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Thursday, November 09, 2006  

Back in the Saddle


The as-of-yet-still-unnamed Scion is out of the body shop, no worse for the wear after our little fended-bender a couple of weeks ago. All things considered, the whole thing was pretty painless and I highly recommend Matrix Collision in Los Angeles for any bodywork. They were very helpful and very quick. I can't believe we've had the car for two months; it, at he same time, seems like we just got it and that I've had it forever. The car is really a great fit for both of us, and I love driving it. After two months, here are some random thoughts:

-The car feels a tiny bit underpowered. It isn't sluggish or slow by any means, and it fact if feel quite sprightly, but I would like a tiny bit more power. Especially in the low-end, but I’ve got some ideas on how to remedy that…

-Gas mileage isn't (yet) what I was hoping for; at least during the driving I've done so far. I average about 23MPG on a tank, however, I think my commute is mostly to blame for this as it is 7 hard miles across town. The commute takes me between 25-45 minutes and my average speed doesn't climb above 14mph. Lots of stoplights and sitting still really bone my fuel economy (but it is still doing better than either of the Accents were.) We'll see how she does out on the highway this weekend when we head to Phoenix.

-Tiny cars ROCK. I love driving something so small. Not only can I park it anywhere, but I feel more nimble than everything on the road. We didn't buy one of the least expensive cars available because of the price, we really bought on size, features, and value. Inside, the car feels roomy and well-appointed.

-It really handles well. Even on the fully stock suspension (which rides almost comically high) I feel very confident taking corners, and I can't wait to get a chance to take it out on the canyon roads.

-The car is FUN to drive. I feel like I have great control over the power-output thanks to the 5-speed tranny and the steering is responsive and quick. Even on the congested LA streets during rush-hour I can find some enjoyable stretches of road, and on those rare occasions that all the lights I hit are green, I'm having a blast.

-Little things on the inside make a big difference. Steering-wheel audio controls are, perhaps, my favorite feature. I've got control over the tunes w/o reaching for the stereo. And speaking of the stereo, the iPod integration is fantastic. Having X-gigs of music at my fingertips, while on the road, is a real treat. I thought that I’ll never (or at least very rarely) have to deal with switching CDs while driving again makes me smile. There is a large storage area under the front seats, “grocery bag hooks” in a couple of places, and a fair amount of cubbies and hidden storage. I was initially worried about cargo space, but our most-common hauling task is are once-every-three-weeks food run to Trader Joes, and it turns out that out shopping trips average 5 (well packed) bags, and 5 TJs bags fit PERFECTLY in the rear hatch.

-Two interior convince items that I purchased have turned out to be fantastic additions. The inexpensive Garmin GPS unit (Streetpilot i3 for those keeping score) is particularly handy, and the Scan Gauge is an extremely geeky device that hooks-up to the car’s ECU to provide a gaggle of digital gauges (water temp, real-time MPG, ignition timing advance and lode to name just a few) as well as a trip-computer that will calculate average speed, peak RPMs and MPH, fuel efficiency etc. So I’ve got a wealth of data available to me as I drive…

-I am very happy with our purchase and as silly as it sounds, while I’m not exactly looking forward to going to work when I wake up, I’m least not dreading my drive to work (ok. Ok. I look forward to it. But just a little bit.)

Julie, have anything to add?

posted by JMV | 11/09/2006 04:09:00 PM
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