Reub's journey

29 August 2014

New car



Cars. 


Me and my father-in-law
 First there was the Chevy panel truck that we bought from a plumber. It only had one seat, for the driver, but lots of room in the back for camping. It worked perfectly from Wisconsin to Colorado, then Wyoming and back again. It was sold to a friend, along with an accordion.

Then there was the old crummy green Chevy wagon that we lovingly drove into the back woods of Wisconsin as graduate students. But it exuded fumes into the interior and when our first child was born it didn't seem like a great idea to drive him around in it. So we got a used Plymouth Horizon 4-speed. Fun and economical but not quite big enough when the 2nd baby arrived. 


For wood-hauling we also had an enormous old Ford pick-up; it felt like you were maneuvering an ancient fishing boat on stormy water, very hard to stay going straight.


We got a used a Reliant K-car, the worst decision we ever made (repairs, repairs, repairs).  The first new car was a mini van, which was good for hauling 3 kids and a couple of big dogs. Hasn't every family burned through a mini van or two? There was  the '84 Volvo sedan given to the kids by a dear Alabama neighbor and driven to Oregon where it committed electrical-system-hara-kiri 2 miles from home.



The other kid-car was the indefatigable '94 Nissan Sentra, driven to New York, then to NJ where-sadly-a tree recently fell on it.  The insurance company is now willing to pay 1800 amazing dollars for it.

 Then there is the used '93 Ford Ranger pick-up, which we found in Auburn, Alabama, and still have.



And of course the 2001 Subaru, very useful, and so much more fun to drive than the minivan. There have been many great adventures in the Subie, but for quite awhile we've known that another car was imminent. The Subaru has 184K on it. Driving the 2 hours to Portland is not fun; when you turn the radio on there is so much road noise and rattling that you can't hear the music. 

Here in the West, public transportation is not an option...sooo... what car to buy?

I hate car shopping. What do things cost? It's all negotiable, like being a Peace Corps volunteer buying stuff on the street in Afghanistan, which I also didn't like. Except that you are spending huge, serious amounts of borrowed money. Car places try to make it more pleasant by having friendly sales staff and offering free popcorn and ice water, which helps a little because I do love popcorn machines and wish that I owned one.

After the first go-round of negotiations, we walked out. The car was perfect, but there had been a glitch in the online price and it seemed like a bait-and-switch. We needed time to think, and hoped the dealer would do the same, and indeed that's what happened.


In the end we got the car, a Jetta Diesel that should deliver upwards of 40mpg on the highway. It is black and shiny. The dashboard makes sense, shifting is easy, the ride is quiet, and the car doesn't tell me where to go or what to do. (I don't like those cars that talk.) I think we will be friends. I dig the power plate, but that's the dealer's name; the real plates will come in a couple of weeks. Best of all: we just got a new car and now we don't have to think about it for 15 more years.


26 comments:

  1. Congratulations. You are right about the car buying experience -- not fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks AC. We drove it to Portland & it was all worth it! :)

      Delete
  2. hooray! i hope it will be a good one for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. Never had a diesel car before.

      Delete
  3. we just got a new car, a Toyoto Camry. Husband picked it out. No talking GPS for us either. Previous to that we had bought a new pick up truck 4 years ago and it was the only car we had. Before that was the '84 Volvo sedan (which I loved to death and we drove to the moon and then some and we didn't retire it til we bought the new truck) and the old '90 truck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wasn't that '84 Volvo sedan a honey? All boxy and sensible. Ours was kind of a grayed-out burgundy color. Good car for the kids; it was incapable of speeding.

      Delete
  4. There is so much I can't remember, but I can describe every car I've ever owned...just as you did. There's been 14.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. !4 is a lot to remember. Cars are so much a part of who we are in various eras of our lives. If you can remember the car, you can bring back a lot that happened with it.

      Delete
  5. Congratulations! It sounds just right. Hope to see it in November (I'm coming west again - hope you'll be around.

    I love reading the lineage of autos. I didn't have a family, never burned through a van. Interesting to think about. I also have driven those old trucks that seem to steer their own courses, no matter what you want. One thing I think about all the time is that it used to take physical strength to drive a car. I think it was good for us.

