Cool Mom Cars

This blog is dedicated to cars and car reviews for women. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New car time!

I was rear-ended in my van. That really sucked. My head still hurts, and I hadn't planed on buying a new vehicle quite this soon. But the young girl in the Volvo behind me decided it was time.
I intend to drag all of you (I mean, both of you.) along on this quest for a new ride. You may want to "unfollow" at this point. Or, if you're brave, please try to keep up as I wade through the mire of dealers, craigslist (which is often the funniest part of my day), and insurance companies. I will also attempt to refrain from typing anything that will get me sued. No promises, though.
The van is paid off, as I mentioned before, so I plan to roll around naked in the money the insurance company gives me. Then I have to buy a car with it. Wait--they're giving me a check, not cash. This could result in some pretty freaky paper cuts. Scratch the rolling-around-in-money idea.
Moving on...
Used or new? Green or gas-guzzling? Practical or fun-as-hell? Let's break it down.
1.) I have 3 kids.
2.) I have 3 kids.
3.) I have 3 kids.
That pretty much knocks fun-as-hell outta the running. Generally speaking, vehicles that can haul around that many humans are not fun-as-hell. Except for maybe helicopters, and I hear those are hard to park in the local Sonic parking lot. (My 3-year-old son has suggested a firetruck as a worthy replacement for my van, but I bet he'd also be okay with a helicopter.)
Green is basically out the window, as I do have to lug around my own 3 kiddos, the dog, and very often an assortment of neighbors' kids, old car parts for my husband's myriad old car projects, my sister-in-law's dog, tricycles for trips to the park, coolers full of discount hot dogs and wine from Costco--well, you get the idea. Oh, and my husband has delusions of getting a trailer and going camping. Maybe he has a winning lotto ticket I don't know about.
I'm going to go stress-eat now. Cinnamon rolls will make it all better.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Had the opportunity to live with a 2004 BMW 3-series yesterday. That was fun! I really want a BMW now, and this is a problem. (They're expensive!) With more than 66,000 miles the car was still tight and fun. And let's not even talk about "Sport" mode. Yeeha! One wonders why so many people have eschewed the sedan for big, sloppy-handling SUV's. I have three kids, so I kinda have to drive a van, but oh how I miss a well-put-together, fine-handling sedan!

Also looked at Land Rovers yesterday. Kind of disappointed. The interior was cheap-feeling. I mean, really, it felt like a Ford Flex inside. That's a bummer inside a vehicle that costs $50,000. The interior of a simiarly-priced BMW sedan was simply luxury. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Buying a used car

Before I blog about my latest subject, I would like to apologize for being such a flake at posting. The girls are both in school, it's Girl Scout cookie time (I'm the cookie manager for our troop!) and Drew has been working seven days a week. AAACK!


Okay. Momma wants a new ride, but I shudder at having a payment again. Oh sure, we have a payment on Drew's Mustang and he just bought a Harley! Can you hear the tension in my voice? (At least the Harley is older and we paid cash.) So, it's my turn. I think.
The problem with me is that I have champagne taste and beer money. Or, maybe sparkling cider money. Anyway, I have looked at a few vehicles that whet my appetite.

1.) Land Rover LR3. Yeehaw! I have always loved these finicky, delicate Eglish vehicles and their true off-road capability. The particular one I am looking at is a 2006 and costs about $25,000. Yikes. The payment, with a (hopefully!) good trade-in value for my van at about $10,000 would still be over $200 a month. Well, that sucks.
2.) Volvo Xc90. There are a lot of these around, but they tend to have higher miles, and most of them don't exist with the 8-cylinder engine. The 6-cylinder in this has less horsepower than my van. Bummer.
3.) Chevy Suburban. Sigh. Sigh again. I just can't seem to find a nice one, and their resale value is pretty pricey. They all have about 6 million miles on them, or are "like new" with a like new price. Oh, pooh.
4.) Ford Excursion with the 7.3 liter diesel. Yeah, right. There are about 6 of these left on the planet, and none of them are in CA.

See, dear readers my van is paid for. Paid off. I owe zippo. Nuthin'. Zero. That counts for a lot. I'm merely being selfish and immature by wanting something new, when my van is only 4 years old and perfectly perfect. Drew has his fun, fast, fabulous toys and I am getting jealous and petty.
Maybe I should just get a little dog to carry around in my purse and bark at people, while wearng a little dress and hat.
Nah. A "new" car would be cheaper.

