Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I have a car. It's a 2006 Mazda3 sedan, and you've seen it in another post.

This morning on the way to work, I crossed the 93,000 mile threshold, so while it's not old in people years, the car is getting up there in the metric that counts most for cars. High enough that I'm starting to think about what'll be next.

Last weekend, I took my daughters to visit a friend in New Jersey, and on Saturday we all went to the New York International Auto Show. We had a good time, and I saw lots of nice cars. Just a few impressions, first:
  • I like the new Ford Taurus. It's all new, and it looks great in a big sedan kind of way. It's not my kind of car, really, but I like it.
  • Almost nobody seems to make real wagons anymore. Instead, they make SUV/crossover AWD things that get lousy gas mileage and don't handle as well as a wagon would. Or hold any more than a wagon would. Bummer.
  • I once had a Passat wagon, and VW still makes wagons (as do Saab, Volvo, and BMW). But I've owned my last car that costs me north of $1000 every time I go to the dealer just because a light is on. No, thanks. Plus Ford is looking to sell Volvo to one of the Chinese automakers, and I've seen those crash test vids on YouTube thank you very much. And I'd be stunned if the Saab nameplate survived GM's current ills.
  • It sure is easy to buy big horsepower these days. But I really don't think you need more than 150 hp or so in a normal car, unless the car is too big and heavy in the first place. Yeah, a 400 hp Camaro would be fun, but it's really hard to use 400 hp, except in a way that's bound to piss other people off or get you arrested. I can use all 156 of my Mazda's horsepower and most of the tachometer's range pretty much any time I want and not get road raged or arrested, and still have a grin on my face.

Anyway, there were lots of cars there that were very nice, but pretty much all of them didn't really interest me in the sense that I thought they would work for me and meet all of my criteria. I have two little kids and want a dog, and need space to carry bikes, and like to fling my car around, and really have a hard time with a car that extracts less than 30 miles from a gallon of fuel. And the choices for someone who needs all that are pretty slim, really.

The Mazda5 might work, but my wife has an Odyssey and the sliding doors rattle, so I'm a little wary of those. I hear that Honda might bring the Stream to the US in a few years, which is kind of like a smaller version of the first generation Odyssey (which had car-like rear doors, not sliders), but Honda tends not to be too showy about what it's doing next, so it's hard to say. Tall cars tend to be tippier, too, so I'm not sure how fun either would be.

I'm still a couple of years off, probably. But again, for a guy who likes to drive and has kids and wants a dog and carries bikes and wants 30 mpg and none of the unnecessary complexity that comes with AWD, the choices are slim.

My Mazda, btw, returned 31 mpg on the way to NJ, and 32 on the way back, hauling two kids plus me and our luggage, and not at all putting along in the slow lane. No dog, and no bikes, granted, but still pretty good.

All for now,


No comments: