Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What should this RiceDaddy Drive?

For Father's Day, I was supposed to have picked out a new car. Needless to say, I've been slacking off on that matter, not that I don't want a new car. I've just had a hard time deciding. But now that we've got the baby, and we're moving out to the 'burbs, we're really gonna need something that'll comfortably fit me, my wife, the baby, her baby gear, Costco-sized groceries, bikes, and some camping gear.

I need something versatile.

It's gotta be safe and it's gotta be comfy. And it's gotta be nimble enough to avoid the antics of stray NYC cab drivers & certain Jersey drivers. It's gotta be age-appropriate too, so you won't be seeing me in a Benz, a Cadillac or a Town Car anytime soon.

I've spent a fortune on pothole-related repairs on my VW Golf, so the next car's gotta be capable of handling the chapped, cracked and blistery roads of the Northeast, with a minimal amount of maintenance. I've also been through many a nor'easter, so all-wheel-drive is a must.

I want something that handles like a car, though, so most SUVs are out. Not that I have a moral aversion to them, I just prefer not to flip over while taking hairpin turns at 75mph.

It's gotta have room, but like I mentioned in the last RiceDaddies podcast, I'm just not mature enough psychologically ready for a minivan. So, a good compromise, I guess, would be a station wagon. Station wagons are cool again. In a few years, everyone's gonna want one. You'll see.

So here are the candidates:
  • BMW 325xi SportWagon: I've driven the sedan, and it handles like a dream. It fits me like a glove, like it was built just for me. So I figure the wagon can't be much different. I also luvvv its hrrUmmm when you turn the key. It's orgasssmic.

  • Subaru Outback 2.5XT Wagon: Subaru is famous for its proven four-wheel drive system and solid boxer engine. And its rally-racing heritage really intrigues me. And unlike most other Japanese cars, the Outback actually feels solid.

  • VW Passat 4Motion Wagon: If the Jetta Station Wagon TDI was still available in the USA, I'd get it in a heartbeat, and convert it to run on biodiesel or soybean oil. But alas, it's no longer available in this country. So the next best thing would be the Passat, and it's available with all wheel drive!

Cars I've ruled out right off the bat, mainly cuz they're not my style:
  • Volvo: don't see myself in one
  • Saab: ditto, one of them is a rebadged Subaru WRX
  • Ford: been there, done that (drove an F-150 years ago)
  • Mercedes E-class wagon: just cuz I'm a suburban Asian dad doesn't mean I have to look like one
  • Dodge Magnum: I need something I can park easily
  • Audi A3: What's the point? Audis are just VWs for guys with small pee pees

Further Evaluation

I was |<-this close->| to making a beeline to the BMW dealership. |<-THIS CLOSE!->| What healthy red-blooded guy does not want a Beamer? But mom says they're a hassle to maintain. And a friend told me today that he's looking to replace his with something other than a Beamer cuz his is falling apart after only a couple of years. Furthermore, I like rugged. Last I checked, BMWs weren't known for being rugged.

Considering how poorly my VWs have dealt with potholes and crappy roads, I think I'm done with with these Nazimobiles. They can get away with being less than solid cuz they're built for German roads, which are far superior to American ones. Ich habe ein Nazimobil für verkaufen. Möchten Sie ein Nazimobil?

With the Outback, I have one problem: It's bigger, but not much bigger than my Golf. So what would be the point of replacing it with the Outback? Well, considering its aforementioned rally-racing heritage, perhaps it could handle crappy roads a lot better. And with its 5-star crash test safety rating, it beat the pants off the other two contenders (4-stars each for VW & BMW). The daddy in me now says safety trumps style. Also, other Outback owners testify that they're virtually maintenance free.

At this point, I've just about eliminated the Passat. So it's pretty much between the BMW and the Outback right now, though the Outback has more of the emotional pull at the moment. I never thought I'd say that. Perhaps the RiceDaddy in me longs for a RiceWagon?

So, dear readers, what should it be? Enlighten this RiceDaddy, please!


daddy in a strange land said...

Dude, go with the Outback.

thisislarry said...

subarus have good street cred with norcal snowboarders of a certain age (ie old craps like me).

back in 97, a bunch of 94 4WD soobie wagons came off of lease, and were snapped up by local boarders. I almost got one but missed out. In 99 I finally got a soobie wagon, and when it was was rear-ended in 2000 (with my baby on board) I replaced it with an outback.

its been rock solid, except for the alternator going out, which I blame on the electric ice chest I had going in the back.

the industrial designer in me really hates the subaru for being so damn ugly lately, but the current ones are quite OK, which is a high compliment for soobies.

Vote #2 for the Outback.

thisislarry said...

oh and dude, what the world doesnt need is another asian driving a beemer. that's so 1989.

Sophia Yen said...

yeah. way too many asians in BMWs
get a prius. your kids and the earth will love you for it.
it is way cool with GPS, bluetooth, no keys needed for opening/closing doors, just keep it in your pocket.

mary said...

beamers suck. =P what about an acura mdx or rdx?

Anonymous said...

between the two: outback.

BUT i like mary's suggestion: acura. i almost got one a few years ago and it drove aMAZINGly! (but the texan in me won and i got burbie [suburban]).

Monster Daddy said...

Hey SoulSnax,

You sure you don't want a minivan? Opening the power doors 30 ft before you get to the car is one of the most convenient things for a harried parent dragging kid and groceries around. And having a higher clearance makes strapping in the kids into their car seats a lot easier (so you won't go konk your head.) Honda Odyssey is pretty awesome.

But if you want a wagon, check out the Mazda 6 strictly for the looks and price. Zoom, zoom, zoom... Personally, I got the Mazda 6 Hatchback which can swallow up a lot of gear.

