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I've discovered a certain kind of crisis comes about when it comes to buying a car at middle age. I remember thoroughly ridiculing my elders in the 1980s as balding, rotund men went about buying either 1960s era Mustangs they never owned or the modern Corvettes they shouldn't own. "Act your age and get a Buick!" I'd say. I swore to myself while listening to Jesus Jones' "Right Here, Right Now" that this would never, ever happen to me. I would be a very practical adult, so said I, with a primary focus on efficient transportation and minimal bling. Like my grandfather.

Ha! Boy was I wrong. About everything.

While Grandpa did own a 1963 Chevy C10 Pickup (with the 3 gear steering column controlled transmission) and a small, practical 1970s-era Datsun (which he referred to by a nasty insult for the Japanese he fought in the War), he also had his own way of being very impractical. For in his garage he had a large gas-guzzling V8 sedan from GM. A car for family road trips. A Sunday service car. A deacon's car. A union boss' car. For grandpa's generation, a huge Detroit luxury car was as much a vanity as my father's strange love of Burt Reynold's Firebird Trans-Am.

Car shopping is bringing about conflicting emotions and complex decision trees. My values are up against my passions. My pragmatism is up against memories of things left undone. Now that I've test driven a few vehicles, I know for certain that the auto manufacturers know this. They are after me. They are after all of us. They are going to win.

Follow me below the fold.

As I pondered, I thought of all the vehicles I loved in my youth and how cool it would be to drive them now. A 1993 Porsche 911 would be awesome, but do I really want to be that guy? No. A 1995 Chevy Impala SS would be straight gangsta! Especially with a hot set of rims. But at my age i'd be looking more like a corrupt cop than a baller. Think Denzel from Training Day. Nah. Not the move. Those cars would have been cool to drive when I didn't have the money to drive them. Now it won't be nearly as satisfying and potentially embarassing. There's no going back, only forward.

I really don't know what I want. I do know what I don't want. I don't want to drive a car that looks practical but I want it to be practical in every way. I don't want a nerd car. I also don't want some cheap look-alike of a expensive car of the sort that Hyundai puts out. Nor do I want anything that is too youthful and cheap, as if I'm either broke or a cheapskate. I don't want anything too expensive and ridiculous, as if I'm keeping up with the Jonses on credit (like a boomer) or some of kind of blingin like the 90s throwback. Nothing worse than a guy with a nice car and an empty gas tank. I don't want anything that has to be plugged into an electrical socket. I don't want an SUV of any size. I don't want a sports car that says I'm an old guy preying on young women. I don't want a pickup truck like I'm unstatisfied with the size of my dick. I don't want anything German again because I've been there and done that. How can I possibly be satisfied?

The Italian guy at the dealership was the exact same age as me, but not married. I could tell by the way he talked he had spent plenty of time around the brothers. Not in an attempting-to-be-black way that white folks sometimes do. But in the real way ... like he talks this way all the time. I'm pleased by this, which means he is a good salesman. He didn't ask about the ages of my kids or my wife. Instead, he insisted on dividing the conversation into two parts: 1. maximum price and minimum price and 2. salespitch. I liked this approach. We came to agreement quickly because I wanted to get this over with, expecting to be as unsatisfied eventually as I was at the BMW dealership and the Volkswagen dealership and the used car dealerships of my younger years. Cars don't grow on you unless you love them and all the cars I've owned have been jilted girlfriends. Yeah, I researched this car very carefully before I came here. I sat inside it at this year's auto show. He knows it too and knows that trying to shit me is just going to make me a hard ass. Just let me do my thing.

Lincoln said they were coming after me:

Lincoln, Ford's luxury brand, is taking a somewhat novel approach to marketing its newest vehicles: Targeting Gen X consumers. Drive On's Sharon Silke Carty reports:

Normally, automakers write off Gen X buyers, since their demographic is fairly small compared with other generations, and at ages 35 to 45, they are just beginning to hit their earnings potential. But Thomais Zaremba, communications manager for Lincoln Mercury, says Gen X buyers make sense for Lincoln because it's a niche brand.

Everything that happened at the Lincoln dealership Friday seemed to fit in with this ethos. If Lincoln was looking for middle aged Xers who will not pay an arm and a leg for a luxury car, but still want to look like a grown up, they found at least one. They made me feel like I had graduated. The car seemed to fit me. Now I was about to do something more than just the simple act of buying some wheels. Hell, I don't even need a car and they seemed to know that too. This is New York!

I'm not the kind of person who regularly makes shopping out to be more than what it is. I too have had my bouts of condesension towards consumerism and consumption. But think of it like this: Some people ... some designers, some engineers, some marketing people ... a whole bunch of people earned their living figuring out how to get me to that showroom and buy so that they can earn a decent living. Perhaps that is why my parents and grandparents weren't so cynical about buying stuff. These things ... these things ... they signify something about us. Perhaps we shouldn't be so dismissive of consumerism, but instead we should take it more seriously.

I never thought as much about buying a car as I have this weekend. I'm starting to think that is a good thing.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A Ford Ranger 6 cyl extended cab (29+ / 0-)

    For pulling a little houseboat or a small sailing sharpie.

    Sorry to buck the trend. No car. Boat.

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:05:04 PM PST

    •  GMC Canyon - 4cyl , 5sp man, ext cab, 2wd (8+ / 0-)

      Bought 1 of the only 3 available within a 150 mile radius of Boston.  Is there anyone out there besides me looking for that same mid 60's C10 3 on the tree inline 6 250 'ticker' you paid minimum $$$ for and drove for years?  GM doesn't even advertise their small trucks anymore... NADA!

      I've never seen so many ads for $40,000 and up (very up!) cars during mainstream TV time.  Seriously?  The reality of car purchasing is that somehow they've got to dress up the transportation appliance equivalent of a $20,000 - $30,000 microwave oven when life in a car is more like using a it to heat instant mac-n-cheese up every day.  To and from work in stop and go and petty errands with a few road trips on the side.

      Arguably (obviously) there are 4 cars nobody could ever make a mistake buying - Corolla, Camry, Civic, Accord.  You can even get manual transmissions in all of them still.  (Sorry big three, almost seems you can't even keep a model alive longer than I go through shoes) Continually refined over the course of decades with the concentrated efforts of the finest engineers and multi-million (billion?) research and development budgets in the world.

      •  Ram 1500 quad cab, 4 wheel, 8 cyl. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Spring suspension that is more comfortable than most chairs in my house. I can and have seated 6 adults comfortably.

        After the drunk hit us, I vowed to increase size. Plus, I carry 250 pounds of dog, and often steel for my art work.  Of course, a lawyer heading in a huge pickmeup truck to the courthouse does have an impact. When you have art piees that weigh 300 lbs, you need the space.

        While the highway mileage is between 20-25, the safety issue is paramount. My wretched body would not survive another impact like that.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:51:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are me! Mine's a Chevrolet Colorado, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, NoMoreLies, JohnnySacks

        4 cyl, 5sp man, ext cab, 2wd.

        How hard it was to find the 5-speed manual. I bought the only one that was on a local dealer's lot. This was in 2010, and the GM sales picture was just starting to recover. The salesman told me the ratio of full-size to compact pickup sales was 20:1, 30:1, maybe more.

        WTF? I need the pickup bed for the occasional cargo, for my motorcycle on the rare occasion I don't ride it to my destination, for work purposes. I wish GM still made the S-10 and the Sonoma. Even the small trucks that - as you say - GM doesn't advertise are big now. The Colorado and the Canyon are too big. My Colorado gets 18 MPG around town, 1 MPG worse than my old S-10.

        I'm with you on the idea of most cars and trucks being the $20,000 - $30,000 microwaves! I'd bet that 90% of people who buy the $35,000 monster full-size 4WD Silverado that's advertised during football games pulling boulders up hills and having pallets of cinder blocks dropped into it from 30 feet up never use it for those purposes. It's job is to commute 35 miles from the suburban cul-de-sac along the outerbelt to the office five days per week, and to take the kids to the mall on weekends. Silly humans.

        I wish GM had gone smaller than the S-10. I wish they'd stop advertising trucks as a sign of machismo (to go with bigger guns) and cars as the essential part of the human mating ritual. These things are tools. I want nicely made, well-functioning tools in my toolbox, and I want a truck that fills the same role for transportation. The excess, the bloat, are ridiculous.

        "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

        by blue in NC on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:09:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My neighbour drives (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          US Blues, blue in NC, armadillo

          a 4x4 extendacab with big lug tires. The closest that box gets to dirt is what falls off his cleats coming home from the golf course. He thinks he's the cat's ass but people snicker as he drives by.

        •  They Dumped 5sp Manual this Year (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue in NC

          Only on the base model now.. UGH!  I asked the dealer if he had $900 in his pocket right now would he spend it all at once on a device to shift his car and be less reliable in the long run?  The way these companies treat money earned with blood as dirt is appalling.  I love that 4 cyl and have no regrets, but call me when it hits the 10 year mark and 100,000 miles and I'll comment on reliability.  Squeaks and rattles (none so far) are annoyances, failing water pumps, alternators, radiators, etc. are what will piss me off.

          Son is driving wife's 1998 S-10 Blazer now and out of over 100 available on lot at the time, there were only 2 2wd versions.  WTF is with the ubiquitous 4wd AWD marketing?  My massive property tax bill at least covers plowing, salting, and sanding and front drive changed the winter driving world since the 80's.  The 2wd saved over a grand (I had MUCH less $$ then) and lugging around all that extra weight and complexity for over a decade.  Maybe needed it 3 times over 10 years but a $2 bag of sand is cheaper.  Manual transmission only on 2dr flavors.

          •  Wow. More genius on the part of GM. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I can't believe I won't be able to get another 5-speed. :-(

            I think I'll keep my 2010 essentially forever. I'd gotten myself onto a seven-year replacement schedule, because the "rewards" dollars on my GM Mastercard begin to expire after seven years, so the reward cash maxes out at around $3,800 after seven years. Coupled with dealer incentives, manufacturer rebates, and end-of-model-year promotions, I've been able to get new trucks every seven years with very little out of pocket.

            This changes things.

            I don't want to buy a pickup with an automatic transmission. Period. I can keep a truck alive fairly inexpensively for hundreds of thousands of miles, I think, because I do all repair work myself. With that in mind, I may be driving a 2010 Colorado until 2030, especially since I only put ~5,000 miles per year on it. The motorcycles are my primary means of transportation (we can get away with year-round riding in this part of NC).

            As long as I keep using my GM Mastercard (and paying it off every month), I'll have that $3,800 reward toward the next GM vehicle, even if I wait long beyond the seven-year rollover period (the rewards actually drop off in a first-in first-out fashion, so I always have the most recent 84 months worth to spend). Maybe in 10 years, I'll be in a position to buy that Chevy Volt of my dreams - and they might be a bit cheaper then, too. :-)

            "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

            by blue in NC on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:34:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That GM Card Bought Every Car Since 1991 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue in NC

              I'm an 'entrenched transactor' (AKA deadbeat) with that card too!  We make sure never pay a dime in interest though.  Make your best deal, deduct a $1000-$2000 rebate, then slap down the GM card for another $1000-$2000, thank you GM.  Bought a 1991 Caprice LTZ (long term love/hate) with it when my son was less than a year old and had it long enough for him to drive and repair for 3-4 years. (Nothing like ability to get any suspension part you need at 2:00 PM on a Sunday afternoon for a decade+ old car... cheaply) Repeat and rinse on a regular cycle up to the 2010 Canyon.  Not much base price leeway there though, just rebate and GM card.  I think the markup on Colorado/Canyon is WAY lower than Sierra, otherwise why else no marketing?  I think GM is reluctant to introduce anything new which might steal a dime of profit from their cash cows.  The Pontiac G8 being the best (and a very personal) example...  A solid roomy top of the line V6 and transmission combo in a RWD Sedan killed instead of swapping on a Caprice nameplate so it wouldn't steal from their Impala and Cadillac models?  Hence I'm kind of getting turned off on GM card perk and wondering if the commitment (and need) will be there in 8-10 years.  Especially with Amex doing cash rewards.

        •  Love the 6L V8 Suburban! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue in NC

          ... but only as a 6 day rental to carry 5 of us 240 miles to a ski vacation with luggage and food.  Absolutely beautiful ride, comfort, power, the whole package.

          But to own one?  What a nightmare!

          As a commercial vehicle, it's over the top full of bullshit bling.
          As a family vehicle, I guess if you've got that kind of family and $50,000 to spare, it's super, but even maneuvering in parking lots is horrible.  We've all seen the drivers who have zero idea of how much space surrounds their massive SUVs and are therefore completely unable to back out of any parking spot.  As immediate newcomers renting it, we needed (seriously!) a guy out back guiding in a tight lot.

          •  Don't they come with backup cameras now? (0+ / 0-)

            It's an option on little SUVs, you think it would be standard on a Suburban.  Love that truck - my dad had a couple of them over the years, for hauling their travel trailer around the country.  My son learned to drive in one of them (almost as crazy as me learning to drive a '64 Caddy) - if you can parallel park one of those you can park anything.  

            We used it to move my son to college, back home after college, then up to Illinois for vet school... then Dad sold it and bought a Dodge Magnum when they stopped camping - I HATE that car.  

            My mom drives it, since Dad passed away - we sold her Buick, it was older, had lots of miles on it.  So here she is, an 86 year old lady, has a 6 year old Dodge Magnum with the big engine and it's got less than 30,000 miles on it.  

