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Car Boy Gets His New Ride

Posted by: David Kiley on January 2, 2008


I couldn’t get the car I wanted. But I did pretty well.

After a few months of boring my wife and friends with my search for my next car, I settled for one.

I settled. I couldn’t find the car I wanted because it does not exist in any showroom yet.

As my previous posts told, I wanted a car costing less than $30,000, with all-wheel-drive, a manual transmission and fuel economy above 30 mpg. No go. Nobody sells it here in the U.S. Oh, by the way, I wanted to buy American if I could. I live in Michigan, and wanted to do a solid for the home-team.

I began making compromises. I tested a 2008 Ford Focus. But it only comes in a sedan and coupe, neither of which are pleasing designs. And no awd. I looked at a Ford Fusion awd. But no manual tranny. I looked at a Toyota Prius and Honda Civic hybrid. Hated the performance. And they were foreign brands. I looked at a the Subaru Impreza (don’t like the new design and foreign made,) Forester and Outback. Though my family has owned several Subarus, I was disappointed with the latest designs and fuel economy numbers.

In the end, I chose a car I really wanted regardless of the criteria. I chose a 2006 BMW 325 xiT with manual transmission (a hard car to find on I had to go all the way to Boston to get it.

It’s not American made, but I granted myself a mulligan because I wrote a book about BMW, and had always wanted one. The fuel economy is so-so, but acceptable. I got about 30 mpg on the highway driving back from Boston to Michigan. In the end, I wasn’t satisfied. But as the buyer of what many feel is the finest car in the world, I can’t complain.

The four cars that will be top of my list in 2010 or 2011 when I shop again: The Chevy Volt plug-in, Volkswagen TDI. Honda Civic diesel, Subaru Impreza turbo-diesel. None of these cars are on sale yet. But I seriously hope some of them come with a manual transmission.

Reader Comments


January 2, 2008 6:32 PM

Well, so much for pining and planning. Not only foreign, but not assembled here either. Not 4WD, not all that great on gas guzzling once you remove the egg under your shoe. In fact RWD assures you of some nasty handling habits on less than dry roads. As to anticipated reliability? As to the cost of non-warranty repairs? Let alone so-called 'routine service' once the 'free' is dead? And then there is the price! $45K or something like that?

Good thing you went shopping with a sawed-off shotgun rather than a rifle.

From Kiley---it is all wheel drive. My next car will be a Volt.


January 3, 2008 12:36 PM

Noz,I wonder about you.I find that:RWD assures you of some nasty handling habits on less than dry roads an unusual comment.Where do you get your facts?I prefer a RWD over FWD.For one FWD had many more dis-advantages over RWD.You got CV joints to go bad,with all the weight up front they wear out.Torque steer problems,the steering wheel fights you in turns.Engine components difficult to get to.Front wheel drive does have an advantage in the snow(if you live in a region that gets that much snow.Gas mileage is a little better with fwd but I find FWD a little awkward.FWD cars don't have the balance a RWD does.If the front of your cars gets loose on the road you're screwed.A RWD Vehicle can get out of a front end slip with the rear drive.


January 3, 2008 1:11 PM

Glad the BMV has AWD. I missed that somehow. Can't help wondering how this will affect its reliability.

As to the VOLT, if it ends up being what is pictured in all the GM-driven hype tripe, you will indeed have fallen thru the floor of your outhouse.

And just where is the VOLT finding its primary power source? Coal-fired plants, perhaps? What shade of 'green' does this make it?

Then there is another matter. Seems to me it takes X amount of energy to do Y amount of work. If the bat can do X for 60 miles of Y or whatever, what makes you think that a dinky little internal combustion putt putt will move you along as well serving as a battery charger?


January 3, 2008 10:23 PM

you live in ann arbor where most people drive beamers anyway especially nyc kids going to um


January 4, 2008 9:33 AM

Bummer! What happened to the Saturn Astra or Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid?

From Kiley: I checked them out, but couldnt pull the trigger. The first snow we had told me that I reallly wanted awd, so that took care of the astra. And the mpg on the green-line isn'tt good enough yet.


January 9, 2008 11:01 AM

Congratulations! I too live in Michigan and drive a BMW all year around. I drive a 2007 335i convertible (snow tires during the winter months), not exactly the all-year around car you were looking for, but I'm sure your 3-series wagon is still a lot of fun to drive!

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