2013 Lexus GS 350: Rolling Into Austin, Texas
February 27, 2013
How unusual. I stand a very good chance of wheeling our 2103 Lexus GS 350 into the driveway of the Four Seasons in Austin, Texas before nightfall. I'd better, because my first official appointment starts at 6:30 pm and I need some time to relax and scrub the road off of me.
I've never been to Lubbock, Texas, before, and I don't know much about the place. The best I can do is admit that I've heard of it. Saw it on a map, perhaps, or heard it in one of the few country and western songs I've listened to all the way through. *ducks*
Before I leave I take a look at the local guidebook in my hotel and discover this place is big into Buddy Holly because, well, he was born here.
That explains the Crickets senior living center behind my hotel. And the nearby Crickets Laundromat. I could go on.
As it turns out the Buddy Holly Center is on Crickets Avenue, one block east of Buddy Holly Avenue.
I'd had no end of trouble with the turn signals on days one and two of my trip. They're not broken, it's me.
They have the 3-blink lane change feature I like, but the cars I usually see with this feature also have a push-on, push off way to cancel full turns. You push in the same direction of the blink to turn them off again.
I got into full turn mode more than a few times because the slow lane changes I was making as I passed trucks required more than three blinks.
In cars without the triple blink I'm used to canceling full signals in the opposite direction of the turn. For some reason I see the two features as going together. Scream and yell all you want at your keyboard, but that's me.
As it turns out, our Lexus GS has a plethora of settings. The triple blink is standard, but you can opt for 5 or 7 auto-winks with a single momentary push. Likewise you can change the way it fully cancels, from push-on push-off to push-on pull-off.
I can't wait to play with it. After all, I've got nothing but time.
But it's no good. I can't find the feature mentioned anywhere in the customization screen on the instrument panel or in the numerous vehicle setup menus on the touchscreen.
Another more careful consultation of the manual reveals why.
The circle in column three indicates that only a certified Lexus dealer can make these changes. Let me get this straight. You're telling me that if I want to try all of the various settings for an hour or so each I'm looking at two or three dealer visits?
How utterly stupid. There are two detail-level customization screens right in front of me. Between the two of them I can change door lock settings, headlight auto-off delay time and dozens of other parameters. Why am I not allowed to do this? I can name several other cars that will let me. Morons.
At this point I'd be glad to hear from some alert reader that I'm the moron because the solution is clearly printed on page XYZ. But I don't think that will happen...this time.
So can anyone point me to a hack?
Austin traffic is worse than I imagined, and it takes 45 minutes of idling to go 5 miles. This and a self-enforced detour to avoid a toll highway do a number on my day's fuel economy. It comes out to 25.65 mpg when I fill up about a mile from my hotel.
Eventually I roll into the hotel driveway with time to spare. I'm early, in fact, and my room isn't ready. Apparently, the Livestrong half marathon just ended a couple of hours ago, and several worn-out participants requested late checkout.
No problem. The valet has my car keys, and the hotel bar is right next to the front desk. I'm good.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 11,760 miles