            People always do a double take when she goes by - the only people who drive a Magnum down where I live are drug dealers or people who look like they should have been movie pimps from the Naked Gun series - seriously - you oughta see the Mother of Pearl paint jobs, spinning rims, huge grills, extra gold trim on Magnums down here.  My mom's is just slate gray, regular chrome (although the rims were upgraded from standard by dad, but they don't spin - thank God).  I've seen very few Magnums that aren't completely tricked out.  

            I feel ridiculous driving it and I loathe the low roof line - I have to duck to see traffic lights (and I'm only 5'3") I have no idea how my dad coped - he was 6'1" - but he LOVED that car.  I'll say one thing for it, the bugger does go - step on the gas and you practically leave yourself behind.  I never have a problem passing anybody on the highway.  But I hate coming out of the store to find a bunch of guys drooling over it and asking what size engine it's got - they're always appalled to find out I don't like it.  I'm supposed to consider myself "lucky" to have it to drive around, I guess.  

            "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

            by Ricochet67 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:55:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Sold my Ford Ranger 6 cyl extended cab 4x4 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, kaliope

      this spring and purchased a Nissan Xterra (I live in the West, where we have bigtime winters.

      Xterra is, hands down, the finest vehicle I've ever driven.

      Kool-Aid, man, Kool-Aid's the stuff to drink ... For fellows whom it hurts to think. (with apologies to AE Housman)

      by wheeldog on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:15:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lost me here? (5+ / 0-)
    I'm not the kind of person who regularly makes shopping out to be more than what it is. I too have had my bouts of condesension towards consumerism and consumption. But think of it like this: Some people ... some designers, some engineers, some marketing people ... a whole bunch of people earned their living figuring out how to get me to that showroom and buy so that they can earn a decent living. Perhaps that is why my parents and grandparents weren't so cynical about buying stuff. These things ... these things ... they signify something about us. Perhaps we shouldn't be so dismissive of consumerism, but instead we should take it more seriously.
  •  Omg we have one of those Impala SS-s (11+ / 0-)

    My husband just HAD to have it....   I drive a VW Golf TDI and love it...  Did you look at VW GTI?   They rock for all generations...   Good luck!!!

    •  The GTIs are awesome (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ilo, weck, Christin, GayHillbilly

      I had one for a few years but recently traded it in for an Acura TSX - needed something a bit bigger, and I drive a lot so I was piling on the miles pretty quickly - I hate owning a car not under warranty (especially something as expensive to repair as a German car) but drive way too much to lease. I love my TSX, and it's a great car, but every time I see a GTI on the road, I miss mine.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:16:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a GTI. Sigh. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I love this car. I also have more tickets since I owned it than in my entire life before. It's too too easy, and fun, to go too fast. Also, it's red, and gets noticed by the cops. Seriously, my lawyer just told me to trade it in for another color! It's also had a lot of repairs, the tires are expensive....but I love driving it.

        Before that I owned a Saturn coupe (had it 11 yrs.) and before that - a VW Fox. Before THAT, a Datsun B 310 hatch. And before that, in college, I drove the family '73 Nova.

        You get what you deserve, even if you don't deserve it (Issan Dorsey, Zen teacher)

        by kayak58 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:10:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •   our 46 year old neighbor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dwayne, NearlyNormal

      Just bought the new challenger.
      Our 45 year old friend just bought the new charger.
      So retro cool looking.
      We just got new Chrysler 300.
      Hooboyee. :D
      God this 300 is gorgeous though. I love it.

      We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

      by Christin on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:57:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a Mopar myself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mhanch, Christin

        I was looking for something I could afford, but still just a little sporty...but not too sporty as my age, lest people think I'm trying to compensate for something.  Perhaps my subconscious was taking me back to childhood, as the first family car I can remember is  a Dodge Coronet and the second is a Ford LTD Country Squire station wagon.  So I ended up with a Dodge Magnum.  So far so good.

        “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

        by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:32:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh and BTW (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          isn't that a 2013 Dodge Dart that the OP used as an illustration?  Just sayin'.

          “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

          by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:34:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Shout out to the Maggie owners (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Do you have the Hemi? The multi-displacement feature is amazing on the highway. I have 2005 Magnum R/T that I bought used, and it is an amazing car. Not great on gas in town, but it is the first modern car that I have seen that you can actually repair. I swapped out my Thermostat today. $20 in parts and a whole 15 minutes.

          Amazing cars.

          Listen to the chair leg of truth! It does not lie! What does it say?

          by mhanch on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:20:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, mine's the SXT (0+ / 0-)

            She's a 6 but she does what I want her to do on I-20.  :)

            “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

            by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:21:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I've never bought MoPar. (0+ / 0-)

        They do look nice, I agree. But behind the wheel....well...for me they're missing something. Can't put my finger on it. It could be that I've gotten used to driving German vehicles because I've been doing it for 10 years now.

    •  My father (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Bought an Impala SS in 95. It is a bad ass sedan. Drives like a boat anchor with a Corvette engine in it. Powerful. It's been my mother's daily driver (dad's a farmer, a pickup truck is his daily drive) for years, and is showing it's age, but neither one of them want to get rid of it.

      Used to love driving it. Now? Handles terrible. Needs suspension work, I think.

  •  meh. Post this on Daily Cars instead nt (6+ / 0-)
  •  Got close to 200,000 miles on my car. (19+ / 0-)

    I tell my wife I'm keeping it until it hits 300,000.

    Time will tell. Cars are funny things.

    The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

    by teacherjon on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:09:31 PM PST

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uciguy30, SteelerGrrl, weck
  •  My dad was that guy then I was that girl after (18+ / 0-)

    it was handed down to me. And it was awesome. ;-}

    A 1993 Porsche 911 would be awesome, but do I really want to be that guy?

    "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

    by jazzence on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:10:18 PM PST

  •  I wanted a small car (6+ / 0-)

    My back and knees said no.  I got a GMC Acadia, much better for long trips and hauling stuff.  This is my 3rd front wheel drive.  Much better in the snow.  Since I am retired, I don't drive much.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:10:40 PM PST

  •  Saturn. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    uciguy30, weck, doc durango, kaliope

    Wasn't the Saturn designed for just the niche you've described?

    You can't second-guess the Ineffable. - Good Omens

    by asterlil on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:10:53 PM PST

  •  Tesla Model S (17+ / 0-)

    The Tesla Model S will salve your mid-life crisis.

    God gave you free will to define God, use it to make the best God that you can.

    by Dotty Gale on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:11:48 PM PST

    •  Model X rocks, too (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, doc durango, ARS, BYw, kaliope

      And the affordable Tesla should be out in a couple of years.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:22:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have to move... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, Sychotic1, BYw

      ... to somewhere with a garage, but that's HerrDoktor's next car.

      But if we move, we'll be more than 4 blocks from the Tesla Service building (sigh).

      And both WarriorGirl and I want a Model X.  But we'll stick my my Toyota Sienna for the time being.

    •  Indeed. (6+ / 0-)

      I'm 40 and reasonably parsimonious with my finances, though I'm well-off enough to afford the Model S. But like brooklynbadboy, recall the youthy cringes at middle-age rogers making the splashy purchase to renew their brio in the face of the cruel slouch into third age. I tend to buy for function, and expect the vehicle to last a decade.

      But the Tesla Model S has me unsettled. Wait, it's this stupid fast insane performance vehicle that looks brilliant, is zero emissions, gets 90 mpg, and is built entirely in California? Will I be denied?

      It's like blue meth for lefties.

      'Fie upon the Congress' - Sen Bob Byrd

      by Maxwell on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:35:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and it's large enough for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        middle age spread (and later larger types)

        •  By phylum, I'm tall and thin... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, kaliope

          ...and always will be, but have the middle age "spread" of a spouse and two kiddos, so the carrying capacity is noted.

          I find this post actually refreshing, since we do seem to be entering a new age of auto production – where the industry is actually starting to innovate again, engineer impressively, and become progressive. Some of this has been policy-induced, but nonetheless, I feel like I want to reward the smart, sensible players with my wallet. Especially those who are doing it local.

          'Fie upon the Congress' - Sen Bob Byrd

          by Maxwell on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:53:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I admire the Honda Element (6+ / 0-)

    I used to have a Civic hatchback which was geat except the cargo door wa 1/2 inch too narrow for a sheet of plywood.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:12:45 PM PST

  •  I used to have a 911. Great fun. (6+ / 0-)

    A well-built car, too.

    The car I still have, and have owned for 25 years is a 1968 Mustang ragtop. Not the most practical, but easy to maintain, still looks good and holds its value.

  •  I have driven small, stick-shift Toyotas since (15+ / 0-)

    the 70s. They are reliable, and the fuel economy is excellent. I have an Echo with about 150k miles on it at the moment. It is a great car, and its gets more than 40 mpg. I have always seen cars as just transportation, but I am a native New Yorker, and I take public transport most of the time.

  •  I have an 08 Subaru Impreza (not the (7+ / 0-)

    revved up WRX Model) and I love it. It's a blast to drive, has some real power, hugs the road like you wouldn't believe. They have a reputation for lasting forever.
    I only paid $19,000 for it new. It's a hatchback, and I've hauled an unbelievable amount of stuff in it.

    My husband loves driving it. My kids love driving it.

    It's gotten us through some trips in horrendous weather.

    Confession time: When I'm not ranting about politics, I write romance novels

    by teresahill on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:15:52 PM PST

    •  my mid-life subarus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      At age 39: A new 2006 Outback (automatic).  Needed a car that could get me through my 70-mile round trip commute through WA's sideways rain, standing water, and/or several inches of highway slush.  And it did that much wonderfully.  Of course, unlike far too many Subie drivers, I know that AWD only works when your foot is on the GAS (if you hit the brakes while sliding down a snow-covered hill, then you're just as likely as everyone else to end up in a wreck).

      At 41: Swapped the Outback in for a new WRX (automatic) wagon.  The Outback was grand but under-powered.  Got tired of idiots in full-size pickups cutting me off whenever freeways merged from 3 lanes to 2, etc.  Too many near misses (thank god for ABS).  The WRX was the needed step-up in torque to keep from getting cut-off by mad-swervers.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I then found out about the mod aftermarket and the extra bang for buck I could get into this car, while at the same time taking a high-performance driving class at our local race track.  The WRX was fun as heck, but not built for a whole day at the track, and an automatic gearbox meant no compression-braking (placing an added burden on the brakes).  So ...

      At 42: Sold the WRX, bought a used STi and modded the hell out of it.  Still have it now and still love it.  470bhp, 375 pounds of torque at each wheel, and with coil-overs and Toyo R888 tires she sticks the corners no matter how hard it rains; and hydroplaning down the front straight at the racetrack while passing through 100mph is just plain fun.  It's uncomfortable as hell, noisy, and looks a bit ridiculous with the carbon fiber front splitter, canards, and spoiler -- but man oh man I get to drive a friggin race car every day (albeit slowly -- once you've stuck a racetrack turn at 135mph, driving on public roads is just not worth any extra effort).

      And as for being "that guy" ... hell, it wasn't until my late thirties that I could even earn enough money to drive this kind of car.  I'm usually one of the younger guys at the track, too.  Most of the other drivers are running Porsches or Vettes, and they're all in their fifties.

      We haven't met but you're a great fan of mine

      by Great Cthulhu on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:06:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow. I'm not exactly zipping around (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        US Blues

        the racetrack with mine, but I did hit 93 for a while on the interstate in Jacksonville, when I was late picking up a friend from the airport. I think that's the worst I've done in it and happy to have the excuse.

        Had my mother in it soon after I bought it, and at one point, she said, I see you've slowed down some. I'm glad. (I was doing about 85 at that point. Didn't tell her it was just the smooth ride, not me slowing down.)

        Confession time: When I'm not ranting about politics, I write romance novels

        by teresahill on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:15:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I drive a battered... (11+ / 0-)

    ...Subaru which is apparently held together by bumper stickers (26 at last count).

    And I wouldn't have it any other way.  If I can keep this car going I'd like to be driving it when I'm 90.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:16:26 PM PST

    •  i just bought a "battered subaru" (my third subi) (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dwayne, WarrenS, ladybug53

      from a couple in their was "garage kept" - that was the good news...the bad news was the lady battled every wall, pole and vertical surface in the greater dc area since they bought it new in 1998

      i've grown to love subarus and will pay more than 3200 bucks for my next one, god willing

      Coming Attraction: "Tea Party II - now with more stupid!"

      by memofromturner on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:06:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  fan-belt diagnostic (4+ / 0-)

      New-ish Subie Boxer engines (2002+) have their fan-belts sealed inside the outer engine block.  This means that changing a fan belt usually means pulling the front bumper off and removing the radiator, or lifting the engine clean out of the engine bay.  Very expensive operation either way.

      Which is why they're rated for 90,000 miles.

      Ford, not too long ago, owned Saab while also owning a good chunk of Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru's parent company).  So they were able to brow-beat Subaru into coughing up the plans for their engine and drive-line in order to put out an AWD Saab (on the fan forums we call these Saabaru's); but Ford also decided to cheap out on parts and production ... which is why my Subie fan forums get bombarded by Saab owners wondering why they have to part with $500 dollars to change a fan belt after only 20,000 miles.

      Point is, there is a lot of clever engineering that you can accomplish if you place reliability at the top of your list ... including holding the outer chassis together with nothing more than bumper-stickers :P

      We haven't met but you're a great fan of mine

      by Great Cthulhu on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:18:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  GM, not Ford n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WarrenS, US Blues

        Wikipedia trivia: Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades star cluster (M45, or "The Seven Sisters"), which in turn inspires the Subaru logo and alludes to the companies that merged to create FHI.

