The reality of the next car purchase

I haven't bought a car for myself since 2008, at which time I bought an eighteen year old car I never should have sold.

In the intervening ten years, I've had two cars, both welcome hand-me-downs from my wife:  The Camry-of-Doom and Sparky, my current 2010 Ford Fusion.

Having moved to Austin, paid-off my wife's Sienna minivan, and begun to sock-away some funds for a new ride, it seems time to consider what's next.

Idly checking KBB.com, I noticed my Fusion's worth has nose-dived from around $9000 during the $4/gallon fuel days to roughly $2000.  There are other things:
  • Some electrical gremlins are popping up.  The traction control system was inoperative for an entire day, then fixed itself.
  • The tire pressure systems likewise seems to be dying.  Likely this is just dying batteries in the in-wheel sensors, but still.
  • The Sync system seems more an more reluctant to work with my iPhone.  Every iPhone firmware update makes this worse, it seems
  • It's not as safe as a newer car.  This platform was originally a 2003 Mazda6, and was designed in the late 1990's.
  • There's some rust in the rear driver's side wheel arch.  Not surface rust; this has perforated from behind.  (Residual of its life spent in Ky with road salt, no doubt.)
  • The brakes have a weird pulse in them under 10mph, like the regenerative and friction brakes are having a battle and the whole car is losing. 
  • The trunk remains horrible, the penalty for driving a hybrid.
That being said, it's still a great commuter even with 124,000 miles on the clock.  I got 39.2 mpg on my 24 mile journey to the office today, much of it spent north of 70 mph on I-35.  It's paid-off.  It still drives quite well, though it could use some new dampers all-around.

Lastly, the hybrid powertrain is renowned for going 300,000+ miles in fleet service.  Ford over-engineered this powertrain.  Out of 42 million cells in the manufactured fleet, only five have ever shown an issue.  Not 5 million or 5 thousand.  FIVE.

Legitimately, I may have lucked into the modern-day equivalent of a Volvo 240.  If that's the case, I'd be a fool to get rid of it.

* * *

Supposing I did, these are these are what I'm looking at

Contenders



I haven't really liked any Accord since ~2003, but the tech in the Accord Hybrid is undeniable.   It's likely good for 35-50 mpg, too.


Yeah, it's ugly as sin, but the Bolt is a real car, developed by a real manufacturer (read: Not Tesla®), and I have faith it'd actually function.  Living in Georgetown, Texas, all our energy comes from wind turbines, so this would be a supremely green choice.  At > 200 miles, this thing would realistically do all the driving I need to do and I can install a level 2 charger at home for the remainder.

This is (or it's brother the Volt) are likely the smartest choices.



I've been in love with these since they came out.   In duramax diesel form, these check nearly every box I can think of:
  • Room for 4 (5 in a pinch)
  • Could tow a (small) camping trailer easily
  • Rugged.
  • Diesel.
  • Great visibility
  • Diesel resale value should be great.
Operating costs would be higher than the 2 above, but at some point, you just have to get with the Texas program.  People drive trucks here, even in the Democratic People's Republic of Austin.

These were the 3 of practicality. Now on to insanity.

I had an opportunity to buy a fresh-off-the-boat 2002 WRX in March 2001.  It was $24k and the VW Jetta 1.8T I bought was $21k.  Cheapskate me went with the 'Dub, and regretted it.

Thing is, a Subaru is a complete waste in Texas.  It barely rains here, so AWD is just a bunch of parasitic drag and lots more rotating mass to break.  :sigh:

Fiesta ST (1st gen)


:sigh:

This car is acclaimed as the best driver's car out there, but being realistic...it's too small for me.  They also break quite alot.   I'd still love to have one.  I drove one on a test drive 3 years ago and at the EcoBoost challenge 2 years ago, and nothing I've driven since my R50 MINI made me smile more.

And last, if I actually were intelligent but didn't want an EV or PHEV....



In short, this is a BMW 5-series that will be actually reliable.  It's RWD, which is my preference and perfectly fine in Texas.  Safe, reliable, roomy, huuuuge trunk, respectable mileage.

:) target acquired, I guess.  Though, still wouldn't mind having a GMC Canyon Duramax right beside it.










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