Saturday, June 13, 2015

No Car for Old Men

     B and I are in the market for a new car. And since this blog is all about honesty and truthfulness, I will admit something I do not like to admit. It's about vanity. I do not want a car that makes me look like an old geezer.

     So, at the risk of offending some people, that means . . . no Dodge or Chrysler for me.

     We already have a Subaru Forester. That's mostly what B drives. She is very trepidatious about driving in the snow, and not so keen about driving in the rain either, and so she insists on driving an all-wheel-drive vehicle. She feels safer with the extra traction, and has reminded me more than once about how last winter her colleague got stuck in the snow in the library parking lot, and her husband had to come over in his all-wheel-drive vehicle to pick her up.

We're looking for something to go with the Subaru Forester
     I've never had an all-wheel-drive vehicle in my life. I don't see the need for it. Sure, we get some snow here. But the people I know (other than B) who have a Subaru or other all-wheel-drive vehicle are skiiers who trek up to Vermont or New Hampshire for weekends in January and February. That makes sense to me -- not the skiing, I think skiing is a suicidal sport, especially for anyone over age 50 -- but the idea of an all-wheel-drive vehicle if you're going to be slipping and sliding around in the Northern latitudes all winter.

     I suggested to B that one all-wheel-drive vehicle in the family is enough. She can use the all-wheel-drive, and I'll use the front-wheel drive. But, she says, the whole idea of having two cars is so we can switch back and forth, for our convenience. I pointed out that we could switch back and forth most of the time, just not on snow days. In other words, probably about 350 days a year. She's not convinced, however.

     Anyway, we looked at a Volvo. I had a Volvo once and I liked the car. Trouble is, the all-wheel-drive Volvo is trop cher. And by trop cher I mean north of $40K. Doesn't that seem like a lot of money for a car? Even if you lease it, you're talking well over $400 a month.

     I also looked at the Ford Fusion. One of our neighbors recently bought a Ford Fusion. They got the front-wheel drive version; but there is an all-wheel-drive version as well -- for, of course, an extra $3,000 or $4,000. We did a test drive, and I just didn't like the car all that much. You sit down in the car and can't see out very well, and the thing just seems very big and boaty.

     I looked at a Buick Regal and the lower priced Buick Verano. See the note above about "old geezer."

     We're going to see an Acura, which is nothing but  a fancy Honda; a little upscale, but not as expensive as a Lexus or BMW. I don't like BMWs anyway. I don't know what it is, but something about the BMW sticks in my craw.

      But in the case of the Acura, the all-wheel-drive version is almost $10,000 more expensive than the base model, largely because you can't get an all-wheel drive Acura unless you go to the top of the line with leather seats, a moonroof, a navigation system, and a whole list of other bells and whistles.

     Then we've got an appointment to test drive a Subaru Legacy, which is the four-door sedan entry in the Subaru lineup. But, I mean, we like B's Forester okay. But we don't think of ourselves as such Subaru fans that we want to be a two-Subaru family.

     This business of buying a car is fraught with all kinds of emotional and psychological, as well as practical issues. Isn't it?   

28 comments:

retirementallychallenged.com said...

I vote for another Subaru (if you must get another all-wheel drive car, which I don't necessarily agree with... but don't tell your wife). We also have a Forester and it's served us well. We don't have snow here in SoCal, but we did run into a lot of it on our recent road trip and we were glad that we had all-wheel drive then.

I used to have a Nissan Leaf. I loved the fact that it was all-electric, but didn't like that it looked like a very un-sexy Virsa. When it was totaled in an accident, I decided to get something with more cache. I ended up with a BMW X1. Yes, it has more cache, but it's way too complicated. I usually keep my cars at least ten years, but I might have to sell this one and get something else before then. If Tesla's weren't so darned expensive, that would be my next car.

Linda Myers said...

I bought a Honda Accord last month to replace my old one, which is going to live in Arizona. My only requirement was a backup camera. When we have all-wheel-drive weather (rare here in the Pacific Northwest), we stay indoors or put on chains.

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm very dull and boring, I get Toyotas every 5 years and have done so since god was an altar boy.

I go for the security, I never had one breakdown on a dark road with no cell phone service, moose all around and fog on the way.

Important to this old geezer, and we can have studs on our tires in the winter months.

Good luck!

