Finding the perfect (regular) car in America – Intro

cars eh?Since I’ve lived in Chicago I’ve never had want of a car, other than the welcome arms of a taxi to take my drunk ass home…. well, I wouldn’t call it a real driving (sic) desire, but I have found myself thinking how it would be nice to have something to get from point A to B without the need for public transport – especially when traveling in the ‘burbs.

Currently I rely upon the Brown and Red Line El to get me around the City for most of my needs; This is a cheap ($1.75 per trip but $0.25 for the first subsequent trip within 2hrs of the first), frequent service. The El is renowned for its’ ability to join the corporate commuter with what appear to be the scum and villany that Obi Wan said lived in Mos Eisley.

Actually it’s not as bad as that – you get the odd weirdo or stinky but your attention is mainly on what not to step on – there are some sticky parts of the floor you’d rather not think about… and if you do think about them, there’s always the guy talking to himself to distract you.

Because the El only takes me so far, if it’s really crappy weather I’ll also take the 76 Diversey Bus (same price/setup for cost) which drops me 200 yds from home (if the weather’s OK I’ll walk the 1.2 miles), usually wearing my backpack like a Jehovah’s Witness – which is great ’cause no-one bothers me.

Getting to work in the morning, Rachel drives me downtown first and then takes herself to her work (about 30miles away) using our Buick Rendevouz – a 4.2ltr V6 SUV which has crappy fuel consumption, crappy performance, crappy looks, crappy driving experience, crappy crash safety and is generally crappy. A picture of it is here if you’ve not seen one. Yeah… impressive eh? Impressive like a fart that clears a room impressive…

(by the way, Rach chose the car for good reason at the time – and to be honest it has served us well on many an occasion, but we’re both of the opinion now that if we’d been together when she was looking for a new car, this wouldn’t have been it – oh well).

Recently I had to take a trip out to Scumburg for work; I was able to get a lift with a co-worker (a la colleague for those in the UK) but had to make my own way back. For this I used public transport, being the eco-friendly’ish person I sometimes attempt to be. This involved waiting 30mins for the bus to arrive (the stop being conveniently outside the office) which took me on a 45 min ride to the Blue Line El at Rosemont to join stinky and his friend, the artful twitcher. From there I had to wait 20mins for a train to arrive (due to lack of stink on the train they had to let the floor ferment a little) and then a 40min ride to Logan Square where I and my fellow Chicagoans try and look either tough, student or retarded – or sometimes all three – and took the 76 Bus east for 20mins. So let’s say it took around 2 hours to get home … If I had a car it would be 45mins on the expressway… you see where I’m going…

It’s also true that when I lived in the UK I loved my car du jour. Some would say I was obsessive about them as every car I’ve had has been spotless … much like my license (TV license, not driving license). There was nothing more enjoyable than opening up the throttle and doing speeds well within the legal limits … that is, if you live in Germany and drive the autobahn. Sadly the Chicago Police, sticklers for the letter of the law and devoid of corruption, don’t take too kindly to speeders – they sit and wait for you, instead of actually dealing with the crime in our fair city – especially when you’re in the ‘burbs, so having a sporty car here is kind of pointless.

And so to the point of this post (ohthankyougod! I hear you cry) – and future posts on this subject; I’m going to document my research on what cars are available here – and I have to tell you, I have an open aversion to many American models (GMC et al) based on my limited experience – however I am quite prepared to give them a look, so if you have a recommendation, please comment!

Whew! There we have it… I’m not sure WHEN I’ll buy the car yet… lots to think about, but I certainly want to give it lots of thought. My criteria are:

  • Fuel consumption in the 30+mpg
  • 0-60 in sub 8 second
  • 2 door
  • Proven reliability

However as Rach reminds me that we are trying to expand the Morgan empire and as such need a 4 door car unless I want a bad back from hoofing the kid(s) over the front seats. Therefore my modified requirements are:

  • Fuel consumption in the 30’s
  • 0-60 in sub 10s
  • 4 Door
  • Good crash safety rating
  • Absolute reliability
  • 5 people min. capacity
  • Not an SUV or Estate (station wagons to you yankie doodles)
  • Reasonaby priced

Of course I’m flexible around some/all of these – I actually like some SUV’s (Infiniti FX-35, Nissan Murano) but they have higher than many price tags.

So! Next post we’ll start looking at some cars. Fuck yeah!

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2 thoughts on “Finding the perfect (regular) car in America – Intro

  1. Thanks for the post Darryl, but you miss the point. You can put a cherry on a turd, but it’s still a turd.

    The Rendevouz (2002-2006) has an awful crash rating, terrible performance, engine reliability issues (look at the buick forums if you don’t believe me) and just awful MPG.

    Plus, I personally think that lift kits are crap – especially for us living in the oh-so-hilly Illinois; Nerf Bars are reserved for old people who live in the South and chew tobacco. No offense!

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