Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Reader poll, what's your daily driver and why?

OK, here's another reader poll, what is your daily driver, your primary vehicle, and why? What were the important deciding factor in the purchase? Did you buy it new? Is it your only vehicle?

I'm curious what makes people pick one car over another. I'm sure many would assume that I drive my Ford Ranger because I'm such a Ford fan, but they would be wrong. I have owned non-Ford vehicles in the past and this is my first Ford truck, the last two being Chevy.

I bought my Ranger, trading in my Chevy S-10 SS 2 wheel drive pickup for it, because I needed a 4x4. I had a Ford Crown Victoria LX in the garage already, so brand loyalt wasn't as important as value. I did not buy a full size truck for several reasons, garage space and ease of parking were major factors, and fuel economy was in the back of my mind. I needed something that would have the ground clearance for ocassional trips off pavement. But because I parked in an underground garage, the height of the vehicle couldn't be too tall. I needed a pickup as opposed to an SUV or other all wheel drive vehicle, because I use my truck at work, moving heavy and dirty loads of tools and materials. Price was also a major concern for me, with another car in the driveway and the usual monthly bills, I didn't want to sink too much into the truck's purchase.

So I test drove and shopped for Toyota, Nissan, Chevy and Dodge trucks in 98/99. I would not buy a used truck, because I wanted the warranty and lower finance rates of a new car. Now as for Toyota, the dealer lots were full of highly optioned super cabs with automatics, and many dealers told me that ordering a standard cab with a manual and roll up windows would be tough.
Off to the Nissan dealer, I drove the Frontier and quiet frankly it felt cheap and lacking in power (they've obviously improved this.) So off to the Dodge dealer to look at the Dakota, which was too expensive and large. Next stop Chevy dealer, I already had an S-10 and liked it, not to mention the higher output of the 4.3 V6. But funny thing is, every Chevy dealer told me the same thing, no manual, no roll up windows. Combine that with the fact that Chevy's 4x4 had the lowest ground clearance, unless you went for the HighRider 4x4. So I went to a local Ford dealer and ordered exactly what I wanted, and got a great deal. Brand loyalty was satisfied, but not really a factor.

Now as I said in an earlier posting, if I was in the market today for a new truck, the Nissan would probably win, based on power and value.

So what made you buy your ride?


JD said...

My daily driver is a 2004 BMW 325Ci that I bought new. Believe it or not, this was a compromise purchase. I'd love to have a practical car and a weekend toy, but I only have off-street parking behind my place for one car. So, I need a daily driver that is sporty and fun to drive for my inner adolescent, and still somewhat practical.

My previous car was a VW GTI VR6. It was good compromise, until the mechanical and electrical gremlins awoke.

The choice of the 325Ci:
- I've always loved the way BMWs drive. The inline sixes are the smoothest thing I've come across.
- I didn't like the styling on the E46 sedan and wagon as much as the coupe. (I rarely have anyone in the back seat of my car anyhow.)
- With the seats folded down, I can fit my skis in easier than the VW.
- My folks have had great luck with their 2001 E39 5 Series.

The Auto Prophet said...

I drive a used Volvo 850, 2.5L naturally aspirated I-5, manual transmission. 100,000+ miles.

I chose this car because it was a good deal at the time, and is a very safe comfortable car, ergonomically. The seats are fantastic. The manual gives it a little bit of sportiness, but not that much. I only have 160HP on tap, so it isn't a race car, but it gets the job done.

Dotty Gale said...

I wanted a GTO back when they were only built as a Holden Monaro. When the Camaro/Firebird was retired in 2002, Pontiac brought over the Monaro from Aussie sister Holden to fill the gaping hole in its power coupe lineup. I wanted one in 2004 but the stars didn't align and I was shut out of the year end deals.

My 2002 Grand Prix coupe was doing well so I wasn't all that crushed but then the Supercharger started to make some ugly sounds and I decided to get busy shopping for a new car. I was on my way to a party in New Jersey and stopped along the way at a Pontiac dealership on Long Island. By dumb luck, they were having a weekend clearance sale of the 2005 GTO ( among the other models ) and I took the red one with the red interior and the 6 speed manual. For $28,000 I didn't want to pass up that deal so now my daily driver is a stable of four hundred bright red horses.

I got hosed on the trade in but they have to fix the supercharger, not me :)

It's totally not practical and a complete waste of gas but I sure have fun using up those tires. My next Aussie car will be the EFIJY

mike said...

