Car Shopping

Despite my best intentions, I spent almost all of today car shopping.

My wife and I have only one car, a single 2004 Toyota Camry. It’s great, but for years we have been talking about getting a second car, even doing test drives, and never buying anything.

With a seven week-old baby, plus two dogs, however, I think we’re finally going to have to get another car.

So I looked at a lot of different cars today, particularly small crossover SUVs, and with a special focus on driver assistance technology.

In lieu of big writeups, here are a few sentences on each.

Subaru Outback: There’s a lot to love about this car. They offer a terrific Eyesight ADAS package on almost all trim levels. Eyesight includes adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, automatic headlamp adjustment, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot alert. Plus Subarus hold their value incredibly well, although they are a little pricier than comparable vehicles.

Toyota RAV4: Super-smooth ride. Great car at a great price. No ADAS features at any trim level, though.

Mazda CX-5: Terrific car. It felt similar to the Outback, if maybe a little smaller. Mazda’s i-ACTIVESENSE ADAS package is comparable to the Outback’s Eyesight. However, Mazda only offers ADAS on their highest-end, Touring trim level.

Fiat 500e: Changing gears entirely, I checked out Fiat’s cute and awesome 500e all-electric model. It feel about the size of a Mini or a Volkswagen Beetle, which could be awesome for a pure commuting car. Plus the all-electric drivetrain makes it eligible for California HOV stickers. No ADAS features except a backup camera, though.

Honda CR-V: Back to crossovers. The CR-V is an awesome and economical car. And Honda has introduced a suite of ADAS technologies called Honda Sensing. Basically, this includes adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. Honda Sense is only available on the top trim level, though.

Ford Fusion Energi: Back to small electric vehicles. This is a small car, but bigger than the Fiat 500e, that is all electric and 70 miles to the charge. No ADAS features, but it does come with the all-important HOV stickers.

Ford C-MAX: A little larger than the Fusion, the C-Max is electric with a gas tank, which gives it a range that the Fusion Energi doesn’t have. The HOV stickers are hit-or-miss, depending on whether the dealer applied for stickers before the DMV ran out for electric+gas drivetrains.

I still need to pick a car, though 🙂

Plus I haven’t yet tried out the German models. I worry they might be out of my price range, but I hope to test out the crossover models for BMW, Mercedes, and Audi this week.

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