Saturday, February 24, 2007

Car Talk, Redux

When I was actively promoting The Gift Horse, I made a speech I call “Car Talk” to some civic groups. Within it, I postulate that cars convey character, just like hairstyle, clothing, jewelry, or some other prop. Having Angie drive a Mazda Miata helps convey that she is sleek and sexy, but no nonsense.

I came to the conclusion that cars reflect the people who drive them over the years of my life, and although there are times when the car and the person don’t seem to go together, more often than not, they do.

Recently, my hubby and I went through a period of car talk for our family, because daughter turned sixteen, and with a bit of cajoling, she managed to pass the driver’s test. Now, neither of us have pushed her to get in the car and just go, but we came to the realization that without a car to call her own, she wasn’t driving enough to keep her skills up, much less improve them.

So, it was time to seek a car for our teenager. If course, it is a financial burden to add to the automotive stable, so we looked for something used. Each of us had priorities for this purchase. Hubby wanted it to have antilock brakes and for it to be under a certain price point. Mom wanted plenty of air bags, decent fuel economy, and utter reliability. Daughter was more interested in style, color, and condition. We did visit CarMax, but the threesome couldn’t agree on anything there.

I drive a Honda Odyssey, which lacks style, but seats seven, has 240 horsepower, and it can haul a boat load of stuff, which suits me. While at the dealership for a routine service, I asked what was on the used lot, and we found a certified used Civic EX, which seemed to fulfill most of our requirements. This little gem has a four cylinder engine which produces 127 horsepower and EPA estimates of 32/37 mpg, has a really decent interior, and a sunroof. On the road, there is a bit of engine roar as the free spinning engine pulls willingly, and more road noise than I’ve heard in many years. That’s not a complaint, but an observation. The large cars and vans I’ve been driving are more luxurious, and therefore quiet inside, but the Civic is more like a go cart, nimble and just plain fun to drive.

As I drove it home, I found myself thinking that when my van’s days are gone, I will strongly consider a Civic, because it is the best way I’ve seen to save gas and have a good time driving, other than two-wheeled transportation. For this Honda, you don’t have to have a rainsuit.

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At Feb 28, 2007, 7:10:00 PM, Blogger Sun Singer said...

My first car was an ancient Chevy, though I wanted a used Jag for the same price. My folks thought practicality was better. So, are we the cars we drive or the cars we desire?

P.S. visit me on MySpace at:

At Feb 28, 2007, 7:21:00 PM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

Both, of course!

Just as personalities are multifaceted, so is the garage.

BTW, Hubby has always wanted a Jag, but when we drove a used S-Type at CarMax, he realized that maybe he'll keep his very practical Toyota and drive the daylights out of his Triumph Sprint when he wants to play the role of sporty Brit.

I am mostly a practical person, so my cars have tended to reflect that. When I dream, I seldom dream of transportation which travels on inflatable tires....


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