We name them. We pick them based on our lifestyle. We don’t want to ever give them up.
What’s with our strange relationship with our cars?
I thought about this the other day when I posted this question on my Facebook wall:
What was your FIRST car?
And in just a day, I got more than 100 responses.
Here are a few:
My dad’s ’86 Pontiac Fiero GT
A beat-up Datsun two-door stick shift I had to learn to drive over the weekend to get to work on Monday
’67 Ford Mustang
1864 blue Toyota Corolla fixed up by the Maui auto shop
’63 Chrysler Imperial
A custom VW with stinger kit, with center lines
1969 Fiat 124 Spider convertible. Loved it!
It was interesting to see how eager we all were to share the stories about our first cars. It shows how much we connect with our cars, trucks and SUVs. And why not? We spend more time in our cars than anywhere else, excluding work. (In fact, some of us actually work in our cars, too!) And we rely on our vehicles to get us everywhere we need and want to be.
It’s probably why opponents of public mass transit don’t think we’ll actually use it. Because we lovelovelove our cars.
I have always had a love-hate relationship with my cars.
Here’s the truth: I’ve had more cars than boyfriends. And I’m always trying to get rid of whatever car I’m driving.
Right now I’m “borrowing” a Nissan Murano that’s not technically mine. My 2000 Honda Civic EX — that I tried to sell for 12 years — was totaled in an accident a year ago and I never got around to replace it.
Which presented a quandary for me.
Suddenly I had to CHOOSE a car — and that meant picking something I would actually like.
It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Here are my car requirements:
• It has to be good on gas. I loved my Civic for exactly that reason. It costs about $75 to fill up the tank in the Murano; it was about half as much for the Civic — and I had to fill it up less often.
• It has to be long enough to fit my surfboard inside. That means the backseats have to fold down or it has to be big enough to fit a board — around 9 feet long — straight through the trunk. The Civic did this, believe it or not.
• It has to be zippy. The one thing I hate about the Murano is how large and heavy it is. It drives well, no doubt, but it’s it doesn’t take corners or make illegal U-turns the way my Civic did.
• It has to fit in parking garages. This was a problem with the Nissan Xterra I had for a year. It didn’t git in the parking structure at Ward Center, for example, and that was a problem when you’re addicted to the li hing margarita at Ryan’s Bar & Grill.
• It has to be easy to park. I park a lot on the street, and I’d like a car that isn’t difficult to park. Like the Murano. I’m surprised I haven’t hit anything yet. (Knock on wood.)
• It can’t break my wallet. This, of course, is the problem.
So it seems like I should just get another Civic. Or maybe a Honda Fit. Or a Subaru Forester.
Or maybe I should just get a bus pass and live closer to the beach.
I drive a full size truck with racks so I can carry my 17′ open ocean Standup paddle board.
I was thinking about getting a truck, but man, those are expensive! People love their trucks in Hawaii!
A Honda CR-Z…with a roof rack for your surfboard and a 6-speed stick! Avg 40-45MPG (don’t believe the advertised fuel MPG’s on this car! It’s much better.)
Small…zippy (1 and 2nd gear) and it’s “Cute”. Good MPG and Low Emissions vehicle…it’s a win win!
GOOD idea! I didn’t think about CRVs! No wait, CR-Zs?
My other car is a Honda CRV that I like and would buy another one when it’s time.
Yeah, I think that’s worth a look.
I have *owned* exactly one car (1977 Chevrolet Camaro) that I actually got to drive about 500 miles before the engine blew up and the frame collapsed, but I’ve driven many borrowed cars, so accept my comments with a grain of NaCl.
Were I looking for a car with your requirements, I’d seriously consider looking for another Honda. I’ve driven a few and without exception they’ve been quality, practical, surprisingly fun cars.
That said, the Forrester is incredibly safe. A former teacher of mine got sandwiched between two semis in one. Front end: Gone. Rear end: Gone. Middle part (which, lets face it, is the important bit): scuffed, but she was able to walk away unscathed…
…walked away right into the next Subaru dealership she could find and bought another.
You might be able to find a good used Imprezza wagon or an Outback too, although I’m not sure about the internal space. I’ve driven an Outback from Portland, OR to LA and back once and the driving position was a little tight for me, but I’m tall and prefer a longer seating position.
And, because it has to be said, “Your milage may vary”!
I heard the Forester isn’t the best on gas because it’s AWD. I love the Outback Sport, but it’s kinda expensive.
Toy RAV 4?
Are the spares still on the back?
Interesting this is the topic today. Last Friday I bought your least favorite car, I believe in a prior blog you said you just didn’t get why someone would want one, a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport with a 6-speed manual, soft top, larger wheels, power windows, and a nice radio. It is Jeep number 5 for me and despite its less than optimal gas mileage I love the thing. I’d say it was the most fun you can have with your clothes on but you could of course drive it will buck naked.
