Auto options can drive one batty
Feb. 11, 2013
by Ivan Raconteur

My car and I both have a lot of hard miles on us, and I recently accepted the fact the time has come to replace my current vehicle with something new – or at least newer.

In my innocence, I thought this would be a simple proposition, since I know exactly what I want in a vehicle.

The problem is the vehicle I want doesn’t exist.

I’m not asking for much.

I want a vehicle that can carry my kayak and my bike, with enough cargo space to haul a pile of gear for any adventure I may wish to tackle.

Boring is bad, so my dream vehicle will also be sporty, stylish, and fun to drive.

It will have a refined and comfortable interior, with a multitude of convenient features. It will, of course, need to have ample room in the driver’s seat to accommodate the larger driver.

There won’t be much road noise in this vehicle, either, because it must serve as my oasis between the office and various meetings.

This vehicle will be comfortable on long road trips, and it will be nimble and responsive in city traffic.

It will feature a powerful engine capable of hitting the passing lane on the highway and hauling a corpulent columnist up steep mountain roads.

Naturally, my dream vehicle will need to get excellent gas mileage. We must protect the environment as well as my wallet, and we can’t afford to have our paychecks disappearing into the gas tank. On my budget, I don’t just need something that goes a long way on a gallon – I need something that goes the whole way on half a pint.

Of course, price is an issue. Unlike the government, I can’t just print more money when I run out, so the vehicle I choose will need to be affordable.

This vehicle will also need to be reliable. As much as I enjoy visiting our genial local mechanics, I would rather drive by their establishments than drive in. The price they charge per hour for their labor is a lot more than I get paid per hour for my labor, so I need to avoid those visits as much as possible.

I have been studying my options for a few weeks now. I have read reviews, compared features, and scanned countless vehicle listings online.

This research did nothing but confirm the vehicle I want doesn’t exist.

All I have acquired so far is a headache.

Not only have I not found a solution, but I am more confused than I was when I started.

People joke about the days when only one car model was produced, and you could have whatever color you wanted, as long as it was black. I am beginning to think life was a lot simpler in those days.

Even after narrowing my search to a manageable number of choices, I keep running into enough sub-choices and available options to make my head spin.

Even within a particular make and model, there are a dizzying array of options, and they can vary in price by thousands of dollars.

I am going to have to make a choice eventually, but the process is taking a lot out of me.

All I want is reliable, efficient, and fun transportation to get me from point “A” to point “B” and back again.

If this process goes on too long, though, I may end up in a home for bewildered writers instead. There is, however, a silver lining – if I end up in an institution, I won’t need to worry about transportation.

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