        We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

        by NoMoJoe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:04:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My next vehicle will be a Subaru (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Probably a Forester with a five speed manual.  I like the quality and the utility of the Subarus, and the Forester meets my hauling needs.  Of course that will only happen when my nine year old, four cylinder, five speed manual PT Cruiser dies. But right now I love that little car.  Small on the outside and huge in the inside.  Plus with the manual, it is fun to drive.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:46:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't neglect the pre-2009 Forester when shopping (0+ / 0-)

        For the 2009 model year the Forester became considerably taller, more SUV-like. For the 12 years prior, the Forester was on a 99.4" wheelbase (vs. 103" currently) and more agile. We have two in our extended family, a 5-speed and an auto. The 5-speed with standard motor is a lot of fun.

        If your Cruiser self-destructs soon, try to wait for the all-new Forester that arrives in a few months. It's even larger than the current model (slightly) but will have a nicer interior.

    •  Car trivia (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WarrenS, US Blues

      Subaru is a Japanese name for the constellation better known in English as the Pleiades, the seven sisters of Greek mythology.  The stars on the logo are laid out as the six brightest stars of that constellation.

      Oh, and "volvo" is Latin for "I roll".


      quis custodiet ipsos custodes -- Juvenal VI, 347-8

      by golem on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:04:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Back about 1994, (7+ / 0-)

    I was driving about 100 miles per day and bought a 2 year old Ford Festiva, a real low end car but reliable. I put about 150,000 miles on it and drove it for 15 years, best car I ever owned. I own 2 Hyundais now and hope to get similar service from them.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:17:11 PM PST

    •  mr.uintas drove about 75m a day (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SteelerGrrl, meagert, dwayne, irate

      for yrs. We had an Escort hatchback, a stick shift. He drove it for about the same amount of miles that you did and got 40mpg out of it. The transmission kicked out and we sold it for $100. We saw it driving around town for at least a couple years after. Loved that car.

      We went to an auto auction and bought a 1998 Chevy Malibu for a couple thousand and we're still driving it. Great car, too.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:33:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mazda 3. (8+ / 0-)

    May not be fly or sexy enough for you, although it is for me. It is anything but a 'cheap'--as in CRAPPY--car. Reliability, safety & economy are my benchmarks, and excellent road performance is an integral part of all three of these standards for me.

    My first car was the 3's antecedent, a 323, and lasted me nearly 20 solid years. I could still pass an 18 wheeler going 80 mph on the freeway if I felt like it...when the little '87 323 was two decades old. Only had one major repair in the car's whole life.

    My 2010 6-speed version is a considerably more polished, powerful & sporty car. And the new 2012 and up models get insane (40+) mileage. Remember that Mazda's roots are in racing. The handling is excellent, and the full complement of safety & performance features are standard.

    Test one.

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:17:38 PM PST

    •  That's what I got two years ago after my (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, high uintas, dwayne, Nespolo, earicicle

      Honda died!

      Love it! Honda was just too granny for me. I love the Mazda 3's sportiness, looks, and zoom zoom.

      I also have the 6 speed and went with the 2.5L and sunroof and 8 speaker stereo as well. It was my first manual, but now I'm driving like a pro (almost)! Still don't like hills though...

      •  Isn't it 10 speakers? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak, earicicle

        That's what my 2012 has.

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:34:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe it is, haha, forgot. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Too bad I missed Sky Active by a year or so...

          I still like Hondas, but the Mazda 3 is much more fun. And learning stick was also fun--and horrifying!


          •  I missed SkyActive (and 40mpg) by 2 years. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But I love my 2.5l engine! I learned stick as an adult, too. [On my previous car, a hand-me-down Cavalier that I had for a few years between Mazdas.] Wouldn't trade it for anything now, especially in winter driving...unless I move back into the bumper-to-bumper traffic (or steep mountain driving) I grew up in.

            Zoom-zoom back atcha. ;-)

            Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

            by earicicle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:00:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Makes me yearn for my Mazda RX-7 that I had years (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dwayne, sfbob, earicicle, Alumbrados

      ago.  Drove like a dream until someone rammed it in the rear and sandwiched me with the stopped car in front.  It was never the same car afterward.

      Loved that car.

    •  God, I love my 3. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nespolo, earicicle

      I got it because it was the best driving hatchback available that I could afford at the time, not because it had anything to do with my identity, and what's the first thing a friend of mine says three days after I get it? "Dude, that car is so you!"

      "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

      by kenlac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:43:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL! (0+ / 0-)

        In 1987, the 323 was a basic, rock-bottom entry-level car option. I was buying my first car, completely on my own, determined to buy a new vehicle, and could only afford to choose among the Nissan Sentra, Toyota Tercel and Mazda 323. [American quality was not up to snuff in those days for entry level cars.]

        The Mazda's quality seemed much higher than the Nissan, and it was cheaper (and bigger/heavier/more powerful) than the Toyota. But it was FAR from a 'flashy' or 'stylish' car. The only option I got was automatic transmission, b/c I didn't know how to drive stick. No A/C...couldn't afford it!

        Cut to a few decades later: the Mazda 3 is now a 'cool' car, aimed at the young 'uns! Well, since I'm still 29, I guess that works! ;-)

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:14:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My dad has a 2009 3 and that thing (0+ / 0-)

      is slow as a dog, I hate driving it. I hope the newer models have added some more power.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:30:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, Nespolo, earicicle

      Mazda 3 speed package is the best combination of fuel efficiency, relatively conservative looks, reliability, and ass kicking performance.  Best kept secret in cars IMHO.

    •  I have a Mazda 3 hatchback (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and I love it.

      It was somewhat of an emergency purchase; I'd wrecked my Honda Prelude (the less said about THAT incident the better; not one of my more stellar moments). In a way it's too bad since if I had been going to trade to it I'd have waited for the 2012 models to arrive since their gas mileage is awesome while mine is only adequate.

      But it is practical, gets decent if not spectacular mileage, and has been utterly reliable so far. Granted I don't drive that much (just over 6,000 miles a year) but apart from one major servicing, which I had to insist on, and having to replace a damaged tire, which was, let us say, not cheap, it's needed nothing but the occasional oil change, tire rotation and fluid level check since I bought it. Also helps that the dealership where I get it serviced is two blocks away from my home. I never need a loaner or a courtesy car; I can walk home or walk to a bus stop, as needed, on the rare occasions when it needs servicing.

    •  Husband and I both have 2012 Mazda 3s (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We love them.  His gets 39 mpg on the highway.  Mine isn't really broken in yet, since I do very little highway driving.  But mine is the midlife-mobile, with a leather interior and the "technology package" (automatic headlights and wipers and a warning light/beep if you try to change lanes when somebody's next to you).

      "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

      by Nespolo on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:33:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Jealous of your SkyActive mpg's! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My 2010 6 speed manual hatchback w/2.5l engine gets 29mpg. (I do almost zero city driving.) I was very spoiled, gas mileage-wise, with my previous vehicle, a barebones manual Chevy Cavalier that my sis gave me when my original 323 finally got a little too ancient. 42mpg, at least! But I didn't exactly have the option to wait. When the Cavalier died, it died.

        Still, I love my Mazda, and am so happy you're a two Mazda family. Both of my parents had 626s once upon a time...

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:06:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, I thought my uncle was the only one (5+ / 0-)

    who referred to his car with "that" pejorative (sounds like "sap" and I will not repeat it here).

    As kids we thought it was funny. As an adult I'm disgusted to remember this.

    •  Yeah. Pretty sickening. But I once (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoeyTheLemur, high uintas, old wobbly

      met an old white lady who very casually called me colored. I didn't make a fuss because I kinda knew that was just what folks did back in her day.

      Still though...

    •  it was a different time and ww2 was still fresh (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, JoeyTheLemur

      In their minds.
      A shortened form of  Japanese is the least of it.

      We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

      by Christin on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:02:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Grand father in Law (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoeyTheLemur, bear83

      Fought in the Pacific and Korea.  First time I met him my wife (his granddaughter) and I drove up in a Honda Accord.  He mumbled something about "dindt fight those __ __ __ to see my granddaughter....."

      Next time we drove the Ford Explorer.

      Irony -  The Accord was built in the US.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:13:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am searching for the right way to say this (0+ / 0-)

      isMy grandfather-in-law also used that phrase, and I sure din't like it.  But the guy fought,his way across the pacific--and though I don't want to say he earned the right to use that word, I guess I just felt like he got a pass, or something.  All I know is that there was no way in hell I,was gonna call him on it.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:31:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  1970 Plymouth GTX sitting in the Garage. (7+ / 0-)

    I hardly drive it.  I think  I will  sell it this spring.  I am a lot prouder driving my Scion xD.

    I'm just here for the Mojo!

    by Gator on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:18:14 PM PST

  •  I'm a dumpster diver when it comes to cars (7+ / 0-)

    But it's easier for me because I work full time at home. If I had to commute every day I would buy a newer car.

    For now I am happy with my fifteen year old Saab convertible that I bought five years ago for $4800. It still looks pretty good and hasn't required many repairs. My wife calls it the Seinfeld car becasue it is the same color and model as the one Jerry owned in his sitcom. And come summer I am stylin' with the top down!

  •  Come on, indulge yourself without feeling guilty (5+ / 0-)

    or buying something you can't afford, don't need or that will make you look and feel ridiculous. Start out with your practical must have needs, weed out cars you can't afford or don't like or just don't "feel" right, then pick the one that you see yourself in X years down the line and being happy with.

    I'm still driving the car I bought over 20 years ago in my late 20's, when even then it was probably a tad too "young" for me. It was Eagle's version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, the Talon, whose look I liked better than the Eclipse's and which was quite a bit less expensive in the exact same version.

    I got it with nearly every top of the line option except for leather seats (not sure if a power moonroof or powered or heated seats were an option but I wouldn't have gotten them anyway). E.g. turbo, stick, AWD, ABS. Ok I didn't get the top of the line sound system either, but it came with a AUX jack which made up for it. Drove it cross-country days after purchase, put 15,000 miles on it before returning home after 2.5 months. Still runs great without having had too many major problems (replaced clutch, ECM & harmonic balancer).

    Anyway, although it's not very practical anymore and feels kind of silly to drive at my age, it's still fun to drive and I'm no no rush to replace it. It gets me where I need to get and handles most of the things I need it for.

    Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your choice.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:19:39 PM PST

  •  Once there are enough plugs (13+ / 0-)

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:20:04 PM PST

  •  One word. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Saint Fnordius, weck

    Motorcycle. ;^)

    If not that, how about an Acura TSX Sport Wagon?

    Sporty, practical. Red if you must. ;^)

    "Cannibals prefer those who have no spines." ~ Stanislaw Lem

    by BlogDog on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:20:20 PM PST

  •  Loved this diary...its that "fit" that is (7+ / 0-)

    sometimes hard to find.

    I've never been a "my car brands me" sort of person and have always gone rather practical...though I have a Lexus SC black on black in my garage in New Mexico that will NEVER be sold.

    Up here its a Lexus sedan, a common sense car...I like the brand. Great service and they last forever. Wish I could find something comparable that was American made but it doesn't exist yet.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:23:37 PM PST

  •  I have a Honda Fit (5+ / 0-)

    which has served me well for three years.  I bought it new and yesterday it turned over to 16000 miles.  This little car has taken me to Virginia Beach and back to Indy, as well as Arizona City and back to Indy so you can see how much I drive.  

  •  Thai is a Huey Lewis read a like ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, SteelerGrrl

    You know the one

    I want a new drug !

  •  I went the other way… (20+ / 0-)

    and got rid of my set of wheels entirely.

    Then again, I also live in Munich, Germany, and enjoy one of the best public transportation networks around. The deciding moment was when I realised I was only using my car to get kitty litter about once a month. So I sold it off, and now to get kitty litter I have a car sharing programme that lets me borrow a Toyota for that, or reserve the VW van for making an Ikea run.

    I actually like not owning a car. It keeps me from being tied down to just one vehicle.

    This post is best understood if you look at the fnords first.

    by Saint Fnordius on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:28:43 PM PST

  •  280,000 miles and still going strong (12+ / 0-)

    93 Volvo 940 Turbo wagon.

    My 1980 240 wagon had 344,000 when the heater core sprung a leak.

    I am the only Volvo wagon in Portland without a "Free Tibet" bumper sticker though.

    A Volvo C30 is pretty cool.

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:29:16 PM PST

    •  I've read that the 940 wagon (5+ / 0-)

      is the safest set of wheels in America .
      Fewer people are killed or injured in the 940 than any other car or truck .
      The opposite extreme is the corvette .

      It turns out that the person behind the wheel makes a huge difference . The person who picks and drives the 940 is the safest driver and the driver of the corvette is the most likely to do something stupid behind the wheel .  

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:43:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to wonder if (0+ / 0-)

        new-generation Camaros are up there on that list (driver likely to do something stupid behind the wheel).  In the last month in my Alabama town, I almost had a collision three times with the same black Camaro, apparently driven by the same guy (I could see him behind the wheel).  Once he ran a light coming out of Walmart and almost broadsided my beloved Magnum.  See, if I had a car like that Camaro I would baby it like an out-of-my-league girlfriend.

        “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

        by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:50:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  in 1993 there were NOBODY killed in a 940 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dwayne, BOHICA

        for the entire year.  Safe?  You Betcha

        80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

        by Churchill on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:50:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As you say, death rate statistics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BOHICA model of car or truck are a better measure of owner demographics than of vehicle safety.  

