Buying a new car…really this time

Gas being where it is, the fact that I have a 90 mile rountrip commute every day now since moveing to the boonies, and my 8 year old mini-van is showing it’s signs of age have lead me to seriously consider buying a new car. I thought it would be “fun” (in the most clinical meaning of the word) to share my experienecs of buying a new car.  For this first post, I thought I would share some of the criteria I am using to narrow the field:

  • Fuel efficiency – this is the driving factor for making the purchase, although I have run the numbers and there are almost no cars I could by that will pay for themselves in the savings in gas.  I do however think that fuel prices will continue to go up and I will continue to have a long commute, so I need something that will save me over the long haul.
  • Styling – The look of the car has to be less than repulsive.  I’m not expecting to get something that looks like a Jag or Ferrari, but it has to look better than the Vista Cruiser.
  • Interior – everyone else gets to look at what the outside of my car will look like.  I have to live with how it looks inside.  I need something that feels spacious and has good materials.  Leather would be nice, but isn’t required.
  • Reliability – I hope to have this car for 8 years just like my van and the Contour before that.  So I need something that will stand up to 90 miles a day for a lot of days.
  • Features – not on the top of the list, but basics like power locks/windows and nicer things like sun roof and navigation are a draw.

So based on the above and the fact that although I rarely am in the market for a car, I am always “shopping” for one, here is the first pass of cars in the running:

  • Mazda 3 – nice looking in both sedan and wagon form.  A little later in it’s lifecycle and not the most fuel efficient.
  • Toyota Yaris – this is a cute small car, but may be too de-contented for my liking.  Hard to argue with 40 MPG and no batteries though.
  • Toyota Camry – this is a perenial favorite and may be a sign that I have finally merged into the mass population.  What happened to the guy that drove a Saab?
  • Toyota Prius – ok, no granola jokes.  60 MPG (if it really can get close to that) is great…and it’s not to bad to look at.
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid – this one is hard to justify at the price premium they are asking over the 4 cylinder Camry, but I feel compelled to add it to the list.
  • Honda Civic – I like the looks of the new one and the fuel efficieny and price seem about right.
  • Honda Civic Hybrid – notsold on the Honda IMA method of developing a Hybrid, but this one makes more sense on the list than the Camry Hypbrid.
  • VW Jetta Diesel – I know it sticks out like a sore thumb, but for the kind of driving I am going to be doing, diesel might make a lot of sense.  The problem might be finding one since VW is phasing them out for a year to give them time to roll out the newer common rail diesels that meet the new particulate standards.

Next up, some visits to the dealers.






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