First car was a 1968 Mustang convertible, it was such a piece of crap I jumped for joy the day I sold it and bought a 1978 Honda Accord. The Mustang had horrible brakes, a lousy electrical system, and the radiator /heating system picked the lousiest times to stop heating the car. But hey I sold if for what I bought it for after putting over 100,000 miles on it.
Among the cars I drove before I bought the Jeep I would recommend I would say I thought the Hyundai Elantra (manual tranny)or Sonata were nice, so were the VW GLI/GTI, and the Mazda Miata MX-5 was really fun. If you had the cash the FRS was cool. I did turn my back on a 2006 M3 with 36K miles on it… figured I’d go to jail.
Jeep Wrangler? A Jeep? Such a gas guzzler!! How could you?? LOL
Oh so easy… gave them the keys to the Corolla and they gave me the keys to the Jeep. Still smiling.
CAT: I told you to marry rich…then you would not have this problem! LOL
I know, I know. I don’t learn…
I like the two vehicles I have now, but neither fits your specifications. I’ve liked every vehicle I ever owned, and three of them each had a unique major drawback (one had wipers that didn’t have enough tension against the windshield, so I could hardly see when it rained; another had no traction whatsoever on snow and ice, even at 15 mph; the third, well, my ex-wife took it when she left).
My recommendation is that you ask at a surfshop what small vehicles are the best for moving a board or two on the inside. The guys who work there will know for sure.
Old Jetta wagon might work for that.
I had a Jetta wagon, believe it or not. For about a week! Long story.
Cat, My Honda Prius Hatchback holds my 9′-6″ Suzuki board or SUP board, 43 mpg, and has enough zip.
I would LOVE a Prius, but they’re too expensive… 🙁
My criteria for a car or truck, besides good fuel miledge, dependable and reliable is that because I do my own repairs, I look at the engine to see how easy or how hard it is to work on it.
Electric car would be another choice but down the road the batteries will need to be replaced with a cost anywhere from more than a $1000.00 to $6000.00 or more, depending on the make and model.
If not a Tercel hatchback….maybe a Ford Escort wagon???
Cat, you not only have to look at the model, but also where it is built. I have a US built Toyota sedan, my first. All the others were built in Japan and I never had a real problem.
Now, this car is just about done its two year warranty, and its doing strange things. The fan belt squeaks when the engine is cold. Had them fix it. It still squeaks.
Then, the red blinking security light broke. Waited two weeks for a repair part and had it repaired. When I picked up the car, the radio display went on the fritz — I turned around without leaving the service lot and had them look at it. Another couple of weeks for the replacement radio to come in. I get it repaired this morning. I wonder what else will happen when I pick it up.
A friend picked up a Japan built Prius (post-Fukushima tsunami unit) at the same time, and he doesn’t have any problems.
So, check where the car is assembled.
I LOVE my Honda Element. You would not believe all that I have carried in it. I don’t think they are being made anymore, so you’d have to buy ‘used’ (or the more current term/euphemism ‘pre-owned’), but I didn’t get the feeling that you were buying brand new, and I wonder if not being made anymore makes them more or less valuable.
We drive a Honda Fit and we don’t say “Fit always fits” for nothing. We’ve been able to park in some really tight spaces without a problem and the rear seats fold down flat – hooray! We’ve put bikes and credenzas and tons of luggage back there. But, it is not zippy – you have to turn off the AC when you merge on the freeway (during regular flow, not rush hour). We have a 2008 and the gas mileage is slowly not getting as good fuel economy as it used to. But we have been incredibly happy with the Fit otherwise.
We are thinking of upgrading (as we increase the size of our family from 3 to 4), and are looking at a diesel engine. Many friends who have a car with diesel love them since it’s about 40 miles to the gallon. We’re considering a used VW Jetta sportwagon with diesel.
Good luck with your selection!!
I came back to this post, and noted your consideration of the suggestions and comments offered by many. I can’t help but grow in understanding that this whole car-buying and car-owning thing is something you dread above most others.
There’s a saying that when a person wants to do something she finds a way, and when she doesn’ want to do something, she finds an excuse. A car may be for 3, 5, 10, even 15 years. It isn’t for life. Just do it, or arrange with the owner of the Murano for you to keep it for the long-term.
It wouldn’t be the same car, but I’sure you could find a Civic of the same model year and basic equipment as yours that went to the automobile graveyard a year ago. If not locally, you could probably even get one with the same interior and paint and have it shipped from California. i get it; you liked the Civic. Get one just like it. You’d still be driving yours, if you could, to too-old isn’t a factor, and it wouldn’t break the bank.
I know this is blunt, but this isn’t the first time you’ve posted something just like this, with the same kinds of responses to each of the many good suggestions people offered.
RAV4. No spare on the back. More features than the CR-V.
Still driving a 2002 Focus S/W… Great car. Lots of room in the back, great mileage… So, Ford stopped production. My next one will be a Subbie Impreza 5 door. Got a couple of friends that stepped away from the Toyota Matrix to get the Subbie, and they love them.
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