My beloved little Saturn is 9.5 years old and I’m exploring options for finding a replacement. It only has 43,400 miles on it – all original owner – so clearly I don’t drive all that much. I would keep it until it ran into the ground (I’ve only had 2 cars in 24 years which tells you something) but I feel as though I’m sitting in a hole when I drive, and my knee twists and torques in uncomfortable ways when I get in and out. It’s time for a change.
But what to buy? New or used? Hybrid or regular? Sedan or wagon? Mileage matters, especially remembering days of $4/gallon gas which will come again. But mileage isn’t everything. I don’t want a big car, finding little nimble ones easier to park and manouver. My current car is a sedan but I miss the functionality of the hatchbacks which I had for 20 years.
I need something I can climb in and out of without pain and without falling on the pavement trying to get in. I need to be comfortable – and as a large person, that’s not always easy. Oh, and I want a car from a car company I think might actually be around in 5 years and whose product has resale value. That pretty much eliminates American cars.
I’ve been stalking cars in parking lots, checking out lines and peeking into windows to look at dashboard configurations. And I’ve cornered strangers getting in or out of cars that interest me, asking them what they think of their cars. Most people are happy to say something, especially if they either love or hate their vehicle. You can tell a lot by the level of enthusiasm in their voice.
There’s tons of research I can do online, playing on car company sites to build myself a new car, then changing things and seeing what that does to the bottom line. I have an account at Consumer Reports Online so I can read reviews and ratings, and have also explored the AAA version that shows you invoice costs vs. sticker price.
But I can’t actually SIT in the cars from the comfort of my recliner in the living room. I have to actually get into the dealership, sit in the ones I’ve decided I like, and take them for test drives. Tho I’m guessing that some of the ones I like on screen will not even merit a test drive once I climb in and sit down.
Current favorites: Toyota Rav4 and Subaru Forester. They look fun to drive and the folks I’ve talked to who have them rave more than my neighbors with their gray or silver sedans which get better mileage. While mileage obviously is important, so is comfort. I’m going to keep this a long time, whichever I get, and I want to not be poked in the sides by assorted little knobs and buttons simply because I was too cheap to get something more.
What do you drive (year/make/model) and are you happy with it?