Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Rites of Spring

Ah, Spring! A time of rebirth and renewal—in more ways than natures gifts. The old Battymobile, an 18-year-old Mercury Sable wagon that was pushing 200K miles, was doing OK, although I didn’t relish the thought of going another summer without A/C. The emerging ring of rust around its perimeter didn’t help any either. Therefore, when I began my quest for a new “Chariot of the Gods”, the first contender was this 2002 Jaguar XJR, in racing green, a supercharged 400 hp luxury car:

Unfortunately, it was a salvage title and had a weird little shimmy at highway speeds that I think would cost more to correct than the price of the car. I also looked at another Jag, this time a 2006 Type S, which had also been in an accident, but was in better shape overall. The spoiler: This car had "hi-performance" tires installed, making it feel like I was always driving on a gravel road:

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, this 2010 MINI Clubman was a looker, but not a goer. The salesman and I tried to get it started for about a half an hour before I gave up. Not even a click. It looked cheap, both in the interior and in the engine compartment, it was also not rated as very reliable and very expensive to fix:

This homely little Nissan Cube was sitting on a prairie lot, windswept and forlorn:

It was priced cheap enough but had been sitting on the lot for over a year. And it was a drab gray. There was a sad story there, one that I didn’t want to read. The next car I tried was a 2014 Fiat 500L, not the cute little 500, but its bigger brother. It had numerous quirks (and a poor reliability record). It didn’t help that it too had been sitting for a year:

I sat in a really cute "1957 Retro Model" Fiat 500. It was adorable, but I would have had to be about six inches shorter to fit in it comfortably:

I tried another Cube, this one was at a high class suburban lot, it sported a more subtle gray (with hints of iridescence) but was way over-priced, especially for an "orphan" model fleet car from 2014:

I even looked at another 1999 Sable wagon, with about a third the miles of my old one:

It was very nice, and cheap, I was tempted, but it was gone the next day. So, by now you may be wondering, what did Batty buy? What vehicle is now bestowed with title of “Battymobile”:

TA-DA! A 2016 Kia Soul, in frog green, 11k miles, and cheap enough for this skin-flint. I was surprised at the quality of the fit and finish, and especially the quietness of the ride. It doesn’t have all the latest electronic gee-gaws, but that’s OK by me. I did rip some MP-3s of Pascal Pinon onto a USB-stick in order to have some of my own music—I went from a car with a cassette player to one with USB or aux-in only, skipping the entire CD generation of dashboard players:

R-r-r-bitt… R-r-r-bitt…

By Professor Batty


Blogger Jono said...

I know a few Kia drivers that think they are awesome. The warranty is very good, also.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Well the honeymoon is going on, but so far, so good!

Anonymous Andy said...

Good call! This one fits you perfectly!!

Blogger Professor Batty said...

I just hope that I don’t croak in it!

Blogger Mary said...

We rented a Kia Soul on a trip and really liked it. I hope that you have a USB stick with soul music, too!

Blogger Professor Batty said...

I've had it for a week now, and still like it. I've done a few mods already; it fits me like a glove.

Tune in tomorrow for some vintage soul music I recorded with my buddies over 40 years ago!

Blogger Shoshanah Lee Marohn said...

The second person I know this month to buy a Kia Soul! What's it's name?

Blogger Shoshanah Lee Marohn said...

Its! Damn you, autocorrect!

Blogger Professor Batty said...

"Froggy the Gremlin"

Blogger Shoshanah Lee Marohn said...

My daughter just watched "Gremlins" for the first time. Thought it was boring. Kids these days!

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