Friday, January 16, 2009

IRS vs. live axle

No, I'm not talking about tax season. I'm talking about REAL 4-wheel-drive versus pretend 4-wheel-drive.

"What the hell does it matter?" you ask. Okay, here's the oversimplified version. Independent rear suspension lets both rear wheels wiggle around independently of one another. One goes up, the other can still go down. With me so far? IRS (as it's called) makes the ride and handling better. It's also heavy and expensive. Like most new cars. HA!

The most important thing about IRS, and why I even brought it up in the first place, is that it's poopy off-road. Wikipedia puts it best when they say, so charmingly, "A further advantage of a live/beam axle in off-road use is that ground clearance under the axle remains constant, even if one wheel rises over a bump and the other doesn't." In short, you drag the undercarriage of your new $50,000 Toyota Sequoia across whatever obstacle you are trying to get over. This could be a bummer. And you will destroy stuff, as an IRS rear end is fairly delicate. You will break it if you go crashing around off-road, or if your vehicle has oodles of power. It's simply going to happen.

So, this is why I will be, and have been, annoyed with the new SUV's marketed as "trucks" but given car suspension. It's quite obvious that these vehicles are not intended to be used for truck-like activities. If you want to use your vehicle like a truck, get a truck.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wanna race?

You got it, Toyota! You just got it a little late; people have no home equity, green is in, and the economy is in the toilet. Not the best time to introduce a new gas-guzzling SUV for $45,000+.
I had the luxury of living with the new Toyota Sequoia for 24 hours, and overall I really liked it! The power is amazing and it's right there when you need it. I applaud Toyota for this new 5.7 litre V8 and wish they would put it in their minivans!! Over 300 horsepower is addicting, folks.
The interior is well done, and all three rows of passengers have quite a lot of leg room. The three seats in the middle row can move forward and back independently of one another, which makes it easy to get into the third row and makes it possible to fit real adults back there, too. All three middle seats have LATCH positions as well. The third row in the one I had (an SR5 model) had no LATCH positions, but the seat belts are ratcheting so it's easy to get a tight fit for child seats. Storage behind the third row seat is about the same as most other large SUVs. I was able to fit an umbrella stroller, two backpacks, and my kids' jackets. That was about it. No trips to Costco in this baby with the whole family unless you plan on tying all your steaks and toilet paper to the roof rack.
The handling is surprisingly good! It handles like a Camry--that's awesome for this huge vehicle, but kinda sucks for the Camry. Drew had it squealing tires around corners here in town and it held its line just fine. It drives like a smaller car, and is easy to park. Visibility is quite good.
The transmission, however, concerns me. It shifts so smoothly, you feel nothing. No jerks, no hunting for gears--seamless. But, this seamlessness is the cause for concern. Smooth=slipping in an automatic transmission, and slipping creats heat. Heat causes transmissions to die, plain and simple. I wonder what the longevity of these transmissions will be.
This new Sequoia is a car. It's a car for people who think they cannot possibly be seen in a station wagon or minivan, or who might occasionally tow something. It is NOT, I repeat NOT, an off-road vehicle. You can see from the picture above that the clearance, even on this 4 wheel drive model, is not much, and the rear suspension is now independent, instead of a live axle like a truck. (More on this in an upcoming post.)
It's a car. An expensive one (a comparably-equipped Toyota Tundra pickup truck will be about $10,000 less and more off-road-worthy) but a good one and one that most people who buy it will be thrilled with. It will probably do everything you ask of it, with the possible exception of serious off-roading. I just wish it wasn't so expensive, and that it had been introduced about 3 years ago.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I'm here!

Can you believe it? I've not abandoned you all out there in cyberspace. I actually have official plans.
I have arranged for a 24-hour test drive of the new Sequoia from Toyota. (Okay, I rented the thing for a family trip to the train museum with my brother and his family, but doesn't "arranged" sound better than "rented?" I thought so.)
Anyway, I don't know what trim level or model I will have, but it will be 8-passenger. We'll have it from 8 a.m. on January 7th until 8 a.m. on January 8th.
Look for it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I am still here!

New computer! reviews are on their way!


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