My daily driver, primary vehicle, and only vehicle (right now) is a 2004 Mustang GT Premium Coupe. I had an ’01 Roush F-150 that I loved, but was in a car accident. The damage was within $1600 of being totaled – but the insurance company decided it was fixable. Wrong. It never drove right again. This was forcing me to look into replacing it, but being upside-down on the note I had to buy new to get the financing to work. Factor One: buy new for financing. I’m a low-level quadriplegic so the truck was outfitted with hand controls, chair hoists and lifts – a lot of equipment. One afternoon the chair hoist breaks, not only leaving me stranded, but allowing my wheelchair to roll across the parking lot. Needless to say I was furious and decided I was through with all that equipment. Factor Two: as little equipment as possible. This narrowed down my selection to cars (trucks are too high to transfer into) – specifically two-door cars (longer doors result in easier access). I’m a fairly aggressive driver. I like vehicles that handle and accelerate well. Factor Three: sporty type two door car. There are not as many sporty two door cars out there as one may think. It couldn’t be too small, otherwise I couldn’t load my chair inside. And really, there are no ‘affordable’ big two doors any more. While my truck was being repaired/rebuilt, I had a rental car: a Mustang. It fit the bill nicely. I’ve always been a fan of the Mustang. So out of curiosity I stopped by the Ford dealer. They had a stock pile of ’04 Stangs, greatly reduced in preparation of the all new ’05 Stangs’ arrival. I had originally planned to look at a V6 Deluxe Coupe (basically a step up from the base mode) because I was tired of the fuel bill of a performance tuned 5.4L V8 with 3.73 gears. We started working some numbers and the prices they were able to give me were very good. (I dig deep in the numbers when buying – researching for months usually – two weeks in this case.) The more we looked into it, the rate was better on a GT because financing is determined off MSRP (110 to 125% of value) and I needed all the padding I could find for the amount I was rolling over. So I ended up buying a GT Premium Coupe at a great price.

Factor One: New/Financing. Bought an ’04 late in the year, but it was still new. Got it for less than $18,000 and got 4% APR.
Factor Two: As little adaptive equipment as possible. The only thing needed was a hand control.
Factor Three: Sporty type two door car. The doors are quite long and open wide – easy to get in and easy to load my chair. Sporty? It’s a Mustang GT!

The economics worked pretty good for me – definitely better than the Roush F-150 did. I’m a young single male who doesn’t need a car to haul anything (cargo or people). Basically a commuter during the week (it gets an easy 20MPG in traffic) and a play toy on the weekend (can get as bad as 12MPG from stoplight to stoplight, but gets there fairly quick). It travels well. I was able to get just a hair shy of 30MPG on a recent road trip (29.78). The car’s platform is old enough to buy parts and maintenance items at low prices – not to mention the huge aftermarket. Brand loyalty? Yeah, it played some roll. Though I think the Pony carried more weight than the Blue Oval in that department. I have to admit though, I find it difficult to consider owning a brand not being controlled by The Glass House – it’s been ingrained by my Father and Grandfather.

Mike said...

My daily driver is a 2001 GTI vr6 -- I chose it as a great combination of fun, practicality, and comfort, and I still enjoy my commute every day. I've also got a 91 MR2 turbo which I alternate with the GTI when the weather's good and the traffic's light (which means I'm not driving it at all now that it's December in Seattle). But I'm about to swap them both for a 2000 BMW M Coupe, which will be an interesting experiment in how much sportiness I can take every day.

Big Ford Fan said...

I'm happy with the responses I'm getting so far, surprised that there aren't more Ford drivers responding, but happy.

The AutoProphet's vehicle seems to be the most practical compromise vehicle, with utility and enough power to not be boring. But JD, Dotty and "Mike GTI" all drive cars I would consider impractical on the surface, but obviuosly serve the purpose of daily driver and keep the spirit nourished.

But Dotty, I thought the Studebaker Lark was your "station car"? I know the GTO is the car you always drive to our house, so I guess that's the real daily driver. Question, how is the traction control in bad weather?

Now "Mustang Mike" really shocked me, when he explained what now seems obvious thanks to him, how a Mustang GT makes the most sense for someone with his needs. His observations are especially interesting.

Thanks to those that responded, and hoping to see more.


Anonymous said...

