We bought the Fit four years ago and loved every minute with it. Highlights were reliability, cargo carrying and good gas mileage. It was also a blast to drive (light weight plus small engine means tossable fun at or below the speed limit).
Problem is… I never stop looking at cars. If I need reasons to want to trade-in the Fit, they are all around me. I read Automobile magazine like my life depended on it. I watch car auction shows, shows about fixing up old cars and shows with new car reviews. The only thing I don’t do is go to dealerships. That I can’t stand (for all the obvious reasons).
So one night last week I brought up with Lacey the idea of trying a new car. I’ve been pitching a VW Golf for some time. Never a hard sell. Just a brief exchange in which we stick to a pattern–I play the devilish money waster and Lacey alternately plays the voice of reason or reluctantly goes along. If Lacey votes no, I agree and drop it. If she votes yes, I pick up the baton of fiscal rationality and we again drop it.
Not sure where we went wrong last week. Might be that I went to the VW site and learned we couldn’t get a Golf with four doors and a manual transmission unless we got the up-line and very sporty GTI. VW couldn’t have played me better. My second car was a Rabbit GTI (either a ’84 or a ’85, known to dub heads as the Mark I GTI and to the world as the original “hot hatch”) and there is no car I have loved more.
So when I mentioned to Lacey that we’d need to get a GTI, well, maybe there was something in my voice or a sparkle in my eye that couldn’t be missed. That, or she just really wanted to get her hands on a GTI. Which she now has.
I’ve driven it once and I am madly in love with it. Lacey has driven it since Tuesday and is madly in love with it. On paper, on the practical side of the page, the Mark VI GTI is so much less than the Fit. The Mark VI GTI is bigger on the outside, smaller on the inside, heavier and doesn’t go as far on a gallon of gas. Might also be a bit less reliable, but it is the last year of the Mark VI (the Mark VII is already out) so we hope they’ve worked out most of the kinks.
Now draw a line down the middle of the page, trade your pencil for a purple Sharpie and make notes you won’t be proud to share (but you’ll use bubble letters and exclamation points and fill the whole of the rest of the space anyway). I’ve only driven it four miles in the city at or under the 30-mph limit (gosh it is wonderful to be old and responsible), but the neural pathways that were scarred into my developing brain as I drove (and drove, and drove) my Mark I GTI woke up singing, then shouting, praises to fiscally imprudent decisions.
The Mark VI GTI is sick fun. A very different car from the Mark I GTI, but for all the evolution the excitement remains. Without looking up numbers, my guess is the Fit is a much closer match to the Mark I GTI than is the Mark VI GTI (which is surely why I loved the Fit). The Mark I GTI, like the Fit, was a fun to drive utilitarian economy car. Problem is that for both the Mark I GTI and the Fit, the economy side elbows its way to front and center on the highway. The low gearing and minimal sound deadening material made both cars a bit taxing to drive fast in a straight line for more than ten minutes. Wouldn’t have bothered me as a kid, but now I enjoy a little quiet (the better to enjoy the ipod).
The Mark VI is not an economy car. The extra weight, refinement and power set it apart and all the extra-ness is put to good use. The car is still a blast in the city and, as soon as I get the chance, I know it will be a joy on the highway. I had feared that the low profile tires and stiffer suspension would be punishing on Albany’s poor roads (as is my BMW), but my fears were misplaced. The Mark VI GTI behaves well despite our roads. Question is, will the GTI best my BMW on the highway? I am afraid it might. At least the BMW was cheaper (since I bought it used). All that remains is to remember… this is Lacey’s car (and to stop looking at this).
The screen on our replacement OXO scale started to fail, so I decided to get something a bit more reliable. OXO is sending us a third, but I suspect I will use the new to me old one much more. Maybe put the OXO in the office for weighing packages and enjoy the white and red bedialed delight in the kitchen. It is all good.
I need to go walk Frida. Yesterday’s one day heat wave has passed so I am again excited to get out there. I know Frida is.