Living the Outback Life

The day finally arrived…

I bought a new car.  For someone who drives about 6,000 miles a year and has had the same car for over 10 years it comes as a surprise to people who know me that I finally “bit the bullet.”  Having two kids, a stroller, and a trunk full of groceries will make a person quickly realize that the car that worked very well when you were just married does not cut the mustard anymore.  Besides, a co-worker offered me a good price on the old Protégé that he wanted to buy for his kid.

Plus, staring up the hill to my house a full day after a snowstorm with no plow in sight and lovely neighbors who blow snow from their driveways into the street made task of getting home dicey on the best of days.

The choices were actually pretty easy to narrow down because the feature set was four doors, hatchback style, and all-wheel drive.  Oh, yeah, it was going to be a Subaru.  Why?  If you are an IMBA member you know about the Subaru VIP program.  If not, become an IMBA member.  Basically, as an IMBA member you are given the benefit of purchasing a Subaru—most models are included—at 2% below invoice and you are eligible for any incentives.  On top of that, Subaru donates $125 to IMBA for every automobile purchased under the program.

So, things basically came down to the newly redesigned Impreza, Forester, and Outback.  All were four door hatchback style bodies with all-wheel drive.  I deep sixed the Forester because of the outdated four speed automatic transmission.  I am not the biggest fan of the CVT used in the Impreza and Outback, but the improvement in mileage is worth the annoyance.

I test drove both and liked them for different reasons.  The newly redesigned Impreza was a lot like my old Mazda Protégé, but with all-wheel drive.  It was zippy around town and felt like a car, it got great mileage, and it was easy to put a roof rack on for my bicycles.  However, the first time I put my son’s Britax Roundabout behind the driver’s seat the decision was made in favor of the Outback.  Considering I sit closer to the wheel than anyone I know—a legacy of having really short legs—this was a deal breaker.

A week into the ownership “experience” and I am happy with my purchase.  Spending a week driving through snow, ice, freezing fog, and just about whatever other nice weather Iowa in winter can throw at the driver makes me even happier.  Not once have I spun my wheels or felt like I was going to get stuck in those lovely ridges of snow that appear in intersections.  Plus, my daughter can no longer kick the backseat because of the extra space.

It was not the most eco-conscious choice.  I probably should have kept my car for a few more years, but I can try to assuage my green guilt another way.

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