Car conundrum

About a month ago, I caught someone trying to break into my car. Thankfully it was not a smash-and-grab break in attempt, more a slim jim to try and get the door open, so no destructive forces were at work. And they ran away when I saw them and hit my panic button on my key.

I drive a Rav4, which is a smallish SUV. M also has a CRV, which is also a smallish SUV. Both are all wheel drive. However, my Rav goes nowhere but the gym, office, client offices, etc. In the almost 3 years we have owned it, I have put 26K on the odometer. It was more the first year, before the CRV entered our realm, but now M’s car has replaced mine as the go car. We drive it everywhere when we are together and the Rav stays home in the garage.

The almost break-in was because my alluring work bag was on the backseat floorboard. I suspect they hoped for a laptop or tablet, but alas, it was a plain wirebound notebook and some miscellaneous notes and papers for projects I have in progress. My laptop is never ever left in the car for precisely this reason, and I usually know better and take my bag as well. The only excuse I can offer is that I was only going to be a few minutes and sometimes the allure of caffeine short circuits my better sense. M was still rattled enough by the close encounter that there was a minor lecture about being more careful.

But since my venture into self-employment, I drive more and spend more time in my car going from home to office to clients or some combination thereof. My trusty work bag has morphed into a portable office for me, because I have to bring things with me, including my laptop, the aforementioned trusty wirebound notebook and miscellaneous client notes and documents. Only I do not always want to schlep all my crap into meetings where I will not need it. Hence my contemplating a vehicle with a trunk.

M has felt for awhile that I need a car with a trunk, and I have resisted the idea. Only since the close encounter with the the slim jim crew I have thought idly about what returning to a sedan would feel like for me. Since my last sedan probably 12 years ago, I have had another Rav4, a 4Runner, a Civic coupe, and now this particular Rav. Since we have the CRV with it’s AWD capability, we are set if ever we need to travel in snow. Seriously, if the CRV were out of commission M would prefer we rent a car that take the Rav in the snow, and no way would M ever drive my car to one of his high country run locations. In truth he is a tiny bit squeamish about driving his 9 year old CRV into high country run locations where the potential for big bushes touching the paint could potentially exist. Either way, it’s a bit overkill to have 2 smaller SUVs when it does not snow around here and our adventures into AWD-needed country are limited to a few times per year for the last dozen years.

So we have begun our research and consideration of cars.

For me, I’d probably be happy with something mid-size that feels happy – like a Camray or a 4-door Accord. Or even a 4-door Civic, which in my mind has expanded into mid-size car. M, on the other hand, feels that if I am going sedan (I vastly prefer a 4-door vehicle) something with a bigger engine and more power is appropriate, putting us into Avalon and Maxima territory. Our preference is always a mildly used vehicle, but I prefer to start at the dealership looking at new and having them explain the features and whiz-bang goodies of each model. From there I can see if there is something comparable in the used market.

While I love, Love, LOVE my Rav, I have felt for awhile that it would not be with us for the long term. With M feeling so reluctant to take it anywhere because it’s “so nice,” it was marked for eventual sale or trade once the newer CRV came into the family (M’s former vehicle was a 1999 CRV). Even if it were 5 years down the road, the Rav would have had to suffer some sort of disfiguring accident (which breaks my heart a little to even imagine, I love that car so much) for it to become M’s running car. So when discussions turned to getting a sedan type car, the Rav is the one on the sell or trade block.

A sedan feels much more like a long-term commitment, which makes making a choice hard for me. The full size sedans make me think I’m truly crossing over into senior citizenship, because no one young-at-heart drives such a land yacht, even if it is a very plush, driveable land yacht. At least no one I know, anyway.

My friends suggest mid-life crisis – time for the red sports car! Only I’m not a sportscar type of person; I am way to practical. The closest I come is being enamoured of the larger rims and slick-looking tires on cars. With a sports car, I keep imagining the speeding tickets and doing time in traffic school. It has been a few years since I got pulled over for speeding, but other than visits downtown a few times each month, I rarely drive on the freeway. The places I visit most are within a 10 mile radius of our home.

