Lifestyle

New Year's Resolution: To Give Up Smoking (Tires)?


Choosing a car that is fuel-efficient and practical is virtuous, but wouldn't you secretly prefer something more fun?

For many, New Year's Eve is one of the most exciting, festive nights of the year, infused as it is with the elation of leaving behind another year. But the following morning is accompanied by plenty of consequences, the least of which may be compiling a list of forward-looking, moral to-dos: your New Year's resolutions.

The tradition, of course, is ancient. Begun sometime around 150 B.C. by the Romans, the habit of committing one's self to change was pegged to the turning of the calendar. And though, in the long time since, the New Year's Day date may have changed, the impulse certainly hasn't.

That's probably why many resolutions make repeat appearances year after year. According to www.FirstGov.gov, the U.S. government's official Web site, Americans are often drawn to the same goals. These range from improving one's fitness to advancing a career.

A Multitude of Temptations

BusinessWeek.com took a look at some of the most common resolutions, adapting them with auto fans in mind. If you're in the market for a new car, it could be very hard to stick to them.

The proliferation of fast, fun cars has only made staying on one's best behavior that much harder. A wide variety of manufacturers, from Porsche to Pontiac, offer models that stress speed above all else. Brand new sporty fare is also readily available in the form of Audi's RS 4 (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/20/06, "Audi's Adrenal RS 4") and BMW's new coupe version of the 3 Series (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/17/06, "BMW's Super Coupe"), both of which tempt you to ignore posted limits.

Even in a year when high gas prices and environmental concerns took their toll on the midsized SUV market, there are still a few vehicles out there that are just too good—despite their heft—to ignore. Notably, there are the twin luxury behemoths, General Motors' (GM) $59,000 Cadillac Escalade ESV (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/02/06, "Cadillac's Crown Jewel") and Ford Motor's (F) $92,000 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged.

Skip Work, Hit the Beach

Temptation comes in many forms. Even the fuel-sipping, unexciting Toyota Prius could force consumers vowing to buy American to break their resolve. After all, no U.S. manufacturer yet comes close to that gas/electric hybrid's 60 mpg.

Of course, more standard resolution testers come in drop-top variants. Both the Mini Cooper S Convertible (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/10/06, "BMW's Mini Evolution") and the Bentley Continental GTC offer plenty of fun in the sun away from the office. The miniature Mini's price of just over $26,000 absolutely pales in comparison to the Bentley's $189,990 window sticker.

The resolutions that just might be shaken by next year's brand new cars include:

I promise not to speed

I promise to conserve fossil fuels

I promise to get out of debt

I promise to quit smoking

I promise to lose some weight

I promise to curb my aggressive driving

I promise to spend more time with the family

I promise to get more work done

I promise to buy American

I promise to be more practical

Click here to see a list of the autos that just might tempt you.

Matt Vella is a reporter for BusinessWeek.com in New York.

Later, Baby
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