Post 1029: quenching my thirst for a new car…

I like my Chevrolet Impala. It’s a big American highway cruiser of a car, though it gets the same mileage per gallon as my first car, a 1970 VW Beetle. At 32 MPG highway, this full-sized Chevrolet demonstrates just how improved cars are since 1970! It has a 3.5 liter V6 engine in it at that, and is pretty zippy.

The only reason I can think of to trade my Chevy is it is approaching its seventh anniversary since I bought it new in 2009. My Chevy [below] is in good shape, and I still like driving it. It’s a comfortable car.
001Seven years isn’t a long time for me to keep a car. The Chrysler LeBaron coupe I bought new in 1992 served me for 13 years before I sold it to my next door neighbor, who had it detailed and replaced all rubber parts. He still drives it. I think he even had it repainted. I liked that Chrysler a lot.

So what brought on new car fever? A ride in my neighbor’s car last Monday. His 2013 Ford Taurus sedan was quiet, comfortable, loaded to the gills with cool bells and whistles, and my neighbor was on the verge of trading it for a new Ford SUV. My first thought was I’d like to try to buy his Taurus. Then I thought more about why I would trade a perfectly decent 2009 Chevrolet Impala just now.

That lead me to check out other brands and styles of cars. I landed on a 2016 VW Golf Sportwagen [sic] S I found available (perhaps) in Rapid City, 151 (243 kilometers) miles away.

I'm looking at a black one.

I’m looking at a black one.

Positive qualities:  1. This station wagon is not butt ugly like every SUV I’ve ever seen; 2. Price is reasonable for a new car; 3. Lots of good bells and whistle features, including most (perhaps all) of the ones I like on my Chevrolet; 4. Gets a bit better mileage than my Chevrolet; 5. Lower lift height to put my walker or cats’ carrier in cargo area than either the back seat or trunk of my Chevrolet; 6. Seven model years newer than my Chevrolet (Can this be my last car? I thought the Chevy would be.); 7. Had a VW Rabbit I bought new in 1975, so am familiar with the basic idea of this car.

Negative qualities: 1. The closest dealer is 151 miles away and the Chevrolet can be serviced in town or in Scottsbluff (less than an hour away); 2. I’ll have to sell some stock to pay for that part not covered by the trade in value of the Chevrolet; 3. My favorite bells and whistles on the Chevrolet are daylight running lights and headlights that automatically come on when sensors determine it’s dark, something I don’t think this VW has (A black car especially benefits from daylight running lights…!); 4. The difference in mileage may come at the expense of zip on the highway. (It’s turbo charged, but that might also be a complication for maintenance down the line.); 5. Is the cargo area big enough for both a walker and the cat carrier? (The Chevrolet has a huge back seat and a cavernous trunk.); 6. A new car has more value than my seven-year-old Chevy, which means taxes and insurance costs in Nebraska will be higher if I buy the VW; 7. That  1975 Rabbit was a fun car to drive, but it was, to be blunt, a piece of shit that required at least one or two trips to Rapid City a month for service to fix something. (Will the latest iteration of the concept — now called Golf in America, too, to distance the car from the earlier VW Rabbit — be more reliable?)

Lower lift height than a sedan trunk.

Lower lift height than a sedan trunk or back seat.

I left notice with the dealer that I was a prospect for this black car. If it is still in inventory and isn’t spoken for by someone else, I may be in a new car within a short time. Mostly, it depends on trade in value given me for a car that is very low mileage for a car driven in mid America. Even though it was a “program car” with a few miles short of 14,000 miles on it when I bought it, it only has 32,500 miles on it seven years later. A typical American car might have 10,000 to 15,000 new miles a year on it. Mine, by comparison, is relatively virgin.

Stay tuned. I will talk with the sales department after it opens at 8 AM. Will I be in a new car or will stick with my old Chevrolet? I don’t know.

[I take delivery of the new VW next Monday morning….! I took care of some of the details this morning when I drove up to Rapid City, and will finish the rest next Monday when I give them the money for the car and hand over my Chevrolet to them.]

38 thoughts on “Post 1029: quenching my thirst for a new car…

  1. You probably could have kept the Chevy going for a while but I understand the accessibility issues you were thinking of. When my arthritis was at it’s worse it was a nightmare trying to get in and out when I couldn’t bend my leg and bucket seats were agony on my hip.. People thought I was crazy for having a pickup, but the bench seat gave my hip and back perfect support in comfort and stepping up to get in was OK, the door was big and I could swing in without have to rwist what wouldn’t bend. PS I agree about the hackers.

