Car Shopping

March 14, 2011

So we are (were) in the market for a car.  I really wanted to get an Audi A4 because it is a beautiful machine, well crafted and luxiourious and sporty all rolled into one vechile.  No other manufacturer does all wheel drive quite like Audi. When fitted with a four cylinder engine, the 2008 Audi A4 Quattro sedan and Avant Quattro wagon rank among the most fuel efficient all wheel drive vehicles sold in America. The 2.0 liter AWD A4′s gas mileage ratings of 28 miles per gallon (MPG) set a high mark for luxury four wheel drive.  And it’s BEAUTIFUL… but EXPENSIVE.

The iconic Toyota Prius has been around for a decade and was for 2010 completely redesigned, with more room, a more refined feel, and the real-world ecstasy (for some) of 51-mpg fuel economy.  51 mpg city! With gas prices well into the $4.00 price range, how could I not consider the 2011 Prius?  The Toyota Prius remains the highest-mileage hybrid on the market, but that doesn’t get in the way of practicality or comfort.

The third-generation Prius still is recognizable as a Toyota hybrid, but there’s more wedge in its stance, more crease in its profile, catchier cues in its arrow-inflected headlamps and taillamps, and more room. Frankly, it takes someone accustomed to seeing Prius models to tell the difference between the old, pre-2010 model and the new one from the outside, but the slightly drawn-up-and-back roofline aids space and gives it slightly different proportions. Aerodynamics have been improved, too. Overall, it’s still more future-appliance than future-chic. Inside, a flying-buttress console—really, a swooping mass of hard plastic—adds some visual interest to the Prius’ wide, low dash and its digital, distantly mounted gauges, and a storage bin resides beneath. All in all, a snappy little car with style – albiet not much luxury – that sips gas and gets you where you need to go.

Needless to say, I (we) opted for the Prius.  Someday when I don’t have to look at the price of gas before I fill-up, or when I can walk into a dealership and write a check for a car, I’ll go back to Audi.  Til then… the second Prius in our driveway will do just fine and I’ll feel good about what I’m contributing to ( or not contributing to) global warming and living green.

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