Modern Cars Review

I’ve never owned a nice car. My entire adult life I have driven cars that have been affectionately described by my co-workers and friends as “High School Cars”. A month ago I owned 3 of these gems. All made in the last century. A 1997 Chevy Cavalier, a 1998 Plymouth Breeze (this is the same as a Dodge Stratus) and a 1998 Chevy Suburban K1500.

I put about $600 into the cavalier at the beginning of summer and within a few weeks BAMMM went completely tits up on me. Then about 2 months ago the suburban threw a rod and blew its transmission. $3500 later I have a 70,000 mile engine and 70,000 transmission replaced into it and is good to go, but before that was fixed, BAMMM the transmission goes out on the Breeze which was not worth repairing.

So there I am completely without transportation and finally had to make the plunge into automotive debt. I have crappy credit so my choices were limited and my interest rates ridiculously high. I ended up with a rather nice 2009 Kia Optima with only 55,000 miles on it. For the first time ever, I have a decent car.

But it’s not enough to say I have never had a new or decent car, what I have never, ever had is a modern car. So I’m driving to work on Monday after buying this car, with all the breakdowns having occurred the week before, and with all the stress and agony that brought onto our family, the following happens. I’m driving on the freeway and there’s a utility van about 4 car lengths ahead of me with an aluminum extension ladder on the roof and of course, because I’m the most unlucky SOB on the planet that damn ladder comes falling off that van and starts cart-wheeling towards me end over end.

My mind is screaming WHY?!? DAMN IT ALL TO HELL WHY CAN’T I HAVE ANYTHING NICE!! But then my mind and cat-like reflexes go into action. A quick look to my right (which was so violent my head hurt for a week) informed me there were no cars over there. So I swerve, a move so violent and jerky that my Breeze would have rolled over, but not the modern car I now have the pleasure of controlling. Oh no. It’s EPS (Electronic Power Steering) system kicks in and my tires independently brake as needed to keep me in complete control my car. The ladder doesn’t come near me and finally comes to rest on the freeway. Of course the 20 cars behind me didn’t see it coming because I was blocking their view and 5 or 6 cars ran over it and probably blew out some tires and such, but not a scratch on my baby. Thank goodness.

Within a few days I realize I own a car radio with SiriusXM built into it and the previous subscription is still activated. So at my finger tips are literally hundreds of radio stations of every variety and genre known to man. I had to do a 700 mile round trip later that same week and it was absolute heaven. It was 80s on 8 the entire way!!!! I found myself marveling at the brilliance of the human intellect and the ingenuity of American creativity. WOW! It was pure bliss. When the subscription ran out, within 5 minutes I had my own 3 month free trial. How fantastic this whole thing is.

The next week though, I ran into some troubles. On my way to work again and a warning light comes on my dash. I had no idea what it meant. And even though I had a 3-Yr, 36,000 mile warranty I was stressing it. I couldn’t believe it. I was so upset for the next 30 minutes of my commute. Again my mind railed “WHY OH WHY?”. I get to work and park, pull out the owner’s manual to see what the warning symbol indicated. TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). My tire pressure was low. I both hooted and hollered at the revelation. There was nothing wrong with my car, but even better, how cool is it that my car was able to tell me that I needed air in my tires. Sure enough when I checked the pressure all 4 were about 10 pounds low. It was awesome.

A/C, airbags everywhere in this thing, radio controls on the steering wheel, auto-locks, auto windows, remote keyless entry to car and trunk, and all of that in a KIA. Imagine what a Toyota would have in it or a 2013 model vehicle.

I know this is silly to you 1 percenters out there (Meatwad), but to us “Joe the plumber” types this is absolutely miraculous. And although I don’t want to contribute to America’s debt crisis, a little word of advice. Figure out how many thousands of dollars you spend each year on maintenance of those beater cars you’re driving only to have a total POS of a beater car to show for it. Take that figure and divide by 12 and see if you can afford to buy a car off a lot instead of craig’s list or an auction. At least with a loan its regular payments you know are coming. When your beater cars dies it’s unexpected and at least for me always cost at least $1000 per incident. Bad credit? Don’t be ridiculous. There is no worse credit than mine. If one dealer can’t work with you, then try the lot across the street. We got approved at our 3rd dealer.

I give owning a modern car 4-stars. The fifth star is reserved for when the things finally learn to fly.


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