[Updated @ 3:50 pm with a line I forgot about changing needs.]
I currently drive a 2003 Toyota Highlander that has been treating me well since I bought it. I don’t drive that much and the car hasn’t had any problems. However, I’d like to get a new car before I start running into problems (based on my low mileage, that could be a long way off) and to get some more modern features found in cars. Another major reason to move away from the Highlander is that my needs have changed since I got it; I don’t haul around stuff and don’t usually haul people around besides my family. Earlier this year, I installed a new stereo which has been great and has breathed some new life into my car. Ever since my wife got her Honda CR-V 8.5 years ago, I’ve been interested in the Acura RDX which is kind of the luxury version of the CR-V. I had convinced myself that I was going to get this car and this was going to be the year. However, when the 2016 model came out, it didn’t have Apple’s CarPlay, so I put off getting a new car for another year.
A few months ago, I saw a post that Audi was going to start shipping it’s A3 plug-in hybrid in the US in October. I hadn’t thought about a hybrid, let alone a plug-in hybrid, but it looked interesting. As I don’t drive much and the touted range of this car on electric was about 30 miles, I could possibly do most of my driving on electric. (In a few years I’m going to look at solar which would make charging a plug-in a lot less.) I have been driving an SUV for a long time, so going back to a sedan was going to be a change. All the features on the Audi look like it would meet my needs (luckily it isn’t diesel :-)), except that it doesn’t have CarPlay and Audi won’t give me a straight answer on if the A3 will be upgradeable to it next year; other Audi models will get CarPlay, so I’d hope it is possible.
The styling on the A3 e-Tron isn’t bad and I’ve been noticing more and more of the older A3 sport backs on the road. A few weeks ago, I noticed I was driving behind an A3 and saw the e-Tron logo with Michigan plates. Interesting because the car hadn’t been released, yet. After a search online when we got home, I found out that Audi was test driving the A3 in San Diego and anyone could sign up. So the next day I took the car for a drive. Driving the car wasn’t bad, but I’m not used to a sedan. It was quiet in all electric and seemed to perform OK, but the Audi guy just had me go in a big circle and I didn’t get a chance to take it on the highway. I’m going to need more time with this car to see if it is all that I want; it didn’t wow me out of the gate, so maybe that is a bad sign.
Some plug-in hybrids have federal tax credits available and in looking at the chart, I can see that most of the manufacturers don’t make the plug-in hybrids every year. The number of choices for plug-in hybrids is quite small, so I may have to look elsewhere for my ideal car.
At the same time, I started looking at the gas mileage on the Acura RDX and it basically stinks. As I mentioned, I don’t drive much, but it pains me to spend money on a new car that gets gas mileage only slightly better than my 13 year old Highlander (thanks to my Automatic, I can see I get around 20 mpg on average). So now I’ve crossed the Acura off the list and my list of cars to look at consists of just the Audi. Looking at other plug-in hybrids (they really seem to make a lot of sense), they’re all ugly (what is up with this one)?
My needs are simple, my wants are more extensive. I definitely don’t need a new car, but my wife keeps saying that I deserve one (I’m not going to argue with her :-)).
The San Diego International Auto Show is coming in January, so I’ll use that opportunity to check out what cars could be on my short list.
Unfortunately I have a feeling that I’m not going to find exactly what I want and then I won’t get anything; that will be fine for my wallet, but my wife said I deserve a new car, so I can’t lose the opportunity!