Thursday, May 7, 2020

Of Cars

So in June 2018 I totaled my Fit.  The accident itself was pretty non-dramatic; I rear-ended someone at around 25 mph.  It was wet, and I was coming around a blind curve, and they had stopped to make a left.  So I slammed on my brakes, slid on the wet road, hit their bumper with my grill/hood, did minimal damage to their car, and took out my radiator and a/c and folded up my hood.  With labor, the repair estimates were around $6k.  The insurance company gave me about that much for it.

I hadn't been planning to replace the Fit for another couple years; it was still in decent shape, and I liked not having car payments.  I had been looking at the CR-V for when I did replace it, since I wanted more cargo space and a car big enough for my husband to be comfortable in on road trips so we wouldn't have to take his car.  The CR-V is all of that, has all-wheel drive for the winter, and is well-reviewed.

I've been in a 2018 CR-V for about two years now; I've put 40k miles on it.  We've taken it on long road trips (to my parents), a medium road trip (Toronto), and I commute in it daily (when we're not in pandemic work-from-home mode).  I'm getting about 32 mpg average in the summer and 29 mpg in the winter. Based on this past December's unseasonably warm weather, I'm pretty sure the difference in mileage is entirely related to air temperature.  Warmer weather = better mileage.

I don't like it as much as the Fit.  Ultimately that's okay; the Fit was really fun to drive, and it had a great dash layout and storage (cup holder) options.  The CR-V is not as fun to drive; I went from a sport-suspension manual to a bigger, all-wheel-drive CVT.  It doesn't corner as well, and I'm still (two years later, still) readjusting to an automatic.  I also can't pick it out of a group of similarly-colored SUVs in a parking lot; I've had to acquire a magnet for the back to help it stand out.

As someone who likes to drive, and does so a lot (24k miles in a year), the Fit was a lot of fun.  But it was not a great family car - the one you take on trips and load up with groceries.  It has a ton of cargo space for its size (I have crammed as many as 5 bales of hay into one), but loading it up with groceries would frequently require using both the trunk space and the back seat.  The CR-V has more dedicated trunk space, and it's rare we have to use the back seat in addition to the back.  It also takes two full-size suitcases in the back; when we drove the Fit down to JFK, those suitcases had to go in the back seat with the seats flipped up (a great feature, but not ideal for a trip where you'd rather have your car trip stuff in the back seat). I also overloaded the Fit when I'd buy dirt (or manure) in bags for the garden; I think some of the rear axle work I had done can be directly traced to that.  At this point, we have fit a snowblower, a chest freezer, and a medium-sized refrigerator in the CR-V with the seats folded down (not all at the same time).

Besides the roominess, there are other things I like about the CR-V.  The Honda sensing system is great; the only time it has trouble is in very heavy weather or if the sensor gets iced up.  Now that I know where that sensor is, I can easily clear it so that it works again for the drive home.  The infotainment console works pretty well with Android Auto, and I am making good use of our unlimited data phone plan.  It has a really good default sound system at the EX trim level.  Having heated seats has been great for both winter and my lower back pain.  I had wanted to get a more fun paint color when I replaced the Fit, and the CR-V doesn't really have "fun" paint colors, but the dark gray I got is fine for now.  ("Modern Steel," or some such; the Fit was "Storm Silver Metallic.")

I'll probably replace the CR-V with another CR-V; there's a hybrid out now, and, although it likely won't do anything for my commuting mileage, it will probably save some gas for running errands locally.  The local dealership is generally pretty good for service, and they were really no-pressure when we were buying this one.  (They also do so much volume that they cannot keep used CR-Vs in stock, so if you need one that day, they may not be able to accommodate you, which is part of why we bought new and not year-old.)  Hopefully next time I am buying we will have a more forgiving timeline, and I can get a blue one.  (Or, if I am lucky, they will have it in green.)

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