Car Analysis Mode

2017 Mazda CX-5 - Austin, Texas

2017 Mazda CX-5 – Austin, Texas

Believe it or not, I get a good deal of pleasure doing deep comparative analysis. I think you might see that with my camera reviews or when I talk about photo industry trends. But, it’s more than just photography. I like analyzing a lot of things.

Recently, I finished analyzing my son’s college options as we did a bunch of campus visits and hours of on-line research. Ultimately, it was up to my son to decide where he wanted to go. But it didn’t stop me from reading four books on the “College Industry” and deciding upon the complex and conflicting set of criteria. Well, that project is over, as my son has now settled on his college choice.

Now, I’m onto my next major analysis. What to get for my next car. I actually have more than a year to decide, since my current vehicle will become my younger son’s trusty steed when he starts driving in about a year. But, given that this analysis stuff is fun, I’m getting a head start.

Picking the right car is more complicated than you might think. Especially because I plan to keep my car for at least 15 years. Unlike my frequent camera changes, my car decisions have very long-term implications. Being in the early stages, I’m open to a variety of options and I’m enlarging my consideration this time. Brands that I’ve never looked at in the past, have a shot at making the cut. And included in this analysis is also the car dealership and the level of perceived long-term service they may offer.

I was over at the Mazda dealer over the weekend. From a design and driving dynamics perspective, I really love this CX-5. Newly redesigned for 2017. The daring “Soul Red Crystal Metallic” looks gorgeous with a depth I’ve never seen before. The car looked especially nice in the fading afternoon light, shot with the iPhone 6s.

No, I have not decided on a Mazda. Far from it. And, I have not even decided on the car’s form factor. Do I get a sedan, a hatchback or crossover? They all have their advantages, and of course, disadvantages. I tend to skew towards practicality but would passion, design and technological gadgets override? This may be my last manually driven car. I might be about 70 when I make my next car choice. By then, I’m hoping that self-driving cars will be perfected.

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16 thoughts on “Car Analysis Mode

  1. I wish I could keep a car running 15 years. Mine always seem to need a major repair that well exceeds the value of car after 7-10 years. The closest I got was a Ford F-150 that I kept running for 12 years, although a few repairs cost me quite a bit. It was actually still running OK when I got rid of it. The Obama “Cash for Clunkers” program got me out of it for almost 5 times what it was worth at the time. Toyota/Scion wasn’t very kind to us with our Scion xD and Prius. The Prius held up better but when things broke, Toyota’s parts prices are crazy, although I was able to find them from other sources sometimes. When the AC went out last year that was the final straw. Wasn’t going to spend over $3000 fixing it. I owned a Mazda truck once. Blew the head gasket twice. Wasn’t fond of that thing. I’m a couple years into VW ownership now. We’ll see how things go. So far so good. I’m not looking forward to self driving cars. I think I still make better decisions than computers. Most days. I like my vehicles like I like my cameras. Manual control! 🙂

    1. Car longevity is probably based on age and mileage. What I didn’t mention is that I only drive about 8,000 miles per year. That probably helps to keep the cars longer.

      I’m a bit surprised about the Scion and Prius. Statistically, Toyotas are one the most reliable. Of course, you think they are expensive, that’s nothing compared to German cars.

      Of course you don’t like self-driving cars, you don’t like computers. Of course, you might make better decisions than computers but how about all of the other idiots that text will driving.

      1. We’re probably double what you do on mileage, seeing how we live much further out from Austin and we tend to have trips to other cities regularly. I’ve done almost 5000 on the motorcycle alone so far this year, although most of that is recreational riding.

        Toyotas are generally reliable but when they break, I’ve found parts to be crazy expensive. A Toyota alternator for a Scion is xD is almost $1000 from a dealer. Got mine at Autozone for about $200. I could save a lot of money on common parts like that. Fixing the Prius air conditioner that died in the Texas summer was going to cost a fortune no matter what with high labor costs. So far VW has been good, time will tell. I have a high mileage warranty. I’d favor Honda over Toyota I think for Japanese brands. Folks I know who own them have been having good luck. I know one guy with over 350,000 miles on a Honda CRX.

      2. Good to know, thanks Mike. I’m really not very fond of the in town Toyota dealer. Beyond the generally reliable, yet boring cars, it’s the dealership that most disappoints me.

      3. The dealership and its service after the sale are a huge part of why I have 2 VW vehicles now. They have been great to work with and have been taking good care of us with routine maintenance.

      4. I’ve been to the one up towards your house, it’s very nice. Probably better than the one in town, unless they have greatly improved.

  2. So after all these years, we finally realized there IS only one choice for us: four-wheel drive. Because you don’t need it in summer, but boy-o-boy, you surely do need it in the winter!

    1. That makes total sense where you live.

      I’ve gone back and forth about four-wheel drive but we rarely get any icy or snowy weather here. Even rainy days can be rare, depending on the weather cycle.

      I’m probably going to get front wheel drive and save some money as well as take the slightly better fuel economy.

      1. Unless you’re going dirt riding in the desert, you problem have no need for 4-wheel drive. The little jeep we got is pretty good on gas and so far, it has gotten us through anything we need to get through.

  3. Cars are so reliable now that most will likely last for 15 years or more. However, I usaully switch cars within 10 years to take advantage of the new technologies and more importantly the safety features.

    1. dcarsni, that makes a lot of sense. I’m actually considering a change in plans that might make me buy a car earlier than expected.

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