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The One About a New Car… or Not

Monday, April 21, 2008

Indecision becomes decision with time.
~Author Unknown

I really don’t know what to do.  Gas prices are killing me and my car only gets 22 MPG on a GOOD day.  Right now, my Hyundai Tucson fits all the dogs.  I don’t think it will when Skah is adult size.  But that won’t be for another year or so.2008 Toyota Prius

So I’ve been thinking about getting a new car.  A hybrid.  Most likely, I’ll be commuting at least 40 miles one way when B and I move, so it’s a pretty good idea.  So B and I went to check out a two cars this weekend: the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius.

My brother now works at a dealership that also has Hondas and can get at least what the dealer pays for the car. I was really hoping that I’d like the Civic more than the Prius or at least like it well enough that the $2,000-$3,000 price difference would convince me that it was a better buy.

But it didn’t.  The Civic drove like a cheap car.  I could feel every pothole that West Michigan has (and that’s a lot).  In fact, B’s truck and Jeep both have smoother rides than the Civic. It really was jerky and made a loud noise (sounded like a far away ambulance siren so much so that I kept looking for the emergency vehicles coming) when it shifted from the battery to the gas engine.

In the Civic, you also can’t fold the seats down in the back because the battery pack takes up 1/8 of the trunk space.  And the interior colors! *rolls eyes*  You don’t get any choices.  The inside color is dependent on the outside color.  And the silver that I wanted… comes with blue cloth seats.  And not just blue… 1980s ugly medium-dark blue.  That’s right… leather seats just isn’t a choice.  The other color is a tan… but not a light tan, one that’s medium dark and old-ish looking.

So we went to check out the Toyota Prius.  B hates the look of them, but I don’t mind. MUCH more room inside than the Civic and the back seats can fold down with a 60/40 split. Very quiet when it goes from battery to gas.  And it has a screen that shows you where the power is going underneath the car… B thought that was really cool (boys!).  It also has a back-up camera which is neat.  The saleswoman even got on her hands and knees to show us that if there was a small child in the back, you’d see that with the back up camera.  That was hilarious. Priceless!

The only problem with the Prius (other than the price!) is the annoying bar that goes across the back windshield.  That would bug the heck out of me, but I’m sure I’d get used to it.

But the Prius is expensive.  If I sell my car on my own, I’ll probably get $5,000-$6,000 out of it above what I owe.  Which is awesome.  But that would still put my monthly payment of the Prius at $100-$150 more per month than what I’m paying now ($50-$100 more than my original payment plan when I bought the2009 Prius preview car–I’ve since refinanced).  And with gas at $3.50 a gallon, I’d be saving about $100 a month in gas.  So it’d be a wash.  However, if gas goes to $4 a gallon, I’d be saving $120 a month.

B and I are doing a roadtrip down to Texas in June and by having a Prius, it’d save us $250 in that trip alone if we only went to our destinations and back (assuming gas is $4 a gallon, which it will be because that will be 4th of July time)… and we plan to do some touristy things along the way!

So my dilemma is: is buying the new car worth it?

And if the answer is yes, then I have something else to think about: rumors have it that the 2009 Prius that2009 Prius Preview will be coming out this fall may get up to 85mpg and possibly be a plug-in where you can go at least 7 miles without using gas (up to 50mph)… I live about 2 miles from work, so that means I could possibly never have to use gas to get to and from work.  They are also saying it might have solar panels on the top of the car.

But it’s all guessing at this point.  Toyota isn’t going to be telling even the dealerships what the ’09 model is going to be like because if it is anything like what people are saying… no one would buy and ’08 model and would just hold out for the ’09.

So, right now, I have two choices: buy a new car or not.  And if I buy a new car, I have two choices: buy one and start saving gas money now or wait to see what ’09 brings… and possibly be disappointed if the new models aren’t anything worth mentioning.

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7 comments

  1. That is a hard one – esp. with three doggies. I actually like the Prius better then Civic. How about look into a used one? I have a used Santa Fe (and love it!) cause I could not afford a brand new one…


  2. *sigh* I’d love to but used Priuses (Priui?) are very hard to find and are only about $1000 LESS than the brand-new ones. And I’d only want a 2007 because they came out with new stuff for it over the 2006… things I really need/want.

    As for the dogs… well, the only time we travel with all of them is going to my mom’s house… which will only happen for another year. And it’d be far cheaper to rent a vehicle for less than $100 for the weekend once every few months than to hold onto a gas guzzler.


  3. I have submitted your article to http://www.autocar-live.com which is a social site where users can submit car/auto articles and vote for already submitted articles.


  4. If you wait a little longer Toyota may come out with more hybrid cars that look better. I love the Prius gas mileage but it looks funny. The rear window has very limited vision. Toyota already has an electric hybrid Camry.


  5. Hi. Dropped by from the WordPress login page cos I saw the pic of Chase on your avatar. Lovely GH!
    The Prius and Civic are not going to cut it if the GHs get into the car a lot – what with crates, bottles and possibly mats for a weekend out. How about the Lexus RX400 hybrid? Good mileage and power for all the soft-road needs. Not sure how much one costs in your neck of the woods but it’s a lot more than the Prius and Civic in my part. If cost is a big hurdle, I think the Tucson should serve you better than the two sedans. Among petrolheads, modifying the right foot usually gets better mileage out of any car. 🙂 Good luck!


  6. Drop by my site and look through the archives for my post on the Prius. Since I write a lot of cars in my job I’ve had the opportunity to drive this car numerous times and I’m quite impressed with it when compared to the Honda Civic.

    With the price of gas I think it’s a good investment even if the tax rebate is no longer available.


  7. I’ve heard rumors of a hybrid version of the Honda Fit coming over the horizon soon. We’ve got one and, while not the smoothest ride, it’s a lot of fun to drive, even on our generously potholed rural Maine roads. Also, it’s quite roomy, and the seats fold down nearly to the floor, creating a huuuge extended trunk.

    And, what’s more, even not being a hybrid, it gets pretty good mileage, and was reasonably cheap.



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