With all this stuff ping-ponging about in my head, I am forcing myself to make the pilgrimage to the Toyota dealership today to examine their Camray and Avalon offerings, although my eye will continually be drawn to their smaller siblings – the Corolla or even a Yaris. I would never actually consider a Yaris – I would feel like an adult climbing in and out of a kid’s battery operated toy car – but I love looking at the tiny cuteness of it. M is kinda/sorta open to the idea of a Prius, but again, a trunk is kind of the whole point of this exercise.

Tomorrow is the Nissan dealership to ponder an Altima and a Maxima, then perhaps further afield if nothing else I see makes me think I have found a good fit.

Fortunately I do not tend to fall in love at test drives, or even after I have decided upon whatever it is I want next. Cars are not a reflection of my status in life or personality; cars are primarily tools to get from point A to point B safely and reliably. However, I would like the drive to be fun and the vehicle to be pretty to my eye. Failing the pretty, it had better be a good enough deal for me to live with distant second choices. This is such a change for me, to be considering sedans again, and it feels like a major life event is looming. I will be driving this for a long time to come, so I either need to get precisely what I want or a super steamy deal on it.

After my research is done, I may decide to simply keep the Rav awhile longer and see what happens and how I feel next. And I am perfectly okay with that. But for now the research project will distract me from my unease and paranoia about leaving anything in it.

Ugh. Some people love looking and driving different cars. While it will be nice to see my car guy (same guy has now sold me 3 different Toyota vehicles in the last dozen years), he knows I hate the whole car changing process. My dislike of car changes is so intense that going to the gym and running through a few rounds of all the core exercises on my Lists sounds worthy of anticipation in contrast.

And I have an appointment with RD right before the car viewing appointment, so it is a busy day.

8 thoughts on “Car conundrum

  1. I rented a Carolla sport edition some years back for five weeks straight. It was a blast to drive, sat five comfortably, and was a fair bit smaller than its Camry big brother. Just a thought

    • Wow, Ananyman! You’re still out there and reading blogs. 🙂 Truly, I hope everything is wonderful in your world and with your wife and family.
      And thanks for weighing in on my car thinking. We have cycled through a fair number of Honda Civics through the years and actually still have one in our personal fleet, my son drives one, my son-in-law also, and my daughter has a Fit (her last 2 civics stolen, 1 lost in a freakish flood at her apartment complex), so we’re quite familiar with small cars. DH would now like the luxury and larger engine size, which is what drives us toward consideration of the bigger land yachts.

      • Yep, I’m still here, occasionally reading the few blogs I follow that are still active.
        Regarding cars, if you want luxury and engine size, that pretty much spells land yacht unless you want to go with something like a Lexus GS or an Audi mid-size.

      • Yep, I am resigned to going that route if it seems appropriate. It will be interesting to actually sit in and drive something that feels so huge to me.

  2. I am way behind on commenting (work!) – but wanted to jump in. I had a RAV4 – loved it. But the cargo area in the back had a rolling cover – from the back of the back seats to the end of the space – we usually kept it pulled out – creating a trunk. So nothing was visible – that was how I handled the situation you have. Of course I hate sedans (make me feel old) and I do now have a red sports car (Mustang convertible) but still loved that Rav4

    • This version of the Rav does not seem to come with one of those, although we do have that in the CRV. But just for fun today I drove a Scion FRS – so fun. And while i would love me a red mustang, if I go forward it will be a sedan of some sort. M loves the coups, too, but 4 door cars are just so much more practical for how I seem to live my life.

      • You have the CRV – you still have practical covered. ruby red mustang convertible with v8 engine = fun

      • If it were just me, if I did not have to consult and negotiate with M, I’d likely be driving that … or the red corvette at the Chevy dealership I passed on my way to test drive the Avalon. 🙂 I am not impulsive or impractical often, but I do tend to go big when I indulge.

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