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Bloviating Zeppelin: New Car

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Car

Well, I went and did it. I purchased a new car at, seemingly, the worst or the best time -- depending upon your view. And I bought, seemingly, one of the worst possible vehicles to have purchased considering the current price of gasoline.

I absconded with a new 2007 Toyota RAV-4 Limited on Memorial Day, a unit with 4WD, tow package, leather, sunroof, most every option available and the 280 hp Lexus V6 engine which runs on, imagine this: regular unleaded. The identical engine in the Lexus demands premium.

I researched this vehicle more thoroughly than any other car I'd ever considered buying.

Narrowing the search down to two vehicles, I drove both the V6 RAV-4 and the Honda CRV, which is offered only in a 166 hp in-line 4 cylinder. At first glance I liked the looks of the Honda better; I also better liked the looks of the interior. However, I drove the Honda and noticed it was a tad sluggish up an inclined road near the dealership. I also noted the second row seats did not completely lie flat when folded and removed an amount of room from the rear cargo area. My wife didn't like the available interior space or the front and rear seats. I made sure I included her opinions in the decision-making process though this shall be my primary vehicle.

I'm sure the Honda would have gotten a bit better mileage; but in the end I didn't care for its slightly greater road noise, its AWD vs. the RAV-4's 4WD (and lockout ability), and the Honda's inability to move the 5-speed transmission into all gears. I also made full-lock turning circles with both vehicles and the longer RAV-4 turned tighter than the CRV -- 34' vs. 36'.

Final decision? The engine did it for me. Toyota's 3.5L V6 is simply an affordable monster for its size. It offers more hp than the 25o hp 4.8L V8 Ford cop cars I drive.

A few initial observations:
  • The oddly-configured dash will get some "getting used to" as will the HVAC system controls;
  • The steering wheel seems, visually, rather small at first; not an issue during actual driving maneuvers;
  • I find I very much enjoy the "elevated" visual line-of-sight;
  • Though a larger vehicle with a greater amount of open interior space, the RAV-4 is significantly quieter than my previous vehicle, a 2003 Subaru Outback Sport wagon;
  • The engine is absolutely effortless; I ran it up Highway 50 yesterday with my wife, to our favorite rib place near Shingle Springs (Poor Red's: home to the largest amount of Galliano poured in the entire world and home to the World's Finest Gold Cadillac!) and up 3-Mile Grade on I-80 today; all it wanted to do was go faster;
  • Whereas the Subaru Outback Sport's transmission would constantly send its gears "hunting" back-and-forth between 4th and 3rd up grades, the RAV-4 downshifted only twice up both my major highway grades; its shifts were both butter-smooth and damn near unnoticed;
  • I immediately observed: the engine just wants to GO;
  • Throttle tip-in is somewhat abrupt and needs to be carefully modulated from a stop;
  • Brakes are linear and don't require legs like a Russian weightlifter to activate;
  • The ride is firm and not plush;
  • No interior rattles;
  • The rear door, hinged right and carrying the exterior spare tire (and cover), is heavy; Toyota needs to hinge this door on top for subsequent models;
  • Did I mention: the engine just wants to go!

I'd had enough of Tuna Cans as I'd written in a previous post. This vehicle is about the most expansive I've ever owned. But I was fed up with shoehorning myself, my wife, my father, my brother, any passengers, into the former BZMobile. There's a company that alleges to chip the car up to 300 hp. I might investigate that.

It still astounds me, how much interior room I have. And ALL TO MYSELF.

A few other things I discovered: the air conditioning will freeze your ass. Far as I'm concerned that's GREAT. I linked up my cell phone with its interior Bluetooth. How WEIRD is it to just hit a couple buttons on the steering wheel and talk to people! I linked up my iPod Nano this morning and listened to my playlist whilst cruising up I-80. Speaking of cruise control: I have yet to encounter a cruise control system as completely SEAMLESS as that of Toyota's. Subaru's cruise control system was abrupt and neck-snapping in comparison.

Best yet: I traded in the Subaru and placed a substantial down. My monthlies are less than $200 for 36 months at 4.9% apr. The credit guy said: "Companies can't loan enough money to guys (the wife and I) with credit ratings like you. You can damn near write your own terms."

As opposed to my previous relationship, my wife has an actual appreciation for her credit rating and has done all she could to maintain its spotlessness. We're reaping the benefits now.

I've budgeted for $7-a-gallon gas and, until it reaches that point, I'm not much concerned. I'm getting a pay raise in June. My retirement system is stuffed. I've planned well. I'm sufficiently old that I shall NEVER be riding "public" transport. Far as I'm thinking, "public systems" are for nothing but losers, drunks, druggies and those sucking from the welfare teat. I don't "do" buses or "light rail" or "The El" or "the subway" or any of that low-class crap.

Mostly because I've depended on MYSELF and my OWN planning. I've carved out a place in Heaven because, when younger, I did my time in Hell. I've paid my dues.

You don't plan, you fail.

There's a reason that Toyota is now the largest carmaker on the entire planet, now surpassing GM.



Blogger Ranando said...

Good for you, it's a great car.

We have a few friends that have them and love them.


Tue May 29, 07:45:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Dionne said...

Congrats, it looks awesome!!!!!

Tue May 29, 09:00:00 PM PDT  
Blogger TexasFred said...

We went to Louisiana last week for my girls graduation and we leased a Chevy Tahoe, we have a full size K-5 Blazer but she's getting too old for the long trips so we lease, anyway, I'll never lease another Tahoe again, maybe it was just the configuration but we weren't truly comfortable at any point in time...

Great a/c and CD player, good visibility but the buckets in their seats didn't fit the bucket of MY seat... And the damn seats were hard as rocks...

Congrats on the new one, looks great...

Tue May 29, 09:05:00 PM PDT  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

For you, 4WD is necessary. Don't ever question that call.

I like them ok. I just can't get in and out of them. I am convinced, none of the Japanese companies like to make vehicles for people with more than a 32" inseam. They put plenty of legroom but neglect to tilt the wheel up enough for me to climb out.

Tue May 29, 09:24:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Thanks folks. It may not seem a big deal to most of you, but for me getting a vehicle this "big" is a real achievement. And BWH, I'm sorry about that -- but luckily I fit because I ain't that tall, 5'9" on a GOOD day.


Wed May 30, 05:00:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

It's a beautiful car, BZ. Congratulations! And congratulations on maintaining good credit. So many people don't realize how important it is.

Thu May 31, 09:35:00 AM PDT  
Blogger The Vegas Art Guy said...

Good job on the car. Cold AC is a good thing, especially here in Las Vegas... lol

Thu May 31, 04:58:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bushwack said...

LMAO now you are a soccer mom??????LOL

Just funnin BZ, my buddy just bought the same vehicle, he loves it.

You talk about gas prices?? I own a GMC 3500 dually, sporting a 454 power plant.....OUCH... I get all of 10mpg.

Fri Jun 01, 09:21:00 AM PDT  

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