Sunday, November 19, 2006

New Car

I'm looking for a new car.

I've had my Kia Rio for 3 years now. It's a very reliable car, very stingy on gas--and uncomfortable. It's definitely a young person's car; someone "mature" like me needs a little more padding on the seats to be able to tolerate those long drives to Canada or Colorado.

So I've been considering a Toyota Camry. Very reliable, very comfortable car. Found a nice used one, too, at a decent price when compared to Kelley Blue Book. I'm very impressed with Hybrids, though--I think it's the "nifty" factor--and test driving a brand new Ford Escape Hybrid yesterday made me swoon. It's been many moons, since I got rid of my Ranger pickup back in 97, since I've sat high enough to see in traffic. An Escape would be nice.

It's a lot of money, though. That's the big drawback for me. It's a lot of freakin' money. So I thought, if I'm even willing to pay that much for a new Escape Hybrid, I should look into the price of a Camry Hybrid. Holy crap, can you believe the Camry's MSRP is more than the Escape's? Eek!

No, I'm not going to consider a Prius or an Insight. Again, I need something a little more "cushy". I'm afraid to look into the cost of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Maybe I should just go get the used Camry, and let my *next* vehicle be a hybrid.

Decisions, decisions.

31 comments:

Polski3 said...

Careful with the hybrids...it seems their battery packs need to be replaced after certain amount of time or milage.....to the tune of 7-9 grand. ( my brother has a toyota prisis (sp) and an aquaintance of my wife's just got rid of theirs, due to the "surprise" of the above mentioned battery replacement costs.

Have fun deciding what you want....and keep in mind the comfort for your hound too :-)

Polski3 said...

Oh, our Camry ('96) is still holding up well. Consumer folks say you can't go wrong with Camry (go with 4 cylinder) or Honda Accord...... Of course, about ANYTHING will be upgrade from Kia Rio.

Darren said...

I've heard about the battery packs, but not the cost. Ouch! Thanks for letting me know.

Anonymous said...

we have two cameries(ys?) and they're both very good both 05s

Cameron said...

$7,000 to $9,000 is ridiculous. I've read plenty on the subject, and if your battery happens to fail past the eight-year warranty provided by most manufacturers, then a battery is usually $3,000, and Honda states that they will help provide for at least a portion of that cost. Furthermore, Toyota stated that they have not had to sell a replacement battery yet.

I would rather pay money to help save the environment than to save money and kill the world, anyway.

Darren said...

Cameron, I'm not convinced your dichotomy is valid.

Cameron said...

I've done some further reading, and it's been stated that the batteries are designed to last 150,000-200,000 miles but should be able to last a whole lot longer.

Anonymous said...

Buying a hybrid to save gas is usually false economy.

If you know how far you drive in a given year, you can easily compare the cost of a hybrid with a conventional vehicle by calculating your approximate cost per mile driven.

For the typical driver-- even if gas is between $3 and $4/gallon-- it will take five or six years to break even via gas savings alone.

For example, see:

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveonaCar/TheCostlySecretsOfHybridCars.aspx

http://www.forbes.com/vehicles/2005/03/14/cx_mf_0314test.html

http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/press/105827/article.html

Such articles are increasingly common.

IMO, save yourself some money and some headache. Check the reliability forecast for cars at Consumer Reports (arguably the best database accessible to the public in regards to reliability trends in cars), and buy something you like which is also projected to be more reliable than average.

Darren said...

Being a math guy, I've already done the calculations, anonymous. The conventional Camry is the best buy, all things considered. The Hybrid is just for having the latest cool toy.

I'm leaning towards making my *next* car purchase a hybrid, not this one.

EllenK said...

Camry vs. Altima
My son the gearhead, convinced my husband that for the same money, he could get a Nissan Altima with a slightly more powerful, but economical engine plus extras. If you check you will see that of the imports Honda and Toyota are more expensive. As for the hybrid arguement, there's still some uncertainty about how the ten year battery pack will impact the environment. It could be that down the road, hybrids will end up causing more harm due to pollutants from the battery system.

MikeAT said...

I can relate.

We’re both the same age and comfort is quickly becoming a major issue. My 99 Ranger has been a very reliable vehicle but I wanted something more useful for monthly 500 plus mile trips to New Orleans for USAR drill.

I decided before I left for Kuwait I would get a new vehicle when I was overseas. We get a great deal through direct order and got a beautiful 06 F-150 with the 5.4 liter V8. Gas mileage is not great, but damned it’s nice to drive with an AC that will freeze meat and I’m on top of leather seats.

And for those of you who want to lecture me on the “environment”, at one of those climate change conferences where ALGORE flew into on a private jet and drove to with a convoy of SUVs, some of the participants said more pollution may cool the earth. Yes, the pollution blocks the sun’s rays, so I figure I’m contributing to “global cooling”.

