Wow! Three days without a post. That's the longest I've gone while still parking a healthy ass at home. Sorry (if you've missed me... or if you were hoping I'd packed it in).
Spent the weekend doing the new car thing. Test drove the XC90 and the MDX. For kicks I looked at the BMW X5, but that's off the menu.
I much prefer the Volvo's interior. Simple, nordic design is quite appealing. Sadly, fit and finish showed flaws. Components didn't match up and there were noticable gaps between pieces. The seats, though quite comfortable, were also rather slippery. I felt as if I wasn't staying put. The whole vehicle felt top-heavy and a bit wobbly, which made me glad for the safety features - just in case.
The best part of the test drive was torturing the salesman when I discovered halfway through that the gas tank was empty. The guy started sweating and I just kept telling him how hot he was going to be pushing me back to the dealership. "Don't worry, sir. I'll have somebody here real quick if we don't get back. I don't know how this could have happened."
One Volvo note: I know it's still rampant with Euros, but in a Volvo? I'm talking about the lighter and ashtray for the rear passengers. Weird.
The Acura was the better choice, though the whole Star Trek cockpit was overwhelmingly ugly. The car comes loaded with a mess of standard features, but it's as if they all have to be conspicuous for the driver. Aesthetically it reeked of "this makes me cool." That said, some of it was cool.
The car is throaty and for its size pretty snappy. It felt very close to the Murano in its acceleration and responsiveness. It never seemed to quibble about the things I asked of it. I thought it would be a little bulky but it handled very well.
The voice activation was unnecessary but fun. "Temperature, 65 degrees," you say and the lovely Star Trek voice responds, "Temperature set at 65 degrees," as the air conditioning switches on. "Find nearest German restaurant," and up comes a list of them on the screen. "Call number one," and it dials the Bratskeller. Throw the car in reverse, the backup camera pops up on the screen and the side mirrors tip down for a better view of the ground. All in all, I was surprisingly pleased by it.
I have debated all weekend long about making the plunge for the Acura, or anything else for that matter. With some puzzling together of our various child seats I actually was able to squeeze three abreast in the Murano's back seat, but it was knuckle-scrapingly tight. The infant seat has to go in without its base, which means it is locked in with the seatbelt and not the LATCH clips. They are awfully close together and I foresee sibling bloodshed as a result. At least we know we could get by with my car, but how safe is it for my kids.
The blank loan check is on its way, but I'm just not sure we're going to use it.
addendum: The Volvo and the Acura seem to be the chosen means of transport for clinical pharmacists as my wife asked around at the hospital today and two of her fellow med-mixers responded enthusiastically regarding their rides. One drove (and loved) the Acura till her lease ended, didn't like the new model's styling, went with the Caddy instead (eww) and hates it. The other drives the XC90 and loves it. Interestingly, she can get two car seats on the second row and still has room to use the center integrated booster seat for her oldest. That really slides the Volvo up a notch.
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