Repairs on the ’98 Neon are approaching it’s value and I can’t rely on it the way I was once able to. It’s been a great car, but I can see the day when it won’t serve us anymore. With that in mind, I’m starting the search for a new vehicle to replace it.
From exploring the car sites, their aren’t many cars that seem like a worthwhile replacement. So, I’m in no hurry and happy to wait until the right car comes along – even if that means another 75k on the Neon.
Things I Care About – in Order
- Distinctive exterior.
Something that demands a love it or hate it reaction. A beige Toyota Camry – um no. I think you need to go to extreme sizes for this – super big or super small. I’m going super small.
- Gas mileage greater than 30mpg city.
- I can fit comfortably and can see out the windshield.
In many cars – convertibles, those with sunroofs, anything from Jeep –
- Easy to get a car seat in and out of backseat.
Yes, as of next year, we’ll be back to the bucket car seat.
It’s not uncommon for my car to sit un-driven outside for a week or two in the depth of winter or height of summer. I don’t care. I expect it to start when I turn the key.
- Minijack & iPod connectivity
I actually prefer to not having AM/FM/CD/Satellite capabilities.
- Bluetooth phone connectivity.
Having the phone integrated into the car’s audio system sounds very convenient.
- Carbon neutrality.
Not just the usage, but I’d like the carbon imprint of manufacturing and delivery offset as well.
- I could fit a bicycle inside.
Outside of my laptop gear, and a car seat, a bike is the most likely other thing I’ll be hauling.
- In 15 years a new driver might want to drive it.
Barring a dramatic change fuel infrastructure, the idea of keeping a car that long for the kid to practice driving with is pretty attractive to me.
- Built-in garage door opener
Again, a nice convenience. Makes it far more likely I’ll put the car in the garage.
- The fuel it runs on.
Today, alternative fuels are at the point where using less regular unleaded gas is still more effective.
Things I Don’t Care About – in Order
- Engine size
- Upholstry and floor mats
- Chrome and trim
- Wheel sizes and locks
- Transmission type
All the ‘build your car’ sites care more about the second list than the first.
Cars I’ve been looking at thus far – Ordered by interest
- Scion xD
Looks like a direct response to the Fit, but with better AV options.
- VW Rabbit TDI
In the comments, Nathan suggested I look into it, so far, I like what I see.
- Honda Fit
I sat in a Fit earlier this week, it feels pretty comfortable. I can see out the windows and the put the seat almost exactly where I want it.
- Toyota Yaris Sedan
- Nissan Versa
- Honda Civic
It’s a good reliable, reputable car. That doesn’t feel as comfortable as the Fit.
- Honda Civic Hybrid
Trading mileage for trunk space.
- Mazda 3 5-Door
It’s been a very long time since I’ve looked at Ford. Kinda surprised this one is here.
- Toyota Prius
It’s got the distinctive look and the tech gear, but seems kinda boring otherwise.
- Cooper Mini
Trading the inconvenience of a 2-door for still being really cool in 15 years.
Am I missing something from this list?
Note to Chrysler: Despite my long history of Chrysler vehicles and that I feel more comfortable buying a Chrysler than a Ford or GM, you don’t have anything interesting that I haven’t already purchased.
Update 1 Sept 2010
So, I bought a Dodge Grand Caravan