I've had my car since the end of 4th-year university. I got it in February of 2001. I was dead-set on getting a VW Jetta, My parents were paying the down-payment and the lease up until I started work. VWs usually have higher finance rates, so I was not allowed to get my Jetta. Instead, I was told to get a Honda Civic. I was livid, but a car is a car, and since they were paying for part of it, beggars can't be choosers.
When I met the hubby, in 2002, drove a white 1994 Pontiac Grand Am, which we jokingly dubbed "The Love Mobile", because it was anything but. It was the most geriatric-looking car ever, as far as I was concerned. When we got married, we ditched the Grand Am for my smaller, more fuel-efficient Civic.
As stupid as this sounds, the little Civic that I was reluctant to get, became a part of the family. I have a picture of me hugging my grandmother on my parents' driveway, standing in front of the car. She had come up for my university convocation. I drove to my sister's wedding and the hubby's sister's wedding in this car. And We drove PK from the hospital in the Civic.
We had the car for 9.5 years, and on the most part, it has lasted really well. No really huge repairs needed. And as I've said before, it was AWESOME on gas. Plus, I loved the fact that it was a small car. Unfortunately, since it was a small car, the trunk was rather small, and severely limited us when we went shopping for large items. For example, when we bought our barbecue, we had to go for a smaller model, because that's all that would fit in our trunk. Ditto for PK's wagon, and our bar fridge.
So when we decided that it was time for a new car, we wanted to make sure that it had a more accommodating trunk. Naturally, one would think that I'd go for an SUV or mini-van, or a larger car, like a Honda Accord. The problem is that I HATE big cars. I find them annoying to drive, and I honestly don't know why people decide that they need THAT much more room when they have a kid or two (different story once you have more than 2). For all of my childhood, my parents owned two-door hatchbacks (most of which were white, oddly enough). For a family of four, I never felt smushed or cramped inside any of those cars. So I don't get why, when people have one kid, they go from say, a Toyota Corolla, to a Subaru Forrester. It's not like you're carrying the kid's entire room in the car. Geez.
Anyway back to the story. So I hate big cars. And I hate gas-guzzlers. So this limited our choices. We knew that none of the cars we wanted to look at (except the hybrids) would be as good on fuel as our Civic, but we would try to aim to get a car that was at least close-ish in fuel efficiency. I bough a couple of car magazines and narrowed down on the models. We eventually decided that either a hatchback or small station wagon would do the trick. We were at first thinking Mazda 3 or Toyota Prius.
About a month or so ago, we decided to test-drive a few cars. We started with the Mazda 3, which was my first choice. Not only did I not like the test-drive, the saleswoman was so annoying that she completely turned me off from buying the car, because every time I thought of the car, that woman's face popped into my head. Ugh.
We then went to the Toyota dealership to look at the Prius. Unfortunately, the Prius' trunk was smaller than the Civic's trunk. I was a bit sad, because the idea of owning a hybrid was appealing. Especially after the Mazda 3 went bust. We didn't bother test-driving it. But we did test-drive a Toyota Matrix. I actually liked how the car drove, and the saleswoman was waaaay better than the Mazda lady. Unfortunately, the car was a bit squishy, and when I sat in the driver's seat, my knee was almost up against the front panel. I had thoughts of a shattered knee during a minor car accident. Not pleasant. There went that idea.
By that time, the hubby was sick and tired of car-shopping, but I pressed for one more. I suggested that we check out the Audi dealership to look at the A3. Well, let me tell you, I fell in love with that car as soon as I started driving it. That thing drives like a dream. And when you've driven a Civic for almost 10 years at 115hp, driving 200hp turbo engine feels A.W.E.S.O.M.E. The hubby liked it too. But we didn't buy the car that day. The hubby doesn't work that way. He likes to sit on things for a while and ponder them. But I knew that the A3 would be our next car. And sure enough, one week later, we went into the dealership to buy the car.
We picked up our new car this past Saturday. I was the first one to drive the Civic. I was also the last one to drive it, as we drove up to the dealership. It was a bit of a bitter-sweet moment, knowing that the car which was part of the last 9.5 years of my life, with so many memories attached to it, would no longer be ours. But I knew that it would make a great first car for somebody else, and that made me happy.
Plus our new car totally kicks ass. And I got to drive it out of the lot first.