Wendy Stories
26 April 2001

I Bought a Car!

Jacob took me to the library and scoured Consumer Reports for a comfortable 4-door family sedan. We made a list of must-have and like-to-have features.

Front and side-impact airbags.
Anti-lock brakes (ABS)

Then we test drove the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima, and the Passat. The Altima came out on top; the Maxima wasn't much different but was more expensive, and the others trailed behind. The Taurus and the Camry V4 were checked off our list. The Passat was too sluggish from the start in V4 and V6 and also lost the cut. Back to the library we went, to re-read consumer reports and check the safety, comfort, and reliability.

The Altima was the best overall! We tried to buy the Altima! But it wasn't available with the feature set we wanted. Period. So back to the drawing board.

We test-drove a Maxima V6, a Camry V6, and the Honda Civic and Accord V4 and V6. I liked the Maxima best, while the Camry was a bit sluggish around corners. The Maxima had a pointy-headrest problem, and the features we wanted weren't standard and were again hard-to-find. The Honda Accord V6 was a little less responsive but a few thousand dollars less, handled nicely and came with every must-have feature (and most of the options) on our list, standard! It had everything but remote entry, casette, and a power passenger seat.

We bought the Accord for more than $20,000 -- the biggest check I've ever written.

I pried the identifying marks off the back.
It drives like a dream. Easy to handle, registered, insured.
The perfect car!

Thank you Jacob.

- - -

Footnote: Shopping for a mid-size family sedan
Jacob narrowed the field by browsing through Consumer Reports and asking me what was important. Here's the list we came up with, for our test drives. Note optimal use of negate (!) in the features lists. The price listed are for comparison ranking, and are from carsdirect.com

Nissan Altima 16835 4dr Sedan GXE
   (CD, keyless, security)
Honda Accord 20575 4dr Sedan 3.0 LX
   (CD, rpower)
Toyota Camry 21745 4dr Sedan CE V6
   (CD, cassette, full spare)
Nissan Maxima 21585 4dr Sedan GXE V6
   (cassette, keyless, security, rpower)
Ford Taurus 17788 4dr Sedan LX V6
   (seat fold, !cruise, !plocks, !iwipers, rpower)
Volkswagen Passat 23374 4dr Frontwheel Drive Sedan GLS
    (Full spare, cassette, keyless, security, overhead bag, rpower)

Ordered by desirability.  +++ denotes mandatory feature.
+++side airbags: all
+++ABS: all
+++adjustable height belts:all
+++automatic transmission: all
++full-sized spare tire: few
++rear window defroster: all
++cruise control: most
++intermitten wipers: most
++keyless entry: few
++retained power: few
+child rear safety locks:all
+radio&speakers: all
+air conditioning: all
+power windows: all
+power locks: most
+cassette player: most
+CD player: most
+overhead airbag: few
V6 engine: few
rear seat fold-down: most
security system: few


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