Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

Yes, I know there are lots of important issues to blog about, but since I've been busy at work everyone else has already blogged about them. Corrupt Illinois governor. Joe the Plumber dissing McCain. Etc.

So instead, I'll talk about my feelings about our new vehicle.

As Baxter told you, DH and I went out and bought a new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on Saturday, which we picked up from the dealer on Monday evening.

As you know, we had decided to buy a Jeep in order to be able to get up the hill to our property in the Adirondacks. While our cars are able to get up there with no problem in nice weather, even a little snow makes it impossible, since the road is not paved and the gravel isn't even maintained by the town. And I imagine the Mud Season (April, when the snows start melting) would be equally difficult.

So we have every reason to own this Jeep. But I have a certain amount of mixed emotions about owning it.

First of all, it is not subtle. It is red. Very red. We are not Red Car People. We are both attracted to light metallic blues and silvers, navy, or black when it comes to car colors. But the only standard shift Jeep that the dealership had was Flame Red. And it had everything we wanted and more, for going off road in the Adirondacks. Plus they offered us $6000 off the price. (By the way, part of that was an AARP discount. If you're 50 or above and are holding out on joining AARP, put aside your false pride and take advantage of everything they offer!).

Secondly, it is BIG. It bears a certain resemblance to a Hummer. We are not Hummer/SUV Type People either. We have been Saab people for 23 years and would be Prius people too if we didn't insist on driving a standard shift. I am feeling liberal-environmental guilt about the gas mileage. It only gets 19 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA estimate. I'll have to see what it gets in reality.

I feel as if I should have a bumper sticker on the back saying, "Yes, I really DO use this to drive off road!" and/or "My Other Car gets 32 miles per gallon."

Third, it is very high off the ground. In order for me to clamber into it, I have to hold on to the steering wheel and pull myself up with all my strength. (I assume if we buy the running board, which is an add-on, it might help).

Fourth, it rides like, well, a Jeep. Or a truck. I'm not used to that either. It's not that it's that bumpy, particularly, but I feel as if I'm so high up that it will tip over any minute so I tend to drive it very cautiously. It definitely doesn't handle like our other cars. I'm sure that feeling of instability will change as I get used to it.

On the plus side, it will DEFINITELY get up that hill, and we can't wait to go try it out. We'll probably go up on the weekend after New Year's and test it out. I think it will be a lot of fun to drive around up there in general, as there are jeep trails all around the area. We'll be able to see parts of the Adirondacks that aren't accessible to regular cars - including the rest of the road that our cabin is on.

And of course the satellite radio is great; I had it on the 70's station today. We're going to take turns driving the Jeep to work, so I'm going to get spoiled with the satellite radio and not want to go back to the regular stations when I don't have the Jeep. And the navigation system is a lot of fun to play with too.

Best of all, there is NO WAY I can lose it in our new parking lot. I came out of work tonight and there it was, blazing like a beacon from a distance. I couldn't miss it if I tried!


Fran said...

Hah! The first thing I thought when I heard you start defending your purchase was "she won't lose that one in the lot at work!"

Hey, if you are going to be up in the ADKS you need that car.

I am a big standard shift person. My husband does not drive it however, so when my trusty 10 year old civic goes (let it live a long live, it has only 96,000 miles on it) I will be forced to consider (shudder) an automatic.

Christopher said...

How fun!

Red cars can really look great.

Be prepared though, my friend. The "I hate SUVs" crowd will not be supportive or celebrate with you.

After driving a tiny Toyota for 12 years, we bought a small SUV and I've been told everything from I'm responsible for global warming to accusations that I own stock in oil companies.

People need to STFU about what they know nothing about.

Life As I Know It Now said...

I think I would feel the same way. I am one of those hating people. Please realize your headlights are up higher and are blinding us little car folk and stay back and I'll forgive you.

Mauigirl said...

Fran, I will be feeling a lot more comfortable in our new purchase when we're up in the Adirondacks. All we see up there are pickup trucks, Jeeps, SUVs and Subarus (which was the other car we were thinking of but decided it wasn't quite off-road enough).

As for Mr. HeIs, you should do what DH did to me when we were engaged and decided to buy a new car together. He said I had to learn to drive a stick shift because he was NOT going to drive an automatic! I learend and became a true convert - I hate driving automatics now. Maybe you could convert Mr. HeIs before your car has to be replaced!

Christopher, like Liberality, I AM - or I should say, have been - one of those SUV haters. Hence the cognitive dissonance! ;-) I would think up in your neck of the woods in western New York State, though, SUVs would be more acceptable given the amount of snow you guys get up there!

Liberality, never fear, I am going to be one of the most considerate drivers of this vehicle that you could see. For one thing I'm afraid to go more than 60 miles per hour in it on the highway (so far) and will be tending to stay in the right lane, well back from other people!

Fran said...

I hear you.... tough decision.
I grappled with a car choice... decided to hang on to my 14 year old vehicle that just turned 100K miles.

We really did not like anything out there currently available-- vehicles getting the same mileage as a decade & 1/2 ago. But my son pointed out, they changed the standard for rating mileage, so it is not an apples for apples comparison.

If you really need 4WD then ya need it.

At least emissions standards have improved.

