Sunday, August 2, 2009

Picking the 5 year car

Except for a brief experience with a 2002 Toyota MR-2 Spyder (fun car), Louise and I were a one car family for about three years. I worked in the suburbs. Louise worked downtown. I drove the car to work. She rode the train. We spent our evenings and weekends together so as much as I love cars, there was no good reason to have more than one. In fact, I find nearly as much pleasure in efficiency as I do in excess so having only one car between the two of us gave me some degree of satisfaction.

Three years later I still drive to work every day but Louise stays at home with our newest family member, Fiona. This arrangement would still work great if Louise was really staying at home. The problem is, when it’s just you and a 1-year-old you can only stay in the house for so long before you really need to get out of the house. When it became clear just how much extra freedom a second car would give Louise, I knew I had the perfect excuse to do my favorite thing in the world: Buy a new car.

The question was, which car should I get? I’ve had quite a few cars in my time. Would I learn from these experiences? Or would I repeat the same mistakes? Looking back over the years, there are a couple of cars that I really enjoyed that I wouldn’t mind owning again. Should I get one of my old favorites or something completely new? I’ve always wanted to own an early 90s Toyota MR2 Turbo. Since we already have a practical car for Louise, would this be my perfect opportunity to make the dream of owning this classic sports car in to a reality? Or should I get something fun but still practical so I can enjoy driving even with the whole family aboard? Over the six months or so that I spent searching, I can tell you that the answer to every one of these questions was yes…and no…depending on when you asked me.

One thing I knew for sure: I wanted to take advantage of this car purchasing experience by driving as many cars as I could before making a decision. To that end, I was successful. Before making my five year commitment I managed to drive a few Mazdaspeed 3’s, a 2009 Mazda 3s, a couple 2010 Mazda 3s’s, a 2010 Mazda 3i, VW GTI’s with and without the dual clutch sequential gear box, a 2009 Subaru WRX, multiple Civic Si’s, a 2005 Infiniti G35 sedan, a 1994 Mazda Miata, a 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo, a 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and a 2005 Mazda RX-8 (OK, I may have actually purchased the RX-8 for a brief period before ending up with the Civic Si but my rewrite of history says this was just an extended test drive.)

So after 18 test drives, why did I choose the Si? Or perhaps even more profound, how did I get Louise to accompany me on the majority of these adventures? Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion…