I had decided yesterday that I wasn’t going to post today and waking up today with one of my nasty head/neck aches seemed to clinch that decision. Then, I saw that a “new” person offered two thoughtful comments on the blog (thanks, PavementandGravel) and yesterday was an interesting day, I have to admit. So, here I am.
My wonderful wife and I test drove three cars yesterday. Well, she drove them and I was a passenger. We really are going to buy another car. We had another reminder of the need for something with more cargo room when we tried to take the Christmas presents we had purchased for my wonderful wife’s parents in her Corvette convertible and they wouldn’t fit in the trunk. They barely fit in the “cargo area” of my Z06.
OK, here is a picture of the first car:
This is a 2017 Dodge Challenger in SXT spec, meaning it has a V-6 engine. This car has about 21,000 miles and the “firm” price is about $23,000.
The first thing I noticed is that the car lacks a backup camera and navigation. (I thought by model year 2017 backup cameras were mandated, but I guess I was wrong.) The second thing is that even though the car was EPA rated at 19 MPG City/30 MPG Highway, according to its readout, the car had a lifetime MPG of 16.3. My Z06 gets better mileage. Still, we’re not going to buy a car based on mileage, especially a car that’s likely to be driven 1,500-2,000 miles a year. What does Dirty Dingus McGee like to write? YMMV, as in Your Mileage May Vary.
The car drove smoothly and had good acceleration, steering and brakes. It was roomy and would certainly seat four people comfortably. As the “official” trunk volume figure of 16+ cubic feet would suggest, the trunk was quite large.
The car felt a little cheap on the inside, if I am being honest. The quality of materials was not the best. Maybe our Corvettes have spoiled us, especially my wonderful wife’s that has the 3LT package with leather and suede everywhere. The car would be more than capable of being a Grocery Car/Taxi as well as being worthy of accompanying our two Corvettes in the garage.
This is a picture of the second car, but not one that we took:
This is a 2016 Cadillac ATS 2.0 Turbo Coupe. The car looked much better to me in person than it has in any photo. The fact that this one is in Black over Black is not an asset in the desert. It also has more miles than we would have liked, about 37,000. The asking price is about $24,000.
The interior of the car made an immediate impression. As befitting the Cadillac name, the car is well-appointed with higher quality surfaces. It also has navigation, a backup camera, a sunroof, front collision mitigation system, etc. The rear seats would not be quite as comfortable as in the Challenger, but they were sufficient. Despite the listed trunk volume of about 10 cubic feet, the trunk seemed large enough for our purposes especially when considering that 99% of the time, only one or two people will be in the car so the back seats can be used for storage.
Turbocharging is an amazing technology. The 2-liter/122 cubic-inch inline four-cylinder engine produces 272 HP/295 LB-FT of torque and you feel that when you accelerate. The steering, road feel and brakes were also very good. I think my wonderful wife was pleasantly surprised at how much she liked the car.
For our last test drive of the day, we splurged:
That is a 2017 Maserati Gran Turismo coupe. This example has about 12,000 miles and the asking price was much more than that of the other two cars, combined.
The backseats were surprisingly roomy, but the trunk is, in all honesty, a fail. It’s listed at 9.2 cubic feet, but seems much smaller than even that of the ATS. Still, it’s a car that will almost always have only one or two occupants.
How did it drive? How do you think? First, the front seats are unbelievably comfortable and the car just has the feel of luxury in the interior. Second, that engine…what a sound! Third, hold on to your hats!
The Ferrari-sourced 4.7 liter V-8 produces 454 HP/384 LB-FT of torque, but seems to have even more power than that. You really feel the g forces under acceleration and that sound is just wonderful. I wish I had made an audio recording. Of course, the handling and braking were superb.
However, even an older example of the car (a 2014 with similar mileage) at the same dealership had an asking price equal to that of the other two cars combined. A quick Internet search revealed some older Gran Turismos nationwide with 60,000 miles and list prices under $30,000, but would you want to buy a 10-year old Maserati with 60,000 miles?
The Maserati has not been ruled out, but I doubt we’re going to buy one. One of the problems is the length of the car (194 inches). Remember that our third garage space is shorter than the other two. If we were to buy this car, we sure as hell wouldn’t leave it parked on the driveway. Right now, I would say the ATS–although not necessarily the car we actually drove–is in the lead.
Anyway…we had a great time yesterday and I could do that at least once a week. Thanks to Sam, Frank and Patrick for treating us so well. Of course, at some point we’re actually going to buy a car and the research and test drives will cease. EVERYTHING is a trade-off…
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