    •  gave my 940 to daughter who never (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bwren, BOHICA

      serviced it - crapped out in a year :(

      Hey! Where did the ads go???

      by PHScott on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:17:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  My previous car to my current one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, GayHillbilly

      was a Volvo 850.  Really nice car and very comfortable, but it had an automatic transmission and I really like a manual, so I "stole" my current ride (five speed manual PT Cruiser) from my husband.  Still between the two of us, I and my husband drove it for 14 years until we sold it to our neighbor for her son who is still driving it four or five years later.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:52:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I drove my Volvo S80 to 289K miles and my (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      mechanic "suggested" it might be time to trade it in.  I got $2000 for the trade.  That Volvo was reliable, safe and comfy ride.

    •  ahh, BOHICA, yr another Volvo freak (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      '90 740T   215k
      '96 960 wagon 282k
      '01 XC70 217k  
      and we right now have a pristine '95 960 sedan with 81k we are driving around to see if we want it.

      Not one bumper sticker on any of them,  and they are all ready to drive across the country if needed.

      Where we live, and the nature of my work,  reliability, durability  and road-worthiness are more important to me than saving a bit on fuel.

      I have no interest whatever in ever driving a truck again, so I have cars that are big enough to haul some stuff or pull a trailer  when I need.

      The 740T  is my "mid-life-crisis" hot rod that I worked all that speed shit out of my system with a decade ago.  I drive it around now and then just to remind myself why I now prefer plush smooth over harsh zoom.

      Being 67 might also have something to do with it...

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:46:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I lived in L.A for a while and one of my best (11+ / 0-)

    friends, a born and bred Southern Californian, would tell me that the kind of car you drive "defines you."

    When they repossessed his Land Rover because he'd bought a much more expensive vehicle than he could afford, I bit my tongue and refrained from asking, "So now are you without definition?"

    For a while I lived in apartment building in Westwood that had a couple of teeny tiny what they called "bachelor" apartments shoehorned inbetween the rather pricey one and two bedrooms and a couple of the occupants had some of the most expensive vehicles in the parking garage (like a 450 Sels and Jaguars). One of the owners admitted to me that he spent far more on his vehicle per month than he did on food and rent. But, hey, when what you drive "defines you" the sky is the limit.

    The excesses of L.A. forever cured me of giving a shit about what kind of car I drive (so I guess that's what defines me).

    I recommend getting a hybrid because limiting the amount you're contributing to global warming is not a bad way to define yourself.

    Check out the redesigned 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. It's really kind of neat.

    •  I drive a $200 vw van . (10+ / 0-)

      Some people have told me they really like my van .
      I've found notes on the windshield asking me to sell .
      So I'm cheap , likable and people want to buy me .
      And of course I'm slow but more than capable .

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:47:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  growing up in southern California (3+ / 0-)

      I also believed that your car defines you. With that in mind, I've owned over 80 cars, 95% of them purchased used, for little money. For about 15 years, I had more than one car at a time (I used to say that I had a car, and my car had a car). I guess I was having some trouble figuring out who I was.

      My current wife ended my compulsive car-buying habit (it took some effort). I have a 110-mile per day commute, and for the past six years drove a Toyota Yaris. This past month, my step-son's car broke down, and we gave him the Yaris, with 145,000 miles, but running fine. This meant I was getting a new car.(my wife insists on new, not used....) I wasn't as ready as I could have been, because I thought I'd drive the Yaris for a while longer, but there you go.

      I wanted gas mileage, and not to look like everybody else; a combination of practicality and middle-aged angst. Also, we have very little money. I ended up with a Honda CRZ. Hybrid technology, but only two seats. Here's the coolest thing: since I've owned it, I haven't seen another one on the road. That has to count for something, right?


      “Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George Bush, 10/22/06. “We will stay the course.” George Bush, 8/30/06, 8/4/05, 4/13/04, 4/16/04, 4/5/04, 12/15/03.

      by coachster on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:57:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had a Yaris whilst in the U.K.!!!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly, Williston Barrett

        The roads in Cumbria scared the heck out of me and I wanted something small and safe.

        I loved that car...loved it. It was a semi-automatic (something they do over there), great room for my garden shopping, just lovely.

        Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

        by Morgan Sandlin on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:25:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  semi-automatic (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Williston Barrett

          sounds like something Chrysler used to do.  My dad once upon a time had a 1950 DeSoto with "fluid drive" and a semi-automatic transmission.

          Fluid Drive could also be mated to the semi-automatic transmission, which was not automatic in any way and should not be confused with Fluid Drive. With the semi-automatic transmissions, the driver shifted manually, selecting reverse or a low range and a high range. Each 'range' had two speeds. To shift between them, the driver accelerated then released pressure on the accelerator. In high range, this shift point was about 23 mph (37 kmh). The transmission shifted into high speed range, the driver then depressed the accelerator pedal, and continued accelerating. The solenoids on the transmission connected to the carburetor and ignition system and momentarily interrupted engine operation to allow trouble-free shifting.

          The driver could down-shift for passing by fully depressing the accelerator. The clutch was needed to change between low and high range. The fluid drive system allowed the driver to stop at a light or in traffic and remain in gear without depressing the clutch. The driver could, if not concerned with fast acceleration, drive the car all day long in high range, stopping and starting, without ever having to touch the clutch pedal or gearshift lever unless faster acceleration or reversing was required. For this reason, DeSotos and Dodges were favored by city cab companies from the mid Forties to early Fifties.

          We must drive the special interests out of politics.… There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will neither be a short not an easy task, but it can be done. -- Teddy Roosevelt

          by NoMoJoe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:46:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe that sort of snobby stereotype says more (0+ / 0-)

      about you and your best friend than it does about "L.A." (not that Westwood is at all reflective of the entire City of Los Angeles).

      "Someone just turned the lights on in the bar and the sexiest state doesn't look so pretty anymore" CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Texas budget mess

      by CaliSista on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:21:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recently bought a 2010 Ford Ranger (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, meagert

    ...4 cylinders, 5-speed automatic, a/c,power steering and brakes, am-fm radio. That's it. No heated butt warmers, leather seats, or extra doors, which I think are ridiculous on a pickup truck. Gets 22-25 mpg. Not bad for a truck. My commute is less than 15 miles, and it will be handy for trips to Home Depot or the flea market.
    I love the simlicity of the vehicle...and the price.$10k used at Carmax.

    "Better to die standing, than to live on your knees." Che Guevara

    by Interceptor7 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:29:55 PM PST

  •  What's wrong with a Hyundai? (5+ / 0-)

    Those are very well-built cars for the price and are reliable as well.

    Having said that, I want a Tesla sedan myself.

  •  Hmmmmm (5+ / 0-)

    This place needs a PVP server.

    by JesseCW on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:30:15 PM PST

  •  1995 Impala SS a 65 Impala SS.. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, weck, doc durango, dwayne, bwren, schnecke21

    that's a very cool set of wheels.
    This is a set of wheels!

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:31:25 PM PST

    •  I had a '63. Blue, white interior. Of course that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bwren, IARXPHD

      was in 1972... The boyfriend lowered it. I could have killed him.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:15:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A '66 ain't bad either, my dad had a flame red (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bwren, IARXPHD

      convertible with a white top.  Very nice.  :)

      “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

      by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:57:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Check out a VW TDI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, mithra666

    I have a 2011 VW TDI Golf that routinely gets 50 mpg on the highway.  The turbo diesel is a great engine and really fun to drive.  If you want something with a little more class, check out the diesel Passat.  I went with a friend for a test drive in one and it was a nice car.  

    If you want an American brand, then the new Buicks are really quite nice.  The whole Buick lineup has gone through a metamorphosis lately, so it definitely has lost some of that "old man's car" feeling.

    "When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along." --Carl Sandburg

    by Mote Dai on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:31:25 PM PST

    •  I want a tdi for my van . Someday maybe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zmom, Mote Dai

      I will find a nice TDI at pick and pull .

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:49:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have the TDI Jetta, which I like except (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mote Dai, GayHillbilly

      for the strange price of diesel. It is almost a dollar more than regular now; it used to be around fifty cents more until this year. That is why we bought a Ford C-Max hybrid when we needed a second car in October. I just couldn't justify another TDI given the diesel prices.

      If I don't see you, for a long while, I'll try to find you, left of the dial.

      by mithra666 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:06:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gas vs. diesel pricing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mithra666, GayHillbilly

        It can be crazy but there are couple major things that impact the gas vs diesel prices.  First, the Federal tax on diesel is 6 cents more a gallon than gas (24 cents vs. 18 cents), but that isn't a big difference.  Second, there is the issue of seasonal pricing.  Gas is more expensive in the summer and warmer months for many due to a different formulation that is required...and that increases the price.  Also, diesel and home heating oil are nearly the same product (you can, in a pinch, run diesel in your oil furnace if needed), so in the winter there is competition in the price.  Diesel is more expensive in the winter because of that.  So in the winter, you have the fact that the summer formulation increase has disappeared compounded with the fact that diesel and home heating oil are competitive...that leads to higher diesel prices that seem much higher than gas.  I hope that explanation made some sense.

        Personally, I think the first thing that should happen is to bring the Federal gas tax to the diesel level.

        "When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along." --Carl Sandburg

        by Mote Dai on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:23:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So funny! (5+ / 0-)

    Exactly the same problem here.

    I'm getting old enough to:
    1 - Have the money to buy a fast, expensive, luxury car
    2 - Really, really crave one
    3 - Feel utterly ashamed and out of place at being seen behind the wheel of any of those cars.

    Added problem. I live in a apartment complex so no luck for a plug-in hybrid or EV. So I can't even plonk $120k (really at the limit of point 1) on that Tesla roadster that would mitigate point 3) a little bit. Fuck that !

    Talk about a first worlder problem, though.

    I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

    by Farugia on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:32:16 PM PST

    •  What part of the country do you live in ? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Where I am , Santa Cruz , you don't need home charging .

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:50:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see a BMW in your future (0+ / 0-)

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:12:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. A Merc. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's how it's going to end, sadly :-)

        I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

        by Farugia on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:17:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You care more about the luxury than the fast? ;) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          When I was growing up we had Saabs. I admit to feeling a bit sad that the brand is gone.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:22:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You never drove a E-Class, did you? (0+ / 0-)

            If you can get your hands on the wheel of a W211 E320 CDI, you won't be saying that. I had that when I was in Europe. A beauty. Monster torque, as much as a 5 or 6l V8 gasoline engine, awesome acceleration where it matters, at low speed, and it sticks to the road like a tick. And really comfy with that.

            I haven't tried the newer model, post-2009, and the problem is that what I really like with Merc is their diesel power trains. Not very popular this side of the pond, even less so in California.

            I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

            by Farugia on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:09:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Who cares what you look like in it? (0+ / 0-)

      Buy what you want and rock out.  Seriously, I can't remember that last time I saw a Ferarri, Porsche, or Lamborghini being driven by anyone younger than 40.  Drive one of those when you're young, and you look like a drug dealer.  

      And those guys who buy one of those to feel younger?  I bet they feel a LOT younger when they're plowin' a different woman every weekend.  Personally I would not buy a car for that reason, but I know of guys who have, and the cars definitely work as advertised.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:37:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting diary! (6+ / 0-)

    My feeling is that we're up against very effective marketing machines with overwhelming resources. We're inside a Consumerist society, where successful corporations have enourmous amounts of money available to hire the best and the brightest, and have them pour their skills and energy into selling more product. As individuals, it's increasingly hard to resist being seduced or assimilated.

    The core problem with a Consumerist society is that the core question becomes how can we sell/brand/market our product as effectively as possible? Quality/value naturally still play a strong role, but a hell of a lot of energy goes into creating needs that people didn't know that they had, or that they don't actually have. Your experience at the dealership is a great example of this. You don't describe what got you started on thinking about buying a car, but you described very aptly how immersed in car consumer culture you (and all the rest of us) are. Tv, movies, lifestyle, society, public infrastructure all pull us towards car ownership.

    Imagine if 1/3 of those best and brightest (and the lesser of us) had spent the last 3 generations committed to developing the best public transportation infrastructure possible. Or 1/3 of those on Wall Street had instead joined the government to support strong and stable financial policies. Or 1/3 of those in the media industry had instead chosen to work on strengthening the public education system? The same goes for the health care industry, the military-industrial complex, and so on...

    I'm certainly not saying you shouldn't buy a car, but I like how your diary describes your awareness of the factors influencing your decision. And the consumer choices we make shape the world we live in. When we buy something, we're supporting/rewarding whoever sold it to us. We're giving them the resources to go out and do more of what they're doing...

    •  Watch the commercial for the Lincoln MKZ: (0+ / 0-)

      •  they lost me at the Lincoln shot (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and jumped the shark with the interior ray. Every car shot in there screamed $80+ gas tank fill-ups. Heavy, chunky, wasteful cars.

        My best car ever was a used 1990 2-door civic hatchback. Stick. I woulda liked a 5th gear, but I got by with 4. Stopped at traffic lights, people would offer to fix the dents in my car cheap, and I had absolutely no interest.

        I'm definitely not their market. But the commercial is a perfect illustration of what we're talking about!

    •  Great comment. (6+ / 0-)

      My first thought in response to this diary was what kind of car would I want, if I was buying a new car? (I'm not.) I decided what I really want is to live where I don't need a car. A place where everything I need regularly (groceries, restaurants, etc) is within walking distance, and I can get to places I need to go occasionally via mass transit or cab.

