For the first time since I started working on Complex Rides, I took a vacation. That vacation was to Brazil (Rio and Salvador, specifically) for the World Cup. I spent two weeks completely cut off from the Internet, using my cellphone as nothing more than a device to periodically check in with family and to take photos. But, naturally, as I took in everything from the beautiful scenery to the wide variety of football fans, I was also taking notice of the auto scene over there. There are a lot of differences, and I'd like to briefly tell you what I saw:
The Citroen DS5 is absolutely gorgeous.
It was hands down the most stunning car I saw while over there. It slipped around a corner, and I'm pretty sure I actually said, "woah!" That was my first time seeing a Citroen in the wild, and it really was just a beautiful, beautiful car. Also, the Citroen Aircross was a funky little CUV. I saw a Peugeot CRZ, too, which has an extremely unique presence and stance.
The variety of cars isn't really.
There is a very limited range of vehicles you're going to see in the streets of Brazil. There were a lot of VWs (Gols, Fusca, Kombi). To remind you, the Fusca is the Beetle and the Kombi is the bus. I've never seen so many clean Beetles in one place, and there was every variation of the van that you could imagine. There were a bunch of Chevy Spins and Onixes, a ton of Fiats, quite a few Ford Fiestas, and a single C6 Corvette.
Everything is manual.
I don't think I saw a single automatic in the two weeks that I was there. Even every public bus was a manual, and this is in a city with a ton of elevation changes. Parking brakes have never been used so much.
This might be obvious, but everything is smaller.
As are cars in almost every other country outside of America, but it's just interesting to actually experience it. Here, you go walk onto a street and you feel like you're going to get Hulk smashed by the enormous trucks and SUVS. There, you walk onto the street and feel like you could stick your foot into traffic and trip up a car. Everything is just tiny.
Kias and Hyundais are some of the best-looking cars on the road.
They really stand out as some of the most stylized vehicles out there. They're the same cars that we have here, but compared to the little hatches running rampant over there, they're on the good side of the spectrum in terms of attraction.
The Ranger really is a perfect truck for what America needs.
Saw a couple in person. They were great. The Colorado looks like a solid equal. Let's hope it catches on.
UTES EVERYWHERE. Americans need utes.
They're smaller than the Utes I saw in Australia, but they're utes, regardless. Some of them were pretty damn ugly, but there's still this underlying love that I have for them, because they're just so goofy. Not to mention the Chevy ute is called the Montana, which I thought was ironic and annoying and funny, tehehe. If Chevy made something called the Montana in America, I'm pretty sure it'd be an F-850 that runs on a mix of soil and beer and can turn into a grill or a fireworks stand on demand.
Natural gas taxis are a popular thing there.
Apparently, this just shows my ignorance to what has been going on in South America the past few years, but I was pretty surprised to see how many of the taxis have a flex fuel setup that uses natural gas. I was in the back seat on the way into Rio from the airport, smelled gas, thought it was just the city smelling terrible (there are a lot of nasty-smelling parts of Rio), then opened up the trunk to get my bags and found a giant tank. "Ohhhhhh."
The motorcyclists give no fucks.
In general, a lot of drivers don't give a shit. A ton of cars don't use headlights. Most don't follow lanes. I saw a ton of people treat red lights like there were no intersections at all. One of my taxi drivers was driving in the middle of both lanes on the highway, while talking to somebody on a radio, looking my phone (for directions) and typing it into his GPS (which was right in his face). Not to mention the motorcycles (which almost always have two people on them - even two dudes, which they also don't care about) are constantly weaving in and out of traffic. And there are a ton of them. It's a major form of transportation, and the danger is that much higher because of it.