerblades was my preference for “rockering” the wheels. This basically involves lowering the two inside wheels a little bit below the outside ones. This way, only two wheels on each foot were in contact with the ground at a time. While some speed was compromised, rockering also provided a crazy amount of agility. The principle is the same when you look at the blades of hockey skates versus regular ice skates.

I think that my preference for rockering my rollerblades is also indicative of the way that I like my vehicles. Speed and power are all good, but above all else, I love agility.

I love the Xterra so much not because of its acceleration (which is bad), but because of the dead-on feeling of the steering and the relatively good handling. Agility is also the reason I’ve fallen for the Mini. Whipping around curves in the hill country appeals to me far more than racing down a highway at full bore.

With all of this in mind, I recently updated my Cars Photo Album to include three more vehicles:

– The all-new Nissan Xterra, redesigned for 2005 on an all new platform and sporting a brand new 4.0L six-cylinder engine

– The Mini Cooper Cabrio, an open-air variant of the Mini

– The Subaru Impreza WRX Wagon, an all-wheel-drive dark horse from the world of rally racing

I know, I know, I am still quite a ways away from actually doing the new car thing, but I still have a blast thinking about it. If I had to choose right now, I’d have to say its a dead heat between the Mini and the new Xterra. Third place goes to the Subaru. Not to say it doesn’t have a chance, though, since it is basically a fusion of the other two.

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