      Your comment reminds me that we need a transportation infrastructure that greatly reduces the need for private automobiles for most Americans, not just me. Cars are a huge money pit, a serious problem for poor people, and a climate bomb.

      •  Amen cocinero! (5+ / 0-)

        I've been between cars a few times, and tried to make it without, but where I live, and the work I do (ironically, environmental education and restoration) don't allow it. Makes me crazy, but I bike and metro as much as I can, and multi-task my drives as much as possible.

        I spend time in Vienna, Austria, and drool over how awesome their public transport system is. Streetcars, busses, bike lanes, subway, trains - almost all the time, it's way easier to get where you're going by public transport. It's also a very walkable city, with small shops and cafes and restaurants and markets all over the place - the transportation infrastructure supports a lot of neighborhood niche markets - the exact opposite of the US strip mall big box model.

  •  You worry way too much about what (3+ / 0-)

    people (as you project) think about your car.  I loved my Impala SS and my GTI's, Alfa Milano, and my Nissan Stanza, and Toyota Tercel

    I've had lots of cars and in some way loved them all.  I can't stand to get rid of them.  Current cars:
    2003 Mustang Cobra (supercharged) 39,000 miles
    2004 VW Passat (W8 engine - rare) 60,000 miles
    2006 Subaru WRX 19,000 miles
    2000 Honda Civic 138,000 miles
    1994 Toyota Avalon 178,000 miles (my dad's last car and still has, legally, his Pearl Harbor Survivor license plate). . .yes he called it his * car ("they can't fight, but they make a good car").

    BBB: drive what you like.  don't worry about anybody else.  Since you don't "need" a car, you'll probably drive it a long time.  But what if you don't want it anymore?

    Here's a suggestion, don't outright buy the car now, get a lease with the lowest annual mileage they allow to keep payments low.  If you still like the car at the end of the lease, buy it then.  With low mileage after the term of the lease, the car will be worth more than the residual value they imputed for the car and based your lease payments on.  You can buy the car at the end of the lease for less than it's worth on the open market. Or just let it go.

    the fact that you're right is nothing more than interesting

    by Egg on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:39:02 PM PST

  •  My wife and I are shopping too, for 2014... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, Morgan Sandlin

    so what we are doing is taking in the auto shows.  We both have cars now, me a 2003 honda accord and her a 2005 camry.  We will be going down to a one car family, and need to settle on a make and model we both like as we will both be retired in January 2014. Plus all the cars for the most part in the same location.  No hopping from dealer to dealer.  So far it's working great...
    Take in an Auto Show....    Good luck!

  •  I completely hear the push/pull of pragmatism/ (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zmom, cocinero, GayHillbilly

    temptation that you've been experiencing in the showrooms, bbb.

    I went into my car search last year with the best of intentions. Hybrid or bust! Of course, it became readily apparent that my rural friends were having less fun with their Prii on their icy steep driveways than my city friends were having with their Prii.

    So: stick to a modest, gas-sippping compact car, with hatchback (for assorted schlepping) and all-wheel drive. But then my partner went to work on me, making noxious faces when we went out to test-drive the sensible compact AWD with the low emissions and high gas mileage, and exclaiming euphorically during our test-drive of the compact AWD SUV with the less-than-sensible (but still respectable) gas sippage and the massive trunk space and higher ground clearance.

    And I could see her point: it did look cooler than the modest compact (though not, in my view, that much cooler), and that trunk space was indeed admirable. So, after giving myself a quick online primer in negotiating with a car dealer (my last car purchase in grad school was a humiliating experience), I bit the bullet and, with our long rural driveway and copious schlepping needs in full view, ruefully agreed to get a compact SUV.

    ...after having complained bitterly about SUVs for most of my adult life.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:41:21 PM PST

    •  It's tough. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dretutz, old wobbly, schnecke21

      I too wanted to get the low emissions doohickey, but I mean seriously...I'm a large black man. I mean, I just can't see myself getting out of a Prius with my Biggie Smalls bumping.

      I like that Tesla car but I have no idea where I would plug it in.

      And finally, I do want a car that has some sort of "I've arrived" quality about it without having to pay 50k. And I wanted it to be American because..well, I just feel like I should buy American.

      And I liked this new Lincoln. But its made in Mexico.

      Nothing's ever perfect.

  •  It doesn't get any easier, Brooklyn. (13+ / 0-)

    My 99-year-old mother bought a new car last year for her own 98th birthday.  I looked at cars with her for two weeks; she drove about twenty, bought one, returned it two weeks later, and finally bought the car of her dreams, the one she had always wanted but had never had the nerve to buy for herself.

    When I was growing up, my father always had a clunker to drive to work, and my mother always had a new Oldsmobile that she drove to work; it was our family car, our trip car, our "Sunday" car.  Mother's car was always green or brown (two-tone in the years that was stylish).  She never mentioned what she wanted; she always drove what my father bought for her:  large, respectable, practical.

    But for her 98th birthday she finally got what she had always wanted, even though it took two weeks for her to decide she deserved it:  a brand new, candy-apple red Malibu Super Sport.  Who knew?  I sure didn't.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:42:20 PM PST

    •  please tell me you're kidding...i love your mom (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bwren, SueDe

      already, but she can't be a capable driver at 99 years old - come on!

      Coming Attraction: "Tea Party II - now with more stupid!"

      by memofromturner on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:14:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely I can. (6+ / 0-)

        She has never had a ticket, never had an accident.  She is 5'5" tall, weighs 112 lbs, works out at the gym (2 miles on the treadmill, weight training) five days a week, lives alone, has a part-time job, has her own teeth and 20/20 eyesight with glasses.  She learned to use a computer when she was 92, and worked full-time for me doing all my data entry and admin work until earlier this year.  When I sold my last business, she promptly went out and got a part-time job.

        The state made her take both a written and road driving test to renew her license when she was 95; she aced the written test, and the road test examiner passed her with flying colors, calling her "remarkable."

        She's something else.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:28:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Our auntie did the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for her 85th birthday. Bright red, sporty mid-size American car. She's 90 now and still smiles when she drives it. I salute them both!

      I came for the politics and stayed for the science.

      by bwren on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:12:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aren't older women extraordinary? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        They just refuse to give up.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:31:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "did you consider... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zmom, Nailbanger, Subterranean

    selling your house and buying an Aston-Martin?"  typed the prius-driving shark...

    the Clear Light is the consciousness of the quantum vacuum

    by Sharkmeister on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:43:56 PM PST

  •  The car companies aren't going to get all of us. (4+ / 0-)

    I've been living car-free since 1999 (minus a brief, uncomfortable stint three-year in a rural area, when I had no choice and hated myself for it), and ain't no way a car company is going to sell me on a vehicle now unless something is happening in my life that leaves me no choice whatsoever, and if and when that day comes, I'm only going to want to know one thing: which model puts the least goddamn carbon into the atmosphere, be it out of the tailpipe or out of a smokestack. I give less than half a shit about image. Every time we go somewhere under any power other than our own muscles, we're damaging our home. Doing the least possible damage is our moral imperative.

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:44:21 PM PST

  •  I have to say it, I can't stop my self from... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...saying it....

    "White people problems"


    "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

    by kenlac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:44:30 PM PST

  •  It starts, it stops, it carries plenty stuff. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GayHillbilly, Subterranean

    It goes fast enough (and handles like a go cart if you push it), the heater works, the wipers work, it keeps the rain out.  31 mpg overall, life of vehicle.

    It says "what this car says about me is that I don't care what you think about my car (or about me, it it's my car that informs your opinion)".

    I say it's a far better thing than some $40,000 POS that you can't even carry a bicycle in.

    Which is to say I bought a Scion xB, the "classic" kind that looks like a toaster on wheels, and does everything that a car should.  I really have no use for a second p---s . . . the original still works fine.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:44:50 PM PST

    •  It says: (0+ / 0-)
      "what this car says about me is that I don't care what you think about my car (or about me, it it's my car that informs your opinion)".
      My thoughts exactly.  

      Although it grows hard to hold to that sentiment with a car that's a rolling mouse hotel.  Out here in the country, parking outside, my car belongs to the mice and occasional squirrel.  Mouse shit is all over the place, no matter how often I vacuum it, and last week I found a stash of acorns under the passenger seat.  About once a month a mouse falls into the heater fan while it's going full blast, and I have to take apart the dash and carefully fish out its carcass before it begins to putrefy.  The fan blades are of course a bloody mess.

      So yeah, I don't care what people think about my car.  But it is a bit embarrassing to have to brush the mouse shit off the passenger seat when I give someone a lift.  :(

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 07:18:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Owned 3 Fords in the Past 40 Years (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan Sandlin, claude, GayHillbilly

    None of them had a transmission worth a shit.  Right now I drive an '88 Volvo 740 wagon with 424,000 miles on its original clutch.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:45:17 PM PST

  •  OH MY! Did Need this diary.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, dwayne

    Just today my Astro van transmission started slipping, UGH.  I have put it in tow/haul mode to disable the overddrive to smooth out the shifting, but the writing is on the wall!!!  I hate car shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!  I love the room I get with the van, HATE the terrible gas mileage and contributing so much pollution(I even it out a little by us being a vegetarian household), love the way it handles the snow in the Sierras which we go to every weekend in the winter and the quickly changing weather conditions where we live  in the foothills, hate that it is not exactly the urban assault vehicle when in SF, love that I can pile in a bunch of my son's friends, dirty gear, xmas trees, bikes, etc...

    How do I find everything I need in a new package, and not have it cost $50,000.?  There is also an emotional connection to the larger vehicle/van; my dearly depared husband loved the van because we would do so much active stuff and the room was so great to have, and I have been keeping up on those activities with our son.

    •  I'm not sure what exactly you "need" but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you certainly don't need to spend 50 grand on a car to get a brand new car or SUV fully loaded with all the features.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:37:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right, I was overstating the number to (0+ / 0-)

        emphasise the cost of new cars.  I have never owned a new car, always used,current van is 2003 which I purchased 3.5 years ago for 8 grand, but have had to put fair amount of money into it.  Also, I feel I will have to pay a lot more money to go " green" and still be able to enjoy winter roads.

  •  Ah -- Somebody who knows that a car is more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, brooklynbadboy

    than mere transportation.

    It wasn't clear to me if you actually plunked your money on the table for one of those Lincolns, but, if you did, I hope you enjoy it.

    We, unfortunately, are in "down on our luck mode", trying to figure out how we can get out to Massachusetts to pick up a 1998 Altima my brother-in-law has.  Not as much fun as shopping the new car show rooms, but we'll make an adventure of it, and...

    Hey! Those Altimas were decent little cars and this one has a stick shift.  It's hard not to like any car with a 5 speed these days.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:47:23 PM PST

  •  I guess those Kos front pager jobs (5+ / 0-)

    must pay really well.  

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:48:22 PM PST

  •  It takes a driveway... (0+ / 0-) support a labradog.

    I have a '99 Outback for all the practical crap. AWD and 25mpg, and a reasonably comfortable ride. Plus a utility trailer and a kayak trailer, for the Outback's hitch.

    To work out the kinks, or at least my kink, a 1977 BMW R100S, two wheels, two cylinders, and five speeds of joy. With side cases, when needed.

    And finally, an early 80s Peugeot 12 speed bicycle, with aluminum drops and an ARS seat.

    Transportationally speaking, life is sweet!

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:48:51 PM PST

  •  Good diary, now stop being a piker (0+ / 0-)

    And go buy yourself a new car. Christmas present for yourself, that you deserve.

    2012 presidential election. Never has so few spent so much to have so little effect on a national election. Citizens United and Corporations are not American Values.

    by Blackhawks on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:49:33 PM PST

  •  It's a CAR nt (3+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:50:03 PM PST

  •  Trading in my 2003 Ford Focus (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Morgan Sandlin, dwayne, GayHillbilly

    for a 2012 Scion xD in the next couple of weeks. I drove several small hatchbacks and the Scion is the one that spoke to me. I know it's marketed for young people, and I'm 50, but I don't care!

  •  My last car purchase (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne, GayHillbilly

    was in 2006.  My 98 Civic was long-paid off and still running great, but it had >100K miles.  I'd recently landed a great new job and decided to spring for a brand new Civic, also to be kept and cared for indefinitely.

    It turned out the Civic had been redesigned that year, and was a total turnoff in both price and features.  We have a big dog, I'm an avid yard saler, and we're always working on our home.  I need a hatchback, cargo space, and seats that adjust and fold up and down.  Oh, and it has to be a stick shift.  

    I ended up buying a Toyota Matrix.  Excellent choice, now also paid off with <90K miles, running beautifully, a week or more between fill-ups.  The 98 Civic is also still going strong at 170K.

    At 44 I'm early GenX, and I'm all about practicality when it comes to cars.  There's little in the new car market that interests me these days, at least in my modest price range.  The dealership keeps trying to sweet talk me into trading the Matrix ... not happening.  Life without car payments is good!

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:55:30 PM PST

  •  I found myself going through this five years ago (4+ / 0-)

    I settled on two cars.  One was the mid-life crisis car (Saturn Skye) and one was the practical car (Toyota Prius).  Driving the sporty little two-seat convertible felt awesome and I loved my last Saturn, but when the pedal hit the metal I bought the Prius.

    If I ever buy another car, it is going to be a volt.

