So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, May 8, 2015
The car decision
My lovely wife and I knew we'd have to get a replacement for my wife's car when we got back home. We've been looking on-line at different models, reading reviews, and trying to decide what we really wanted. Then there's the cost issue as we are both on fixed incomes.
To complicate the issue, we weren't really sure what we wanted to do with the second car. Did we want something that could tow a boat? Perhaps we wanted something we could take tent camping? Super high mileage? Diesel? Gas? Maybe even electric? Pay cash? Finance?
We decided against getting another diesel. The newer diesels don't convert well to run on waster vegetable oil. The older vehicles that do convert more easily are . . . well . . . old. The ones we looked at either were beat, car show quality (and expense) or sorta suspicious. Would you buy a car with Uruguay plates from guys who sounded like gangsters?
One thing we did decide on was to no longer use our veggie van as a daily driver. That will save on wear and tear and we can save it for camping and boat towing.
I was really tempted by a used Ford Ranger. It was in good mechanical shape and had a manual transmission for better fuel economy. My lovely wife even took it out for a test drive. She liked it but was not in love with it. For me, one big downside was that it would soon need some body work. Frankly, I'm sick of patching up vehicles.
Then we went to a big dealership and talked to a salesman who we knew and trusted. He pretty much expected us to be looking for a beater. It's been decades since we bought a new car. We've driven a lot of older diesels. Then there were a couple of cars my daughters drove when they were in school, but didn't want to continue the payments after they graduated. They wanted brand new cars. The cars we got from the kids did the job, but they weren't something we picked out for ourselves.
We looked at many many cars. It was a long long day at the dealership. We were tempted by a Honda Insight. I found it a much more comfortable car than the Toyota Prius. In the end, the price was a bit more than I wanted to spend, plus hybrids are complicated cars mechanically. There were a lot of later model used cars we rejected from one reason or another. Sometimes it was due to them having too many miles on the odometer. Other times it was low mpg ratings.
In the end we went with a new car, but very low end and basic. We decided on a Nissan Versa Note hatchback. It's roomy for its size and I fit in it quite well. The hatchback gives us the room if we want to load up some camping gear or tools. Since it's a new car it has modern safety features which is important when hauling grandkids around. We went with the manual transmission, saving some money and adding a bit of driving fun. It's rated 36 mpg on the highway, which is pretty good without the added complexity of a hybrid.
Why new? I decided I didn't want to spend all my time fixing cars. There are other projects that are a lot more enjoyable. That's the reason we sprung for the extended warranty. It's a fairly small monthly payment. In fact, since we refinanced the house last year a much lower rate, there was some room in our budget.
What about Peak Oil and end the Petroleum Age? Yeah, I think that's a real thing. However, estimates on how we'll be affected by such an even have been way off. People adapt. Besides, if the worse predictions came true, a bank repossession will be the least of my worries.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.