Methodical deliberation is not one of my strong points. The bipolar temperament tends towards the impulsive and, later, lots of head-slapping. But, I’m determined to do this car-buying thing differently, if at all possible.
Yesterday, I took my dad’s truck in for an oil change and general look-see by my trusted mechanics. The folks at Alley Auto have been very good to me—they’re like family. (Wait. My cousin’s husband owns the shop, so they really are family.) They always figure out the cheapest way to fix a car-related problem, make sympathetic noises when I have my car-stress-induced crying jags, and even bought my old Ford Escape when it got too expensive to fix anymore. They rank high on my list of Real Heroes.
I knew I could count on them to give me the real skinny on compact cars, and I wasn’t disappointed. We nattered in the office for a half hour—Rose, the tough office manager with a Lauren Bacall voice; Todd, the tender-hearted wise guy; and Bob, the all-round nice, decent, human being my cousin married. Boy, howdy, did I get an ear-full.
The Smart Car, it seems, is not the car of choice. Foreign-made, with no dealer in Iowa, any repairs would be expensive and done long distance. And even though it is teeny-tiny, its gas mileage is only average. There are other compacts and sub-compacts of similar price that offer more car and better mileage.
The Dodge Dart was a favorite.
And they threw out the Ford Focus.
Also the Honda Fit.
And maybe the Ford Fiesta.
We have dealers in town for all these cars, so my car posse suggested I go drive them all (when the snow stops and the roads are shoveled). Bob said once I find a couple I really like, then the team will do some research on reliability and repair stats to see how they hold up over time. They’ll also give me pointers on what questions to ask the dealer and other car-Ninja techniques. In the meantime, they’ll keep my old truck running on the cheap.
I was weak with gratitude as I hopped on Google to research these other cars. What a giant relief to have a whole team on my side, ready to help me make a calculated, well-informed decision. Even when I eventually leave this oasis of stability, I can hold onto these Car Crusaders for support. Maybe I can really do this thing. And, maybe this time, I won’t have to deal with so much post-manic, decision-making face palm.