    • I still like the Chevy a lot on most accounts, and would have kept it if the lifting issue hadn’t become a bit of an issue. A station wagon just makes more sense at this point in my life. Surprisingly, though it is a smaller car, I have no problem getting into the VW. The driver’s seat has enough adjustments (including lumbar support) to be made very comfortable. (So does my Chevrolet…!) I considered something like a pickup or SUV (even though they all look like turds on wheels to me) for the comfort aspect, but decided against them because of the lifting issue.

    • For sure! That I still really like my Chevrolet Impala on most counts made the decision to buy a new car difficult. I’ve been stewing about it for several months now.

    • Thanks! It will be odd driving a car with four cylinders again after driving V6-engined cars for a couple decades, but it should be nice getting in the mid-30s on highway fuel efficiency, too. The Chevrolet could get 32 MPG on the highway, but mostly got a little less, depending on road conditions.

  2. New cars are nothing but computers on wheels. Hackers cans stop your newer car on the freeway. The equipment to check out the problems costs the dealerships 5 figures (something like $50,000). No more do-it-yourself or having a friendly mechanic do it. If you have a car that works well, consider the fact that it’s true that “they don’t make cars like they used to.”

  3. If you like it, go for it. Your Chevrolet is at an age where repairs will come on soon. On the other hand – this is a Volkswagen – the dealer with the Diesel-Scandal!

  4. For what it’s worth, I would stick with your present car. I drive a similar type of thing. A 2000 cc Volvo at 30-35 mpg and I just know I’ll never get another like it.

    • Too late. I traded for the VW, which better suits me current needs. Specifically, the lift over is lower than in my Chevrolet, and I worry about taking a fall or injuring myself lifting things into the Chevrolet. Too bad,too, because I’ve really enjoyed my Chevy.

        • Luck is the best quality in a car! Ha! I had a VW Rabbit that I bought new in 1975 that was a fun-to-drive lemon, something that was in the back of my mind when I checked out this direct descendant. There is a reason VW changed the US model Rabbit to Golf, and it wasn’t just because the name of the model was Golf in the rest of the world!

          • Remember – they say – do NOT buy a car manufactured on a Monday (hangover day) or a Friday (can’t wait to leave and start the weekend day) !!!

          • One enters a crapshoot when one buys a car, regardless of the day manufactured, I think. They also advise against buying a first year model, which I did twice, with disastrous results two times!

  5. hehe….new cars. You seem to have had several over your life. In 2005 I got my first new car. I investigated several. Didn’t like the American cars. So It came down to a Honda or Toyota. The Toyota won out as I like a higher seat…the others were closer to the road and after sitting for some time, like in a trip, I found I couldn’t stand from such a low position. I love the Toyota Corolla. Small, yet rides so smooth. However, in the winter, I could use a butt warmer.

    Can’t wait to see what you decide Doug. I like your listings of the positives and negatives. First class.


    • I’ve had a variety of cars. I like the heaters on American cars. They put out enough to cook you! The vague handling of American cars, though, is disconcerting, and the Impala actually is pretrty decent in that regard./..for American (or Canadian, since it’s made there!)

  6. Good luck, Doug! Deciding what to do can be a tough decision. I am keeping my Subaru (431,000+ miles now, original engine and transmission) unless something catastrophic happens to it. My car is comfortable, has lots of space, and I can change the plugs & wires, gas and air filters myself, and change the oil and oil filters. All the essentials accessible to me! Hopefully by the time I do need a replacement, the hybrid technology will have continued to improve and the price go down.

  7. You know what you leave but be sure about what you get , Doug . I am admiring your Chevrolet.
    Here for years we have Citroën cars . At this time I have a Citroën, C5 diesel 2,2 liters . I got it, new , in 2002 . The car has 93000 miles and woks well . I donot ntent to sell it .
    My wife drive in town with a smmall Citroë, C1.
    In friendship

    • I always like to see Citroens on the road when I was in the US Army in Europe because they were a marvel to see go around corners or when stopped at stop signs. Lats of engineering showed through. The 2CV looked like it would tip over, but never did, when cornering The DS, with its amazing hydraulics, looked like a prancing stallion as the hydraulics adjusted its level on the road. That you could change a flat tire without the need of a jack was another marvel of Citroen engineering! Of course, that the time. (1970s – traction avant was somewhat avant-garde, except to people fortunate enough to own Citroens, which had front wheel drive for generations even then!) The C5 is a very handsome car, and I can imagine it is just as amazing as earlier Citroen cars, with features that make it fun and a joy to own!

        • I almost bought a 2CV in Germany in 1971 because the US Army would have shipped it home for me since I held a certain rank. It occurred to me, however, that it wouldn’t have been happy in the isolated part of the US where I live: No Citroen mechanics live anywhere near me! LOL!

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