Monday, November 16, 2015

Out With the Old, In With the New

"When the repair bill exceeds the value of the car, the decision is a no-brainer."

Thus spake TBG, and I could not disagree.  Having heard nothing from Volkswagon of America (which is, admittedly, dealing with far larger problems than one falling apart GTI in Tucson), I took matters into my own hands.

I asked my husband what I should do.

He's the car guy, the one who keeps up on trends and developments and as he was questioning me about my requirements we paused at the same moment, saying the same word.  Tesla!

I don't need a $70,000 automobile, but Tesla Motors is bringing out a $30,000 model which would suit my needs quite nicely.  A quick foray on the internet sent me to live chat with Tesla.... which burst my bubble by telling me that there would be information available in March, 2016 about a release in Spring of 2017.

The Schnozz wasn't going to make it to Tuesday; I needed a new plan.

Reliability, safety, visibility, cargo carrying capability topped my list.  Honda came to both our minds.  At one point, our family owned 5 Honda products.  They always worked.  We changed the oil and replaced worn tires and belts and pads but we never had a technological problem.  Never.  After the past few months with VW, that sounded very appealing.

I took myself to Carmax, met a lovely man from Chicago who agreed that Steph Curry is amazing but Michael Jordan was in a league of his own, and Chicago in the 80's and 90's with the Bears and the Bulls was sports heaven.  Unfortunately, the conversation didn't result in a purchase.  The Hondas they had did not meet my needs.... and I was leery about buying a used car, anyway.

I have my own troubles; I'm not looking to take on anyone else's right now.

So, I drove homeward, only to stop at the Honda dealership at the end of the Auto Mall Parkway loop.  The Schnozz was clean and vacuumed and devoid of debris.  I parked him in front, was directed to a sales rep, and began to shop for a new car.

She sat me in a CR-V.... and then looked at me..... looked at the size comparison... and wondered if I needed all this car?  Had I thought of the HR-V?

It's a new model, which is always an iffy proposition, but it's built on the Fit frame with Civic and Accord parts, so there's nothing particularly worrisome in that regard.  The research I did on-line had only good things to say about it.  The only complaint was the lack of bells-and-whistles-safety-stuff... and I didn't want any of that, anyhow.

We drove out to the highway.  We parallel parked in a parking lot.  We made left turns and right turns and accelerated and braked and I just kept smiling.  I liked the color and the price and the trade in value and I made plans to return the next day and buy a new car.

Then I went home and had a serious case of buyer's remorse.  Even though the automatic, continuously variable transmission, gets better gas mileage than the same vehicle equipped with a manual transmission, I felt a bit guilty about giving up the stick shift.  It feels as if those of us who drive them are a rapidly disappearing breed; I feel disloyal to my clan.  

I had a mini-meltdown, feeling I'd crossed the line into my Uncle Abby's old Buicks..... big, soft, comfy and gooshy but no kind of driving fun at all.  But it's a lot easier to drive when you're not constantly shifting.  I worried that I would be a less attentive driver when the car did more of the driving for me, but, I found that, on the test drive, I was much more aware of many more cars around me.  I like sitting up high.

G'ma knew we were thinking about having a baby when we sold the MG and bought a 4 door Civic 33 years ago.  I could feel her smiling from heaven, nodding and reminding me that I am not as young as I used to be.

Actually, she's right.  Driving doesn't have to be a contact sport between the vehicle and the driver. Guiding this behemoth down the road is a much more elegant pursuit.  If I still lived in Marin County, if I were still hiking Mt. Tam three days a week, I'd never get behind the wheel of such a high profile vehicle.  This is not the car to drive on Panoramic Highway, twisting its way up to the top of the mountain, with a cliff on one side and steep drop offs on the other.

But here in Tucson, where the roads are straight and flat and go on forever, comfort is proving to be very seductive.

The whole process took two and a half hours, and I have to go back this week to have the metal door guards installed.  Caitlin and I will sit down with Joe, the go-to-tech guy who promises that he will explain Bluetooth and the menu and anything else that confuses me.

For now, I'm enjoying seeing the world form way up high.

P.S.  Are you wondering what her name is?  We were stumped for a while.  I didn't like Orca or Shamu; big is not the characteristic I want to enshrine.  Then Big Cuter and I were talking as he was looking at the HR-V on his laptop and he expressed surprise that I was buying an SUV.

I gasped, TBG comforted me by calling it an Urban Utility Vehicle.... a UUUVvvv.... The Uvula!

It's a good thing when a swollen body part connected to the worst experience of my life can be transformed into a silly name for a brand new car.

The UUUvvvv (pronounced You've) is here to stay. At least that's the plan; I bought the extended warranty.  85,000 miles here we come!


  1. I have to laugh at the SUV. When we had our Armada, we named it our FUV (Family Utility Vehicle). I like your name. It's mega cute.

    1. The Armada ... a Spaniard.... I'd have gone with Zorro!!


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