Monday, January 14, 2008

A Fitting End to the Saga (and the Beginning of a New One)

Anyone who's followed this blog for any length of time was probably not surprised to read yesterday's post announcing the new car. I had been having quite a few breakdowns recently with the old once, which, after all, was eleven years old. So when I was given the opportunity to buy a new one, it didn't take too long to research the best deal and go for it.

In case you can't tell from the pictures (and yes, some better ones are forthcoming), I ended up getting a 2008 Honda Fit, a fairly new model of hatchback that's known for its "Magic Seat" in the back that folds either forward (to give length) or back (to give depth). It has the potential to be able to haul around quite a wide variety of people and equipment to gigs and so on. (And the car that I ended up buying was the same one that I test-drove--and snapped a quick picture of--last Thursday.)

It's only a few days into the whole thing, but here are a few Fun Facts about the Fit in general and Kevmobile 2.0 in particular:
  • I was first turned onto the car by my buddy Coop, who got one about a year and a half ago. He and his mother both have them and totally love them, and when I found out that one of their models ran in my price range (which was no longer the case for a newer Civic or my onetime dream car, the RSX; the latter is not made anymore, but even ones a few years old came in too high for me), it quickly became the "car to beat" in all of my comparisons.

  • From Coop came a cool story: The Fit was introduced in Europe before it came to the States, and over there, it's called the Jazz. If it had kept that name over here, I think that would have put it high on my list even sooner; how could I not drive a Jazz? (After seeing one on a European trip, Coop's mom snapped one up as soon as it was introduced over here.)

  • Incidentally, it was funny when the two of us met up on Saturday night and parked the Fits right next to each other in front of a Starbucks (I chose silver partially to avoid the "twinkie factor" of having a blue one just like his). You could say we were having the inaugural Fit Club meeting (the first rule of Fit Club is, you do not talk about Fit Club; I guess I just broke that rule).

  • Have you ever noticed that, whenever you buy a car, you suddenly see that car all over the road? I saw two more silver Fits within five minutes of each other on my afternoon errands today, as well as another one on the way to an evening coffee get-together.

  • I haven't driven a four-door car since my junior year in high school, but I've already gotten compliments on that aspect from passengers. (Thank goodness for power locks; that was one thing that was annoying about the Aveo I had as a rental car during the last Civic breakdown--each door had to be locked/unlocked manually.)

  • The engine on this car is very peppy, and I'm looking forward to an extended drive on the freeway. I went as far as Fairview yesterday, but an even longer trip will be fun.

  • Despite the fact that this car is considered a subcompact, my first trip with passengers on Saturday night was a full house--four other people, and two of them were over six feet tall (one considerably so).

  • I've noticed that this car is a lot higher off the ground than the Civic or Integra were; yesterday was the first time in my life that I've been to an ATM in my own car and reached over to put the card in, rather than up.

  • I already have a full-blown case of New Car Paranoia, which means I've taken to parking far away from people whenever possible to avoid the inevitable door dings. And I certainly hope that the first person to spill a drink in there is me and not someone else (and I plan to prevent that for as long as possible).

  • But, on the other hand, the sense of mine-ness is growing as well, especially with things like my faculty parking sticker (which will be one of the few exterior adornments), my Mardi Gras beads (which double as a crash cymbal of sorts) hanging from the rear-view mirror, and all my stuff arranged "just so" in the cabin.

  • More Fit facts are available in the Wikipedia article, which tells where it's sold under which name and when it was introduced.
All in all, I'm loving it so far.

Despite the recent breakdowns, I did think that, overall, Kevmobile 1.2 served me well. It was never meant to be a long-term car (which is why I didn't name it 2.0), and when things were good, they were very good, especially in terms of gas mileage (I'll never forget the time I drove 400 miles on one tank).

Things I'll miss about the old car:
  • The moonroof. I almost never actually opened it up, but the cover was off (so that the sun could shine through) whenever it wasn't raining.

  • The driver's side trunk latch. It's the only thing that the Fit doesn't have that I really wish it did, especially since the multiple-schools-per-day nature of my work has me opening the trunk a lot.

  • The little armrest thingy in the middle that also held about 8 CD's, just in case I forgot to change out the ones in the wallet that's almost always in the car.
I think that's about it. Now, the things that I won't miss about the old car:
  • The "ejector seat" in the back (driver's side). There was a seat belt there, but it never had the "male" end of the buckle, so the person riding back there either needed to use the middle seat belt or hope for the best. It was a running joke as to who got stuck with it.

  • The annoying short in the volume knob of the stereo. Ask anyone who'd ever ridden in there; it took a special touch to make even the slightest adjustments in volume on many occasions, as it would either go completely silent (and then beep at you repeatedly) or ear-bleedingly loud, with no in-between. It's been great to listen to stuff in the new car at whatever volume I liked, even switching back and forth between radio and CD levels without incident.

  • And of course, the breakdowns, which seemed to get bigger and more numerous as the years went by. While I was overall very happy with my first pre-owned car experience (the Civic, after all, was six years old, had 74,000 miles and three previous owners before I bought it), there's still something cool about having a brand-new car all your own.
With any luck, I won't need to be posting about cars so much for a while, though I will post those good pictures once I take them.

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