    Unlike you, cars have not played a major role for me. I've had a few, and I agree, the stories around my cars are epic. I've lived most of my adult life in cities where I don't need a car. In San Francisco, I drove a Vespa for awhile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Driving the '94 Nissan does take a lot of physical strength, you are so right. It doesn't have power-anything. No power steering! You have to have real muscles when there is no power steering...they don't build cars like that anymore. Mechanics absolutely love that little car, and it's too bad it got smashed by a tree.

      Living without a car would be great, one of the advantages of city life.

      The new Jetta is so shiny. I immediately thought that it belonged in one of your wonderful photos. I hope it works to meet up in November!

      Delete
  6. I got a *new* car last March. A 2013 Ford Focus - bright red!! After driving a dark blue Focus for 13 years, I wanted something with color. So, color was important, as was that it had to be a hatchback because the old Ford's trunk was so deep I couldn't reach anything in it. Oh, and it had to be a 4-door with room in the backseat for passengers, because I'm still driving 2 90+ yr olds around town. I was nervous about having to learn how to use a GPS and a backup screen and a blue tooth - no problem!! It doesn't have any of those bells and whistles!! I LOVE my new car which is good because it will probably be my last car!! Picture me at 90 driving my speedy red car!!! Woot!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A red car, very racy! It sounds like fun. Cars have changed a lot in 14 years, haven't they?
      MPG has improved. They are safer & quieter.

      I can totally see you driving a little red car. :)

      Delete
  7. Ah, car memories! I have a few of those, too.

    I had a VW Jetta before my current Subaru and loved it. Wasn't diesel but it got great mileage and was fun to drive. And, it was classy looking. It was also smashed in a freak car accident. I found my current Subaru hatchback Imprezza Sport online! Chatted online with a rep, and went to CT to buy the car the next day. It's zippy, it's small, it's basic and it only had 23,000 miles on it! It should last a long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have friends with an Impreza, and they adore it. Great little car, and it sounds like your buying experience was easy. Yaay for that!

      Delete
  8. I do not know anyone who like car buying. If it was like buying a sofa or refrigerator we would all be far less stressed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can't get over the kids peeking through the slats in the back of the old Ford Truck. Thanks for sharing your vehicle tales. We've all had our share and you certainly made some interesting purchases.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to search the old albums for pics. We hardly took any photos of our vehicles. I was surprised to find that shot!

      Delete
  10. Hanging up the Subaru at 184? After seven thousand new July-August miles, our Honda is up to 190 and going strong. I hope it will see the Pacific (and you) again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Honda is doing so great. Come see us again! Actually the Subie is still with us. It runs like a top, but the trade-in is so low it isn't worth it to get rid of it right now. It makes a great dog-car, and will likely go to one of the kids when they need it. The Jetta is such a pleasure to take on the road, so quiet and gets over 40mpg. Lemme take you for a ride in my car-car...

      Delete
  11. Shawn has had his Jetta for a year, bought it when we moved here, and it's been a good car.

    Kerry, I just love the picture of you and your father-in-law (and the detail of the accordion.) Ironic that the Reliant-K was anything but reliable. :)

    Happy driving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good! I am glad to hear from a satisfied Jetta owner!

      Somehow at the time of owning that plumbing truck we were also the owners of multiple accordions. It was amazing to find a person who wanted both that truck plus an accordion. The truck was arguably improved by adding a second seat (a bucket seat from a junked Ford Pinto), but there was no accounting for somebody wanting an old accordion.

      Delete
  12. still driving a '98 Ford Contour that had belonged to my mother. 64k miles, beat up on the outside but 64k miles. I get new car lust every once in awhile but 64k miles...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it only has 64k it may be awhile before a new car comes around. Man, cars have changed quite a bit since the 90's. The Jetta's engine looks shockingly like a suitcase.

      Delete
  13. Car shopping can be overwhelming at times. So in my opinion, what you did is great! Thinking about it first before going through with the purchase is a good idea, because getting a car is a major investment. So it’s just right that you go with something that you love and that will cater to your needs at the same time. And I’m glad that you got the car that you wanted.

    Rhonda Burgess @ Bob Dunn Hyundai

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can't believe that you can get 40 mpg with that car! I remember my first truck barely got 15 mpg. Not only does it run great, you are going to save so much money over the years in fuel costs, too. The black color is my favorite because it looks clean even when it's completely dirty.

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me.