Car Time

It’s time to buy a new car to replace the Blazer. Yes, it’s time to leave the land of the SUV and get something that’s a little more fun to drive. The Blazer was good until it started having fun (and expensive) electrical issues. Apparently, they all do that. Why do they have to do that?
I haven’t had time to go test drive anything, so my experience in other cars has been reduced to rentals on trips (Ford Taurus: bleagh, Buick Century: I moved down a class just to avoid you, Pontiac G6: more later, Ford Focus Maxx: you were kind of fun, but I think that’s because you were in France). Here’s my initial list, which will get pared down once I start test driving and doing “real” research. You should get some idea of what I’m looking for from the list. If there’s anything you think I should add to the list, please post a comment. It’s got to be under $20k, have relatively low miles, get reasonable mileage, fit two boys in the back and be fun to drive. Here’s my initial list:
* Pontiac G6: I rented one on my last trip to Mountain View, and it was actually a really nice car. It was zippy, comfortable and the controls were pretty well laid out. I kept trying to find things I hated about it because it’s a Pontiac, but I really didn’t find anything. Plus, I can probably get a 2005 and come in under budget.
* 2003 Nissan Maxima: I don’t like the redesign. How is the Maxima different from the Altima now? But, I dig the 2003-2004 model. That’s a unique and cool looking sedan.
* 2003 Volvo S60: I rode in a friend’s S80 a couple years ago and it was really nice. Plus, I really like the looks. I would go for the S40, but the review I just read says it’s cramped inside, which is bad (in case you missed it, I’m not a small man).
* 2003 Audi A4: I love the way Audis look, especially the newer ones. If I had no budget at all, I’d get a new S4. But, I have a budget. The ratings I just saw didn’t look so hot, but I’m willing to dig some more.
* 2006 Honda Civic: I read the “car of the year” review in Car and Driver in a waiting room, and it was compelling enough to check out. They’ve got a good reputation for reliability, and the new one looks good.
There you go… that’s the list. Anything I should add?