Still Looking For The Perfect Golf Oriented Car

imageAs I wrote in a previous post, I’ve been in the market for a new car. My current vehicle, an Oldsmobile minivan (the Cadillac of minivans), has 150,000 miles and I want to replace it before it dies.

Thus far, I’ve test driven a Pontiac Vibe, Saturn Vue, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Caliber, Toyota Camry, Rav4, the Volksswagen Passat, a couple of Jeeps and a Subaru Forester.  I also went to a Ford dealership (Gene Butman in Ypsilanti) to try their offerings, but after ten minutes of being completely ignored by the salesmen, walked away. I guess Ford is selling all the cars they can make, because they apparently didn’t need to sell me one.

The Chevy Malibu is by far the best vehicle I tested. It’s quiet, classy and has plenty of power for a four cylinder. I was absolutely stunned by the apparent quality, attention to the little details, and by how much car you get for a very low base price. The trunk space is plenty large for my golf bag, Sun Mountain push cart and a bag of shoes, extra clothes, etc.

It’s a good sized car, and it’s rated for 30 miles per gallon highway.

It’s definitely not your father’s Chevrolet. If you’re in the market for a car, you should give this one a test drive, if only for comparison’s sake.

I would have bought it on the spot, but for the fact that I’m not sure I really want to drive a sedan. The test drive was lengthy, but I worry that after a couple of weeks in it, I’ll miss the higher ride of the van. I wish there was a way I could drive one for a month before making a final decision.

Several of the cars listed above don’t have the trunk space, which automatically disqualifies them. Interestingly, one of the smaller ones—the Vibe—does. And right now, that would be third on my list.

imageOutside the Malibu, the one I liked the best was the Subaru Forester. But, as I work in a Ford neighborhood (there’s a big assembly plant just a mile from the school, and a huge percentage my students’ parents work there), I feel a bit awkward about that. Those people support their schools strongly and pay taxes to pay my salary and a big part of me thinks I should return the support by buying American (if not Ford, since they apparently don’t want to sell me one).

Then there’s the issue of several local places with the “No Foreign Cars Allowed On This Lot” parking.

Still, the Forester has a lot to offer as a commuting/golf vehicle. The cargo space is plenty large. I could easily carry four bags in there.  It rides very well and the four cylinder “boxer” engine has more than enough power for the type of suburban driving I do. I took it out on the highway as part of the test drive and it handles very well there, too. A neat feature is that the shift has a “sport” setting which adds extra zip when you need it (at the expense of fuel consumption). You just push the stick left from the drive position and “sport” kicks in. That’s handy when you’re merging and notice that there is an 18-wheeler bearing down on you. You also can use it to shift up and down like a manual.

The four wheel drive is a nice plus. In the winter, I’m often on the road before the plows and salt trucks have gotten to work, and the ride in to school can be slippery. My sense of it is also that the four wheel drive and stability control give the Forester a very nice feel in the handling.

Inside, the Forester has more of a truck or van feel, with the cockpit being quite open.

I’m going to try a couple of more brands this next week, if only for comparison’s sake. I don’t really have an interest in the Honda Element, for example, but I’ll give it a try.

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6 thoughts on “Still Looking For The Perfect Golf Oriented Car”

  1. Blogger-  I thought you might like that Malibu.  I am wary a little of the SUVs and Vans as golf friendly, because the cargo is within view.  Here in Memphis at least, clubs are a big item stolen from cars. 

    I don’t know much about the Forester other than that, but everyone I know who has ever had a Subaru loved them, but for some reason they don’t necessarily stick with the brand- not like a Honda or a Toyota person does.

    Sorry about the Ford experience, unfortunately, they probably feel a little entitled in Michigan.  I spent some time at the Ford dealership last week here, and it was a TOTALLY different experience.  The 96 Mustang went in for a gas leak, and it was going to be one repair too many for me, so I am now driving a totally freaking awesome 08 Mustang Coupe. 

    I am in golf luxury because going from a 96 convertible to an 08 coupe, I easily doubled my trunk space, so much so I could fit probably 3 bags in the trunk, or a couple bags and a cart if I optimized like I did in the convertible.  As it is now, I have the bag, the cart, my hat box, 2 pairs of shoes, about 3 dozen balls and I still have room for my laptop backback when I leave from work.  I could probably put my change of clothes bag in there too. 

    I am also in shock over how nice a car I just bought for 18k (23k – 5k in rebates). 

    However, as far as the other ford offerings, I was unimpressed by the Fusion as compared to the Malibu.  The Taurus is dullsville.  The Edge might be of interest, but milage I think is poor.  The Escape/Merc Mariner you might want to look at, especially the Hybrid.  If you want to give the Fords a try again, fill out a form for an internet quote on something you might be interested in on the Ford website, you will get some attention for sure.  I not only got calls from the dealer, but I also got calls for Ford corporate to ensure I had a good experience—(actually because of the repair I ended up just finding someone at the dealer that morning before I got a response from the internet—You can always also just call the dealer and ask for the Fleet sales manager or the internet sales manager, and you will get someone pretty attentive).

    One thing you also mentioned was the Jeeps.  Be wary.  I have had two, and loved them both (a 95 Cherokee and an 04 Grand Cherokee Ltd)- but with kids, you need to be aware that Jeep has about the most uncomfortable entry and exit and seating in the second rows, and they never seem to improve. 

    and back to GM- I can’t say enough good things about our GMC Acadia, and my family’s experience with GM in the past 5 years is worlds apart from what it was in the 80s when we swore off them the last time.  I got a Mustang this time because of timing, essentially the Camaro isn’t out yet, and when I thought about it I really only wanted one of those two.  I checked the Pontiac G5 and G6, and the LaCrosse and the Malibu, but I wanted one of the muscles (albeit a V6 muscle, so I don’t have ridiculous insurance and tickets).

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  2. >>>If any part of the Subaru Forrester is built in America, then you’re still supporting America. <<<

    I agree in part with you on this, Miranda.  And my buy America is weakening somewhat of late (I did search my self to see if I would feel good about owning a made in America Nissan Altima)—it is true you are supporting American workers and some American cities economies where these plants are—but the final profit on a car goes back to whatever country is the home of the corporation.  Buying a GM or Ford is better for America overall (even if final assemby or partial assembly is in Canada or Mexico)- than buying a Honda assembled in Ohio. 

    However, my wife’s Acadia and my Mustang were both assembled in Michigan, which while the state reeks of Wolverine, they must have sprayed something in the cars so my Buckeye nose would not be offended.  wink  Just kidding Blogger!

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  3. How can i get a gas club car golf cart to go faster?  It is either a 2000 or 2003 club car golf cart and the when the governer kicks on, it makes it go really slow. I have heard about taking it off but that could over ride the engine and mess it up. Any ideas on how to make it go faster?

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  4. I’m all for the Malibu, I think it’s a good choice.  It gets decent gas mileage and is quite luxurious nowadays, really didn’t like the ones in the past, but the new model is sharp.  Along with the impala, but I’d go with the Malibu.  People that have bought one in the past said they really liked it.

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  5. I would feel good about owning a made in America Nissan Altima. It is true you are supporting American workers and some American cities economies where these plants are—but the final profit on a car goes back to whatever country is the home of the corporation.

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  6. I spent some time at the Ford dealership last week here, and it was a TOTALLY different experience.  The 96 Mustang went in for a gas leak, and it was going to be one repair too many for me, so I am now driving a totally freaking awesome 08 Mustang Coupe. 

    Reply

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