This week, we sold our 15-year-old Toyota Camry 4-door Sedan and our 10-year-old Ford Expedition 8-passenger SUV, and we bought two new cars: a Smartcar Passion Coupe Cabriolet (2-seater convertable), and a Mercedes GL350 BlueTEC SUV (which seats 7). We traded in the Toyota on the Smartcar and sold the Ford on Craigslist. After so long nursing along old (very old) cars, it was a wild week.
We spent last weekend visiting car dealerships, mostly along Stevens Creek in Santa Clara, California. It was surprising how few offered cars that would fit my tall husband in comfort. We told salesmen that we wanted to test sit the cars before we test drove them. We visited Mercedes, Toyota, Cadillac, Ford, Lexus, Chevrolet, Smart, and Porsche. After sitting in 20 cars, we found that only four really fit John: the Mercedes GL (SUV), the Toyota Sienna (minivan), the Ford Flex (SUV), and the Chevrolet Traverse (SUV).
Besides wanting cars that were not falling apart bit by bit (I think the Camry’s door handle breaking off in my hand told me that the time had come…), we wanted cars that were not so wasteful. The Smartcar has an EPA estimated fuel consumption of 33 city/41 highway (compared to the Camry at about 20 mpg). It is for me to run errands and commute to work when my husband John and I are not driving together. For such a tiny car, the Passion has a surprising amount of headroom for John.
The ultra-low-emissions diesel Mercedes has an EPA estimated fuel consumption of 17 city/23 highway miles per gallon (compared to the Expedition with 13 mpg at best). This will be our family car, used in hauling yard and building supplies for house and caboose work, taking our big dogs to the vet, driving groups of children on field trips, and taking the family on our annual camping trip into the mountains. Our hope is that the Mercedes will last us much much longer than the Ford, so we will save the energy of creating materials for a new vehicle every ten years.
Many years ago, when our friend Max was a very little boy, he stared at our Ford Expedition and christened it the “Too Big”. We now have both a “Too Big” and a “Too Small”.
Images Copyright 2010 by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher