Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Auto love.

So my longtime chariot, the "manly teal" Taurus, is on its last legs and I'm keeping my eyes open for an alternative. So far I've seen a couple really cool options, which include:

  • Mini Cooper S. This has been a fantasy of mine for a while. It's utterly impractical for someone who may be moving in the next 6 months, but it tops out my list for style and perceived fun to drive, two elements that are huge after driving the Taurus. Big plus: it's nowhere near as expensive as I'd expected for such a nifty set of wheels. Tricked-out cost: $23,800.

  • Volkswagen Jetta. Also a longtime favorite option, my friend David has one of these and it's a nice car. Upsides: practical, sporty and fun. Downsides: kind of small, fairly ubiquitous. If I'm going to concede to buying a small car, I might want to just get the Mini and do it in style. Tricked-out cost: unsure, due to a busted-ass website.

  • Honda Civic Hybrid. My roommate just got one of these, and it's impressive. Upsides: affordable, a smooth ride, it's dead silent when it comes to a stop, and hybrid = good vibes and damn good gas mileage. Downsides: again, no chick magnet. Approximate cost: around $22,000.

  • Saturn Vue. I saw one of these on the highway the other day and was really impressed. I don't normally dig SUVs, but this one seemed like it might be fun. It's also extremely affordable for an SUV. Upsides: neat styling, practical, good for hauling stuff but also seems fun. Downsides: sort of yawnworthy. Probably not a chick magnet. Tricked-out cost: $23,656.

  • Volkswagen Tourareg. I spent some time poking around this morning, checking out the Tourareg. Wow. Nice car. It's not available yet, and it's probably way too posh for what I want my car for, but it's a pretty impressive-looking ride. Downsides: not available yet, way too expensive. Estimated cost when it hits the streets: $45,000 - $55,000.

In other words, except for the one outlier, I'm basically looking at around $20,000 - $25,000 and debating between style and practicality. Right now style is winning – I'm 25 and am looking to have some fun. What do you guys think I should do?


I've been wanting a Mini Cooper since they were first announced, and every once in a while I get a promotional mailing or an email reminding me that I came very close to driving one last summer. I definitely think you could pull it off. Have you picked out your color configuration yet?

Yeah. I like the dark, almost gunmetal gray with a black top. Defintely stylin'.

So, here's my 2 big questions about Hybrids:

1.) What effect do they have on your electric bill, anyway?

2.) How long can you drive them at one time (in the context of road trips, insane traffic jams, etc.)?

Geoff- environmentally-friendly cars are SUCH chick magnets! (Especially in that awesome acid green color)

Dude. Go for a Harley. You can get a new 100th Anniversary V-Rod for $19,457.15 (including tax & tags) from Waugh Enterprises. You'd probably want to add a passenger seat (around $100 plus labor), but you're still within your price range.

Hey, if I can't get one, I can live vicariously through you...

OK, there's impractical and then there's IMPRACTICAL. I love the V-Rod. It's an amazing piece of work. And, if I ever get that kind of play money just lying around, I might get one. But this is the CAR budget. ;)

Actually, right now I'm cruising around the eBay cars section, looking at old BMWs. You can get some stylin' wheels for under $10K on that site. Hmmmm.

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