other than my rental Toyota Matrix, i mean.
so here’s the thing: when you decide you want/need to buy a hybrid in mid-2006 (now, that is), there are approximately 12 cars on your list of options. about half of those are american cars, which i’m allergic to. so i’m left with these:
– prius or hybrid civic: both get the best gas mileage, but are too small for me at this point, not to mention that because i drive like an idiot, not really performant enough.
– hybrid accord: a possibility. not a true hybrid, so gets best gas mileage on the highway instead of being able to run on electric around town, but nice. but because it wasn’t a car designed to carry big batteries around, the rear seats don’t fold down (handy!) and the trunk is smaller than usual, both because of battery packs behind the seats. interior is great.
– hybrid camry. gets crazy good gas mileage, but come on. it’s a hybrid gas/gerbil engine — or at least performs like one. interior looks like cars that martians would drive.
– toyota highlander hybrid. pretty solid car. lots of room. reasonable mileage. but the interior is very Camry-2003, if you know what i mean. lots of burled wood & electronics that don’t make sense. silly. and relatively good deals lately, because they’re not selling. they’re redesigning this car for 2008 — putting in the gas/gerbil hybrid engine from the camry — which will be available in the first half of 2007. but not clear whether there will be an updated model coming out in the next month or so, hopefully with slightly less woody interior and better electronics. nobody knows.
– lexus rx400h. same basic car as the highlander, but not quite as much room, no 3rd row for tiny people. much better electronics, much better interior. but about $8,000 more than the toyota. plus, i’d be driving a lexus, which i don’t love from a brand perspective. i feel like people buy lexus cars for image reasons, which is sort of bogus.
so i think we’re down to either the highlander or the lexus. but i vacillate between them.
one thing i know: audi makes the best auto interiors, far & away. i think bmw & acura are next. everything else seems to be to be varying degrees of wonky/crazy/crappy.
i’ll also miss the styling on my a4 — in my mind, one of the best looking cars in a really long time.
i’m sort of hoping that there will be a new 2007 highlander in the next 45 days that upgrades the nav system and replaces the interior wood with metal. that’d be my ideal. but it’s sort of a crummy plan to wait for something that nobody actually knows about, schedule-wise, and that may not even be what we want one it comes out. thinking we could rent a car for the next 3-4 weeks to see if the highlander gets the upgrade, otherwise decide on the existing highlander versus the existing rx400h. not sure which.