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Thinking About A New Car

weather: sunny
outside: 20°C
mood: dunno
The Husband wants a new car. We're thinking that we should do it soon before the black Acura 1.6EL depreciates to the value of an empty pop can. The lease options on new cars now aren't too bad, so we're casually looking.

We're both driving it. I'd be driving it to work and he'd be driving it home from work (I drop him off and then park, reverse in the evening), which is no more than 10-15 minutes away in heavy traffic, in the city. He might do a bit more city driving off hours and on weekends. The only highway driving we do is the 30-45 minute trip on the weekend.

My requirements for a car are fairly loose:

  • Gets me from point A to point B.

  • 4 doors plus trunk — if I have to sit in the back seat of a 2-door that I paid for, I'm filing for divorce.

  • No Nailpolish Red. No Earwax Yellow. No Shit Brown. No World Rally Blue (though this isn't quite as offensive a colour as the others). No skunk stripe.

  • No aftermarket crap. I'm preemptively not putting up with racist law enforcement officers.

  • Automatic transmission. Not a car person. Will not drive stick.

    I was almost convinced to learn to drive a Standard though because the Nissan SE-R Spec V, that he kinda reallyreally wanted, only came in Standard. He says I'd look sexy driving a Standard. Uh, whatever man... my sex appeal, or lack thereof, won't matter squat when I hose the engine stalling it every block and a half.

  • No grief in terms of maintenance and AirCare.

  • Seat high enough or window sill/dash height low enough so that I can see.

    I'm short with a short upper body, so I have problems parking and maneuvering most sporty cars. It's that asinine "cockpit" design. The seat is usually too low or the sills and dash are too high. I worry about having to sit too close to the airbags too. I may as well take a running leap into a brick wall just to save some time.

Thankfully, he agrees that these are not very tall requests and I can be easily accommodated. Except that last one, which might be more difficult.

The top two contenders for le Mode de Transport are:

1. The Subaru Impreza WRX

I wonder if they have permission from Blizzard to use all those StarCraft sound effects... Husband was looking at this site the other evening. I heard it before I saw it and I thought he was playing StarCraft again.

But anyway. The 2004 WRX looks less obnoxious than the previous years. I'm not crazy about the Big Ugly Flaring Nostril thing in front. It's 4WD, so it'll be no problem in the snow (the snow that we don't get much of in Vancouver anymore? Yeah, that stuff.) I don't care about the boxer engine (pistons go sideways; not up and down like an inline; not slanty like a v-tech). I may care about what that means for the suspension, but I'm not sure. Did Nissan's "Sonar Suspension II" do anything for me? *shrug*

I don't care about the turbocharge. Do I ever go over 3000 RPM? asks everyone, trying to be helpful. Um... *blinketty*... I have a car? I sit down and step on that black flappie near the floor to make it go?

But no nostril and no turbo equals Impreza 2.5RS and there's no point in that. Which I'm not sure I understand because he's even less of a speed demon than I am and I'm not too far off from the Granny Driver™ mark. No, I think I do understand, it has to do with the coolness factor.

2. The Acura TSX

I'm very wary about getting another Acura. All cars need to pass the AirCare Vehicle Emissions Standard here before we are approved for mandatory insurance coverage. Acura does not have an AirCare certified repair centre. Acura AirCare repairs have to go through Honda. The two of them get together and dick you around. Like. They. Did. To us.

Yes, I have a long, grudgeful, unforgiving memory with vendors that's enhanced by an online journaling service that has, essentially, a bookmarking feature.

Gee, how can you tell Husband Guy narrowed it down for us? =]

Part of me thinks I've made his life eminently no fun already. I made him grow up, I hounded him to start his RRSP, do more than just a community college for post-secondary, do something with his life, think and plan way further into the future than he even knew time could exist, etc. And I feel like I should just let him buy the hip, cool car that he wants. I have the rest of our lives to make him get a sensible brick car.

