Case In Point: THX on Wheels
I once bought a car because of its sound system...
Okay, so I didn’t buy the car only because of the sound system, but it was a key component in my decision making. The car was a Subaru Outback H6-3.O VDC, back in 2001. The car was classic Subaru, spare and lean, all-wheel drive and not very exciting to look at.
Then there was the tricked out audio system: an 11 speaker sound system, complete with 200W McIntosh (yes, that McIntosh) amplifier. Part of the speaker system was an 8-inch, long throw subwoofer. The H6 was about 200 pounds heavier than a stock Outback due to the extra sound deadening material under the hood and in the door panels.
The audio was phenomenal: neutral, clean and loud when you wanted it.
Alas, only nine months after I bought it, some driver on Interstate 280 careened across four lanes of traffic, clipped my rear bumper, and sent the car onto a slope, rolling a full 360 degrees before landing on its wheels. I walked away unscathed (yay, seatbelts!), but ended up with a 2002 Highlander – arguably a better vehicle, but with a decidedly inferior sound system.
So when Graham McKenna, the PR guy at THX, contacted me and asked me if I’d like to borrow a new Lincoln MKT SUV for a few days, I jumped at the chance. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t care a whit about the MKT itself. I wanted to check out how THX and Ford engineered the sound system.
When McKenna arrived with the MKT, I was a little taken aback. The MKT is built on Ford’s Flex platform. So although it seats up to seven people, it’s relatively low slung. It is, however, long. As it turns out, the MKT isn’t the car for me (even if I could afford the price tag), mostly because it seems to be engineered for fairly tall people – and at 5 foot 7 inches in socks, tall I’m not. Still, it proved to be a polished ride, and it was great fun driving a luxury vehicle that wasn’t even for sale on car lots yet.
Though this isn’t about the car, but about the sound system.