July 13th, 2009


What car should I buy?

I meant my current car to be "temporary", then four and a half years passed. It's time: I'm not about to move, or change jobs, or spend half the summer away from home, or work on a big campaign in the next few months, so I can do stuff like find a car. What should I look at?

Whatever I get, I want to keep for a long time. At least 200k miles, maybe 300k or more. New or used is okay. I don't plan to resell for a long time.

It needs to basically work, and stay reliable as long as I maintain it regularly and fix things as soon as I know they need fixing.

I don't care if it looks cool or feels great to drive or any of those things, just reasonable.

I do want to be able to get up steep dirt roads in Vermont and the Berkshires and such places in bad weather. That doesn't necessarily mean all wheel drive. My previous car, a Saturn SL2 with front wheel drive and "traction control" (ability to have the two front wheels turn separately) was very good at it. My current car, a Saturn SL1 (less power) with front wheel drive and no traction control, is not good at it. I'd take a front wheel w/traction again.

And I want fuel efficiency, particularly on highways and country roads, which account for the majority of my driving. I've been getting 33-39mpg on those kinds of roads in my current Saturn, though it's not rated that high. I'd like something that good or better.

Edit: I'd also like to have as much space as a Saturn SL2/SL1, for people and for stuff. More space would be fine, but not needed. It'd be annoying to have to adjust to a car with less space.