    "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

    by Sychotic1 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:55:51 PM PST

  •  Civic SI (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It will be my third Civic and 5th Honda.  If they still made it I would buy an S2000.  Of course a week alter I probably would have a suspended license!

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 02:58:35 PM PST

  •  So (0+ / 0-)

    Did you buy the car? I have really been liking the Subaru BRX or the scion car that is its twin. Anyway, good luck with it.

  •  Another sweet setup: The easily pleased spouse. (0+ / 0-)

    Mrs.labradog could not care less what she drives. Four wheels and a seat, good to go.

    So for a while she felt really spoiled when I got a used Toyota Supra "for her", and the Toyota 4wd truck for me.
    Except on weekends, I was always very magnanimous with the truck - "Oh, honey just take the truck for that stuff!"

    That would leave me to go rippin' and runnin' in that sweet Supra for the weekend!! Dayam!!

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:00:30 PM PST

  •  If I am not mistaken, you reside in Brooklyn..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How much do you use a car, and for what purposes?  How much room do you need in a vehicle?  Are long trips what you would use it for, or short ones around NYC and nearby?  Which cars would best suit the road conditions in the city?  While the roads are "a bit rough" in some places, some will fare better than others.

    Good luck in your search, and hope that what you invest in, be it new or used(yes used should be considered as well), will give you everything that you desired, and need.

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:00:42 PM PST

    •  Medium distance road trips. Or dressed up. (0+ / 0-)

      As me and Mrs. bbb enter our 40's, were going to more events that require decent looking shoes and expensive hairdos. So, to preserve the beauty for the event, I usually get the car.

      I can't think of ever putting more than 10,000 miles on a car in a year. I mostly use the subway. But I do like having a car handy.

      •  Just make sure you have a good garage or parking (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        option that is secure.  When I lived in NYC many years ago (80's), I found that paying "rent" for a parking space in a garage was more than I cared to spend, but reluctantly did each and every month as I liked the ability of having a car at my disposal for medium and longer trips (out of state) out of the city.  I later moved out of the city and appreciated that extra $$ each month!  But then again, I also found other situations that demanded that extra $$ as well!!

        I can appreciate the reasons and "whys" of you want, and think it should be a stylish but practical choice, personally speaking.

        Many of us who own and ride motorcycles have a saying that applies to your situation as well:  Drive what you like, and like what you drive.  

        Good luck and enjoy.

        P.S. - My wife and I do miss NYC very much, and need to get up there soon for a "dose."

        “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

        by LamontCranston on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:49:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is a car for everyone (0+ / 0-)

    but Lincoln is getting the holy crap kicked out of them in their segment. Mercury went away and Lincoln is hanging by a thread. They haven't quite found the reliable buyer of their brand yet. They have had many half starts and failed projects in recent years. If they can settle on something good and build on it, they might get back some of the reputation of being a true luxury mark.

  •  As my kids would say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, erratic

    (sing-song voice)
    You bought a commercial!
    You bought a commercial!

    I was going to buy a Nissan Leaf, but then they jacked up the price (to score some more of the $7500 federal tax rebate for the corporation) by $3K, and the required home charging station installation was going to be another $5K, not including jackhammering or blasting through bedrock to run the electrical line. I ended up with a bottom-of-the-line Prius for about half the price of the Leaf all-in.

    I hate the marketing of cars as an extension or projection of oneself. Just buy the least inefficient car you can, and use it as little as possible.

    Consumption is not the answer.

    by Lexpression on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:01:32 PM PST

  •  Congratulations! (0+ / 0-)

    Lots of creature comforts without being a PITA exotic or having the payments of one.  As you say, practical without looking it.

    Is it a '13 as in the video?  Very nice.  

  •  MINI Cooper S Hardtop (4+ / 0-)

    It's teensy and unassuming, and kind of goofy looking.  Then you start to drive it around and ZOMFG WHAT FUN!

    I've had one of these for just under five years, and regret not one minute of it.  Handling is excellent and precise, and you have plenty of acceleration power even in sixth gear.  Yet it is relatively efficient for a non-hybrid.  I regularly get 32 MPG, which is the same my old Honda Civic EX used to get (and wasn't anywhere near as much fun).

    The Cooper S is plenty of fun, but if you want even more performance, you can splurge on the John Cooper Works model.  MINI's Web site also lets you completely customize what you want on the car, so it can look as reserved or as outre' as you want.

    •  Even the base Mini is a hoot (0+ / 0-)

      Had one for a couple years and loved it.  Fast enough, great handling, great gas mileage.  Macho men hate it, chicks love it, and I know which I'd rather impress.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:36:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, I require a pick up for my job. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ten canvassers

    Take it easy.
    At 42. A 97 F-150 with 230k miles suites me fine. Everything still works great, no rust. It's cheap and easy to fix. No payments. The gas mileage sucks and I'm everybody's moving bitch. But I feel safe in it with my kid and it accomplishes a lot of work. And it's fun in the snow.

  •  Here's the vehicle I want (0+ / 0-)

    A classic from way back when.

    Then all I'd need would be a lab complex somewhere in Nevada with a retractable roof...

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:07:46 PM PST

  •  Couldn't get more shallow. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave Barnes
  •  car shopping is such a pain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It took me a few cars over a few decades to understand what I wanted most, in addition to grown-up safety stuff. But finally (in about the only example I can cite for age bringing anything close to wisdom) I was able to cut to the chase. The last two times I had to car shop, I went straight to the dealership whose cars have 12 speakers and a good stereo, standard. I basically drive an iPod with a moon roof. I love it.

    I hope you find your car soon. Looking's such a hassle. Having the right one is such a relief.

    "I find myself at a loss for unsubpoenaed words." Stephen Colbert

    by scilicet on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:12:23 PM PST

  •  I'm waiting for the new 'Cuda to come out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    djMikulec, mhanch

    The only thing that can make it better would be if they had a convertible version too. Loved the Mannix 'Cuda back in the 1970's.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:12:45 PM PST

  •  I am in love with the volvo concept (0+ / 0-)

    of three different fuel use options:  at the press of a button you can be all electric for short trips, or press another button for some sort of hybrid version and a thrid button for all out performanc.  The are going to sel those with clean diesel in Europe but as I understand it the U.S. version will be gas - bummer.  Bigger bummer is the outrageous price tag and the fact that volvos cost a lot to maintain. Love the concept though, takes care of most of my personal needs.

  •  In Vermont we all buy the Official State Car: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    (No the Legislature didn't pass a law, but you drive through Montpelier and you'd think they did.)

    "This is NOT what I thought I'd be when i grew up."

    by itzik shpitzik on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:18:50 PM PST

  •  I found my happy medium... (0+ / 0-)

    At age 51 I bought an '01 Monte Carlo SS. Looks sharp enough for me, has a few retro styling cues, is fairly fast (140 speedometer).... and still gets over 30mpg.

    Today's new cars however just don't do anything for me though, they're all starting to look alike and it seems styling and imagination are a thing of the past.

  •  Just ran across an infomercial (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dretutz, HDTVGuy

    ..for the local Kia dealership where the blood of Jesus was first and foremost in the dealer's heart. The star of the show wanted to pray with his customers in the finance office.

    It's a sign of the End Times I tell you..

    The dire straits facing America are not due poor people having too much money

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:22:21 PM PST

  •  Camaro! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas, dwayne, brooklynbadboy

    I'm a 56-year old, divorced, living-alone female.  Ran the Monte Carlo to the rims, then set about finding something as unpractical as possible.  I'm going to hell for the carbon footprint, but will happily take all abuse heaped on me by members of this site.  I'm driving the best CAR (not shouting--needed to capitalize!).  2012 Camaro SS.  Those of you who've been in its company will need nothing further from me.  (By the way, I have a frequently-laughed-at habit of naming my cars--always Latin names, though I'm not Latino unless you count my great-great-grandfather General Francisco Lara.)  This latest edition of CAR is called Joachim--makes me smile every time I say it :)  Before that there was Matteo and Consuela (I also have a real feel for whether a car is male or female).  

    There is always an easy solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong. ~H. L. Mencken

    by TriniGirl on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:22:37 PM PST

  •  Sorry, I just don't get it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, sagesource

    Many many people spend more than they can really afford, to get something that impresses the neighbors (unnecessary), goes fast (in a country with speed limits and bad traffic), and/or is as big enough for mom, dad, kids and the in-laws (which they then drive empty and solo most of the time).

    There is some admirable technology and even some artistry in high-end cars, but that by itself, for me, isn't enough to want to own one, since I don't need to impress anyone and actually have modest needs in a vehicle.

  •  Skillful rationalizing of your bad behavior.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, brooklynbadboy

    yeah, yeah, right, "Lincoln came after me". That's right, bad boy, keep believing - it's all THEIR fault.

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:23:11 PM PST

  •  2006 Toyota Tundra V-6 @ 22-25 mpg (0+ / 0-)

    works just fine, bought used and it even has a tape deck to go with CD. I really need a truck to go with my big ......

    Hey! Where did the ads go???

    by PHScott on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:23:27 PM PST

  •  you were wrong. Buy a Volt eom (0+ / 0-)

    Those who quote Santayana are condemned to repeat him. Me

    by Mark B on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:26:12 PM PST

  •  I've got nothing against BBB posting this on DKos, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...but c'mon, is this seriously really considered FP-worthy material, especially THIS weekend?

    "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." – Leonard Bernstein

    by frisco on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:26:22 PM PST

  •  I just got a new Toyota Prius (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    which my right-wing brother-in-law calls my liberal car..

    "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around..."

    by cgvjelly on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:28:22 PM PST

  •  After 20+ years, its back to American for me... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When I bought my first brand new car, it was a Nissan Maxima in 1996 I think. I figured I have to be some kind of chump to buy an American car back then. They were pretty bad.

    When I was younger I dreamed after sports cars I couldn't afford (no, not Lamborghinis- I couldn't afford any of them). Now that I can afford a nice sports car if I really wanted one, I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money on one. And it just doesn't fit who I am anymore.

    Several years ago though I finally did splurge. I bought a used BMW Z3 for 16,000. It was nearly pristine and for a while it was fun commuting in it. But its not a commuter car and pretty soon I got tired of paying for Z-Rated tires that wear out so fast. Then the thing was always needing service for one reason or another, costing me thousands. I stopped driving it finallly, and its been deteriorating in my garage ever since. Last I checked the power top, computer and stereo all have stopped working. LOL I'll be lucky to get $2500 for the thing now.

    I still love Nissans, and also currently have a Prius. But I think its time to go back to American cars now. American products in general where I can.

  •   (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To bad you did not get a volt lease in October. my friend got one for 199 a month.   Cheaper than the bus

    •  That's a pretty good price (0+ / 0-)

      too bad I live in an apartment and have no place to plug one in.

      “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

      by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:12:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bit of a car guy here... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zmom, brooklynbadboy, claude, Subterranean

    ...1st off, recognize that if you're buying new, you're doing it for emotional reasons...not practical ones. If you want to be practical, you should be buying used. Autos depreciate way too fast. Even a slightly-used car can be a bargain compared to new (not counting end-of-model / end of year incentives).

    Emotional reasons are certainly a good reason to buy new - nothing wrong with that, it just costs more. If you buy used, the equation has less to do with emotion and more to do with the price/condition of each specific used vehicle. An older model with many years but few miles can be a no-brainer if it has been well maintained.

    The good news is competition for new cars has improved the breed, so you really can't go too wrong no matter what new car you purchase.

    To keep this comment short and sweet may I suggest:

    1st choice - new Mazda CX-5 - Lots of run and utility and 34 mpg. A fun to drive SUV. These have the new SkyActive engines and transmissions and have been extremely well received.

    2nd choice - Ford Fusion hybrid - I've not driven a new one yet, - check out the new models, but beware buzzing engines as the earlier models seems to strain pretty hard to get going.

    3rd choice - if you can wait a month for the gas or maybe even 6 months - the beautiful new Mazda-6, similar to the CX5 with new technology, and now for the first time in the US.. a Mazda clean diesel engine in about 6 months time . The clean diesel needs no special filters or urea injection.  It should have outstanding pulling power and great efficiency. I can't wait to drive one! The photos of the car are gorgeous.

    "The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings" Adam Duritz/Counting Crows... Or if you prefer... "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" Carl Sagan

    by zipn on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:30:01 PM PST

    •  Actually the MKZ is a luxury Ford Fusion. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zipn, Alumbrados

      Underneath, its a fusion. Except for the suspension and a few other tricks. The cabin and the body of course are completely different.

    •  hear! hear! on buying new. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have bought used Volvos for over 30 years, usually around 80-90k miles and 10-11 years old.  As a demographic,  someone who buys a new Volvo does the maintenance and doesn't abuse it.  Just kind of goes with the cars' personality.  Not flashy, solid and reliable.  

      A Volvo is nicely broken in by then and I usually get 200k more miles out of them, spending less than $3k to purchase.  Honest well-built cars with low BS quotient.  

      Anyway,  letting someone else burn off the depreciation of a new car is a viable option.  I've been tinkering with my cars and trucks for 45 years,  and I am delighted at how much better they are now than then. Faster, safer, less hassle, stronger.

      Just be clear that some cars are built to be "disposable" and others are built to last, and do.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:30:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

        Luckily I fit fine in a Miata - I've gone through quite a few and am down to 2 - a classic original design ' cruiser' and a supercharged track/road car.

        These cars can be found used, with relatively low mileage, and some incredibly well maintained as they tend to be purchased not as a daily-driver but as a weekend sports car.  For many they were purchased new as a 2nd or 3rd car in the fleet. The last one I purchased has not seen a drop of rain in the past 5 years or so (and  probably won't as long as I own it).

