Test Driving Cars

He’d thrown me for a loop.

Noel and I went out yesterday to drop off his mother’s bloody ginger ale (grumble, grumble, grumble) and then pick up some shampoo and conditioner for me when Noel took us on a strange journey.

Okay, I overexaggerate, but we went out looking for a new car. Or maybe two. We’re not sure.

My Mitsubishi RVR X2 is getting on. She’s done nearly 100,000 kilometers (the point at which a car’s value becomes equal to that of a stone’s), and, let’s face it, she’s really struggling at times. “The ambulance” as everyone affectionately calls her helped us move in 2005, and pretty much moved the entire house except the big bits. She’s hauled our stuff to a few expos and has come in handy when we needed to pick things up for the school.

But lately… “the ambulance” has been having a few issues. She’s always had the electrical problem (air conditioning, radio with a bit of bass and headlights working at the same time? Forget that!) but lately she really has issues with being woken up too early in the morning or being asked to pick up speed at a great rate. For a while, she kept going flat. Overall, she’s been reliable but… we need to replace her.

So we headed down to the car yard where Noel got his Cadillac a few months back. The mission originally was about my car but then ended up that Noel might want to replace his car. Can we say ulterior motive? I thought you could. Good boys and girls.

Alas, I digress (as I am so good at doing). We decided that we needed a car much like the car I have now, so a minivan/people mover type of car. I tested a Honda Odyssey but something just didn’t sit right with me about it. We looked at other vans and station wagons and even hatchbacks, but there was this poor little yellow Volkswagen Beetle sitting in the corner saying, “Drive me. Please drive me.” But… I was holding myself back. A VW Beetle is not going to haul stuff around like the RVR.

In the end, we test drove a silver Toyota Altezza Gita (for everyone else, a Lexus IS300), which was very nice and very grunty… but it was possibly Noel’s replacement car, not mine. We were so impressed with it that we kept it overnight to test out a bit more.

In actual fact, Noel wanted me to test drive a few cars for me, but, it was 2 PM, I hadn’t eaten lunch, and, quite frankly, I was starving to the point I was about to flake out. So we took the car home to test.

I researched the car safety standards for a few of the cars/people movers/minivans we were looking at, as well as fuel efficiency, et cetera. One of the people movers we looked at had a shocking safety record (a lot lower than most other cars built in that year), so much so that the risk of substantial significant injury or death for the driver was extremely high compared to other cars. So that ruled that one out. And, for kicks, I thought I’d look up the Beetle, and was quite satisfied with the outcomes.

We went over to Jacqui and James’s for dinner and told them about what we were thinking about, when Jacqui and James both said, “How often do you haul things around that you need that much space?” And all I could think of was when we were doing expos (and, let’s face it, we didn’t really need those large tables anyway. Both of them said they thought I was mad getting a big people mover again. So the Beetle moved back into contention.

I went back today and there was the poor VW Beetle sitting there saying, “Please, please drive me.” So… and Noel knew I couldn’t help it… we returned the Lexus/Toyota and took the VW out for a spin. And, to be honest, I like it.

Of course, we came back to the yard to ask them if we could keep the car overnight to drive it a bit, and they said yes (as they would), when we spotted the PT Cruiser. Now, the PT Cruiser was also in the contention for selection but they didn’t have any ready for test drives (as they were still in that stage between import and being yard-ready). And Noel and I had a sinking suspicion that perhaps they brought the car in just for us especially. So… Noel is now thinking that he might trade is car in for that one — the Caddie doesn’t fit in the garage because it’s too long — and mine for the Beetle. But we’re yet to see!

My RVR is waiting on the sidelines (as a sort of you-have-my-car-while-I-test-drive-yours swap) at the yard, and it looks so… lonely. And I feel guilty in a way for abandoning an old, tried-and-true friend. You know I guess I’m a sentimental bitch that way. I have my moments where I’m a hard-headed cow (blame the German in me) but people who know me well will tell you that I’m a very loyal person and get upset sometimes when saying good-bye.

So we’ll see what the next few days bring… and whether there is a “Warp 8” Mark III on our drive.

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