Last Sunday my 14-year-old Toyota Corolla, aka the World’s Greatest Car, aka WGC, was stripped of its duties hauling Sonja and me around town and reassigned the new task of ferrying my husband back and forth to work every day, 100 miles round-trip.
Apparently WGC wasn’t too happy with the change of scenery because when I tried to move it to its new parking spot in the great outdoors, it refused to start. I think WGC might have been jealous of this:
Yes finally, after all these years, it is with great personal emotional payoff, that I announce I bought a new car. The thought process went something like this: My husband, whose WGC is a 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi, has been wanting a cheap commuter car that gets good gas mileage to save us money and to save his beloved some miles. I have been eyeing the 2012 Subaru Imprezas for their nice new look, good gas mileage and all-wheel drive. Wouldn’t it be nice, we thought, if he could drive the Corolla, and I could buy that car?
It all seemed like a pipe dream until a little bit of bonus money came our way. It was the right time to buy a car, and after having test driven the new Impreza, I knew it to be the right car for me.
I contemplated dedicating an entire post to the process of purchasing the car, but most people have probably gone through that dreadful song and dance before, so I will spare the details. I will recount only this one tale. We were promised a full tank of gas, and when the salesman was showing me the mystical, magical details of my new car, like where the turn signal was and how to use the index in the owner’s manual, I pointed out that the tank was reading half full. “Oh no” he said. “We just filled it up. That line will go up slowly as you drive away.”
“Really?” I asked, and added, “because the gas indicator on my other car goes up slowly, but that car is 14 years old.”
“That’s because it’s a different system” he said. He either hadn’t heard me correctly or pretended he didn’t hear me. We drove off and as soon as the gas line went down, we turned around and insisted they fill it up. While we were insisting, another couple was about to drive off in their new car, and that car pulled into the gas station right behind us. Shysters.
I’m happy to report that despite a dearth of selection in the 2012 model year, I was able to get the interior and exterior colors I wanted (blue and dark grey, respectively), though I did have to wait for the car to be delivered from Portland. I bought the base model car because I didn’t want most of the bells and whistles. I actively dislike heated seats and don’t understand them, but give them the benefit of the doubt that they are more useful in colder climes. Give me a seat that could cool itself down, and that I might use a couple weeks of the year. I’ve used cruise control on long trips but don’t love it either. It’s supposed to give your foot a rest, but what happens if you need to use that foot quickly? I wind up hovering my foot over the pedal when it’s on, which is more difficult than simply driving.
I could go on and on about the features I did and didn’t get, but I won’t. The important thing – the thing I wanted more than anything – was remote keyless entry, which of course I got.
The Toyota is still part of the family and doing fine after we reassured it we still loved it and bought it a new battery. There are exactly two things I miss about it. First, automatic headlights that turn on when it starts to get dark. I have turned on the lights in that car exactly once, to the automatic position, and literally never touched them ever again. Thus I am apt to forget this needs to be done, but after a few gentle reminders from Shaun, I’m starting to get the hang of it. The other thing I’ll miss is the Toyota’s turning radius. That car pirouettes, and it’s unbeatable for maneuvering in and out of tight parking spots.
What I won’t miss about the WGC is driving it. It is a reliable workhorse, no doubt, but it always felt a bit squirrely to me. If I had to punch the gas it would pull to one side, and many rainy, windy nights left me feeling like I was being pushed around. I can’t yet attest to how the new car will do in inclement weather (I’m guessing exceedingly well), but I will say that so far it feels rock solid. It doesn’t matter how fast I accelerate, whether it’s from a stop or if I’m already on the highway, this car accelerates smoothly and always in a straight line. I already have a favorite word to describe driving this car, and the word is “effortless.”
Effortless is a fantastic feeling when I’m dealing with the bitter and unpredictable traffic. Just today when I got stuck behind a car doing 40 miles per hour on the highway (with no flashers on), and the cars in the other lane went zooming by, I knew that I needed less of an opening to get into the next lane and I knew that it would take me almost no time to get my car back up to 60. That gives me confidence and makes me feel safe, and that’s what you want when you’re driving.
Of course, you don’t want to be arrogant when you’re driving. And I’m not. But this zippy little car makes me want to put my foot down, and if ever I had the chance to take it to a track and see what it could do, I would.
So that’s the story so far. I thought there might be more hoopla surrounding the acquisition of a new car, maybe some fireworks and a small parade. Other than the fact that I actually look forward to driving now (that’ll wear off, I’m sure), everything else feels pretty standard. Maybe that’s because all the pieces aren’t in place yet. I am still waiting for my license plates, and when I get them, I’m going to be putting them in expensive frames that I’ve been waiting to get for years because I wanted to save them for my new car. I found and my husband subsequently bought the perfect (I hope) new stereo, and we are still waiting for that to arrive. Oh and one other thing we’re still waiting for – the first car payment. I bet that’ll bring some emotion to the foreground. All in all it was an investment we needed to make, and I look forward to chronicling the adventures of the yet-to-be-named, effortless-to-drive car right here on this blog.