Saturday, January 31, 2009

Farewell Rosalie and Honda; Hello Toyota

This weekend will be our last with Rosalie, the name the boys gave our Acura RL. It's a great car and we're gonna miss her.

Rosalie was the first car--and maybe the last--we ever leased. Leasing is ok, but when the lease is up, you artificially have to get a new car. We weren't really ready, but then we were.

Anyway, the Curmudgeon decided this next vehicle has to be much greener--low emissions, high mileage. It's not just global warming--it's also petrodictatorship. We can't justify paying for oil from Middle Eastern autocracies so they can give rockets to Hamas so Hamas can terrorize Israel, so Israel has to terrorize Palestinians, so the endless cycle goes on.

We would've stayed with Acura--we've been with the brand for nearly 20 years, and were with Honda (Acura's parent) before that. Surprisingly, however, Acura offered nothing "green" or even faux green (a la the "hybrid" Escalade). When we leased the RL four years ago, the dealer said they expected an Acura hybrid soon. Nothing doing. All the emphasis at Acura has been on performance, not mpg.
So we went off to look for something else. The Civic hybrid was an option--the top of the line has many nice features found in an Acura, it's just a bit small. We drove the Civic, found it a bit underpowered, very small trunk, but good price (yes, with low gas prices, dealers are having trouble moving the hybrids, which makes NOW the time to buy one).

Then we went across the street to the Toyota dealer and drove a Camry hybrid and the Prius. The Camry was nice, but a few thousand more than the Prius, not much bigger, and considerably lower gas mileage. We weren't so sure about the Prius at first--it's not the best looking car on the road, to say the least!

But driving was believing. It's a bit bigger than the Civic, with many more configuration options for carrying "stuff." It's the granddaddy of hybrids, now quite reliable. We got about 50 mpg driving around the streets of Arlington, as opposed to about 15 mpg in the Acura (which gets good highway mileage).

One thing we are going to miss: the new Acura RL integrates weather into the onboard navigation system, a feature we were looking forward to. It's still not what we'd really like, which would be doppler radar integrated into the street maps, a technical feat that may have to wait another generation.

In any event, we're now a Prius family. Goodbye Rosalie, and goodbye Acura.


Bluedog said...

I've leased only once and am now a firm believer in good used cars. My wife has driven a '97 Acura TL (purchased from an Acura dealer) for about seven years now and the thing runs like a top (a slightly wobbly one but . . )and I have driven a 2004 Altima (purchased from Car Max for $14,000)since January 08. I see no reason to buy new and take the depreciation.

Anonymous said...

You know, you can extend leases. If you really loved the car, you could have looked into it.

As for the Prius, while you certainly will help cut down on smog, beware of the even worse problem of "smug" that comes with owning a hybrid.

X Curmudgeon said...

We looked into extending the lease--the terms were decidedly one-sided and unfavorable. We'll take smug.