If I had my way I'd drive a Smart car as I adore them. But out here on the Edge it would have to be summer months only.

XO
WWW

DDD said...

My husband has an XB, I have an XD. scion cars are not expensive, very reliable though. Both cars are not as quiet as more expensive cars.

Barbara - said...

First, for the record: all wheel drive is about performance not safety. I drive a not all wheel drive car and have never gotten stuck and I drive in serious extremes of weather. Driver skills are what matter most of the time. My six cylinder will get me out of any snow situation cause I am unafraid to use the six cyls. That said I would also vote for a Subaru or a small Toyota or a nissan rogue. The Honda crv is also very nice but it is an suv.

Barbara - said...

First, for the record: all wheel drive is about performance not safety. I drive a not all wheel drive car and have never gotten stuck and I drive in serious extremes of weather. Driver skills are what matter most of the time. My six cylinder will get me out of any snow situation cause I am unafraid to use the six cyls. That said I would also vote for a Subaru or a small Toyota or a nissan rogue. The Honda crv is also very nice but it is an suv.

Anonymous said...

We are an Acura family. Have the large SUV (my son now drives it) with 120 miles. LOVE , LOVE. I now drive the smaller Acura SUV, the RDX. LOVE. My husband had an Acura Legend many years ago,, again, no problems, drove it into the ground.

Hate BMW too, noisy and just fussy. We live in Buffalo, and always either have all wheel drive, or use snows in winter.

Florence said...

My Honda Odyssey is 11 years old and has 180,000 miles on in and is still going just fine. I do the routine maintenance on it and it has never given me a moment's trouble. Love my Honda!

Pam said...

I noticed Barbara recommended a Nissan Rogue, and I have to admit, although I wasn't thrilled with the body style, after test driving it and researching it, we bought a 2015 a few months ago. Just came home from our first trip w/it and love it! Very comfortable and over 30mi per gallon. Our daughter bought a new Nissan Altima last fall, and loves it, also. She gets closer to 40 mi per gal and the car is sharp. Hub and I had two Volvos and drove them for many years with no complaints. I just wish the new ones were built as well as the older ones. Good luck with your search, Tom!

Mr Jerry said...

At this stage in your life, I would suggest treating yourself to some luxury. Depending on your age, you may not be buying too many more cars. If new is too expensive, consider a certified pre- owned Lexus or Infiniti. We have done this twice with no regrets, will definitely go this route again, and the feeling of driving a luxury car that is so reliable is rewarding at this time of life. Go for it, you deserve it...

Stephen Hayes said...

I'm not much into cars and my '92 RAV is fine for me. My wife needs a bit more and drives a BMW. She says it makes her feel young and sexy, and why would I want to interfere with that?

Tom Sightings said...

Mr. Jerry -- Thanks for your encouragement. I know I deserve it. The question is: Can I afford it?!? My ex-wife had a Honda Odyssey, and considering how she treated it (not that she did "bad" things to it; she just never changed the oil, checked the belts, rotated the tires, got it washed, or did anything else), the car lasted a pretty long time. But I'm well beyond the minivan stage by this point. Maybe I should check out the Nissan.

gigihawaii said...

My husband has a 2010 Toyota Camry and likes it a lot. He is 6'1" tall and needs this mid-size car.

I have a 2002 Hyundai Accent, and love navigating a subcompact because I am 5'1" tall.

Anonymous said...

Just bought a CPO (Certified Pre Owned) late model Dodge Durango Citadel with every single conceivable luxury bell and whistle. Car retails for $56,000. Only an old geezer, such as myself could afford such luxury. And safety.

When you find yourself in an accident, your vanity will mean nothing.

Pity how some people choose cars.

DJan said...

My husband and I both have Honda Civics, one older than the other. I too think front wheel drive is sufficient for almost any driving and wouldn't want the extra expense of an AWD. But then again, I've never had one. I am a Honda and Subaru fan and would always go for one of those. I look forward to seeing what you decide. :-)

Olga Hebert said...

The car I had always wanted was a Saab...until I actually broke the bank and bought myself a brand new one in 1993. That dream car turned out to be a nightmare of epic proportions. It doesn't say "old fogey" so much as "Vermont lesbian" but I really like my Toyota Prius.

Jack said...