I hope I don't hate the WRX when I go to test drive it.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 24th, 2003 09:34 pm (UTC)
As far as the airbag goes... if you are like me, you're really too small for the airbag- if it deployed, it would be much more likely to hurt you than to help you. While it is illegal for you to unhook the airbag, the dealership can do it for you if you meet the requirements.....

however, you seem like a very smart girl and I'm guessing that you already know this, and the problem is that HusbandGuy will also be driving the car, and the airbag *would* help him. Sigh. See, I don't know why car companies don't do something about the fact that two totally different framed people often drive the same car.
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:22 pm (UTC)
if you are like me, you're really too small for the airbag- if it deployed, it would be much more likely to hurt you than to help you.

Yeah, which is why I say, I should just run at a brick wall myself and be done with it. I was really pissed off when I learned that because airbags are a required feature.

I don't know why car companies don't do something about the fact that two totally different framed people often drive the same car.

I do. We live in a world run by men, for men.
Jul. 24th, 2003 09:34 pm (UTC)
The subaru has a very dramatic website! ;-)
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:23 pm (UTC)
It's kinda fun, isn't it? =)
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:25 pm (UTC)
I know! I click on the link and zoooooooooooooom!

I feel your pain on the airbag situation. Thanks a lot for making my serious injury a required feature! >_
Jul. 24th, 2003 09:48 pm (UTC)

My boy has been wanting me to learn stick, so we tried the other day. I couldn't get the hang of it and basically stayed in first the whole time, stalling it over and over. How that was possible, I don't know.

Get the Subaru, why not? :D
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:26 pm (UTC)
I was told you could "stick it in third" and leave it there... whatever that means... Your gas would get chewed up real fast though, they warn, sternly.
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:02 pm (UTC)
Looking at these two, another possibility in the same class is the Lexus IS 300. They seem to be fairly popular cars, and Lexus service is second to none, from personal experience. They have always been quick to address any concerns, and never short of perfectly polite.
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:19 pm (UTC)
The IS300 was dropped because it's rear wheel drive. =P Otherwise, I'd agree, I'd heard a lot about Lexus service too.
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:45 pm (UTC)
Why does he only wants front-wheel drive?
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:55 pm (UTC)
Something about RWD not handling well in less than perfect weather conditions. *shrug* The only experience I have with RWD is in Gran Turismo which isn't real life, but supposedly the game approximates the car handling with road conditions somewhat accurately. And I did pretty dismally with the RWD cars in the game. =}

He wants either FWD or 4WD.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 24th, 2003 10:57 pm (UTC)
one of the standards is that you are under 5'5".

Thanks for that =) I'm 5'2", so bleah... I'll have to do some Googling when I have time. I'll probably end up writing to some manufacturers to see what they say we should do.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 24th, 2003 11:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, we're reading right now and it says that there has to be about 10" between the breastbone and the point of origin (so, the steering wheel, in our case). I took out a ruler and it's close enough that I can't quite tell just by eyeballing, so we'll have to measure it in the morning.
Jul. 24th, 2003 11:27 pm (UTC)
You two are still young. Let him have a fun car that he can modify and turn into a spaceship. (hahaha...) Everyone needs to have a little fun. The sensible car can come later on down the road.

Good job on the RRSP. It's good to have. Just a general comment I have is that the RRSP should be started if you've got money from income that you don't have an immediate need for. Once that money gets put into a RRSP, taking it out is going to be expensive (unless it's a withdrawal under the HBP or LLP). So don't go plunking everything you got if you expect to be needing money over the short-term (like 1-3 years).

As both of you are still young, you're presumably not in your high earning years when that tax deferral makes its greatest impact. It's worth considering letting some contribution room build for future years when you're earning more and need to reduce your annual taxable income.

The money you have pencilled in for contributions into an RRSP may be better spent in a non-registered (investment) account, paying off debts, buying new wheels, and stuff to achieve a better quality of life together. That sorta thing. Give it a thought. But nonetheless, it's good that you both have an RRSP so you're at least aware of what it can do for you as it provides a psychological motivation to invest for your retirement regularly.

