Friday, April 14, 2006

I love my car!

I finally got it. Ever since the PT Cruiser came out in 2001ish, I've wanted to get one. Of course new cars aren't cheap (even though the PT Cruiser IS relatively inexpensive, it's still not cheap) and I had a car that ran pretty well so it was hard to justify spending that much money because it "looks cool". However, I had decided that when my current vehicle, a 1991 Acura Integra, finally wore itself out, the PT Cruiser would be at the top of my list. However, with only 150,000 miles on it and it being an Acura, I figured I had a few years to prepare. I was wrong.

Starting last summer, my car started having issues. Little things would wear out/break that would be annoying to fix and, at least twice, required towing the car to our mechanic. It was bad enough that I enrolled in AAA which, at the rate I seemed to be going, would pay for itself rather quickly. Well it did and, as an aside, I was so impressed with AAA's service that I recommend them to anyone who asks.

Anyways, the car ran OK for the next 6 months or so but then, at the end of January, the car died. My wife was driving it back from somewhere and the engine just conked out right at an intersection. I called AAA and they had a tow truck there in half an hour and towed it to the shop we use. The mechanics looked it over and pronounced the engine pretty much dead and quoted us 3 or 4 thousand dollars to get it fixed. For a car that was starting to break a lot, paying twice what it's worth to get a new one didn't seem very wise. So we went shopping.

I did some internet research and found that PT Cruisers seem to have very good resale value and that it wasn't that much more expensive to buy brand new. Buying new also allowed me to get the options I wanted while not paying for the ones I didn't. So I did some homework and, on the last day of January, my wife and I went to a dealer.

We took a test drive and I was sold. I told the dealer exactly what I wanted (base model with AC) and what color and they were able to come up with one. It did have one extra feature but it was satellite radio (which I actually wanted anyway) but I did get them to cut the price in half. So after some negotiation we finally got everything ironed out and I left hoping that I'd never have to buy another car for a long, long time. I love the car but the whole experience was awful.

So, I've had my cruiser for about two and a half months and I still love it. It's fun to drive, it looks great, and it has lots of room. My kids call it "Daddy's blue car" and get really excited whenever I take them for rides. It has a smooth ride, a fairly quiet interior, easy to read dashboard, and for such a small car, it puts you about a head above most other small cars which gives you nice visibility. I got the manual transmission which works well although the clutch is a little stiff (which is really noticable in Phoenix rush hour traffic).

The car has so many cool little things on it. Not only does it have the standard A and B trip odometers, but it also shows you the outside temperature (which I think is really cool). The dome light doesn't just turn off when you shut the door but it fades to dark. It's got a very nice sounding stereo system with easy controls. Plus it has cup holders! OK, you wouldn't think cup holders would be a big deal but my old Integra didn't have them. I also love the retro-styled interior. It has all the conveniences I want but with the 50s look to them.

Is it perfect? Well, no. It has power door locks but they can only be controled from the front doors. This means that when I get the kids out of the back, I have to go back to one of the front doors to lock the car. I'm also still getting used to have the window controls in the middle of the dashboard instead of on the doors. The only other thing I can think of is that the gas cap is on the passenger side and I keep parking on the wrong side of gas pumps. Other than that it's a great little car and if I can get 150,000 miles on it before needing to get a new one, I'll be happy as a clam.

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