No, I didn’t get in a wreck. I leased a car for the first time in August ’07 and that lease ends next month.
Yes, after owning a couple black 2-dr Civics in my life I grew up and went for the “adult Civic” — the Acura TSX.
Now that my lease is coming to an end I’ve begun looking around and I see 3 potential scenarios panning out:
- Lease a new Acura TSX
- Buy or lease a sportier, fun 2-door
- Buy a clean diesel or hybrid
- a. Hold out for a 2011-model green car
Interestingly enough, I faced an almost identical three-pronged dilemma three years ago but this time — as with everything new — is different. Let’s play out the pros and cons:
Option 1: I lease a new Acura TSX. Not a very adventurous decision but a logical one.
36 mo. Lease (Estimated): $2,000 down + $325 – $350 / mo.
- I enjoyed my TSX and never (reeeaally) wished I had a different ride
- The latest model is nicer and is also available as a V6
- BUT… it’s a bigger car. More like the old TL. A little too big.
- I test-drove the v6 and it had pretty obnoxious (read: noisy, wasteful) pickup
- The 4-cylinder TSX has the same drivetrain and “power” as my current car but is (and feels) bigger and therefore slower
Conclusion: I’d feel like a slightly older man in a bigger car but would enjoy and trust it though i’d probably end up opting for the v6 for more zip.
Option 2: I’m 35, single, and may as well have a fun, sporty, and relatively pimpin’ ride
36 mo. Lease or used financed (Estimated): $2,000 down + $400 – $550 / mo.
- I can lease something new or buy something used / dealer-certified
- I rarely took advantage of having a 4-door, other than to throw crap in the back seat, sometimes my bicycle
- I may actually settle down and have a family some day – a baby that doesn’t have 4 wheels, who knows – the time is now
- BUT… This is exactly what I said when I was 32, single and paying rent just the same
- I can always wait until I’m 65 and wrinkled driving a Tesla convertible but then again… nah
- I’m too practical and would probably end up with a 2-dr Honda Accord coupe or something similarly quasi-sporty but lame.
Conclusion: Go test drive a Ferrari.
Option 3: Hybrid / clean diesel. Socially Responsible. Ownership.
2010 Jetta TDI 66 mo. 4.9% financing (Quoted): $3,000 down + $400 / mo. $1,950 tax credit (if purchased by 12/31/10)
- In 2007 I said I would have gotten this car had it been available (but 2009 was the first model year)
- It’s got some hops with the turbo-diesel injection yet is as practical as can be with great resale potential
- I tried to talk myself into a Hybrid in 2007, but every ride was too boring and slow with spartan interior
- I get physically ill every time I fill up at the pump. Ideally I’d live in New York City sans car but at least this will get me double the mileage
- BUT… I’ve been a Honda lifer. German engineering might just bite me in the ass
- I can afford to be a bit irresponsible with my choice in cars. I spend my days trying to save the world
- C’mon, Jettas are for trixies!
Conclusion: It’s complicated (see 3a).
Option 3a: Wait for next year’s model (and for a “green” car, I’d be waiting)
Would need to find a way to get around from August -> December or January
- The 2011 Jetta body is that much sleeker than the 2010
- I’d have a 2011 sted of 2010
- I’ve seen rumors of a 2011 Acura TSX hybrid
- Maybe I’ll figure out how to import an Audi A3 coupe or get a pre-release Lexus CT 200h (hey, I’m a lucky guy)!
- BUT… I lose out on the extra $650 hybrid / alternative vehicle tax credit by year-end
- while the 2011 Jetta is scheduled to be out in October, the TDI may be delayed until January
- I can wait ’til next year forever and ever
- What will I do to get to work and back after August 21? Extend my lease? rent a car? Take the bus?
Conclusion: I can see myself buying a 2011 Jetta TDI but perhaps there are better options that I have yet to consider… bring ’em on!
PostScript: I’m always open to the mysterious Option number D, in which I’m offered a sweet gig in NYC (or SF for that matter) and give up driving all-together, win a new car on The Price is Right or in the, uh, KCRW subscriber sweeps, or develop a partnership with some car company and drive around in a mobile advertisement (hey, I’m not above it)!
What do you think?