From what I read, it seems you're really concerned with potholes and stuff so why do a wagon which might suffer the same fate as your Golf and just do a SUV? (Although the Outback is probably will fit the bill.)

Anonymous said...

I'm with monster d -- the Honda Odyssey is excellent, especially if you have or will have >1 kid. Other upsides: flexible seat configuration, room for a couple of grandparents or friends, better gas mileage than many SUVs, and sightlines over the traffic. If your ego can handle it, give it a look. Otherwise, I'd choose the Outback from your short list.

Anonymous said...

Between the two I'd vote for the Outback as well. But I do drive a Ford Freestyle -- which is Ford's version of a station wagon. I LOVE it! 3 rows with a smooth ride on the CVT engine just like a Volvo.

Anonymous said...

my neighbor bought a BMW about 2 years ago and they still have this awesome deal -- free oil changes and maintenance! you should check out their website. and anyway, it's only "sooooo asian" for a certain demographic of asians who can afford a BMW. gotta love the classism in racial stereotypes!

Anonymous said...

outback! outback!

SoulSnax said...

Thank you all for your comments. Keep them coming, even suggestions that fall outside of my short list.

Yes, if we were to get a minivan, it would definitely be an Odyssey. Tomorrow, we'll try hitting the Honda dealership... just to look. Ya never know. And if that Subaru guy never calls back, then well, we'll see.

Oh, and thisislarry, I don't care what anyone says. I hereby nominate as quote of the year: "what the world doesnt need is another asian driving a beemer. that's so 1989." Too funny.

Still, if someone handed me a beemer, I would not complain. I'd probably sell it and get a boat. Hmmmmmm. A boat.... topic for another post.

On a side note: while we were growing up, we were the only Gentiles on our block. And every time our neighbors saw a German car in our driveway they'd shake their heads, "tsk tsk..." Made me wonder, what if Filipinos were to apply the same abhorrence toward Japanese cars? What would they drive then? :)

Reyes-Chow said...

We HAD the Passat GLX Wagon. It looked cool, we added the bike rack . . . yeah, super hip urbanites we are ;-) Still, with three daughters all with super-refined and developmentally appropriate fighting skills, the back seat turned into a fester pile of teasing, tantrums and eventual tears and screaming. Bye-bye Passat and hello wagon with the third row option! That and the VW was in the shop WAY too often.

OTRgirl said...

We have a '99 Outback. For the most part, we love it. It was great in the Northeast (Baltimore)--as mentioned, smooth driving over potholes. And in the once a winter snow drop in Bawlmore, I could drive my hubby to work while the only other cars on the road were National Reservists toting essential personell to work. I've crammed that thing with $500 worth of lumber for house projects and it took it like a champ.

That being said, if you're on twisty roads it can feel a bit nauseating. I think the Beamer might handle that better. Now that we're in California the Outback feels less necessary (better roads, no snow).

Anonymous said...

Hey - get over it! Take all the stuff you have to put into whatever you are going to be driving and test out the Outback and a mini-van, yes the dreaded mini-van. With car seats for one or two and all the kids stuff and then the groceries, the loot from Home Depot or Target you just might see that your parents and their generatuon has already tried out the possiblities and came to the only logical conclusion - the min-van. More bang for the buck, and needed space to boot. Just my two cents as I keep hearing these same arguments from my kid, DISL, and his friends, good luck and happy driving - DISL's dad.

daddy in a strange land said...

Hah! Full-disclosure: the above comment was written by someone who currently drives a Toureg which was preceded by a Montero and and Discovery, the switch from van to SUV made after his only kid flew 3000 away for college. :)

Oh, and who made said kid grow up, for the better part of his childhood, in a bright green VW pop-top camper van with the license plate "IM SLOW," which was preceded by a white or blue VW camper van (not sure cuz I don't remember it at all, only the green one) and followed by a couple identical white Mitsubishi mini-vans.


Love you, Dad!

SoulSnax said...

wow, how cool to have DISL's dad on board. I'd say he qualifies as a RiceDaddy. We could learn a lot from him, you know. :)

Interestingly, my siblings and I always wanted a mini-van when we were growing up. All the cool families had one. All we had was the Ford/Lincoln Colony Park wagon. My parents always said that we'd get a van, but by the time they got around to looking for one, they ended up bringing home an SUV.

Anyway, we went out into Sopranos country today (it's just like on TV!) to deal with some greasy grimey car salesmen. Took us about four hours to work out all the details, but we left with a 2008 Outback 2.5XT. Pictures to follow.

Anonymous said...

Have you actually looked in the trunk of the bmw? I think it´s smaller than a golf´s. Actually I also feel offended by you using the word nazimobil that is aweful, can we never put the past behind? I don´t call your heritage bad names either.

Anonymous said...

H. and I got a Honda Highlander Hybrid last year, and WE LOVE IT. Great gas mileage, and the version we have was at the time the only seven-seater hybrid SUV in existence. The new, 2008 models look hot (compare to our slightly boxy 2007 model) and it's both reliable and ergonomic, because, hell, it's a Honda. What you'll lose in zazz from not getting a BMW you'll gain in self- (and other-) respect from driving a hybe. Love your kids, love the planet--if you have to drive, drive something with as low a carbon footprint/emissions impact as possible (while yeah, still having that whole hauling capacity thing).

SoulSnax said...

Please allow me to explain myself.

There would be no Volkswagen without Adolf Hitler, hence the term "Nazimobil." However, I'd never let that get in the way of driving one of their vehicles. Despite the company's origins, Volkswagen AG does make wonderful, pretty cars that are fun and trendy.

But if you were truly offended, then I sincerely apologize. The goal of of many of us here is to discuss, inform, and entertain... never to offend. Therefore, I will refrain from using that term in the future.

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