Saturday, July 30, 2011

Campworthy Car is No Car

 After a few weeks of study, comparison and test drives, we decided not to buy a new 'campworthy' car to preplace my 1993 Saturn. Why? Nothing seemed just right. Of the small SUV's and Crossovers we looked at, nothing hit the sweet spot. Mileage, good repair and maintenance reputation, adequate road clearance, heated seats (yes that was my one 'must have'), cargo space and price never converged in one vehicle.

So instead, I'll take my husband's Ford Escape, and he'll get a used pickup. Actually, he's been talking about doing this for a long time, but I had it in my head that I would find the perfect nice small SUV that would be 'just right'. Instead, all the cars we looked at seemed 'just wrong'.
I will continue to be on the lookout for a small crossover SUV with the following: highway mileage over 30mpg, heated front seats, decent road clearance, a good reputation for maintenance, sun/moon roof, and good cargo space. Oh yes and it should be priced around $20,000 with all these features. 

Until then, I'm sticking with the Escape. Which suits me just fine!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Most Camp-worthy Car

My beloved 1993 Saturn bit the dust this week. I am still in mourning for this car that saw me through so many years - 16 years of ownership (I bought her used). Many trips to the north woods and the big city. It just plumb rusted out underneath...and the 'ball joint' went out. The verdict from the repairman was that it is no longer drivable.

So, I am on the lookout for a camp-worthy car that can take punishment on dirt roads, with errant rocks and ruts and puddles. And that will get good mileage so that my 30 mile drive to buy groceries doesn't cost a bundle.

They closed down the Saturn brand in 2008 or 2009, so I don't want to go with a used Saturn, though I will remain loyal in my heart to that car concept and company forever. So far, I have looked at Subaru Outback and Forester, as well as Honda CRV. I was ecstatic with the mileage of the Ford Focus and the new Ford Fiesta, but their clearance is so low I'd be damaging the undercarriage on my first trip to camp. But the Honda's and Subaru's have much lower mileage than my dear old Saturn which easily got 38 mpg on the highway. Other suggestions from friends have been the Mini Cooper Countryman, and the VW Golf Diesel.

My ideal would be a slightly larger Honda Fit with a higher clearance, or an Outback with good highway mileage.

Will update you, faithful readers, on what I find. But as a female driver, with a life in the city as well as the woods, a compact SUV would be ideal. I would take a Honda Fit in a heartbeat if it wasn't so low to the ground.

If any of you have suggestions, post a comment. I'm thinking this topic might even be worth a newspaper or magazine article.