Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stepping out the door...

...to go look at a used Chrysler Pacifica and a Dodge Magnum.

A shaved-down minivan and a wagon. For someone who has only ever owned one four-door auto in her life. I must be getting old...

29 comments:

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Awwww...I hope you come to your senses soon.

Laughingdog said...

Having driven a Dodge Caliber for a few days, and a Dodge Magnum for a week (both rental cars), I hope a test drive is sufficient to make you realize what a piece of garbage it is. Both cars have ridiculously bad blind spots. Dodge also seems to have a problem with the concept of giving just a little gas. I've tried to start moving gradually with both, and it's just not possible.

Regardless of how gently you push down on the pedal, it goes straight from no gas to pushing your head into the headrest. No matter how much you like taking off at the light, that gets old really quickly in stop-and-go traffic.

Maybe they improved them in the last few years. But, knowing how the Big 3 operate, that's unlikely.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

I've noticed that problem with Fords and Chevys too. There's no such thing as a "little" gas. I once had a Cobalt as a rental and it sucked ass. If you tried giving it a little gas, the pedal wouldn't move, so I'd give it a little bit more pressure and the pedal would "jump" and the car would just take off. Got crappy gas mileage too - about 23 mpg. Hell, my 6-cyl. Tacoma gets more gas mileage than that POS. The cars that I've driven and own with the best gas pedals are Hondas, Toyotas and Subarus. My Tacoma handles like a car too without oversteer or understeer. Same with the Civic I had. The fact that the Big Three right now are in deep financial doo-doo says a lot about their engineering and design. They just got complacent and didn't bother trying to keep up with the Japanese car makers, so now they're all crying about it. They had 40 years to change and they blew it.

Tam said...

American cars have given you 50% of the throttle in the first 25% of travel for decades. An aggressive throttle response makes cars feel more "peppy" away from traffic lights, which sells cars here in the land of traffic congestion and no autobahns.

bumper sticker philosopher said...

I was suitably unimpressed by the 2.7l V-6 Dodge Magnum. No guts at all. the HO 3.5l V-6 and Hemi engines might be different but the regular plain-jane Magnum is gutless. Beautiful, but gutless.

Hecate said...

Have you looked at any Saturns? I put 270,000 miles on my last one (mostly long-haul trips to and from gun school) before it croaked with NO prior significant repairs. Replaced it with a used 2005 Vue that has plenty of room for target stands, long guns, and a 36" tall Scottish Deerhound. Gets actual 27 mpg in town and 31 on the highway.

og said...

From a reliability standpoint, both basically good vehicles. Transmissions are a little dicey in the 180,000 clock range. I got a good place for that, if you ever need it.

Anonymous said...

The Magnum has terrible blindspots and the small engine option manages to be gutless while still sucking down the fuel. I had one for a week earlier this year as a rental. Glad I got to drive one as a rental because, while I wanted one prior, I'd never own one now.

That said, it was comfortable and had useful amounts of space.

Chris

David said...

Gee, I'll take the other side. I have been driving a 2007 Dodge Magnum with the 2.7L engine for almost a year now.

I didn't buy a sports car, I bought a station wagon.

This car gets pretty good gas mileage - 22/28. It rides well and fits my 6'1" 240 lb frame well.

Most of my driving is highway without a lot of steep mountains. So I have never needed the hp of the bigger, lower mpg, engine options.

It does have some viability problems you will need to be used to driving by turning your head, and using your mirrors, every time you change lanes. But I have had no trouble.

My family of 5 fits in the car but I wouldn't drive too far with them. That middle back seat isn't the most comfortable. I have plenty of space in the back for stuff I carry around a lot.

My only complaints - its low to the ground. So if you are used to sitting up high and looking around you won't like it.

Also be careful of the cup holders. There is a set of little rubber "holders" in the bottom of the cup holders that will pop the bottom out of your cup of hot coffee if you shove it into the holder. It's happened to me three times.

The Raving Prophet said...

Aggressive throttle tip in seems to be the rule anymore, not the exception. I had a 2005 Accord (4 cylinder) with insane amounts of tip-in; I would practically lug my wife's Acura TL off the line because I used so little throttle. That Accord's pedal was tuned for instant full-up go.

Also had a 2002 Nissan Sentra SE-R that was darn near undriveable in poor weather. 170 lb-ft of torque, a touchy throttle, and too small front tires make for an interesting time when trying to start out on a hill in the rain.

Currently have a Jeep Patriot. Fantastic vehicle- the interior is kinda spartan, but mileage is decent for full time AWD and I can haul all kinds of things (8' of 2x4 fits inside with the tailgate down and latched). I kinda doubt you'd get one in even-up trade for the Zed Three though.

OrangeNeckInNY said...

Tam, why not just keep the Zed-Tre?

CounterClckWise said...

Books, minivans, boomsticks

aczarnowski said...

I was already typing NOOOOooooo in my head over the magnum but see my thoughts are already well echoed in the comments above.

I drove one as a rental once. I never want to be inside one again.

Mopar said...

I know a few people with the Magnum, and they love them. Of Course, they all have V8 models. The V8s (and I think the big 6) get the better 5 speed auto trans. Performance and handling with the V8 options is pretty respectable for what is basically a full size station wagon. I'm told by the friend that races his that it doesn't take much to get the hemis into to the high 4 second 0-60 and high 12 secon 1/4 mile times. The other friend took a summer off to drive his to every state except HI aand much of Canada. Often he would just sleep in the back, and he's a big guy.

