I just spent another hour when I should have been doing data analyses (or, more properly, I should be sleeping, but given not sleeping, I should be doing data analyses) trying to gain clarity on this car situation. The thing I hate most about this is the whole pecking/status order system that the car companies seem determined to want to foist into your head. If there was a car whose main virtue is that it would free me from that, and just be my means of transportation and not some larger statement about my place in the larger chain of social being. I've been spending some time trying to get more information about the Toyota Prius, not out of any particular environmental concern, but because it might offer that kind of liberation.
Anyway, I had a long consultation with my friend, and, to no small extent, idol Jean-O this evening. He did a good job of trying to psyche me up for the task of not letting myself get pushed around by car salesman. This is especially important given my pattern of astonishing disapparations of spine wherever money is concerned. Jean-O also did a good job of convincing me that I was in a good position because not only is this a buyer's market, but I am so open to various alternatives that, even in spite of my spineless tendency, I hold the advantange of being able to walk away from any deal simply because I don't have any strong mental committments to any particular alternative.
Resolved: I am not going to dither about this endlessly. I am going to move swiftly, systematically, and, then, decisively.
The current ambition is for me to settle on 3-4 contender vehicles, with no more than one contender per manufacturer, and then move swiftly toward trying to get quotes and financing information on them and make a decision.
While I have done reviewing within each category, ultimately the first decision that needs to be made is which genre of vehicle I need to target for figuring out the contenders. There are three contender categories. I'll list them with their Toyota variants for comparison: (1) modest sporty (the coupish Corolla, or the Celica); (2) as-if-i-had-a-spouse-and/or-kids regular sedan (Camry); (3) compact SUV (like the RAV4). Kathryn has been an advocate for #3; among other things, she believes that it would be nice for the winter weather and more congenial to my borderline ineptitude behind the wheel.*
Anyway, opinions on the decision between (1), (2), or (3) are welcome. Or, for that matter, comments on these categories and what I may be leaving out. I am giving myself a Thursday midnight deadline to make the genre decision.
* (Update) Meaning that she thinks it will help me avoid accidents, not, as some have wondered, that it will help keep me safe while crushing others in the event of an accident.