We drive 3 Jaguars, all more than 12 years old. Each has less than 50K miles, all purchased CarFaxed 1 owner vehicles. We have used these cars and just returned from a trip to Greenville, SC, St. Simons,GA, and Daytona Beach FL visiting friends. Our 2000 JaguarXJ8 now has 46,000 miles on it. Drove like a champ!! Got 25mpg highway. Wherever we stopped people wanted to look at or talk about the Jag. British Racing Green, tan interior. Looks brand new-- no dings no imperfections.
Why am I telling you this? We paid $4750 for this car. Owner said no dealer would give him anything for it in trade. We bought 2 others after this one. We are retired school teachers and can't afford the price of a new Honda/Hyundai etc. we can't afford $5-600/ mo payments. And what would we be left with in 5 years? A $5000 car. Give me a break. After paying less than 5 grand for a car gas prices are meaningless.

Upstate New Yorker said...

I'm cheap but like to buy new and my budget will not let me go over the low 20's. I like to try new and not often seen cars. My last one was a Kia Sportage which was a terrific car with 4 wheel drive….I live in Syracuse…need I say more. Had it for 10 years with hardly a problem. I too feel that front wheel should be enough and don't want geezer wheels so this time went with a Mazda 5. It's got great little lines for a mini-mini van. I need a hauler for stuff so I went with this new and so far 1 1/2 years down the road it's been a winner for me. 21 and some for a new vehicle that checks all the boxes for me, not bad.

suziq38 said...

Can you afford it?
Why not pay cash??
that would be the only way I would buy a car after I retired.
Is there any reason why you and your wife can't share a car??

If you are taking out a loan for it, I hope that you can well afford the payment.

I have vowed to buy my retirement cars free and clear.

Rose said...

Sounds like you should keep looking as you haven't found the right vehicle yet. Living in Vermont, I've always driven front wheel drive cars, often with studded snows in winter. For the first time my latest car was AWD. It is a CRV, and two winters in I now know why SUV's are so popular.
Another thing to consider, as we are all aging, is that if you keep this car for several years, your driving abilities may not remain as good as they are today.
Good luck with your search, and have some fun in the process. I also don't think fun and safety are mutually exclusive.

Anonymous said...

My 2000 Lexus ES 300 finally became too expensive to fix. I bought a new top-of-the-line Honda Accord. It is a nice car but compared to the Lexus it is a tin can. I wish I had looked for a low mileage newer ES 300 ( I don't like the new Lexus). We have one 4 wheel drive so I felt I only needed a front wheel drive car.

Micheal Miller said...

They say that a car is an extension of the one who owns it. It's his way of mobility in this day and age, an added set of legs plus speed. So it might as well bear the owner's core personality. And since it’s something that will probably stay with you for quite some time, it’s best to choose properly before jumping the gun. Anyway, it’s great that you've articulated your choices here. These should serve as guide for others who are also looking to buy a vehicle. Cheers!

Micheal Miller @ Butler Kia Fishers

Anonymous said...

drive a honda fit sport. mine makes me smile everytime

Snowbrush said...

As to cars, I never buy anything new and rarely anything at all, so that helps. We now have a '93 van and '93 Camry, so as long as they look good and run good, we'll keep them. Other than good paint of an agreeable color (always white so far) and no dents, image doesn't matter at all to me. I will say that I think it looks pretty pitiful to see a fairly old man in a sports car. If he just likes sport car, fine, but I guess I suspect that it's more likely a case of trying to hold onto youth and looking older for it.

Diana Hayes said...

I agree. Lots of factors are at play when deciding on the right car for yourself, and there are pros and cons in all of them. Do you get a car that is proven and tested, or do you get something with some new features? I hope that you arrive at a good decision in the end. Good luck!

Diana Hayes @ Baldwin Subaru

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Douglass said...

The real reason for having two vehicles may not be separate jobs, but rather so you can switch cars whenever it seems convenient. Apparently, our family can't own both a four-wheel drive and a two-wheel drive car at the same time because she doesn't like driving the two-wheel drive car. This is how our family came to own two four-wheel drive vehicles.

Douglass @ Viva Kia

Donald Corral said...

I live in a pretty moderate climate. It does not snow much. We decided on a Jeep. I have been pretty pleased with it. The services are not too expensive. It is totally reliable. We have never had one problem with it. And it rides really well. I know I was considered about bumpiness but there just was not any.

Donald Corral @ Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport