A few months ago, Toyota was running an ad campaign that featured families that passed down their Toyota through the generations. First the parents drove it, then big sister, then little brother and it’s still going strong. I loved those commercials. Matter of fact, though I was never featured in any of them, I am pretty much a walking ad campaign for the Corolla.
As fans of this blog (ha! hahahaha!) already know, I refer to my car – a ruby-red 1998 Toyota Corolla LE – as the World’s Best Car (WBC.) My parents sold it to me used in 2002 or 2003 for $5000 and I’ve had nary a problem with it since. The only expenditures have been traditional maintenance items, and I have driven the hell out of this thing. Over 165,000 miles and counting. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be bringing my baby home from the hospital in it, I’d have assumed you were using a pet name to refer to my significant other.
Perhaps you have seen Subaru’s ad campaign for the new Impreza. It’s similar to the Toyota campaign, and I think it’s brilliant. “Tell us the story of your first car,” they say. Who doesn’t think back fondly on for their first vehicle, even if it was a junkyard heap? We listen to people describe all the faults that car had and then they tell us how they loved it anyway. But the moral of the story? It’s time to move on to a new car, something better. Something that will be with you through scores and scores of new memories. Any one of these commercials, say this one, or this one, hammers home the point that cars are a significant part of our lives, shaping not only our memories but even our personalities.
I can relate only slightly to the first car stories featured in Subaru’s ad campaign. As I said, my car runs like a champ. But, 14 years down the line, it does have some quirks, and like any relationship that has lasted that long, the quirks can get annoying. The cupholder that you can close, but only if you want to have to open it again with a knife. The long extinguished light in the shift console, so that at night one must shift by feel alone (automatic car, this one.) The broken back door lock.
None of these things has been much of a hinderance…That is, until the kid came along. Broken back door lock pre-kid? No big deal. Post-kid? Big hassle. Also, perhaps you’ve noticed, 14-year-old cars are real low riders, (well mine is, anyway) so wrestling with the car seat is a real pain in the rump. And dear God, I need a key fob. Before I had a child, I wanted one. Now, I NEED one. Seriously. SOMEBODY GIVE ME A CAR WITH A KEY FOB.
I’ve toyed with the idea of a new car before, mostly when I am driving down the highway on a dark and stormy night being bullied about by the wind, but I have never thought quite so seriously about it as I have the past few months. The safety features that have become standard in the last 14 years would make it worth it. I’ve also been coveting something with all-wheel drive, for when we get our annual dusting of snow and I call in to work too scared to drive in. Of course, mileage has always been an issue, since I usually drive long distances and want the most bang for my buck.
Then along comes this little Subaru Impreza, an all-wheel drive vehicle boasting 36 miles to the gallon, only 2 less than my current vehicle. To let you in on a little secret, I’ve been coveting the 2012 Impreza long before I ever saw one of these ads. I read about it in one of Shaun’s magazines. It has a CRT transmission, allowing for the high mileage. And unlike the previous several years of Imprezas, it’s a sharp-looking car. It’s everything I want in a vehicle, providing it is in fact big enough to fit that car seat.
Oh but how sad would it be to put the world’s greatest car out to pasture? Actually, it would be downright stupid. It’s worth more than its blue book value, I’m sure. So should we decide to get a new car, we’ll keep it and Shaun will drive it to work to help us save on gas. (His ’04 Impreza STi is a real guzzler.) Still, I can’t think about driving something else without tearing up a little bit. I mean, that’s the car I brought my baby home in! I don’t know that next ten years will compare in milestones to the last ten and getting rid of that car will be like burning a scrapbook full of memories. Still, it would be really nice to have a key fob.