Hey, I heard this all during the 70s when Darren and I were lectured by the same geeks about a new ice age coming!

Darren said...

OFF TOPIC:

Remember why the dinosaurs died? Too much yucky stuff in the atmosphere. Remember "nuclear winter", the cooling thought to be brought on by all the yuck that an atomic war would kick up into the atmosphere?

I'm not interested in polluting any more than I need to, but it sure would be nice if these environmental chicken littles could get their cover stories straight.

BACK ON TOPIC

EllenK, I previously looked into Altimas but just stopped because I wasn't finding what I was looking for. On your advice I looked again, and found a really nice 2006 for sale--with a sun roof! I'll probably go test-drive it tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

My dad had a Camry and it ran flawlessly until some uninsured teen creamed it.

Don't look at buying a used Camry as not as environmentally sound as purchasing a hybrid. Look at it as, well, recycling a formerly-new vehicle!

Right now hybrids are too expensive, though if I had unlimited finances, I would get one too.

Robert said...

Let me suggest the car I got over the summer: the Toyota Matrix. This is the latter-day version of the Corolla stationwagon. It's roomy, not a hybrid but gets excellent (35+ mpg) gas mileage, very quick and easy to handle, and just a lot of fun to drive. I have enjoyed mine immensely. It's also got a good price tag on it -- I got mine with some options for about $20K, and the base model is around $15K.

Those Hybrid Highlanders are in excess of $40K here in Indiana. WAY to rich for our blood. This hybrid technology seems to still be an emerging one, so my reasoning was to buy a non-hybrid now, and in five years or so have a look around again; the hybrids will be much better and much cheaper by then if they are truly a viable product.

Darren said...

That's my take on hybrids, too--they're neat (expensive) toys, but the technology hasn't hit prime time yet.

Unfortunately, that's just like solar power.

rightwingprof said...

I'm on my second Ford Explorer. This one's a V8. It's comfortable, with seats that never make your butt tired (at least not in ten hours), it handles great, and it annoys the liberals.

What more could you want?

Darren said...

I test drove an Altima S today--as nice as it was, there was still an inordinate amount of road noise. I want a quiet, comfortable car, which is why I bought a white 2006 Camry.

I was poor before I bought it....

MikeAT said...

At least your fattening buttocks will appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

How often do you drive to Colorado and Canada?
Can you just rent a nicer touring car when you
do that? Would that be more cost effective
than trading in the Kia?

-Mark Roulo

Vidur Dadlani said...

With your age of maturity, you should get a Bentley...

Then again, you're not that mature. Get a Kawasaki, its about one-tenth of the cost of a Bentley, and refueling should be cheaper.

By the way, I was gonna consider buying your KIA, but my mom wants me to drive a car.

Darren said...

Vidur, your sister's grade just went down 5 points! =)

As for renting, I want a comfortable, quieter ride. The Kia's a great economy car--never had a problem--but I want more now.

Darren said...

And MikeAT, you're one to talk about flattening buttocks!

MikeAT said...

Hey, I need the protection around my brain!

Anonymous said...

john rothfels has an escape...just to let you know

Darren said...

Of course he does.

Walter E. Wallis said...

A plug in hybred is the way to go. Drive around town on juice, then gas on the highways.

MikeAT said...

Walter

Hate to pour the cold water of reality on you, but a hybrid is nothing but a great piece of salesmanship.

A hybrid runs (assuming the battery is charged) on electricity till about 20 miles an hour. After that the gas engine goes on.

Now even if you’re just driving a couple of miles to work, you’re going to go faster than 20 MPH for most of the trip. So you’re using gas anyway. And if you’re living in the suburbs and driving 20-30 miles to work via an interstate highway, you are burning gas all the way.

A hybrid has some uses (buses and delivery trucks come to mind) but the belief that it’s a cure all for gas use is fantasy.

rightwingprof said...

Save the earth. Drive a Hummer. See here, but the money quote:

"For example, while the industry average [Energy Cost per Mile] of all vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2005 was $2.28 cents per mile, the Hummer H3 (among most SUVs) was only $1.949 cents per mile. That figure is also lower than all currently offered hybrids and Honda Civics at $2.42 per mile."

rightwingprof said...

As long as we're talking oil dependence, what I've wanted to know for a long time is this: I see lots of buses that run on natural gas, so natural gas engines are a tested technology. Unlike electricity or hydrogen, the natural gas infrastructure exists all over the nation. So why are none of these greenies talking about natural gas vehicles? Why is this not even being considered?

Anonymous said...

did you know that john rothfels still has an escape?

p.s. i heard you were selling your kia rio. 3rd period spanish 4 told senor carroll to buy it from you because his car won't even start....but i guess you wouldn't like that because he's a commie?

Darren said...

If he's paying in dollars, even a commie's money is green.