Bill Quick is thinking aloud about buying a Prius (no link; he's moved to a new hosting service and I can't find his archives). This moves the holders of Chez Fûz to blog about our deliberations of a new offspring-unit transporter.

My initial druthers were hovering around the Dodge Grand Caravan, because I've rented or borrowed a few and like the passenger room. The sticker isn't too nasty either, though I'd hoped with weakness in the industry they'd try harder to stimulate sales. We test-drove one today and it behaved like I expected it. Barbaloot is just elated to be looking at a new kid-hauler. But a conversation a few weeks ago with a snake-eater led me to consider the imports.

So we stopped at the Kia dealer just a few blocks away. We are very torn now. More car, more airbags, more horsepower, a little less passenger space. Way less money. Way better warranty.

A tool must be weighed against what it will be used to do:

  • Getting four kids about to swim lessons twice a week and Mass once a week. That includes one kid who needs no special seating, two in boosters, and one in a child seat with lap bar.
  • Taking the child and Boy to get groceries once or twice a week.
  • Three or four times a year, all of us to camping or a road trip to some scenic place.
  • Maybe once a year, schlepping all of us to the Great Lakes to see grandparents.
  • Three or more times a year, bringing lumber home from one of the bigbox DIY stores. Luggage rack will do it.

The majority of the miles will be in town. Compared to what the current vehicle did in Colorado, less highway and much fewer miles total per year.

Using USAA's comparison service, we considered a few other models. The model number profusion on Toyota Siennas discouraged me immediately. The number of Honda Odyssey models available was a turn-off too. The Hondas appear to be smaller than the Kia anyway, and their MSRPs were way higher as a class.

Disappointment: USAA's comparison service won't work on any platform other than IE 6 on Windows. God knows I've tried.

USAA's purchase negotiation service will also be interesting. "Give us the name and number of their fleet manager, we take it from there." The Dodge dealer people furrowed their brows when I asked them that. The guy at the Kia shop didn't know WTF I was talking about.

So Fûz's first reader poll!

Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, or Kia Sedona EX? Sorry, no fancy-schmancy drop-in poll in the post. Just leave a comment.

Arguments to buy American just for the sake of it will fall on deaf ears. If Detroit wants to sell to me, they have to compete the old fashioned way, price and features.

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