Over the thirty-odd years I've been driving, I have owned only half a dozen cars: a Chevrolet, a Toyota, a Mercury, a Mazda, another Mazda, and now an Infiniti. This seems an unusually-low number for an ostensibly red-blooded American male, but in truth, the average American, gender unspecified, gets rid of a car every eight years, which means that I'm about two years ahead of schedule.

Then again, my current ride is coming up on nine years old and has just this side of 115,000 miles. Its brief stint as a money pit seems to have subsided, inasmuch as almost everything generally considered replaceable on it has already been replaced, and I'd like nothing better than to see 200,000 come up on the digital odometer. (And if the sun's coming in at the right angle, I won't be able to see it at all.) Then again, this is the sort of thing that happens when you buy a six-year-old car, even a six-year-old car with pretensions of luxury. And in two and a half years, I've driven a mere 27,000 miles, which means that it should be well into 2017 before I'm ready to trade. If you're an auto dealer, you're probably doing a facepalm as you read.

But "should be" doesn't mean a thing. I would have been perfectly content to have kept my second Mazda, which now would be coming up on nine years old, but it didn't work out that way. Historically speaking, I don't exhibit a whole lot of brand loyalty, what with five makes out of six cars, but how likely is that pattern to hold up next time I go car-shopping? Can Infiniti count on another sale?

Maybe. While the I30 in my garage has generally served me well despite its occasional hunger for parts, and while I have no real gripes with the local dealership given the stories I've heard around town, "no real gripes" practically constitutes a love letter I still get the feeling of "What am I doing with a thirty-thousand-dollar car?" I didn't pay anywhere near that, of course, and the average price for a new vehicle in this country is around $28,400 anyway, but still, there's something inside of me that resists a sticker that stiff. So Infiniti, whose line starts well into the 30s, is going to have a tough time selling me a new car, though obviously I'm not averse to buying a used one and hoping for the best.

And I'm not that much of a Nissan fanboy, especially compared to Trini, who professed to be deeply offended when I sent her an article on the upcoming JDM-only (maybe) GT-R Spec V with the annotation "No, you can't have one. Not yours." This despite the fact that she drives a Saturn Ion, an otherwise-sound little box that nonetheless provides regular sources of irritation due to failure to start when it's cold out and the occasional disappearance of the door lock. Yet this is her second Saturn, and if you offered her a new one she almost certainly wouldn't spit in your eye.

Next question: Does Detroit have a chance of luring me back into a domestic? Again, the answer is "Maybe." What with middle-aged spread and all, I'm clearly not interested in something Chevy Aveo-sized; even if I could squeeze myself into one of those little penalty boxes, I'd hate to have to take one on a long trip, and I do long trips as often as the budget permits, which is to say about once a year. So it's going to be the family-sedan class, inasmuch as I can think of no good reason to spend the long dollar for a sport-utility vehicle which will inevitably weigh more and therefore drink more fuel. (Damn laws of physics.) Besides, most of them are fugly for the sake of fugliness, on the dubious basis that somehow this makes them appear studly. (Minivans are fugly too, but they usually aren't pressed into service as penis extensions.) If the General can avoid making the upcoming Buick LaCrosse into an AARPmobile I'm old enough to be a member, but I refuse to drive like one I'd actually look into it, provided the local Pontiac/Buick/GMC store isn't a complete and utter craphole.

The Vent

  8 January

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 Copyright © 2009 by Charles G. Hill