Josh here Fagan fans! Well, we have purchased a new-to-us, used 2005 2WD Suburban 1500; talk about roomy! It has a three-piece front bench which means we can fit up to nine people and with the huge back end we could also fit a Prius in the back full of their stuff and five people in it. Also, with its super-powerful V8 engine and the included towing package we could pull a mini-van that is pulling a trailer, which of course would never happen because the mini-van would fall apart.
Let’s face it: as awesome as the Suburban is, it isn’t a great primary vechicle. If we drive very carefully on the highway we might, maybe, possibly, perhaps, hopefully, (oh please let us!) get at least get between 17 and 18 mpg. That’s on the highway, in town I can’t imagine what horrible mileage it gets. That being said we are very excited about owning this behemoth and look forward to carpooling to the temple with our buddies, our kids, their kids, and all our stuff combined, and still not feeling cramped at all.
We want to put as few commuter/in-town miles on this thing as possible which will be made a feasible goal assuming we are able to purchase a new car as well in the not too distant future. We painstakingly considered the purchase of many new SUV’s and in the end we decided that it wasn’t worth it to throw down $38K+ for a new one, when you can get a quality used one that has massively depreciated. So, we went shopping and picked up a steal of a deal (we hope) in this Suburban. One of the big selling points for us is that you can’t be a Fagan without owning a Suburban, there is an unwritten law forbidding such things, my parents have owned two, my sister has one, and now we are officially Fagan’s because we too own one. If I have the time I’ll write about how Katelyn purchase this vehicle for us…
As far as cars are concerned, we have looked at a lot. I personally like the Honda Civic because I have owned three in my life and in some way, shape, or form loved them all, even the last pile of crap that had almost 300K miles on it when I purchased it for $300. It was a stick shift! We’ve looked at two Civics now, an EX-L and a Hybrid, and while both are good little cars we think that the Civic is getting to be too little for our family. Yes, we are purchasing a car to be my main mode of transportation back and forth to work, school, or whatever, but it will also serve as a family town tripper until we have too many kids to fit in a car. So, while the Civic is awesome, it is off our list.
We have looked at the Honda Accord, but it has never worked out for us to actually drive the Accord, so I am taking that as a bad omen.
We both have dreamed about owning a Mercedes-Benz ever since we got the chance to drive my parent’s E-Class. So I have drooled over a couple of C-Class cars, but first off all they cost $34k+ for a base model, and they also cost a lot to own between insurance and maintenance so perhaps when I make a lot of money, we have acerage and a couple of dogs, then we can look at a Benz. Also, the C-Class is a smaller car than we want. To get the room we’re looking for we would have to jump up to the E-Class… uh, no. It’s not that you can’t get a steal of a deal on a used one, but again, they are expensive to own, and what 2nd-year high school teacher would drive to a title-1 school driving this:
I am not a huge Hyundai fan for a couple of reasons. First, they seem kind of cheap though to counteract that they offer a 100,000 mile warranty. Second, they have no principle when it comes to stealing design features; they pretty much rip off every high end car manufacturer. Their thefts include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and E-Class, the Bentley logo, the Jaguar XKR, and others. They’re like a lot of hip-hop “artists;” they can’t create anything new so they rip off everyone else but don’t do it as well as the original, or in some cases get anywhere close. They’re trying too hard at being something they are not. That being said for a few days I was looking at the new Sonata because it is a pretty-looking car with a turbo charged engine the puts out 274bhp! We never drove it though and I am fine with that.
I was similarly unimpressed by the Nissan Altima as I could never quite get comfortable in the car. Actually that is not completely true, I did finally get it set up so that I was comfortable save for the fact that my head was hitting the roof of the car.
Both Kate and I really liked the Toyota Camri Hybrid, though we both hated the Prius. The cabin for the Camri is pretty roomy, it gets great fuel efficiency marks, and it is a pretty good drive with a combine 200bhp. The things it does poorly is that the trunk is super small, and because it’s a hybrid you pay a lot more up front for it than you do for the non-hybrid version, and the non-hybrid version just doesn’t have the same appeal. It isn’t sporty, it isn’t exotic, it’s just your run-of-the-mill utilitarian Toyota, and while that’s all good and great, I personally need more. The other thing about the Camry is that it is made in Japan and for a while I’ve been stuck on the idea of buying an American car, so…
We looked at some Fords, namely the Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. We didn’t actually drive any of them, but that’s because first, I feel like the build quality isn’t where it should be, and second, for an American car they sure are getting smaller… that is except the Taurus, which is still your typical American boat. I really want to buy American, but as far as cars go, I just don’t like most of the offerings from Ford, GM, and Chrysler… that is of course unless we are talking the Mustang and the Camaro, which all look pretty cool and are probably a lot of fun to drive, and the Challenger (the ugly duckling of the group), but I’d never get it past the “put car seats in the back and then take them out again in under a minute” test.
That leaves us with buying a car that is made in America though is not an American car per say. The car that we are looking at purchasing at this point is a Volkswagen Passat. It is made in Chattanooga, TN, or perhaps we should say it is assembled there as most foreign cars that are made in America are made from pre-manufactured parts from their home country or from a subsidiary in a neighboring nation.
A couple things that the Passat has going for it; first, it is the Motor Trend car of the year… that means of all the cars made this year, the Passat got the highest rating according to Motor Trend which has been doing this for a while. Second, it is an IIHS top safety pick. And third, though it isn’t a Benz, you get a lot of kit and tech as well as a choice between a 2.5L 5-cylinder gasoline engine, or a 2.0L 4-cylinder TDI (diesel) engine all for under $30,000. For a similar E-Class Benz we’re talking $50k+.
So, what it is going to come down to is which engine we want. The TDI is more expensive up front, but it gets better gas mileage to a degree. Diesel engines also typically last a lot longer and are cheaper to maintain than their gasoline counterparts. It is not unheard of for them to last 300,000+ miles and because there is not ignition system like that of the gasoline engine you aren’t having to replace spark-plugs, wires, rotors, magnetos, distributor caps and the like (it should be noted though that the cost difference alone over the long haul isn’t enough to make it worth choosing one or the other). We really want to keep this car forever and to not have to buy another vehicle until our kids are out of the house (a long time from now).
Overall the Passat is a great car. It is pretty much everything that we could want at this point as well as everything we need. To be honest though, at this point who even knows what’s going to happen. Who can afford to buy a new car anyway, certainly not us. Maybe we should just get one of these…