Transportation

Road Tripping in a 2013 Kia Sportage
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When Kia offered us the opportunity to test drive a 2013 Kia Sportage we were initially hesitant. Our blog, after all, is called Spot Cool Stuff. It’s not Spot Ordinary Stuff or Spot Reasonably-Well-Made-Low-End Stuff — “ordinary,” “reasonable” and “low end” all being terms we associated with Kia.

Yet the car company kept insisting that we give the Sportage a try (no strings attached). And, around this same time, it happened that we needed a larger vehicle for a family Spring Break trip we had planned to the Catskills region of New York state.

So that’s how it came to be that the editor of this website, his two children — an animal-loving 9-year-old girl and a studiously observant 7-month-old baby boy — together with their beautiful mother, piled into a Kia Sportage for an all-American family road trip.

What the whole group of us soon discovered is that the Kia Sportage is anything but ordinary. It certainly wasn’t low end. But it isn’t quite the perfect family road trip vehicle either. Our week-long test drive review:

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5 Cool Camping Trailers
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Spot Cool Stuff is a huge fan of glamping. The word is a conjunctive of “glamorous” and “camping” and can describe pretty much any travel experience that is more luxurious than staying in a typical tent but more outdoorsy than an ordinary hotel. A glamping experience might involve sleeping in a portable treehouse, staying in a human-sized bird nest, making an espresso in the middle of nowhere—or touring in a cool camping trailer.

The number of unusual, creatively-designed campers currently on the market is truly amazing. Clearly neither the upward trend in road traffic or fuel prices are deterring some people from taking a mini-home with them on an adventure. Here’s our rundown of five especially cool caravan camping trailers:

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The World’s Smallest Street-Legal Production Car
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“Compact cars” are not, technically, the smallest classification of automobile. Smaller than those are “city cars” — visit your local Smart Car dealer to take one of those for a test drive.

And then there’s a car size classification that’s even smaller: “microcars.” Microcars typically have three wheels, one or two doors and either an electric propulsion system or a petrol engine smaller than 700cc. Sometimes much smaller.

Back in the 1950s and ’60s, a variety of automobile companies — both established and start-ups — developed and manufactured these very small, personal vehicles. Many experts were predicting that microcars would be the wave of the future.

They predicted wrong. Or, at least it seemed so.

Virtually no new microcar models were produced in the 1970s or in the three decades that followed. But in 2012, the microcar had a tiny reemergence. That’s when one of the original microcar companies, UK-based Peel, began again making the Peel P50. The vehicle is today the world’s smallest street legal production car.

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Powers Your Gadgets, Looks Like a Coffee Cup
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The cup holder might be the greatest innovation in automobile design since the steering wheel. Not only can the cup holder power you through a late night caffeinated drive, it can also power a smartphone, a laptop and a coffee maker — all at the same time! At least it can when your cup holder is holding a PowerLine PowerCup Inverter.

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The Synergy Aircraft Project

Can flying on a passenger airplane be awesome, comfortable and incredibly efficient all at the same time? It can if John McGinnis has his way. He’s the Project Manager for the Synergy Aircraft Project, an effort to vastly improve commercial air travel that’s as ambitious as it is necessary.

The goal of the Project is to build an airplane that, compared to current offerings, provides passengers with significantly more room, a better view and a more quiet and comfortable ride. The new airplane should be easier and safer to operate. It should be more environmentally friendly and super-efficient to fly using commonly available fuels. And, oh yeah, the aircraft must be highly affordable.

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Become The Dolphin
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What do you get when you cross a dolphin with a jet ski? The founders of Innespace Productions, a California watercraft company, asked themselves that question. And then they built their answer: The Seabreacher.

The boat-like, airplane-like, submarine-like, Flipper-like Seabreacher can accommodate a single operator and one passenger who sit in a waterproof cockpit in front of the craft’s supercharged rotary engine.

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The Bike Camper

You wouldn’t want to pedal very far with one attached to the back of your bike. And you definitely would want to avoid hills were you to try. But, man, would you be styling once you reached your destination. That’s because, with a Bike Camper in tow, you’d have a bed, television, couch and kitchenette with you.

A bike camper, sadly, can not found for sale at any of the world’s best bicycle stores. Instead, each is a “working sculptures”—pieces of art that are fully functional but that are built to be admired more than used.

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The Apple iCar and Dreams of What Could Be

If there’s one product outside of the computer and portable electronics markets we wish Apple would design, it’s a car.

Spot Cool Stuff is a big fan of nearly everything Apple. Yes, their products aren’t inexpensive. But they are almost universally well designed, well built and user friendly—not to mention cool-looking. If Apple were to bring their prowess an automobile design . . . well, we can only imagine.

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    Creative D100 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
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