Modern cars coddle the human form with supportive seats, 3,500 (or more, much more) pounds of metal and plastic, airbags galore and decades of research and development with regard to safely slowing the body in case of a catastrophic change in speed. Perhaps we as drivers have gotten used to that concept, and have assumed that all vehicles are going to be that way – seeing the way some of you drive, well, yeah.Older cars – not so much. The Prizm, being of a certain age, is not like the car above. It’s small. Light. Lacking airbags, side impact beams, LATCH system for child seats. It does have ‘automatic’ seatbelts mounted to the front doors. Shoulder belts in the rear outboard seating positions. But that’s about it.
So are we crazy to put our families, our children, into such a deathtrap? There’s probably a segment of society that would answer that question with a resounding “yes!” Those people may be the ones driving a single child around in a large SUV because “it’s safer.” For who?
But the real question lies in this – what is your willingness for risk? An SUV could roll over, could drive off a bridge or catch fire just the same as any other car. There is no such thing as total safety.
Speaking for myself, this Prizm GSi will take the role of a weekend fun vehicle, a spot formerly occupied by a motorcycle in my garage. And we all know that those are definitely deathtraps. So it’s a matter of managed risk. Will I put my child in the GSi? Yes. Strapped in tight to her car seat and driven in a very responsible and sane manner. She wouldn’t have it any other way. She asks about the car constantly, “are we taking the GSi??” It will be a project that we will work on together. Some fun time to spin a wrench or scrub or just drive around with a period-correct Whitesnake tape in the deck, windows down and hair blowing. To me, the time I get to spend with my family is worth it.
*No, that’s not my kid. Stock photo for the win.