Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 15:06:22 -0500
From: Tom Reingold <>
Subject: Re: the perfect car

The very admirable Walt Kienzle wrote: > When I said that there aren't many US cars with stick > shift, I ment to say US built cars, or US marques (I know those are two > different things, but you probably get the idea). My secret agenda is to > buy a GM product that qualifies for an employee discount through my father. > GM didn't make anything in the '80s or '90s that I wanted to buy new. I > wonder if they will make it 3 decades in a row offering nothing of interest > to me. They're on a roll, aren't they?! I agree with your view of that company. Could they try any damned harder to produce so much that stirs so little interest?! > Although I don't want a sedan either (I already have one of those, don't > need another) I am not particularly fond of the frumpy appearance of a > wagon. Some of them are OK. I looked at the Mazda Protoge5 because I used > to own a GLC/323 hatchback. It was kind of nice, somewhat sporty looking > and as a bonus, the radio was available with a MiniDisk player, which I > think is a cool format. I only buy used, and this is a new model, so there won't be many of these around. But I'll check. The 9000 has LOTS of rear footroom, which is very rare. I fear the Mazda will fall short on that. And no one publishes this statistic, so I'll have to bring a tapemeasure. > > >>The 9-5 is pretty expensive, even used. I only buy used cars. And I >>think it has gotten too technologically advanced. I don't want a fancy >>multi-hundred-dollar key with a chip embedded in it. I'll break it or >>lose it. The $50 key on my Saab is already too expensive. >> > > That was kind of my reason for buying a used 9000. I had never owned a Saab > before and didn't want to spend $40,000 on a new car that was always called > "quirky" in car magazines. After owning it, I realized that any "quirks" > Saabs may have are what make them so appealing. So when I was ready to buy > a new one, Saab discontinued the 9000 and didn't offer a 9-5 hatchback, just > a frumpy station wagon. Oh well. I don't find station wagons frumpy, but obviously, it's a matter of taste. Look, station wagons are making a big comeback. Look how many yuppie station wagons are available now. There's Mercedes, Audi, VW, Saab, BMW, I can't remember the rest. > > >>I'm also considering a Subaru wagon. They are available with manual >>transmission. > > > I also considered a Subaru Impreza WRX wagon. The "wagon" part is so short, > it nearly looks like a hatchback (if you use your imagination heavily). I > was a little dissappointed in the lack rear seat foot room. I thought it > was interesting/odd/ironic that this model is planned as the basis for the > 9-2. I'm waiting to see if the result of this collaboration will result in > anything worth buying. The Legacy is bigger. I test drove it, and it drove quite well. I'm a very demanding and cheap car buyer. I want a lot of car for a little money. One thing I don't need, oddly enough, is lots of engine power. The Legacy Outback wagon I tried had the 2.5L 6-cyl engine, and it was far more than I need. I don't mind lots of power, but interestingly, I'll willingly do without it. > Just don't say you are thinking about getting an SUV, many of the Brits in > this newsgroup will get on your case as if they were the vehicle usage > police. I'm with them. I think they're stupid vehicles, almost always purchased for the wrong reasons. I could buy something like a Ford Explorer, and then what would I have? A gas guzzler that handled like a boat that, for all its bulk, wouldn't have any more interior room than my 9000. I just don't get it. See that's where the minivan is worth the compromise. It doesn't drive great, but it drives better than an SUV. It gets bad gas mileage, and it looks dorky, but for all that, you get a lot of room. > Someone once reported that Plymouth minivans had the lowest reliability > rating of all the Chrysler minivans and, therefore, lowest resale value. It > was pointed out that there was no difference among the Chrysler, Dodge and > Plymouth minivans, except the amount of chrome trim and the price. The > slightly lower initial price had a minor impact on the resale value, but > reliability was a primary factor. The drivetrains offered on all the models > were identical, yet Plymouths broke down more than Dodges and Chryslers. > Why? It was found that the Plymouth buyers were penny pinching cheapskates > that didn't perform maintenance as required. My opinion is that most cars > are generally reliable if it is cared for properly (with a notable excption > going to an Opel Vectra I drove last year ;-( but I wasn't responsible for > its care). Thanks for that information. I'll probably skip the Chrysler (and Plymouth and Dodge). > I didn't realize you could get the Honda minivan with manual transmission. You can't. I didn't say you can. > From Volkswagen, the Golf would be more to my liking. Probably the GTI, but > I would prefer 4 doors (actually 5 doors). Only the lower horsepower engine > is offered in the 5 door Golf here. I would probably prefer the Audi A3 > over the Golf. There is even a rumor that it might be sold in the US one of > these years. Good luck with you selection. Thanks for all your input. The Passat is much bigger than the Golf. Remember, I'm talking about carrying luggage, four normal size people (my kids are 15 and 12) and a large dog. My 9000 is barely big enough now. I'd settle for something the same size and MAYBE something smaller like the Mazda, but I'm more likely to get something bigger. I should look at other minivans like the Ford Windstar. Looks like a huge gas guzzler, though, but my mechanic, who specializes in Saabs, likes his wife's Windstar a lot. -- Tom Reingold Noo Joizy

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