Saturday, January 07, 2006

Testdriving Part 2

So, the testdriving continues.

I took a Scion tC out for testdrive. For those that don't know, Scion is essentially a Toyota brand, and sold quasi-independently out of the Toyota dealerships. The Scion brand has a no-haggle policy - the price on the website IS the price you pay - we'll see if that is true in practice though. The tC looks like most of the other sports coupes, almost like an elongated 350Z, or an Eclipse (though nothing quite beats the Eclipse on sporty body style!). I took one out for a testdrive. The first thing I noticed: it's quite peppy for a 4-banger. It drives like a small car, which makes it feel like you're getting a lot out of it. Handles beautifully, but there's only so much you can get out of the busy Bellevue streets. The biggest thing you notice: there's lots of space in the back! Apparently this is at the cost of trunk space - admittedly, I didn't look at that, so I'll have to check that out. Apparently for $6000 extra, you can throw a supercharger on. That'd hella go!

The next day, the long trek down to Renton to drive a Mitsubishi Eclipse GS. A friendly dealer was very eager to sell me - huge MS discounts, which would hopefully counteract some of the $4000 dealer markup over MSRP. The Eclipse is dead sexy. Nothing else I've driven comes close in a body style that'll turn heads faster than Pamela Anderson on a slip-and-slide. However, the drive was disappointing. While perfectly understandable, the back seat was a joke - I would never subject anyone to such cramped conditions. Even the front was quite low, but again, this is what you expect from this sort of car. What I didn't expect - visibility was shite, from all angles. Couldn't see a damned thing outta that car! I was also expecting a car that would really perform. Sure, it drove well for a 4-cylinder, but it was nothing as impressive as I was expecting from a Mitsubishi. The only advantage to driving - it was the only car with techtronic (sp) 4-gear auto. The sound system (an optional upgrade I think, an MP3 deck) was pretty impressive. They unleashed three salesmen on me to try and force an impulse buy. Sorry guys, nice try!

Last on the list, I went to the Renton Honda. Took a Honda Accord EX (4-cylinder) Sedan out, just to get a feel for the non-V6 (no, I don't want a sedan). The Accord is the antithesis of the Eclipse. It's big, very roomy, visible, and drives very smoothly. The power was decent, but of course not the manly thrust of the V6. The Coupe is still kinda sexy, but it's hard to get the ones I want. If I was looking more in the luxary car direction, I'd go with the Honda - it's comforable to ride in, very comfortable to drive. I scared the shit outta the dealer, who had me pegged as a conservative family man, by blaring Godsmack on the hellas sweet 6CD changer. Not sure if it rivalled the Eclipse's deck, but it was close for sure.

Discounting the Eclipse for now, lets get some heads-up play going here. I'm going to custom-build cars for comparison.

2006 Scion tC2006 Accord LX Coupe
Body Style2-door HatchbackCoupe
ColourNautical BlueSapphire Blue Pearl
Transmission4-speed auto5-speed auto
Engine160hp@5700RPM 163lb.ft@4000RPM166HP@5800RPM 160lb.ft@4000RPM
Economy23/30 MPG24/34 MPG
Tires18" alloy wheels w/ wheel locks15" chrome w/ wheel locks
AudioPioneer 6-speaker 160W w/MP3/ipod/aux6-speaker 120W w/MP3(?aux)
Safetyblah: todo: me!sama sama
Warranty36/36000 basic 60/60000 powertrain 60 rust?? 60/60000 most things
Other:Many available. Pure price. I could drop this price way down by dropping some of the silly toy features. Reviews consistently complain about blind spots and rear rattle.Hard to get automatic transmission coupes

The Scion looks like it will win out. I will take one last visit to the dealership, and if I still like it, it becomes mine. Hooray!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you might have been expecting too much out of the "entry level" 4 bangers... there's no such thing as one of those that has speed/performance really - their bigger V6 brothers have the power, the enhanced handling, and better performance options.

Entry level cars are designed to look like their better brothers, but not perform like them. After all, that's why they're cheaper.

The cars you read rave reviews about are these high-end models, not the lower-end ones you test drove. You would have been much more impressed by each of the cars had you tried the higher end model, and they would likely

Still, always pays to drive many different cars, good idea there. Only way to make a sound decision.

- J. Z. DeLorean