This is just a brief discussion of issues to be considered when choosing between registered and non-registered accounts. Decisions you make should be done with a financial advisor and/or tax specialist.
Jul. 25th, 2003 08:58 am (UTC)
You two are still young. Let him have a fun car that he can modify and turn into a spaceship. (hahaha...) Everyone needs to have a little fun. The sensible car can come later on down the road.

Yeah, his idea of a Fun Car isn't too crazy anyway. My only concern is that it'll get scratched either by me parking or some jerk who likes keying nice cars. There are also rumours of law enforcement showing blatant bias against people with sporty cars. I really don't want to play the Cop's Words Vs. Mine game.

So don't go plunking everything you got if you expect to be needing money over the short-term (like 1-3 years).

Hee, I learned that years ago when I shoved a whole honk of money into a GIC. I thought I was being clever and left $17.63 in my savings account. Guess what? Bank machines only give $20 bills. HAHA =D I was at a convention in Bellevue, WA at the time. In the ticket purchase line =O =D

Thankfully, a friend spotted me the cash and I paid her back after I got into the dealer's room and sold my black border Star Trek CCG cards. =)

(unless it's a withdrawal under the HBP or LLP).

I love talking to you. You give me such great Googling and Ask-the-FA-Dude material =D

So don't go plunking everything you got if you expect to be needing money over the short-term (like 1-3 years).

I'm about a step and a half ahead of ya and to the left. =)

It's hard to know what will happen in 1-3 years for us. We're kinda sorta on the verge of a turning point in things. Since the wedding, I've decreased my monthly contributions to RRSPs/investments that are harder to get back and found ones that at least don't have a penalty for cashing out before the maturity (just less of a return for backpedalling).

We have joint investments as well. I've also made sure we have a fair chunk of cash in a plain Savings account, just hanging out. For the first time in a long time, I'm beginning to feel safe.

We have no debt. I go insane when there's a big-ish charge on my credit card. I have to pay it off even before the statement comes. When we have a mortgage, I think I'm going to explode. =}

Thanks again, Dave, I really appreciate your advice =)
Jul. 25th, 2003 12:06 am (UTC)
VW Passat is FWD or AWD, as is its cousin, the Audi A4. The Passat is around the price range of the WRX and TSX. It's also 4 doors with trunk. The automatic transmission has a manual mode as well.
Jul. 25th, 2003 09:03 am (UTC)
VW Passat is FWD or AWD, as is its cousin, the Audi A4.

Those sound very familiar, I think he's talked at me about them too. I can't remember why they didn't get shortlisted though =}

Thanks for the feedback =)
Jul. 25th, 2003 05:16 am (UTC)
Subaru WRX
I have been the proud owner of two WRXs and let me tell you that they are wonderful cars. My husband was in a rollover accident last year and was able to walk around with literally just a scratch. Having all-wheel drive is so much fun. The WRX has great speed and safety.
Jul. 25th, 2003 09:01 am (UTC)
Re: Subaru WRX
Thanks for the feedback =) I'm glad Richie's okay =O
Jul. 25th, 2003 05:54 am (UTC)
regarding the air bag issue, I know that my dad's truck has a switch that turns off the passenger air bag. I think it's because if a child were in the front seat it would be dangerous for an air bag to deploy. I've never seen a vehcile where you could change the airbag on and off for the driver. It might be something to ask the dealer where you intend to buy the vehicle. If they can accomodate that it might make you more inclined to buy a car there.
Jul. 25th, 2003 09:05 am (UTC)
I didn't know that about the passenger side, thanks =)

I'll definitely ask when I go to test drive.
Jul. 25th, 2003 10:32 am (UTC)
My husband the automotive guy advises strongly against Suburus.
Jul. 25th, 2003 10:38 am (UTC)
Re: Suburu
Hmm, really? I'd be interested in hearing what John has to say, if he has some time and energy to type it up =)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


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