        That's really the key to getting a good used car - knowing the history and IF the car has been well cared for and properly maintained, regardless of brand or model, you can usually do pretty good. Of course it doesn't hurt if the car is as bullet-proof as Miatas are when maintained properly. 200, 000 even + 300,000 + miles is quite reasonable without the need for a major overhaul. Probably not the best choice as an "only" car for someone who has to park it on a city street unless you get the retractable hard top version. The

        "The price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings" Adam Duritz/Counting Crows... Or if you prefer... "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" Carl Sagan

        by zipn on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:44:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Frankly, I don't need new cars. (3+ / 0-)

    I've come to realize there is a lot more in life than dropping way too much cash on a spiffy new car.

    My current car is about to retire and get passed along to a kid.  340K miles plus, it hits 40MPG regularly, long paid for, super cheap ass reliable car.  89 Corolla.  I got it for a song too, used of course.  :p

    New car budget is about 4K, less depending.  For that I'll get a nice, reliable car, no payments, and live just as good as anybody, maybe doing a few more things for not having a payment.

    Now, one might ask, but what if it breaks down?  One answer is to have a car in reserve for a few days, which I do.  Another is just fix the thing!  

    I grew up poor and can fix my car because I had to.  I don't pay locksmiths either, just FYI.  

    For something really ugly, the shop bill is worth it, and never too much, or I just get another car.  Little things I just do on a weekend with some nice podcast playing that I would be listening to anyway.

    It's fun to have spiffy new cars.  I rent them all the time professionally, and I've not driven anything yet that would warrant the kind of financial commitment required to own it, and if I want a weekend of fun, I just rent!  

    Cheap transportation is golden.  Good luck on your purchase.  I sincerely hope it's worth it.  I know absolutely mine are.

    Oh, and when we do the work to bring wages up, more people will buy new cars and the cycle of life continues on.  Me?  I make enough, but I've got way too many other things in life to be tied down to an investment like that.

    Now, the one thing I might consider is a Volt!  When the next generation of batteries hits, I might pony up for one of those because it's actually new, and it would pay for itself rather quickly.  Barring some serious ROI, other new vehicles are off the table.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***

    by potatohead on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:30:30 PM PST

  •  MKZ is an awesome car, especially the hybrid which (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gulfgal98, brooklynbadboy

    is priced the same as the non-hybrid version. MPG is 45 city and highway if driven conservatively. I really like the pushbutton automatic transmission....a la 1950's and 60's Chrysler products. It keeps the console free for lots of storage. I ended up with a 2013 Escape because I carry 2 dogs frequently, but seriously considered the Lincoln.

    You made a excellent choice.

  •  Lincoln Motor Company (0+ / 0-)

    would pay $20K for this kind of social coverage, if not more.

    Seems kind of weird to me, but hey, maybe its the New Way.

  •  Still holding on to (0+ / 0-)

    My 2002 Subaru Forester.  The one that kind of looks frumpy, but has multiple uses.  Good commuter car, can carry dogs in crates, has the AWD (good for Northern CA winter weather), etc.  Only 85,000 mi.  (This is my second Subaru)

    Looked at new small SUVs recently and couldn't justify replacing this car.  Don't want the car payments and the increased insurance.

    My other vehicle is a 21-speed ladies Electra Townie bicycle.

  •  We bought what must have been the first (0+ / 0-)

    Jeep wagon off the line in Mexico when AMC had it. Whatta lemon. Most new cars lose thousands the minute you drive them off the lot. So now we're back to used.
    We've had the strangest old cars. A Peugeot, a Rambler station wagon where all the seats went flat (heh). I learned to really drive in a VW stick wagon. Had another station wagon, a classic Ford Squire.
    A 58 Volvo, a German Buick Opel (the Baby Vette), a Merkur xr4ti, my beloved Toyota Cressida, and now I have a midnight 97 Acura 3.0 cl, a coupe, very fast and a cool lookin' little Betty.
    OHD drives smaller than big pickups, has a Mazda with a custom topper now.
    Good luck on your purchase, B3.

    I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
    NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
    Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

    by OleHippieChick on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:38:15 PM PST

  •  I have one criteria above all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, bwren

    Whatever it is, it must have a five speed manual transmission.  I love driving a manual.  A manual makes me feel deeply in touch with my vehicle and it does not have to be a sports car either.  My husband has a twelve year old F150 six cylinder with a manual and I drive a PT Cruiser with a manual.  

    I am absolutely amazed at how many younger people have no idea how to drive a manual transmission.  I learned to drive on a 1950's era Nash Rambler Metropolitan with three on the column.  From then on, all I ever wanted was to drive a manual, even at my advanced mature age.  

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:40:28 PM PST

  •  Buy American - Buy UAW (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dwayne, claude, brooklynbadboy

    I'm sorry but real Democrats will support our brothers and sisters in the UAW.  I don't understand buying Toyota or Honda that are built in right to work states that gut the middle class.  I have bought nothing but Fords ... built by the UAW since 1991.  I suggest putting your wallet where your mouths are.

    So thank  you for going for the Lincoln.  You Honda/Toyota drivers, next time you bemoan the shrinking middle class just STFU.  Sorry to be so harsh.

    •  I've had American cars in the past from all (0+ / 0-)

      3 and they've all been pieces of shit. I don't care if they're more reliable now - they have permanently lost my trust and lost me as a customer.

      I bought a new car in October and didn't even waste my time looking at the big 3. I'm not spending that kind of money on something that I don't trust. I ended up with an Acura TSX, built in Japan, and couldn't be happier.

      Besides, what about the workers at the US ports that have to unload the vehicles off the boat and process them? Those jobs would disappear if we all stopped buying foreign-built cars. I'm also sure that the construction workers who build Honda, Toyota, VW, Nissan, etc, dealerships and the mechanics who work there are glad people are buying those cars too.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:03:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same here... (0+ / 0-)

        Growing up, with two exceptions, my parents (die hard democrats) only bought American cars. They broke and broke and broke. Always in the shop. They haven't bought an American car since and I doubt they ever will.

        My first two cars were American (Chevy Corsica and Dodge Neon).  The Neon was ok (if mediocre) the Corsica was brutal. It broke and broke and nearly killed me (when the brakes just randomly went out). I've considered buying American with the last few cars we've purchased, but I just can't do it. In most cases a quick flip through consumer reports is all I need to send me running back to Honda or Acura. Maybe when there are 10 years of positive safety and reliability figures I'll consider an American car. But no sooner.

        •  Yes - I hear that all the time about American cars (0+ / 0-)

          Thing is that American cars are now either rated the same or better than the non-union built in the south foreign cars that everyone raves about.

          So let's move on from the 70's and 80's and see what life is like now in the 21st century.  The middle class and your brothers and sisters in organized labor will thank you.

    •  That was a factor in getting my Magnum (0+ / 0-)

      even though it was used.  Still, not only is the company at least American (turns out the car was made in Canada) but more importantly, the tires on it, and recommended for it, are made-in-Alabama Goodyears.  Sure that same plant mistreated Lily Ledbetter to historical proportions but at least the tires support the 1,000 or so union workers there.

      “Nice country you got here. Shame if something were to happen to it” --the GOP philosophy to governing as described by Paul Krugman

      by dwayne on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:18:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I really feel for you on this (0+ / 0-)

      But I have never bought a new car in my life,  and years ago bemoaned that nothing Detroit put out was as tough and reliable as a used Volvo.  I do believe Detroit is now building much better machinery,  but management led the industry astray for many a year before they woke up and smelled the (world) coffee.

      I still have my '53 Chrysler M-37 military Power Wagon, so I know what Detroit can build when it does the right thing.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:45:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hear you and have struggled w/ this. (0+ / 0-)

      As a purchaser and owner of 6 new Hondas over the years (including my wife's and my first car purchased together, an '88 Accord built in OH and in which we brought home our first daughter) I hear this comment loud and clear.  

      The GM plant near OKC which was built while I was in high school was closed down several years ago (as I recall, it had the misfortune of building large trucks and SUVs at a time when gas prices were skyrocketing, then it got partially hit by a tornado).  This certainly didn't help the economy of central OK.

      We did buy two new Chevy APV minivans during our time (I'm sure at least in part because they reminded me of the Star Trek (original) shuttle vehicle), with which we were somewhat pleased.  They needed more repairs than I'd had with the Hondas and I hadn't been happy w/ the dealers we worked with.

      We tried a Toyota Sienna in there as well and the damned eternally-squeaking brakes killed me on them.  Once our girls got old enough for vehicles (we're in OK, there's little public transportation to speak of) I wanted reliability and stuck w/ what I'd had good track record with...back to the big H(onda).  I even found a dealer I liked when I got my '03 Civic Hybrid (still have it--135k so far) and have been back ever (3x) since (and planning for another trip next summer).

      I have lots of concern that even buying a nominally "American" car really means one built mostly (completely?) in Canada or Mexico.  I'm sticking w/ the Hondas for my girls.  But I have already talked to my wife about test-driving a Chevy Volt as a future replacement for my Hybrid in a couple of years....  The strong endorsements I keep hearing from Volt drivers is encouraging, I must say, and hope they continue.

      I guess all I can say is that it's hard to find a perfect answer.

      "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

      by bartcopfan on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:43:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm retiring next year (0+ / 0-)

    and get exactly where you coming from BBB. I don't want a lil ole lady car. I don't want a sportscar cuz I'm too old. I don't want a cheap car but can't afford a Porsche.
    I definitely will buy a GM car since we are a Michigan/GM/Pontiac Motors/chevy family. We would never consider a Ford cuz Henry was a racist.
    So it's either the VOLT or the Cruz but whatever it definitely wil be RED!

    "I am no longer a candidate. I'm The President" - Barack Obama 2012 DNC Convention

    by AAMOM on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:51:50 PM PST

  •  I rode in a Lincoln MKS a while back (0+ / 0-)

    Seemed like a very nice car. I'd actually consider buying one.

    Maybe a bit of overkill for what you're looking to do with a car.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:52:38 PM PST

  •  How timely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    after driving the same car for over 12 years, I just went out and bought a Ford Fusion yesterday. Two years old, but under 20k on the odometer. And I got the SEL  V6 version, which is more than enough luxury for me. And the Fusion is on the same platform as the MKZ.

    "Because Romney's a clown . . ."--Henry Francis

    by LeftCoastTimm on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:55:14 PM PST

  •  Ford Fusion=Lincoln MKZ, but 8K less money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

    by Churchill on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:57:35 PM PST

  •  leased a Ford Fusion. Best car I ever drove (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up !

    by Churchill on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:58:24 PM PST

  •  65' Mustang which i rarely drive... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    hey, it works for an environmentalist like me

    It's a beauty i love it..

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 03:59:05 PM PST

  •  My solution is 2 cars - just for me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bwren, zipn

    The thing is, I need a full sized pick up truck for my work. Also, I've always loved converatbles and sports cars. So vehicle #1 is a 2011 Ford F-150. Vehicle #2 is a pure pleasure craft. A '99 Mazda Miata. That little supercharged toy makes driving anywhere FUN.

  •  heck, I just bought a Prius last week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm a 48 year old, 6'4" 220 pound male. I've had trucks, sports cars and a minivan (or two). I'm actually a little proud of myself to have keep my fragile ego in check in an effort to reduce my carbon footprint a bit. I'll admit, I'm not fully evolved, so this was an effort for me!  :)

  •  I just ordered my new car (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bwren, old wobbly, bartcopfan, Russycle

    It should be here at the end of January. Here's a picture (photoshopped for color, to tell the maker how I wanted it to look):

    Borealis V3 velomobile, a three-wheeled recumbant in an aerodynamic kevlar shell. I've got a 17 mile commute to work and 16 miles of it are along a straight-as-an-arrow old railroad bed bike path. Zero emissions, only if you don't count the stench of my sweat.

    Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

    by dhonig on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:06:09 PM PST

  •  I have taken the pain out of car shopping. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have owned an Austin Healy Sprite, a couple of Buicks, a 1967 Mustang Mach 1, 2 Ford Rangers, 2 pontiacs, 4  3/4 ton Ford F250s, a Corvette, a 300C Mercedez, a Monte Caro, 2 Chevy 150 trucks, a Honda Accord, a Toyota,  and maybe some more i can't remember.
    I currently drive a Ford 250 diesel King Ranch edition, and haul a horse trailer with a 2000 Ford 250 diesel, designed by Texas Customs.
    So, I wanted something fast, gasoline powered, small, fuel efficient, and that handled like a well-engineered car, like the Mercedez.  
    I just looked at used cars online in the Houston area, figuring I would know "it" when I saw "it".  A 2008 350Z roadster, black with black rag top, black interior, 49,000 miles.  I went to the dealer, rejected their bottom line, walked out the door.  They ran after me, ask me to make them an offer.  I did.  I drove it home an hour later, top down, enjoying life at 60 yrs old.  In order to pass 2 trucks weaving all over the road with trailers yesterday, I got around them at 110 mph in the bat of an eye.
    30 mpg.  Most beautiful, best driving car of my life.

  •  1965 Volvo 122s wagon (7+ / 0-)

    I can't help it. Have been driving one for 15 years and love everything about it, including the fact that I can do minor repairs/maintenance by myself. (I also have a local mechanic who only works on vintage volvos.)

    400,000+ miles. 24mpg. Daily driver.