Carteach0 said...

I herded a Pacifica around some of Arizona and Nevada a few years ago. It was pleasant, but I'm not sure I want to own one.

DirtCrashr said...

Wait till you try a "Caliber" - it's the .25 Auto of subcompacts - ok if you're driving around Kauai with nothing to do and definitely a "girl-car."

Aggressive throttle response is like the old motorcycle-sales trick of spraying a little armor-all on the seat, boy it sure makes the bike seem fast(er)!

avenger29 said...

"Tam, why not just keep the Zed-Tre?"

She wants more room for longguns (some of those surplus rifles especially can be pretty loooong in the barrel.)

TJP said...

While American cars give a lot of throttle up front, only the Chryslers have about 500 pounds of resistance on the pedal. Commenters also note they have terrible gas mileage compared to performance. Not much has changed since I stopped buying them, I see.

See if a Dodge Viper pickup is a super-secret factory option.

Jim said...

My Crown Vic routinely gives me 26/27mpg on the highway, and about 20 city.

And on one 200mi.trip, loaded with 14 guns,gear, girlfriend and +6,000rds of mixed handgun and rifle ammo, I got 22mpg in the 'low-ride' mode.

I just turned over 100k miles with it, and have only done ball joints at 75k miles, and a new intake manifold at 85k. Other than oil, gas and tires, that's about it. Oh, and at 100k, I had a new serpentine belt installed, just 'cause.

It handles quite well (though not Z-3 like), you can steer it out of a proper apex with wheel or throttle, the brakes are pursuit worthy, and it's comfortable as all hell, without the blind spots and other insanities of the Magnum.

And it's worth noting that it's rather sychologically invisible to radar cops, which only sweetens the deal.

I call mine The Geezermobile II.




Jim
(shipwreck of the*) Sloop New Dawn
Galveston, TX

* destroyed by Ike

Jim said...

My keyboard at the "P" in Psychologically.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.


Jim
Galveston, TX

Triton said...

'Do we know what life is like outside our Lexus cages?' Switchfoot

New kid here! I know everybody hates the new kid so I'll be brief.

When in the market for a new car, lack of time is the buyers greastest hinderance in making an informed decision. The salesman knows this and will always use it to their advantage. Therefore much like purchasing a gun any research you can do from the comfort of your armsroom will always pay great dividends. Regardless of what your plan is, almost always you will actually only visit and test drive just a very few of your choices. A good salesman will always get you.

Your first decision is not model or brand type but purchasing options...lease, finance etc...
This decision defines brand choices. One does not lease an American car for example.

Second decision and first research query, new model year 09 or closeout 08. Depends on price and how long you will keep but generally the newer year model is the smarter choice unless there is a tremondous promotional discount and ridiculous financing available. Which watching the news lately would seem that there is quite a high probability of this occuring.
Making a vehicle choice based on a percieved need is also in error as one could buy a smaller more efficient vehicle and rent a larger vehicle when need. Saving money on vehicle purchase, fuel, maintenance and insurance. Still not a reason to buy a 9mm though...
I could continue and will if there is an interest or answer a specific question if you have some.

I would seriously avoid the big three unless they truly start giving them away and focus on something German, perhaps something starting with a V.

Buying American is always the perfered thing to try and do but do not ever think it is your obligation. The only person you are accountable too is yourself and perhaps your family. Finacially and also driving the highest quality engineered and safest vehicle you can find.

Anyway really enjoy your writing and generally your viewpoint...:)

the pawnbroker said...

damn, somebody slip that dude a 'lude before he crashes/burns...oops, too late.

og said...

"driving the highest quality engineered and safest vehicle you can find."


Well, then stay the hell away from Volkswagon.

Jay G said...

Tam, if you get the Magnum, get the Hemi.

SRSLY.

My Ram 1500 with the Hemi gets 15-16 MPG around town, and it's all stop-and-go traffic. I'd wager the wagon would do at least that, and if you take it easy on the gas (ahem, I like powersliding, what can I say), it's not all that bad at all...

princewally said...

I've had an '05 Pacifica since fall of '05.

I like it. It's got a bit of a blind spot over my left shoulder, but it's not huge.

It's got a "trainable" auto-stick, which makes the car perform however you want it to perform.

If I keep it to about 60mph, I clear 35mpg. I can go from Minneapolis to Chicago on a tank of gas at 80mph.

It's roomy, it's comfortable and the seats fold down to fit a TON of crap in the back.

GreatBlueWhale said...

Many of the 2005 Pacificas had the 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Something to ask about.

Brandon said...

Toyota. They last forever. When GM builds a car that lasts as long, I might consider buying one. Until then, they can reap the rewards of building cars that only last as long as a 60-month loan term.

Heresy to the "only buy American" folks, but it is what it is. Capitalism, and all that.

Tam said...

"Only buy" what?

My four-wheeled history has been Ford, Pontiac, Dodge, Dodge, Dodge, Chevy, Porsche, Ford, Dodge, Nissan, Porsche, Dodge, Pontiac, Pontiac, BMW.

(Two-wheelers have been Kawasaki, Honda, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Honda, Kawasaki.)

Mopar said...

What you got against Yamahas? :P

Word verification :ranonize, I got nuthin, but its funny as hell.