05 April 2011

You know it's serious when I start making spreadsheets.

You know what is a challenging sport to do without a car?

Dog agility. You try carrying even one rubberized dogwalk plank down the freeway under your arm.

I can get the dogs there. We can walk. We can just bring one frisbee. It fits in my purse. But we travel FAR to get to dog agility. It's going to take us ALL DAY to get to class without a car so I think we're just going to have to miss it tonight.

All I can tell you about my car is that the head gasket has been sent out, I guess to a place where they lay it down on soft velvety towels and little blue people, like the ones in Avatar except smaller, sing soothing songs to it. I don't know if it's coming back. Rusty thought it might finally be time for me to go get another car. He had a sad look on his face when he told me this.

The car guy we visited today showed us where the side airbags were for the grandkids.


He had weird, little teeth.

I think I liked the guy better the other day that thought the dogs would enjoy drinking from the many cupholders conveniently located in the back.

I dunno. I like pretty much all the cars I've entered in the spreadsheet above. Which one would you get?


team small dog said...

I'm not sure if your dogs will fit with my dogs in the Barracuda, either. That was too long to fit in the cons column. We would be able to leave 20 minutes later on trips to Turlock though because it goes very fast! But not good gas mileage.

I am like a walking spreadsheet at this point!

Liz said...

While the Merc convertible would be my choice (I'd have to get those goofy seatbelt harness things to lash every one down), I do have a 2005 diesel Jetta wagon. Expensive yes, but guess what, you'll make the money back in a few years with your bazillion miles to the gallon, even with diesel being more expensive. And the diesels are made in Germany, not Mexico, so they have a lot less issues (so I have heard) issues than the regular Jettas. I heart mine and see driving it for quite a few more years.

team small dog said...

Liz I am so confused! I thought the Jetta wagons were more newer than 2005. I cannot find used ones at all! The funny teeth guy said they are from 2009 and newer. It is on my notes! I take notes on every damn thing they say. So far have not photographed the car guys because I am too busy taking notes. Is yours a Jetta Sportwagen TDI? Do I have to get yellow tinted glasses because my car would be spelled wagen with an "e" instead of "o" if I get this car? And wear nicer shoes?

Anonymous said...

i have ridden in my son's jetta tdi diesel sedan (he doesn't have dogs, so he did not get the sportwagon) and i did not wear nicer shorts. and i did not wear yellow tinted glasses. i did not wash my hair first, either. jetta did not care, still cranked out those gazillion mpgs.

Joan said...

Laura, have you considered a Subaru Outback? I've got a 2006 and love it.

team small dog said...

I did consider Subaru wagon, Joan, and drove one. It was definitely nice. Maybe not as nice as Barracuda, but nice. But as I narrowed down, it came off the spreadsheets as a contender. I'm not even sure why. I think the puka shell necklace and mullet cut of Floyd, Subaru guy, may have had something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

OOOH, the Shiny Ford truck, hands DOWN! you can get a dorky cover thing for the bed and the dogs can "free ride" back there and take their chances.

I actually LOVE car shopping. If I lived closer I'd score you a good deal on a used Jetta diesel and just leave it in your driveway for a surprise.
Check Craigslist... never know what you'll find there.

Anonymous said...

Oh, also, did you know VW makes the Passat in a wagon (diesel too, but harder to fine)? It's a bit bigger, but basically a similar car. FYI

Elf said...

Did I mention that I hate car shopping, too? Especially if they suggest that I might be old enough to have grandkids. here's something that got me thinking--a lot-- (and sometimes that's bad) from last month's Consumer Reports annual cars issue. The toyota sienna minivan, of which I have a 10-yr-old version and it's pretty good--is their top-rated minivan for this year. It also costs almost $40K new which popped *my* head gasket, I'll tell you. But they also said that the best *value* in wagons/minivans is the mazda5 grand touring. Because it costs only $23K new, it doesn't matter that its reliability sucks--even when you take the additional repairs into consideration, over the 1st five years of the car's life (which is on average how long people keep cars--they obviously don't know you & me) the mazda averages out to a cost of 61 cents a mile, while the sienna is .76. Add 15,000 miles a year times 5 years, you're $11,000 ahead. But isn't having a car with excellent predicted reliability better for driving long, long ways into out-of-the-way places for dog agility worth $11,000 more than having one with only average predicted reliability? Argh.

I really hate car shopping.

