I bought a car today. It's a brand new 2003 Pontiac Vibe. You might not have seen Vibes around yet, because it's the first model year for them. They're a kind of sedan/SUV hybrid that looks a bit like a sedan that's been stretched upward. I really like mine.
So I looked around for cars. I wanted a car I could fit a couple of bikes into, so that I could go biking other places. I wanted an American car, because I'm from Michigan, and preferably a GM car, because I can get a big discount on new ones since my dad is a retired GM engineer. I wanted a car that was fuel-efficient, because gas is over $2/gallon in California right now.
I went out last week looking at different cars. I was considering several different kids of cars and planning to visit a bunch of dealers. The Vibe was not on my list, because I had never heard of it, but I saw a couple of them at a dealer in Menlo Park and got details. It looked nice, so Kate and I went back to the dealer together on Saturday. We did a test drive on one of them, then I gave the salesman the specs for the one I wanted. He found one at a nearby dealership and said he'd arrange a dealer trade. I went in on Monday to fill out paperwork. Today I paid for it and picked it up, and it's all mine. My bank account is hurting a bit, though...
The Vibe is everything I wanted: it has lots of cargo space when you fold down the rear row of seats, it's from GM, and it's rated at 36 highway mpg. Oh, and it's built in a joint venture GM-Toyota plant in Fremont, so it's probably going to be reliable. Consumer Reports thinks so, at least, and it is apparently based on the Toyota Corolla, which is known for its reliability. If there's one thing on it that's a compromise, it's the engine: it's a 1.8 liter V4. That's not very powerful, so its acceleration is not impressive. But that's the trade-off for fuel efficiency I suppose.
It's nice. Mine is ``salsa'' color, that is, red, but not bright red. Lots of standard features: CD player, air conditioning, a rear row of seats and front passenger seat that fold down flat into the floor, adjustable roof rack, and as a final nice touch, a regular 110 V two-prong outlet on the dash. I bought a few options: a moon roof and bigger speakers (the ``Moon and Tunes'' package), keyless entry and power locks/windows and cruise control, anti-lock brakes (not standard!), and side-impact airbags (didn't want them but the one available had them).
Kate and I picked it up from the dealer today around 5:30 pm. We just drove it around for a few minutes, and then we went down to Castro Street in Mountain View to have dinner. I've wanted to do that a couple of times now, but it hasn't been possible because we didn't have any easy way to get there. It would take forever by bus. We headed home after that, stopping at World Market on the way because Kate wanted to look around.
I have a new car. Cool.