Monday, January 08, 2007

My new car

Finally, I have my new car and I'm very excited. After all the searching (and thanks by the way to the zillions of you who offered suggestions), ultimately I ended up thinking hard about my list of what really matters to me:


  1. Must have lots of gadgets. A backup camera is the bare minimum, but yes of course it must have bluetooth for my phone, push-button ignition (no keys!), speech-driven nav system, etc. etc.
  2. Reliability. I was going to add cost, but although obviously I want to save money where I can, it's more important that I have dependable transportation for my commute.
  3. Noise. I want something quiet.
  4. Luxury. Leather seats, plenty of interior and storage room. Solid comfort all the way around.
  5. Status. Let's face it, I'm old enough that I want something that will make a statement, that says I can afford a decent car and that tells prospective customers, partners, and employees that I know how to enjoy life.


Now, here are some things I care less about: speed (I'm always in traffic, so who cares about going any faster than the speed limit), looks (within reason), global warming.

So what did I buy?

A Toyota Prius Touring Edition #6. It has everything I need. Even the standard system comes with a large LCD that displays details of the motor in real time. It has an SR-driven nav system, though the speech recognition UI is so poorly implemented that it's almost unusable -- but there are aftermarket options that I'll be getting anyway. I'll write more later about that.

Reliability is a given, since it's a Toyota. Some people talk about how the batteries run into trouble eventually, but after looking around I never did find a confirmed case. PriusChat mentions a cab driver who used it for 200,000 miles and it was still running. These things have been on the road for 10 years, so it's not an "experimental" vehicle by any stretch.

As for status, it seems to be the standard issue vehicle among the technology elite (take a look at all the famous owners). And here's what the New York Times had to say:

After all, said David M. Buss, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Texas in Austin, women are almost hard-wired to notice a car like the Mustang BMW or Infiniti. "Men with the muscle cars and sports cars tend to be signaling that they have extravagant resources, and sufficient excess to lavish those resources on nonnecessities," he said in an e-mail message. "These are precisely the qualities that women look for in a short-term mate — extravagant display of resources that can be devoted to them.

But that does not mean that manhood must be sacrificed in a Prius, he said. "Men driving the prudent, fuel efficient cars, in contrast, are signaling that they are not short-term mating strategies, but rather long-term mating strategies," he added. " They are signaling dependability, reliability, conscientiousness, long-term planning and willingness to commit."

This in spite of the evidence that hybrid cars are worse for the environment when you consider the dust-to-dust lifecycle of the car, but hey not everyone agrees.

I'll have much more to say about this car in future posts, but right now I'm just enjoying the new-car smell and wishing my commute were longer We'll see how long that lasts :-(

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