Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Drat! Foiled Again

Just when I thought we'd come to some sort of decision on the car choice, I called our mechanic to get his opinion. He's driven down our road and knows what kind of damage it has done to cars over the years. I asked him about the BMW wagon. He wasn't too much in favor of it. Nice car, maybe, but not ideal for our rocky road. So, again, I went back on the net to look for other options. That's when I realized that all of the talk about how evil SUVs are has affected me somewhat.

Everybody seems to own one these days, which is where the problem lies. The overabundance of these gas-guzzling monsters is what causes environmentalists to come out of their corner swinging. I've long thought that an SUV is really what is necessary to withstand the abuse our road can dish out, but my guilty conscience didn't allow me to consider the one I really had my eye on. But, and this isn't me rationalizing the purchase of my dream car (because I'd rather have the BMW, really), if anyone could justify having an SUV, it'd be us. We'd actually be taking it off-road every time we left the house. So, I cleared my conscience of that issue and took another look at our options.

As I had already suspected, there really weren't any options aside from one brand and model. The rest were either way too thirsty or way out of our price range (or both, actually). So, we've AGAIN decided on a car for our needs (after I had a good crying fit, of course). It doesn't have the lap/shoulder belt in the center backseat like I'd like, but otherwise it's got many modern safety features. Having a body made of aluminum and a diesel engine eliminates that natural guzzler reflex most SUVs have. And, it's actually considered to be a luxury car in many circles, so what more could we ask for (aside from that stupid 3-point seatbelt in the center backseat!)?

We've heard this brand can be somewhat unreliable, but apparently, the year and model we've chosen actually ranks higher than the BMW 5-series for reliability, so maybe we'll be alright. Best of all, though, it's said to be able to take some real abuse. We've got a few years before our third child will be in a booster seat in need of a shoulder belt. Until it's 3 or 4 years old, we've got safety seats that can be used with a lap belt only. So, we should be able to get by at least that long. And, by then, maybe there'll be a better, newer option out there that will fit our budget. All these things considered, we've now decided to spend our money on a 1998 Land Rover Discovery. Luckily for me, I have been eyeing them for a few years, anyway, so if it holds up and proves to be reasonably reliable, I'll be a happy girl.

The best news we've had in all this mess, though, isn't the fact that we may have actually come to a real decision (because you've heard me say that before - but, by the way, I finally was able to find the very elusive number for the BMW's ground clearance, and it's REALLY low - so that's definitely out now). It's that the insurance expert came by the see the old car at the shop. He turned in his opinion, and I received a call from the insurance company yesterday evening. To my great surprise, the expert was what I would call "quite generous" about the replacement value of our junker (like I said, it took a beating on our road). The insurance company offered us a decent amount of money to take the car off our hands, and by golly, when the official papers come in the mail, we're taking their offer. That money will put us about halfway or more toward the price of the Land Rovers we're looking at. Let's just hope the rest of this process runs smoothly and quickly, so we can have a new car by early-June some time. Still crossing your fingers for us?