    1965 Volvo 122s wagon

    I came for the politics and stayed for the science.

    by bwren on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:26:04 PM PST

  •  My mom wants to give me her 30 mpg Saturn (0+ / 0-)

    but I'm torn. I'd -really- prefer a hybrid I can't afford, or to continue without a car, yet I'm in an area with no public transportation.

  •  2007 Toyota Yaris. (0+ / 0-)

    It's big enough for my family of 3. When we go camping, we can pack in all we need. It doesn't impress anyone, but I don't care a bit about impressing people. It's comfortable enough, it has air conditioning and a stereo. It get good gas mileage, 32 mpg city, and around 38 mpg highway. What more do I need?

    My previous car was a 1991 Civic. I had that for about 6 years. Before that, I had a 1994 Chrysler LeBaron Convertible - that was my one indulgent car, I bought that after graduating from college after getting out of the Air Force. Before that, I drove a 1987 Chevy Sprint. I drove it for a couple years with no heater in northern Minnesota and no second gear. My first car was a 1973 Toyota Celica.

    I plan on keeping my car for as long as I can.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:41:21 PM PST

  •  My car is a 2000 and spouse's is a 1995 (0+ / 0-)

    Get the idea we don't go car shopping much?

    Neither of us is a daily commuter, mine is still below 100K miles, but they've been good to us for many years. Best way to reduce your overall car expense is to keep the car a long time.

  •  i guess this qualifies (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, milkbone

    I'm 45 and bought a fiat 500 sport. What a beautiful car. The design makes me feel good, I guess that's what I needed. 42 mpg highway. I feel sorry for everyone else driving a boring car.

  •  heyyy... i like nerd cars. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    drone strikes in Pakistan: Sandy Hook Elementary x10.

    by bnasley on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:47:40 PM PST

  •  Just got a 2010 Mazda cx-7. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Smaller SUV with a 2.5 liter four.  I never thought I'd be in an SUV but after getting stuck in the snow with my old sedan, I felt that I need for one.  In fact, it drives beautifully.  And now that it has been replaced with the cx-5, it was a good deal.  And only 22,000 miles on the clock.    

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:49:01 PM PST

  •  Car buying made simple: (0+ / 0-)

    Honda (Acura), Toyota(Lexus) or Subaru.  And the For Focus is not bad.  If you buy anything else, may you not regret it - but don't bet on it.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 04:57:06 PM PST

  •  Oh, that Lincoln MKZ is a modern, motorhead (0+ / 0-)

    looking car, I'll give you that. Sleek, powerful, smooth, elegant all come to mind. That front end "face" says 'Notice me.'

    But in the end, it is no more than a way to get from here to there.

    What you should ask yourself, as a Gen X American, is why does what your transportation method looks like matter to you?

    Especially when, as you so aptly note, you are in the Big Apple and don't really need a car.

    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:05:29 PM PST

  •  My new ride is (0+ / 0-)

    A Kona Humuhumu single speed no suspension mountain bike, customized with a rack and fenders, a kickstand, drop handlebars, and a collapseable grocery basket.

    Now there's a midlife crisis for you.

    •  Needs skinnier tires (0+ / 0-)

      Nice ride, but you'll be faster with some 1.5" hybrids, which are still rugged enough for pot-holes, curbs, and other urban hazards.

      I run Schwalbe Marathons, only one flat in about 6000 miles of commuting.

      I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

      by Russycle on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:55:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I bought my first new car in 16 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in August, and I could not be happier with it.
    It's a silver Chevy Spark, and it is a gratifyingly sensible automobile.

  •  I get the best of both worlds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Live in a dense big city and don't need or want a car (could easily afford one if I did), but work for a couple months per year in total  in very remote rural places where I get to drive big assed 4x4 trucks you need to get around where I work.

    My carbon footprint probably averages out.  I love driving those big trucks though.  Where I do it there's no one to impress but the bears.  Just fun.

    And I rent cars on the road about 10 times a year so I get to try a bunch of different things.  

  •  1992 Camry here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Inheritted it from my father.   Runs fine.  AC busted, but 105K miles with plenty of life left in it.

    I don't just want my next car to be an electric car...  I only buy used cars, so I have to wait until I can buy a USED electric car.  

    Until then I console myself with the thought of the embedded carbron involved in the purchase of ANY new vehicle, and how I'm avoiding all that as I tool around at 26 mpg in this 4 cylinder Camry.  

    I hate cars.  I hate the built up environment that we have created that makes them necessary.   I hate the part of me that likes cars.   I look at my car, and the cars around me and I can only think that this planet is doomed.  

  •  My beloved Jetta TDI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Papuska, greengemini

    got 44 mpg tank after tank... enough power (torque) to satisfy this old gearhead.

    Taken out by a drunk two weeks ago.
    Image Hosting by

    I mourn the passing of that car, 60k miles in three years. I loved that car and its tinted windows and kick ass stereo I added the first month I owned it. (750watt amp and Kicker bass module in the back - all the speakers upgraded in all the doors.)

    Replacement car...

    I'm hunting another diesel. For me it's the only way - fuel efficient and they last forever - well - unless you're unlucky enough to meet a drunk that drives on the wrong side of the road.

    Me, I'm healing. Got banged up pretty good. Hospital time. Still limping.

    Perhaps State Farm will pay for my next mid life crisis.

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:37:30 PM PST

  •  not watching a whole terrence mallick movie (0+ / 0-)

    just to see what vehicle you purchased.

    nothin' to see here folks, just a massive labor uprising.

    by WesEverest on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:38:06 PM PST

  •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can anybody seriously care about the "debt we're leaving our grandchildren" and not care about the hellhole of a planet we're going to leave them?  Other people should take responsibility for reducing their carbon footprint, but when it comes to mine--oh, well, uh, I just want to enjoy my wheels.

    If not each of us, then who?  Good for you, Pajoly, for buying a Prius even though you're a big guy.  I keep the back seat of my 2009 Prius down all the time, and there's plenty of room for luggage, a 40 lb bag of dog food, and three dogs to fit comfortably.  The car gets 47 mpg.  

    I would prefer to support American-made products, and if GM or Ford has a comparable product (reliable and problem-free, at least so far) when I'm next in the market for a car, I'll be glad to try it.  I've heard good things about the Ford Fusion.

    I'd echo a couple of people here who suggested a used car.  I bought my Prius new, but the best value is a two-year old, low-mileage car.  I've done that before with good luck, and suspect that's the route I'll take next time.

  •  *sigh* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I feel the same way about cars that I did when I was 15 - I don't want to spend a lot of money on it; I want it to be reliable, low gas mileage, and I want a decent stereo in it.  I've driven a 1980 Dodge Ramcharger (one of the family cars), a 1974 Nova my dad refurbished for me and my sister for college, a 1993 Saturn SW2 Wagon, a second Saturn wagon, a Prius and now a Toyota Sienna.  All practical.  I'm 44.  I could give a whole bowl of fuck about how I "look" in a car.

  •  Avalon -- moonroof and Ipod friendly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    get the windows blackened to State max, it's fun to drive that way.

    What Fresh Hell is This? -- Dorothy Parker

    by chazz509 on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 05:58:05 PM PST

  •  Prius owner here.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ....I bought it used when I was driving all over Illinois doing locum tenens work.  I got over double the MPG of my Ford Ranger.  Now that I'm in Florida working regular jobs, the savings in fuel isn't as dramatic but I do have a reliable car I like.  

    I had my "midlife crisis" car back when I was 30, when I purchased a Mazda Miata new off the lot in 1990.  That car lasted over 275,000 miles.  The Ranger went almost that far, and I'm expecting the Prius to top the Miata.   Loved the Miata, which was my favorite car of all time, but the Prius is a close second.

    Sarasota, FL

    Keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it.--Molly Ivins

    by AAbshier on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:11:20 PM PST

  •  You want something (0+ / 0-)

    powerful, fast and fuel efficient?

    Go buy a BMW R1200 RT Sport Touring motorcycle. 57 mpg, 1170cc 2 cylinder horizontally opposed air cooled engine that has a 12:1 compression ratio and 110 ponies.

    WOOHOO! Get on, start it, put it in gear, open the clutch, gas it, and hang on.

    On a more sober note, it's my opinion that we should all only buy a new car that gets over 40 mpg. Not normally flashy (unless you get a Tesla), but think of what other "toys" you can buy with the money you save on gas.....

    Good luck with your car search.

    Its harder to hit a moving target.

    by KatGirl on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:24:58 PM PST

  •  Jesus! Quit your dilly-dallying and get a VOLT! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brooklynbadboy, greengemini

    It's made in America, it's a hybrid, and it's damn cool.  Driving around in electric only mode is like having a stealth car, you can sneak up on people soundlessly.  Or if that isn't your thing, you can drive around with an empty gas tank, and it don't matter.  

    I've had my fill of fast cars, not that I ever had a fast car, but I certainly used to drive fast and that ended when I nearly killed myself behind the wheel.  A shotgun is a far better tool for suicide, and you're unlikely to harm others when you cash out.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:27:21 PM PST

    •  The Volt isn't quite competitive (0+ / 0-)

      with the Prius, the Camry and Sonata hybrids, the new Ford Fusion hybrid, et al., in two big respects:
      -interior space and usefulness of that space. (One of the Priuses is essentially a wagon, as is the new Ford C-max, which comes in standard hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.)  
      -appearance. To make its side windows look larger, the Volt depends on a wide black stripe - it has the effect of overdone eye makeup. GM was for many years the leader in styling (especially during the 1960s) and has to know it can do better.

  •  Is it me (0+ / 0-)

    Or have what we used to refer to as 1/2 ton trucks are now monsters. Most don't even fit in parking spaces, their turning radius sucks and they're drivers do seem to piss off a lot of non-truck people with their "road is mine" attitude.

    Despite their size, the boxes don't really seem to be much bigger than the 1/2 tons of the 70's, so why are they so much bigger? Is it a dick thing?

  •  Very simple solution to your condundrum: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Get divorced, experience financial ruin, buy whichever POS at the used car lot you can afford that looks the least like it will fall apart before you actually drive it home. It worked for me: I don't think about being marketed to at all anymore ;)

    Visit Lacking All Conviction, your patch of grey on those too-sunny days.

    by eataTREE on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 06:30:27 PM PST

  •  everybody loves my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    blue ice Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.  
    Including me.  I get close to 40 mpg (I do mostly highway driving, living in the country), the car is extremely comfortable, and I get compliments from strangers all the time on its looks.

  •  Hmm. A New Car. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I haven't thought about that since I got my last one in the late 1970s.

    Congratulations, and have fund driving it!

  •  I love my Toyota Camry Hybrid (0+ / 0-)

    best car I've ever owned.  30 mpg around town and I've unfortunately got a lead foot, plus as a Realtor I do lots and lots of stop and go previewing properties.  On the open road, I get 44 mpg.  Since I only drive about 9000 miles per year, I only fill up about once a month.  Amazing vehicle, and very luxurious interior with a nice nav system too.  And Ed Schultz  and Thom Hartmann on Sirius radio.

    The GOP -- Hating Women, Gays and People of Color since 1854

    by Former Chicagoan Now Angeleno on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:17:22 PM PST

  •  Here's a tip: grow up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why have you so totally bought into the industry's indoctrination that what you drive says a lot about you? Can you even conceive of the amount of money they've made off this bogus equivalence?

    It's transportation. That's all it is. Deal with it.

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 08:24:55 PM PST

  •  Oh, I know what I want. (0+ / 0-)

    Both vehicles, actually.

    One of the 2013 110th Anniversary Harley-Davidson Heritage Classics, for commuting and the occasional road trip when I have the liberty of going alone or just with my wife, girlfriend or one of the two boys....
    and a Tesla S for the times when I don't have quite that luxury.

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - The Hon. Jack Layton (1950-2011)

    by wingedelf on Sun Dec 16, 2012 at 09:13:42 PM PST

  •  I'll be 50 in three years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm probably going to buy a new car this week.  I've had everything from a sexy Grand Prix GT to a "practical yet sporty" Nissan Maxima, to a BMW 325 (my favorite car for 7 years until the front suspension fell apart at 110,000 miles and required $3,200 to fix).  I also can't go back to the Corvette I couldn't afford at 25, or even the 3-Series that is too small for my family.

    I hate trucks (just dumb unless you need them for work), SUV's (only slightly less dumb), and hybrids (sorry, I'm no martyr for the cause when it comes to my daily driver - everything about those cars just sucks, or they're over-priced).  I want a sporty sedan that is big enough for my kids in the back seat, but not so big that it's not fun to drive.  Well, actually, I want a coupe, but there isn't enough wife pleasing in the world for that, and most only seat 4.  There aren't too many options.  I'm going to test drive an Acura today, and I can't get the Cadillac CTS out of my head, but do I want to drive up to client meetings in a Cadillac?  People expect their attorney to drive a Cadillac or a Mercedes.  They hate the idea of overpaying their architect.

    if only I'd had this income when I was 30 and single.  No brainer - I'd of bought a BMW Z3 and a used Ford Explorer for winter and when I needed a back seat or trunk.

    Alas... there is very little for a middle age family man that still likes to drive like he's a 20-something single.

  •  I've got the 66 Corvette my mom bought (0+ / 0-)

    in 68.  I rarely drive it, and usually drive my Civic, but I love the Red Vette.  Sometimes I ride my Triumph and have an old Sportster back in the barn waiting until I retire and start to rebuild.

    "I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, You know I'm a peaceful man.'" J. R. Robertson.

    by NearlyNormal on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 10:44:49 AM PST

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