Mustang Parts
   Carrying Saleen wheels and Bullitt wheels.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

My Chariot

What do I drive?

Nothing impressive. I drive a Volvo 850 with a 2.4L I-5 engine and a 5 speed manual. ~160HP, 0-60 takes about 9s. I have 100,000+ miles on the car, and I think I will keep it until parts start falling off. I bought the Volvo after college, used, because I wanted a safe, comfortable car with a reliable powertrain. So far it has been exactly that--safe, very ergonomic, but not very exciting.

I haven't done much to the car, except to upgrade the sound system with an MP3 capable head unit and better speakers, and replace worn shocks with better than stock units. I think the car is worth all of $4,000 at this point. I keep toying with the idea of adding an aftermarket turbo kit, and a lowered suspension kit, but I'm too cheap to do it.

Not my actual Volvo, photo courtesy of Edmunds.

What car would I drive if I decided to buy something different?

The new Volvo S40/V50 is a very good car, but it is a little too small for my taste, in the second row. I like the Volvo S60/V70, especially the R versions, but Volvos are fairly expensive to own--when something breaks, you pay out of the nose for it. And, despite Ford's efforts, Volvo is not yet a terribly reliable brand, plagued by electrical problems. I have no problem recommending a Volvo--just be aware that it will not be as cheap to maintain as a Toyota.

Also from Ford, I like the Mazda6 (3.0L V6, manual) and Mazda3 (2.3L I4 manual). The Ford Fusion looks like it might be a good car, but you can't buy on with a V6 and a manual transmission. A 2.3L Fusion with an aftermarket turbo might be fun. I love the design of the Mustang, but I think its muscle-car DNA would annoy me after a while, and I like having 4 doors. A Jaguar X-Type would be a steal, but I am not sure about reliability, and the depreciation would be brutal. Maybe I would buy a used one.

On the GM side, I am oddly attracted to the Chevrolet Cobalt SS--but I would hack off the wing, with prejudice, as soon as I got it home. I also like the Pontiac/Toyota Vibe, especially if I could get a turbo for it. The Pontiac G6 GTP with a manual is high on my list. I would also look at a Cadillac CTS, used. I think the Saab 9-2 ("Saabaru") would be a neat car, as would a Subaru Impreza wagon, despite its bland styling. I also like the Saab 9-3. I fantasize of someday owning a Corvette.

None of Chrysler's cars do anything for me at the moment. The 300 is too gangster for me, and can't be had with a stick. The Charger is interesting, but automatic only. I like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but I wouldn't drive a large SUV unless it was given to me for free.

Toyota? I won't buy one, for loyalty reasons, but the Scion Tc looks a little like a Volvo, and a great value, so I like it. The rest of Toyotas lineup? Zzzzzzz. Toyota needs to hire some braver stylists.

Honda's Accord coupe is nice, but a little sleepy looking. There is something about the Element's boxy practicality that appeals to me. I really like the Acura TL. Again, loyalty prevents me from buying.

Nissan Altima and Inifiniti G35 are very good cars, with a great powertrains. But they are "the enemy".

My current top 3 picks are Mazda6, Pontiac G6 GTP, Volvo V50. Strange grouping, I agree.


John B said...

You mentioned the Mazda3 as a possible choice (though on the small side). My wife bought one a year and a half ago and we've put 40,000 km. on it. The car is amazing value - undoubtedly the best combination of performance, reliability and value in a small car.

Anonymous said...

Care to explain why the three best manufacturers in your list are referred to as the enemy? Please consider the fact that all three of the Japanese manufacturers have major manufacturing facilities in the United State, purchase a lot of their parts from our Teir 1 suppliers, and employ thousands of Americans to which they provide better benefits and wages than the American manufacturers. I only hope that one day the Japanese manufacturers will acquire their American counterparts and bring out each company's full potential because the current management is incapable of doing so.

The Auto Prophet said...

They are the Enemy because I work for an "American" manufacturer, as my mini-bio states.

The Japanese and Koreans, in fact, buy many parts from Japanes and Korean suppliers. They do buy some American parts.

I don't want the Japanese to take over the American auto industry--I want there to be vibrant, American run companies, paying good wages (union and otherwise), and producing their product here.

Anonymous said...

I own a 2006 Mazda6s with the V6 and manual. The only options are the sport package with the 17" wheels and upgraded stereo. My wife and I love the V6/manual combination. It drives great. We bought it September 21, 2004 - end of the model year and only paid $19K.

I highly recommend this car.

Anonymous said...

Uhh... I'm pretty sure the American manufacturers purchase parts from the same Korean and Japanes [sic] suppliers that the Japanese and Korean manufacturers purchase their parts from, and I'd be willing to bet that the percentage of imported parts in a Toyota Tundra is very similar to the percentage of imported parts in a Ford F150. But I guess you'd know better since you're a member of SAE (as your mini-bio states). Ooooooh, wait! I'm an SAE member too! The fact that you have a blog doesn't make you God, and it certainly doesn't prove your intelligence.

The Auto Prophet said...

You hit the nail on the head--this is a blog. Hence, it is my opinion. If you don't like the blog, DON'T READ IT.

sh said...

Ooooooh, wait! I'm an SAE member too!

Hmmph, must be SAE Australasia.


Liked your choices with the exception of Volvo (Yeah, I know, it's your blog).

I'd have to sub a Buick LaCrosse CXS, put it number one, and hope that the GM venture into DOHC VVT can stand up to actually driving it. And I just might take off the "LaCrosse" badges and replace them with "Regal."

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to read what industry people drive. Thanks for the post