Scissors, Gas Struts and Props

So this past Sunday I was engaged in washing cars (which turned into a full blown maintenance project but that’s another story) and I happened to take note of the designs of trunks (or boots as the English say). I have to hand it to Mazda, those scissor-shaped hinges with the gas strut assist really pays dividends in not intruding on the trunk’s total usable space. It used to be not so long ago that this was a luxury item on cars costing far more than your run-of-the-mill family sedan but kudos to Mazda for engineering such a nifty system for the 6 sedan (mine’s an ’06 model but this generation has been around since early 2003).

My Mazda6 trunk

Very nifty

Now this is in stark contrast to the cheap goose neck hinges that so many other manufacturers install as a cost effective measure (lookin’ at you General Motors). At least now they’re starting to cover up the hinges in their own special sheaths, covered in the same material as the trunk liner, but before you’d have to be careful about loading up the trunk, lest those same hinges crush any vital cargo they come into contact with when the lid is closed. Well, you can imagine my surprise (or realization really) to discover a Toyota of all vehicles carrying these cheap hinges, a [2002] Camry no less. Give Toyota some credit however, the trunk is vast (quite a bit bigger than my Mazda 6) but I believe the Mazda trumps it in usable space. It’s those same lined sheaths for the gooseneck hinges that makes the space a bit weird to use. Better watch out and pack softer cargo at the top. Sadly, Toyota continues this trend with their latest Camry.

2002 Toyota Camry trunk

Cheap hinges

They do try

So you think I’m bashing Toyota for this indescribable offense? Not so fast. Even though not many owners are likely to look under the bonnet to do engine checks (I mean really, with the latest model cars presently on the road, all you’re likely to see is a sea of black plastic covering the engine anyway)the Camry (circa 2002) redeems itself by offering a gas strut assist to lift and hold the bonnet up and out of the way. The Mazda 6 on the other hand, has to make do with a do-it-yourself lift-and-insert-here prop. It’s probably not a big deal to most people but the Camry’s gas strut does prevent your hands from being unnecessarily dirty if all you’re doing is a visual inspection.

Under the 6’s bonnet

Insert here

I like to get my hands dirty so the bonnet prop isn’t a big deal to me, but for someone who does very little (if any) maintenance, the Camry’s bonnet gas strut is a pretty nifty. Bonnet notwithstanding, the scissor hinges on my Mazda are just one of many details I absolutely adore about it. The trunk might not be as vast as the Toyota’s but best believe every inch is usable.

(I’ll upload a pic of the Camry’s more ‘sophisticated’ engine bonnet prop soon)

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