We decided to hold out for an electric vehicle, which should come in the next year or 2-- but it sounds like your other car is on it;s last legs NOW, so you have to go with what is available now.

If down the road, there is something better, you can make the change.

Think of the red color as both a safety device (easier to be seen), and a rescue element, easier to be found if off roading gets you stuck in the snow.

The Quakers wore red on Fridays in opposition to the regime.... so think of it as anti bush, and red is the color of love & the heart....

I've tried to paint the positives as much as I can.
Bottom line is you can get rid of it later if something drastically better surfaces.

Randal Graves said...

I bet we see you on this list soon!

When I worked for the city years ago, I had to drive a truck and I absolutely hated being high up like that, so I can understand, you hater of all things natural. ;-)

Mauigirl said...

Fran, I would love to get one of the new electric vehicles when they come out. The old Saab actually may have some life in it yet - DH thinks it could just be the radiator and not the head gasket, so if so we can fix it. We shall see. At least DH, who travels 1-1/2 hours to work 3 days a week, is taking the car with the good mileage rating! My commute is much shorter than his.

The red as safety device idea is something I thought of - if we're driving through the woods on a jeep trail in a bright red Jeep during hunting season, no one will mistake us for a deer!

Mauigirl said...

Randal, I agree - the up high thing, while nice in some ways (being able to see above the other cars/vans/SUVs) the feeling of instability is strange. On the other hand, I hate being really low down in a sports car either. I'm so fussy! ;-)

Unknown said...

This line made me howl:

We are not Red Car People.

Hey, I have no problem with folks that actually USE their vehicles for what they were built for.

I understand your plight..hugs and everything will work out. Leave the mud on it so it shows you go offroad...just a thought! ;)

Anonymous said...

Aww you shouldn't need to explain. You do need a 4 wheel drive to drive in bad areas during winter/spring. We got a Bronco and actually bought it during the huge price raises in gas. Now the prices for the same vehicle are a good $1500 higher. We cannot get out of our land without 4 wheel drive in winter and spring. Ours is a dull red though, nothing so sexy as yours! LOL...Enjoy it!

Mauigirl said...

LOL, Dusty, I thought of the same thing! I can't wait to get mud on it and make it look used for the purpose for which it is intended!

I also have to remember we bought an American car, MADE in America (Toledo, Ohio!), so I should feel good about supporting our auto industry! (If we'd bought another Saab, they are still made in Sweden even though owned by GM).

Mauigirl said...

Sherry, your comment must've come in just as I left my reply to Dusty.

Thanks for your support on the Jeep! I know the gas will be more but at least it also has a bigger tank than my car so I won't have to stop and fill up any more frequently, thank goodness. I don't know why it is, but I hate buying gas. It's boring. And we don't even get out of our cars here in New Jersey. We have full service. If I had to get out of my car in the bad weather to fill my car it would be worse!

Deb said...

There are always upsides to a new car. Or in your case...Jeep! You can go "off roading". Get the jeep nice and muddy...have lots of fun with it. But you know that most do it yourself car washes don't allow you to wash your jeep or truck ... so be aware! Oh, wear flannel and hip boots! Just kidding...:)

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I understand the mixed feelings. I actually am a red car person, but I'm not a big car person or an SUV person. But you do need this vehicle. It's not just vanity. To me, that makes all the difference.

Mauigirl said...

Deb, absolutely there are plenty of upsides - for one thing, it has "new car smell." It's been a long time since my other car had new car smell. And yes, we will have a blast with it up in the Adirondacks. I know this feeling of hesitancy is temporary! And maybe I AM a Red Car (Jeep) Person inside!

Ruth, thanks - that's why I need that bumper sticker saying I go off road in it! I have seen so many of those bright yellow Hummers in this area and I'd be willing to bet none of them go off road. But maybe I am being judgmental and am wrong! ;-)

Distributorcap said...

you got what you needed - so enjoy - i know what snow is like and what driving is like in snow

several years ago my toyota ended up in a ditch because of the snow - it wouldnt have been there if i had an SUV (or if i wasnt an idiot and went out driving on a really bad night).

but i will say - i like NOT having any car right now

Mauigirl said...

DCap, I'm sorry to hear you ended up in a ditch but glad you were OK!

I know what you mean about not having a car. Living in the city you don't really need one. Whenever we vacation out in California and have a car, when we get to San Francisco we are so glad to be rid of it so we can more easily get around the city without driving!

Anonymous said...

Like I told you in the earlier Jeep post, good luck with your new car. Who cares if it's red. Sometimes it's good to stand out a bit. As for the guilt, there's a huge difference between your need for this vehicle and other's indulgence.

Disclaimer: I own a 1999 Jeep that I purchased in 2003 because I wanted an SUV. I regret the decision now because it sucks gas like nobody's business and I really don't need a truck. But I still have a need for a 2nd vehicle and simply don't have the time or inclination to sell this and get another used car. It's on the delayed "to do" list though.

Mauigirl said...

Thanks for the support, Spartacus! At least the gas prices have come down! I do think our new Jeep gets pretty lousy mileage so far, especially becuase it's got all the off-road "low gear ratios" and whatnot that make mileage even worse. But we won't use it every day and it only takes regular gas so the cost may even out at least!