I’ve mentioned it quite a bit on Twitter recently, but I’m slowly starting to look for my next car. I’m a bit of a gear head, so this isn’t a process I take lightly. Whereas some people go through cars every few years, I tend to stay with one car for a very long time so I put a lot of effort into my search to make sure I really get a car I’m going to love driving for several years.
I’m actually in a great position to start my research as I don’t need a new car. There’s not much worse than shopping for a new car when you current one is on its last legs. I’ve been keeping my eyes open though for awhile to see if anything might catch my fancy and this year there are a few cars that have. As I’ve started going through the process, I thought it might be interesting to share the experience from both my consumer perspective as well as my marketing perspective.
My intention is to share my experience completely from the manufacturer websites to the dealerships to my experience with the cars themselves. To that end, here is a little bit of background.
My current ride:
I currently drive a ’99 Ford Explorer Sport with a 4.0 SOHC V6. It’s 4×4 and does well in the snow which is really good as my commute is currently 24 miles each way.
What I love:
- 4.0 SOHC V6. I hit the gas pedal and it accelerates well enough to keep up with a stock 3.8 Mustang
- It’s blue!
- It handles well in the snow.
- Ride height isn’t too high, but am able to maintain good visibility over the majority of cars.
- The way it drives. Before I bought it I was considering quite a few vehicles, but after getting behind the wheel of an Explorer Sport, I knew it was my next car. I haven’t had that feeling with another car yet….
- I’ve personalized it. I’ve swapped out the turn signal covers (yellow to clear) and added blue lights, I have after market tail lights, tinted windows, a brush guard and an after market sound system.
What I dislike:
- It’s an automatic.
- It’s an automatic. Yes, I’ve intentionally listed that twice as that is truly my biggest issue with it. I like a standard transmission, especially in the snow. Unfortunately, in SUVs and trucks it’s nearly impossible to get a standard transmission anymore and unless I wanted to go with a smaller engine, I had to go with the automatic. Not to mention the fact I would have had to have one special ordered.
- Manueverability. While it’s acceleration is pretty good, I still have to plan out maneuvers. At times I am not able to change lanes simply because I don’t have the room and can’t accelerate quickly enough to get the needed room. I’m not afraid to admit that part of this dissatisfaction probably stems from riding my motorcycle.
What I want in my next car:
- Standard Transmission – I’m not entirely sold on the new dual clutch transmissions but am open to considering them. Especially as my afternoon commute is often gridlock.
- Good acceleration – I do a lot of highway driving so I need something that can get to highway speed quickly and won’t leave me in the lurch when I need to pass.
- Fun to drive – I spend a lot of time in my car, so if I don’t enjoy driving it, why bother buying it?
- Handles well in the snow – Colorado may not get as much snow as some places, but a rear wheel drive car isn’t a smart decision. I want to know that I can get home from work in a snow storm.
The options I’m currently considering: