Car talk.

General, Reckons

I’m thinking about getting another car. (Claire is as well, but she wants a hot little European thing, whereas I’m more interested in a Japanese station wagon sort of thing.) So far, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a wagon, probably an automatic — while I enjoy the extra control I get with a manual transmission, I’m sick of driving a manual in Auckland traffic — and ideally not a white car, silver or black or a dark green or blue.

Anyway, to this end I’ve been looking at a few different makes and models:

Subaru Legacy GT or Legacy 250T

Pros: Good looking. Quite high performance. All wheel drive. Crazy-good road-holding. By far the best photo of all the cars I’m discussing today. 😉

Cons: These complete pieces of shit make mechanics rub their hands with glee.

When I first started thinking about getting another car, it was the Subaru Legacy that really made me think of getting a wagon, managing to be both practical, and sporty. Which is a nice combination. A wagon makes good sense when you have a horrible little brat of a dog.

After doing a lot of reading, and talking to my mechanic, I was basically put off Subaru’s for life.

It turns out they’re incredibly expensive to maintain, and some of them are extremely unreliable, leading to endless trips to the mechanic. When your mechanic gives you advice like this, against his own best interests, you should probably take it.

It only compounded the feeling I was getting from review sites and owner forums of people crying about their fucked cars.

Toyota Camry

Pros: Exceptional build quality. Smooth engine (esp. the 3l v6). "Executive" good looks. Reliable. Comfortable.

Cons: Can be pricey. Not very sporty, handling and steering are for comfort, not precision and fun.

Toyota is pretty well known for making long-lived reliable cars, which has lead, in no small part, to their being reliably ranked amongst the most popular marques in NZ. The Toyota Camry is rated as a very smooth comfortable and quiet ride, with a lovely smooth engine. But not very exciting.

Toyota Caldina

Pros: Toyota reliability. Good looking. Some models can be quite sporty (The GT-T for example), though admittedly I’ll probably be avoiding anything with a turbo (or as David prefers "torbo").

Cons: Smaller range of options than in the Camry.

By this point, I’m starting to get really dejected, to begin with (several weeks ago) I was just thinking, "Oh yeah, I’ll just get a Subaru Legacy in the colour I prefer, and away I’ll go as a happy camper." but then reality had to kick in, and now after looking through my thousandth spec list, or user forum, or classified listing, I’m thinking about a completely different manufacturer. And now I’m all worried about how many airbags it has, and what sort of side impact protection does it have, &c.

Anyway. I quite like the looks of the Caldina’s, I haven’t test driven any yet, but I’ve had a nice up close and personal look at one, and depending on how my test drive experience works out, I’ve got a feeling there’ll either be a Camry or a Caldina in my future.

Sorry about the car talk today.