Prelude to Better Things
That’s right friends, I’m officially throwing my hat into the ring in search of my next vehicle. My 2001 Dodge Stratus has about run its course and its void in my life needs to be replaced with a newer vehicle. I have had my Stratus for about a year now and its role in my life was to move my household goods and personal valuables from Iowa to Virginia and be my transition car till I moved to my next location a year and half later. The original idea was to have the car roughly two years till replacement, but I no longer can afford that time in luxury.
My car has been nickeling and diming me ever so slowly since my arrival into Virginia. Threats of my front bumper coming off, radiator hose problems and now most recently, exhaust problems underneath my car have finally taken the toll on my concience. My two year window has now shrank to hopefully me making California before I release the car to its impending doom this November. It is literally a race against time when someday, hopefully not soon, where I put my key in the ignition and the car refuses to come out of the corner to finish the 14th round of originally a 15th round scheduled fight.
While playing the odds and probability, I have now offiically begun my next car search of “American Auto” to find a car that I want before reaching California and then simply purchasing what I want and a price I’m willing to pay for it. This is going to take time to fight the right car for me and quite the challenge as well. My very first car was a 1994 Honda Del Sol and I absolutely loved it, but it had many miles on it and needed money and care I wasn’t able to give it. Plus, moving across country with your possessions doesn’t make much sense in a two seater car.
Where You Come In
I need your help friends in deciding which car I drive off in late fall this year. I will be updating this post over the next few months to let you know what I test drove and what I thought about it.
First to give you a heads up on who I am and what I like or not like to better aid your advice to me:
- No trucks- I don’t want anything to do with them
- I’m 6 foot and four inches tall and have long dancer’s legs
- My gut is leaning towards a foreign made car
- I’m wanting something practical, not too sporty and decent on gas mileage
Well, that is what I have for now. So please leave comments in what direction I should take in my auto shopping venture.
Test Drive #1 Chrysler 300 Limited Edition
Test Drive #2 Mazda 3 Grand Touring
Back on the car search again to see what is going to replace my beloved Dodge Stratus, I see what the 2010 Mazda 3 Grand Touring can do for me. I took an instant liking to it based on features at reasonable price. This car comes loaded around $23,000 with leather seats, moon roof and stick shift. This car looked nimble and full of personality.
I ended up test driving a cloth seat, automatic which wasn’t a deal breaker for me, but not what I would have bought overall if I decide this is the car for me. She was a nice quiet ride that definitely had some zip for a 2.0L engine. I fit comfortably in the driver’s seat with plenty of head room, which was a concern for me when I first looked at the car. She has enough power and handling to do what I need to do; zipping in and out of traffic to avoid being killed by other drivers.
Controls and the dashboard were all placed closely together but convenient and easy to learn what all the buttons do. Under the hood looked like plenty of space to get in there and work on your car and perform your own maintenance.
Knocks against the car come from a somewhat small trunk and back seat. The back seat looked not completely put together as it felt a little loose, not completely attached to the floor platform when pulled up on. There is a lot of plastic on this car as well, which I suppose is what you can expect from the price.
Overall I liked this car and it deserves some serious consideration. I need to test drive a stick and leather seats as well as look at the doors and underneath the car before I can give the complete thumbs up on it.
Out of a possible 50 points. (10 for each category)
Performance/Driving: Not going to be an overpowering car, but you are going to get a pound for pound, a pretty zippy car. She is not going to blow anyone of the line 0-60, but I have faith she’ll catch plenty of cars on sharp corners. She sticks the road like glue. . 8.5/10
Space/Room: Again, very surprising this car felt so comfortable for me with plenty of head room, but with the backseat and trunk a little small, you wouldn’t be carrying much, period. 7/10
Appearance: Neat looking front in with just a enough color options to choose from. Her cute, compact little form will be an eye turner as Zoom Zoom pass them 8/10.
Cost: It is what attracted me to it and I think I would getting value for my dollar with all the features and solid performance. 8.5/10
Comfort: Wish I could have had leather seats, but I won’t be too sure on comfort or possible road trip potential till I ride in leather. I had a good feeling and nice back support along my lumbar from the seat so I think you would be alright without leather, but leather sometimes can make all the difference. 7.5/10
Overall: 39.5/50 B-. I will test drive this car again though and this very easily could be a car in my future. Leather seats and a manual could push this car over the top. Until then, I still feel a little unfulfilled and wanting just a little more out of this car.