“Car Guy”

I've never been what you would call a "car guy." After driving my dad's truck and his car throughout high school, I bought a small car that my dad suggested because it was good on gas and the asking price was close to the Blue Book value.

After that car died, I lived off the generosity of family members: My brother's old Toyota, my dad's blue GMC truck, my sister's Nissan 240 SX, and my mom's sweet little rock-Corolla.

When the demands of family size and practicality took over, we bought a Toyota Sienna. It is a nice van. It drives great (for a mini-van), is pretty good on gas (for a mini-van) and isn't an embarrassment to drive. Still, hardly a car-guy's dream.

When it came to the point that I was going to have to buy a car, I started paying attention. Any time I was waiting for the bus, or I was on the bus, or I was just walking around, I looked. And I generated some opinions. I wouldn't say I became a car guy, but attention was paid.

First, I was interested in a SmartCar. I wanted something good on gas and you can't get much better than a two-seater that isn't interested in breaking speed laws. But Kim had the right idea, that we might want to use this potential car to carry various kids around. So, I moved on.

My next stop was at the Volkswagen Beetle. Such a cute car. Good and reliable. And cute. Did I mention that? But it only has four seats. And it's hard to find a beetle to test drive. When I finally did, I'd already test-driven a Jetta, which was the best driving experience I've ever had. The Beetle just didn't measure up.

What did measure up was the Golf (aka Rabbit). The two vehicles, Jetta and Rabbit, drove identically. And so I didn't have a real preference between the two. When I picked up my new Rabbit, it was because that was the model and year that they had available.

I am fantastically happy with my car, stereo issues notwithstanding, but there were some other cars that I observed.

Nissan Cube: The first time I saw one of these cars, I laughed out loud. I am pretty sure it wasn't a derisive laugh, but more out of surprise. I have some skitchiness about symmetry. Asymmetrical things tend to throw me off a little bit, but this car definitely caught my attention.

Nissan Juke: This is seriously the most aggressive-looking car that I've ever seen. Probably too much, both dollar-wise and car-wise, but it was definitely an interesting car.

Dodge Calibre: I test-drove a Dodge Magnum back a couple of years ago. It handled ok for a big car. I had a brief love-affair with the Chrysler 300. And I figured that the Calibre would be an interesting car to take for at est drive. Everything I heard, though, suggested it would be a waste of my time.

I don't have any regrets about my car purchase and I'm happy to drive the car I bought. If I'd had less on my plate or just some more time, it would have been nice to test drive some of these other cars.

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