I've written before about my insanity, the fact that I have been using rather old (or just long in the tooth) vehicles as my daily driver for years now. I like old cars, I like driving them, and I like knowing that I own it outright. However, having missed a number of days of work recently due to vehicle breakdowns and given the fact that my BMW is still down, I think the time has come to accept that I need to get a new daily driver.
So, what I am looking for? I have decided that there are a few criteria for this new car.
Four Wheel Drive
I live in the hills of New Hampshire (as opposed to the actual mountains, which are a little to the north of me) and in the dead of winter four wheel drive is very useful. I prefer a real 4x4 drive train over all wheel drive, but would be willing to consider either. Why real 4x4? Or more importantly, what is a real 4x4? To me a real 4x4 can be turned off. Simply put, it's two wheel drive most of the time (why drive power to the front wheels when you don't need to?) and only four wheel drive when I decide I need it. I will accept an All Wheel Drive system if there's no better choice, but I would prefer 4x4.
This is a deal breaker for me. I have been stuck driving an automatic transmission now for far too long, and it's awful. It's like being relegated to being just a passenger behind the steering wheel of my own vehicle. The automatic transmission just sucks the joy out of driving. No more. Any vehicle I purchase will have a manual transmission, no compromise. I want a real driver's car.
SUV, Crossover or Coupe
No trucks. Since I will be using this for commuting to work every day and moving the family around, I want something reasonably sized. So, no pickup trucks or pickup truck derived vehicles. My preference would be for two doors, since, again, this is my commuter vehicle and daily driver. I personally do not like the look of four doors on a vehicle, unless it's a large fullsize luxury car. However, two door SUVs being as rare as they are, I will probably have to put that aside (door count isn't as much a deal breaker as the transmission). I am currently commuting to work every day in a Jeep Wrangler, so I don't want anything much larger than that.
Mundane, but a real issue. I need to minimize the repair costs I have been dealing with lately (as well as missed work) and having a situation where I drop the vehicle off for repairs and get a loaner car for the day would be ideal. So, I'm looking for new, or fairly new pre-owned with a manufacturer's warranty; no fly by night third party warrantee packages, thank you.
So, those are my requirements. Four wheel drive, manual transmission and a warranty being the most important.
... and so the search begins!