Dodge Magnum RT for another day, when I got this car , I was in love with rwd v8 american muscle, I had just traded 2 Mazda's in on this car ( 2001 Mazda Miata se BRG 6spd and one of the most practical fun cars out there a 2002 Mazda Protege'5 4 spd auto). at that time I was also considering a 2004 Mazda RX8 with the 6spd ( long story short , wife nixed that). The Magnum is a dream in everyway except one, Gas Mileage, when new and driving habits were diffrent I was able to get 17- 22 MPG , after moving and taking more local roads , the magnum is getting 13 ( 12.7) .

For some one that drives on parkways and highways will love this car, but with the past summer run up of gas prices and an amazing deal on a new Mada speed 6 . I can have few regrets for getting rid of the Magnum, except I will miss the Hemi.


Dotty Gale said...

I answer to your question, the Studebaker Lark is currently having some issues with the differential. It leaks and it smells like it's burning up even when I drive it short distances. The linkage from the gas pedal to the carburetor is sticking and I wouldn't want that to happen in rush hour traffic. Also, I really need two tail light lenses so the verdict is that the Lark stays parked. I drive the Silver Hawk to work every now and then but the Goat is what's getting all the miles nowadays.

mikey said...

my daily driver: 2001 Focus ZX3 power/premium 5-speed. upgraded to SVT focus suspension.

my wife's: 2005 Escape XLT V6 AWD

why focus? good looks/performance/economy for $14k. haven't been disappointed at all.

why escape? traded in her 2001 focus SE for it - needed more utility, something to hit the mountains occasionally. she loves this little truck.

why fords? you know. :) i like to buy american and i can't stand GM's playskool-inspired plastics.

(the weekend/work truck: 1990 F-150 XLT Lariat longbed.)

Dorri732 said...

1991 BMW 750iL. I purchased it this February with 98,000 miles on it. It has ~120,000 now. The main reason I got it was the V-12 engine.

Also, you gotta love depreciation. This car cost $74,600 new, and I got it in excellent condition for $6,000.

It's also the only car I've ever seen with power heated leather reclining REAR seats.

Big Ford Fan said...

OK, I'm really happy with responses so far.

Mike (GTI) sounds like a nice car, even if it's not a Ford, and who wouldn't want to tool around in an MR2 Turbo. But I'm noticing a trend here, there seem to be quite a few BMW drivers who read my blog?????

BobZoom, I saw the new Mazdaspeed6 today, thanks for stopping by, can't wait to drive it. Now that seems like a daily driver that is no compromise. Good luck with it.

Dotty Gale, sorry to hear about the Lark, but the GTO does well with the traction control.

Mikey, what can I say a true Ford Blue Oval nut, a Focus, Escape and F series truck. Would like to hear more about the Focus. I checked your site, cute animals, your Richie looks like my Mickey when he was a little one. I have 5 cats and a dog. What can I say, that's what you have when you don't have kids. Write me on AOL so I can learn more about your foster program and maybe help spread the word, if you're looking for new homes for them. myforddreams@aol.com

Big Ford Fan said...

Dorri, nearly forgot you, nice car, I don't know about a car that old as a daily driver, but then again Dotty Gale splits between a 57 Studebaker, a 63 Studebaker and a brand new GTO.

And I was starting to feel my 6 year old truck was getting old.

I have always loved the 7 series, never knew about the reclining rear seats. Nice.

Dorri732 said...

Two years ago I used a '79 Trans Am with a 403 Olds engine as a daily driver in upstate New York (Saratoga Springs) in Winter!

It was more entertaining (and a lot easier to fix when it broke) than the BMW.

captc said...

my dayly driver is a ford f250 4x4 super cab, powered by a very smooth but yet powerfull enough for me v10. why, because in my mind after haveing only one bad ford since 1964 . they build one of the best lines of pickup for my personal needs.
buy a import, no thanks i spent 41 years as a mechanic fixing one import companys lines in a dealership shop. way to many problems with electronics,wireing. plus emmission system failers,also the way cars are built now i'm thankfull to say i've retired. i'll keep my never in the shop ever for any problem ford pick up.
the only serviceing this truck has needed is oil changes and tire rotation's and that i do my self.

Big Ford Fan said...

CaptC, I'm confused as to why you would name your blog My Ford Dreams? Don't you think that's wrong? Please change the name of your blog. I've had this blog for 9 months and feel established with the name.