Random and RFP: Commuter car 2010

* After talking to Jeff, looks like there's a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) class just across the street from me. Don't know if it's something I'd like to do or not, but seems like a good way to learn. Bit pricey, though. Though, as my in-laws commented the other day, it's not so good to announce you're riding a 600cc motorcycle in a residential neighborhood w/o a license (or even a learner's permit). Have been researching, and sounds like most 250cc entry-touring bikes get like 66 mpg and don't have a problem cruising down the interstate. (Put the phone down, Mom...)

* * *

Yes, it's spring, and I've got car fever once again. Something about Craigslist's RSS feed capability is just...evil...

In that vein, I'm thinking requirements for a new commuter ride. Some are general, some are OCD-level specific.

- Fun to drive
- Manual Transmission
- Backseat suitable for for small humans
- Reasonable cargo capacity with said humans aboard.
- 30+ mpg hwy (the more the better, basically)
- Good highway gearing. I don't mind downshifting on hills, but I hate buzzing along at 3500rpm at 70
- Fits me AND my wife. (6'2" and 4'10" makes this difficult. Adjustable seats and tilt steering minimum, telescoping wheel and adjustable pedals preferred)
- 4 doors preferred.
- Hatchback/wagon preferred.
- Timing CHAIN, not belt.
- overall reliability
- NO FRAMELESS WINDOWS
- Doesn't leak.
- Can serve as backup family hauler when needed.

Basically, the above doesn't exist. Class-wise, you're looking at the subcompact through midsize classes, but though each has contenders, each has compromises:

Subcompact
-MINI or MINI Clubman: Frameless windows, too small, $$$, not stellar reliability.
-Saturn Astra: Geared too short. Coarse powertrain. No fun-to-drive factor.
-Honda Fit: Timing belt, short gearing. Supposedly, has a huge fun-to-drive factor and sips gas. Roomy inside, good cargo capacity.
-Hyundai Accent SE: Tiny, 2-door only. Mileage not THAT great.


Compact
-Chevy HHR/HHR SS: Real contender here. Availalbe in MT. No idea on fit and fun-to-drive. I hear the rear/outer visibility is horrid.
-Hyundai Elantra: Softly sprung. Elantra touring 5-door might be taughter (like Jeff's Elantra GT Saablet)
- Mazda 3 hatch: Supposedly, the gold standard for the class. Haven't driven one.
-VW Jetta TDI Sportswagen: New Engine for 2009, not out yet, prior crappy experience with VW. HOWEVER, the promise of a Manual transmission TDI Wagon makes me salivate...mmm....60mpg and room.

Midsize
Camry/Accord/Altima: Blech. I still lust after the Altima; no idea on fun-to-drive factor.
Malibu: I REALLY like this car. Real presence on the road. Roomy, efficient. No M/T option, no 6-speed Automatic with the 4cylinder unless you get the LTZ package ($$$).

Taken as a whole, I like *small* cars--zippy, maneuverable, efficient. I like comfort more each day, though--Driving Joey to Louisville in my roaring BMW at 75mph was painful 2 weeks ago. I'd like to get a feel for the HHR, Cobalt, Fit, and Jetta TDI. Hopefully, I'll just drive 'em and plop back into my E30 and go, "Baby, why did I ever doubt you?!" (Just like with the Astra)

(This entry voted most likely to make my wife think I'm INSANE.)

Popular posts from this blog

Monday Mope

RegisterForPrintAsyncNotifications

The reality of the next car purchase