Monday, April 24, 2006

The De-evolution of a Dream, or how reality strikes

For people that have been reading my blog for the last 12 months or so, you may remember that one of my stated dreams was to purchase a new Mustang GT in Windviel Blue. And so you may wonder, how I went from this lofty goal, to now talking about purchasing a Mazda3 five door hatch. Well, it was a couple of factors. The Mustang GT is a great car, and with 300 hp has more power than any vehicle I've ever owned. It's iconic to be certain, but it's not very practical, and beyond the price limit I've set for myself.
The first adjustment to my goal was the switch from the GT to the Pony Mustang with V6 power, making about 210 hp, only 15 ponies less than my previous 5.0 Mustang. And the V6 Pony Mustang would have plenty of power, evident by the test drive I took last year. But there were other issues that popped up. For instance, the price of gas topped $3 last fall after Hurricane Katrina. And upon further research, it became obvious that a Mustang would not be the best choice for my intended uses. I had decided that if I get a new car, it's got to be practicle to take on vacations, so fuel economy would be a major factor. Not that the V6 Mustang is a gas guzzler, but it doesn't fair much better than my Ranger's 17/24 rating, nor for that matter much better than the GT Mustang. And a couple of minor issues were the possible availability of a manual transmission, and the absolute lack of a moonroof. It seemed counter productive to me to buy a Mustang that couldn't be equipped the way I wanted, and that would become a liability in daily life.

So how did I end up with a psuedo station wagon? Ok, not a station wagon, a 5 door hatch. Well, let's see, it could be the practicality of that 5 door configuration, but it's more likely the 26 city 32 highway fuel economy rating, and it doesn't hurt that I can get every option I want. Leather Interior, Moonroof and 6 disc CD stereo system. Add to that 4 wheel disc brakes, and 17" wheels all for less than the Mustang, and then it's clear. So a Mazda3 may not be my dream car, but it will satisfy my needs and offer a measure of driving enjoyment.

And some may call me a traitor for not buying a vehicle with a Blue Oval badge, but in reality it's Ford that failed me. And I can sleep at night with no guilt because at least Mazda is a partner company, that Ford owns a controlling interest in. Besides if Ford had brought the C1 Euro Focus to the US, they would have had the sale. I in the end can compromise my principals in order to get the best value and comfort in a vehicle, and pocket the difference in fuel/insurance/purchase costs.


Racedriven said...

Hay BigFordFan,

You sold me on the Mazda3 if I was a family man, like you, I did see a Mazda3 wagan on my about 2 hour roundtrip drive on Sunday to the Brookfield Orchards and I like the look of it and I also saw the Mazda6 sports sedan and both the front and rear end look great, now if only ford would look at.

One thing: A mustang is a mustang, but your a family man and even if you were not, you still made a great choice with the Mazda3. Relax, Fuel Economy to power is needed and besides, you go to Cape Cod from New York.

BTW: I love Cape Cod, but I have not been in years.

See Yeah!

Jaime said...

well . . . Mazda is a Ford brand, so you can pretend that you're driving a Mustang. Specially since the vents on the sides for the AC are the exact same ones they use in the Mustang.

I have a Mazda 3i Sedan. 28 city/35 highway. it still costs 40 bucks every 2 weeks to fill up the tank.

Big Ford Fan said...

Brian, thanks, but I'm not a "Family man" unless you count a dog and 6 cats. But I don't take them for rides in the car, well the dog sometimes, but he cats don't travel well.

The reality is this, I payed almost $40 to fill the tank on my Ranger, and while it may cost as much to fill the Mazda, it will last twice as long.

Jaime, welcome new reader/commentor your comments support my thoughts. I'm looking forward to 30+mpg.

Maddad said...

Rented one of those and took it from Louisville to Cleveland and back. Good mileage, plenty fast, felt faster than the Altima I rented the next week. I like hatches and wagons too, but I thought the dash was a little too boy-racer, but I think they're all like that now. See if they have power seats available, the seats on my rental felt like they were on the floor pan, not too comfy and a pain to adjust. I had a Protege in the early nineties that I loved, but the seats were the same, only thing I didn't like about that car.

Anonymous said...

I'm a VW fanatic and I love my current 2000 Golf, but I've been eyeing the 3 as a possible replacement if something happens to it. Why? Because Mazda has done a great job providing a nice set of options at a great price. If I want a four-door GTI the way I want it I'd have to pay thousands more than what the s Grand Touring costs, with heated seats and HID and all the other stuff I want. (I have the HIDs now but I I had to hack them in myself as VW has only now seen fit to offer them).

I'm also an environmental scientist and I'm very glad to see pointless and unnecessary consumption in the form of SUVs and sports cars that, face it, most of us can't drive at high speed legally, start to fade as people start realizing that using less fuel/resources is important. (It always was ... but Americans have been too selfish to realize that and are only now coming around, now that the higher costs mean buying less other stuff).

I hope you enjoy your new 3!

Big Ford Fan said...

MadDad, thanks for reading, welcome first time commentor. I have been very impressed with the Mazda3s that I've test driven and it's amazing the level of content in the car I'm looking at. The leather interior is outstanding. All the high tech goodies, and stereo are far more than I need or expected in this price range also.

Annonymous, I usually delete annonymous comments, but felt your comment needed a response. The Mazda3 is an outstanding car, that's true, but the new GTI is amazing in it's own way. I agree the Mazda3 makes more sense for the price, and the 40 hp defecit won't be noticed in everyday driving. Besides, the GTI is only a 3 door and much smaller. But the new Rabbit is impressive in it's own way too. With 170 hp from it's 2.5L I5 and base price around $15k, it's going to be real competition for everyone, including Mazda.

One of the biggest plus factors for me is the 32 mpg, well the Zoom Zoom factor is there too. But can Zoom Zoom beat Fast? I have a freind who just got a GTI, maybe I'll have to race him?