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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Beetlemania 

Wednesday evening I saw a lady about a car, and some hours later, have tentatively contracted to buy it on The Lovely One's behalf.

So, the next time you see me, it should be rolling in The Lovely One's pretty black 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle. That's what VW calls them, leading to oxymoronic statements like "I just bought a used New Beetle."

If you're wondering, the upside of Beetles is that they're incredibly cute, reasonably practical, very well appointed for a vehicle that is nominally at the low end of the car ladder, and they feel good, like tiny German cars. It feels like a substantial step up in amenities from my Tercel. The downside is that they're ludicrously cute (when driving it, I will eternally look like a guy driving his wife's car), the design basically sacrifices cargo space to cuteness (underneath, a Beetle is a Golf is a Jetta is an Audi A3; the difference is mostly bodywork), the sightlines are said to be less than ideal, and the reliability is merely average. It's not really a sports car, though it seems to corner happily.

I am happy with the car we got, though. It has no major problems, unlike some of the things we saw. It's not a VW Cabrio, which was the other car on our list (my objection? The Cabrio is up there with the best, but there's no way to escape the fact that convertibles are structurally compromised cars, and that shows up in their ride and noise levels). But I keep thinking of the 1.8 Turbo one that got away before we could looka t it...

What would I have bought in this price range? BMW 535, or found a Lexus SC and bargained until the seller came down to my level. The SC300 and SC400 are very pretty, very luxurious coupes with reasonable performance built by Toyota. My experiences with the Tercel (now for sale, dontcha know, and I've just become a motivated seller...) has made me feel considerable goodwill towards its makers.

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