Elf said...

But the CR April 2011 issue might have some useful info for you, if you can find it. Probably gone from the stores now (if you can even find a store that carries, like, analog books & magazines) but could maybe get it online or at the library.

Or if you were able to find your way to haute tracs this weekend w/out a new car, I could loan you my copy.

Vero said...

I LOVE my little Mazda 3 2010 hatchback and have no trouble fitting 4 Chihuahua crates in it when I have to. Gets good mileage, too. Only thing I don't like is the skinny tires!

Paula said...

Oooooo, I vote for the Ford Truck pulling an Airstream!! That would be great for agility trials. My husband has an older model Rav4. We love it, but he doesn't let me put dogs in it. I have medium-sized dogs and my dog car is a Mazda Tribute (same as a Ford Escape). Not glam, but just the right size for us.

suzanne said...

I have the 2001 Golf TDI and love it. Wanted the Jetta but not available in CA, not CA smog standards. Only issue I have is finding a good diesel mechanic. Have to use the dealership for most servicing.

Anonymous said...

VW SportWagen TDI is on my short list when the Caravan gives up the ghost. I reluctently crossed the Subuaru Forester off cause it's MPG is a bit more than I want.

Also have you considered a Mazda 5? Inexpensive...sips gas...and ROOM . It does have a third row that would only seat Munchkins..but when that seat is folded down there should be plenty of room for Toto (Or Otterpop, Ruby & Gui) & agility stuff.

Next year Ford is coming out with a "mini" minivan called a C-Max that looks neato...but guess you need a car now.

Good luck..and we all want to hear your thoughts on what you test and what you purchase....as my dogs are going to need a new car sooner than later too!

Terry A said...

Check out toyota venza, 4 cyl. (noy the 6) not too pricey, good gas mileage.

team small dog said...

I am learning there is a CULT of these Jetta TDI Sportwagen people. You mention the secret code (TDI) and they go cuckoo with joy of the TDI Sportwagen!

I love Barracuda. But I don't think we'll all fit. And it might break. But I love the sound it's engine makes!

The Mercedes...maybe someday if we live in Malibu. I'll strap the dogs in.

The airstream and it's vintage truck? Oooh aaah. But just not a good commuting situation.

Sparkle flake lowrider car? The whole shooting thing, sort of a bummer. Also chilly in the winter if the top won't go up.

That Rav4 is pretty darn nice...but I just can't stop thinking about TDI Sportwagens!

We just picked up borrowed car numero 3 just now. We are so lucky to have so many friends that lend us cars so we don't have to walk everywhere. Mainly work. Didn't quite get to agility still.

Mister Bunny said...

when my 1997 Chevy conversion van died last year, I went with a car coming off of a three year lease. It had a one year warrenty from the dealer on it, full service records, detailed history, and was spotless. I saved a boatload of money over buying new, and I did not have to deal with creepy Craig's list types who were trying to sell something like a '77 Pinto.

Julia said...

Love the low-ride-er, but agree it's problematic across the board as a dog agility chariot. I drive a Honda Element, which the dogs love, but it's got some weird blind spots, tough in the wind, and is sort of bouncy & loud. I've borrowed a TDI wagon and fell in love - drives like a Porsche, tons o' room, cool dashboard lighting. The newer, bigger Rav4's seem great - don't like the shorter wheel base on the older ones - too bouncy. The Ford Escape can tow up to around 3500 lbs - not an Airstream, but a Scamp works!

Liz said...

Laura, I should have remembered to mention that even tho I am Caleeforneeya home-grown, I did live out of state for a few years. En route back to the homeland I bought my TDI. In Utah, in 2005. And imported it under the radar. As your car guy said, we only were really "allowed" to buy diesels here in '09. My car is definitely hard to find here, I have found multiple notes on my windshield in the last few years that say "Want to sell your car? Pleas call me!!!" I even had one guy follow me to work which I found really creepy but when I got out of my car he apologized profusely and offered me lots of cash for my humble wagon. Maybe still creepy.

So yeah, finding a used one like mine could be tough. But maybe you could get one just a few years old that will have way more fancy fun options than mine? Now that gas is shooting through the roof again they prob are going to get snatched up quickly. I will keep my eyes open for you down in this neck of the woods!!!

maryclover said...


If you want my log in for Consumer Reports just email me offline and I will send it to you. They do some very good comparisons.

maryclover at gmail dot com