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Archive for May, 2012

a good dog car…

The problem is that the Mustang really isn’t a good dog car. I’ve been thinking for a while about the current Ford Explorer, but they aren’t exactly cheap. So how about the Escape?

The old Escape was a flawed but rugged SUV. It was good looking and rugged. It looked how an offroader should look. But it was basically the same car that had been around since 2001, so the interior wasn’t exactly luxurious, the ride was harsh and the engines slightly asthmatic. Not a bad car, but not exactly good enough for 2012.

This year Ford have introduced the all new Escape (it will be the Kuga in the UK). It’s based on the Focus and by all accounts it drives with the same verve as the car it’s based on. The 4WD 2.0 Turbo version has 240bhp and delivers 30mpg on the freeway so it could be an option. The styling took me a few days to like, but I now think it’s a good looking cost effective solution for us.

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A couple of years ago I decided that I really wanted a Mustang Convertible, but then the World Cup started and I decided that an English V8 muscle car was more appropriate so I sold the M3 (which had developed an unhealthy appetite for oil) and bought a Jag XKR with it’s lovely 370 bhp supercharged V8.

A few years down the road and here we are again….. that “need” for something fun, but which one? Well the V6 model has always been a bit of a joke, a rental car. Until 2010 it had 200bhp which could only just about make it move, especially when paired with a slushmatic gearbox, so definitely A V8? 300hp and a thirst? Maybe not a good idea with my 100 mile round trip.

So what to do?

Well from the 2011 model, the Mustangs had their power levels updated (mainly because the Camaro arrived with proper power levels). The V6 now has 300hp and the V8 400 and the fuel economy has improved to 30 and 25 on the freeway. The V6 would actually reduce my gas bills and the V8 with it’s lovely 400hp would maintain them…. the question is can I live with the tiny boot and am I happy to use the back seat for the dog (that we will get if we ever manage to buy a house!)

Oh, and the wife saw a black 2012 Mustang Convertible on the street and declared that she liked it, so maybe it will happen.

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To Saab or not to Saab?

I haven’t written about cars much recently, don’t worry I haven’t lost interest, I’ve been distracted by houses.

The Wife and I have started the epic search for a new home, which is turning into a challenge. Last week we made an offer on a lovely place in the Oakland hills…. but 13 other people also thought it was a lovely place… so we didn’t get it! So we have started a new search and I’m sure we will find something equally nice soon… and maybe it will be our offer that gets accepted… maybe…

So to distract myself this afternoon I started browsing cars (big surprise right?). I started with an article in The Sunday Times about the great bargains to be found in the world of Saab now that the company is no more. Now I have had a love hate/relationship with Saab for many years. If you look at my car history you will see I have owned three so far. The 900 Turbo was quick and solid but suffered from chronic torque steer.

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The first 9-5 Estate didn’t know how to swim (and yes I will expand on that story one day) and it’s replacement had a smooth, effortless, turbo charged 3 litre V6 and was a great car. I have always loved the slight quirkiness of Saabs, the elegant lines and the aero inspired features that let you imagine you are a pilot, but always felt sad that they just aren’t as sporty as BMWs.

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All three have been bought because they were far cheaper than the equivalent German car which meant a faster, newer model than I could have otherwise afforded. The 9-5 is a great looking, long distance cruiser and (most importantly at the time) a great dog car.

With the confidence that we will find a house soon, and acquire a dog not long after, I started looking at the 9-3 SportCombi. Great styling, dog friendly and not quite as big as the 9-5…. very tempting

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and they even make a four wheel drive version to remove all that torque steer….. 250bhp V6 AWD… very tempting….

but…

apparently nobody told America about Saab dying, nobody told America that they should be cheap now…. maybe it’s because they didn’t sell many, but they don’t seem to be exactly affordable over here…. damn! But 9-3 convertibles seem quite reasonable… so maybe I should get one? Saab convertibles have always looked better than their hard top relatives….. but not really dog cars…. so how about a(nother) 9-5 wagon? With a 100 mile daily roundtrip a(nother) 9-5 wagon might be just the solution and they are as cheap as I remember them…. so watch this space…. if we find a house and I can get another car then I might just have to get a(nother) 9-5…

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