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Vehicular Transport

We bought a car yesterday. It’s a 2005 Saturn Ion 3. It has about 11,000 miles on it and cost us about $10,000. It’s bright white. The dealership gave us only $300 for our old 1998 Saturn SL1, about what we expected for a car with a severe engine problem.


I hate the car shopping process almost as much as I hate car trouble. It took most of the day, and we didn’t even scratch the surface in terms of shopping around or doing research.

The Ion meets our most important requirement: It comfortably accommodates both Xy and me despite our foot and a half height difference. Other than that, I’m not crazy about it, and neither is Consumer Reports. But I think it will do the job of getting us around.

Our plan is to consider trading it in after about three years for something newer. The experiences of 2005 taught us how important having a reliable automobile can be if you live in New Orleans. I think our days of driving old beaters into the ground are gone.

Published inConsumerism


  1. This does not make me happy, as I’m driving my dad’s 1988 Plymouth Voyager, and the estimate for repairs is $1500. The book value is under $500.

  2. Good luck. I am currently replacing the radiator on the civic Logan wrecked. I’ve really been convicted about saving money so I’m going to hang on to it for a while.

  3. Lee Lee

    Well B, there’s 2 sides to that coin. For those of us who rely and, ahem, love automobiles for transportation: some will go to any lengths to resurrect something we love, and I do mean ANY. Others simply “trade em in” for newer models.

    I’m a member of the first group. Automobiles, like many pieces of machinery or equipment must be maintained properly (which many people do not). Also, parts wear out, it’s a matter of life.

    I applaud your loyalty to Saturn, and GM for that matter. True the Ion is one of the worst rated Saturns around, but if it does what you want it to, that’s all that really matters. Right? Critics simply criticize flaws or weaknesses, which could be items or features you enjoy.

    As you have mentioned, many times, you do not appreciate automobiles. The only thing I do not understand is why? Is it their enviormental effects? Is it because they are the worst investment you can make? (except for rare and classics) Did you have some freak accident when you were younger?

    I don’t want to sound “holier than thou,” please don’t get me wrong. I’m just trying to understand…

  4. Brenda Helverson Brenda Helverson

    Last year I spent $5500 putting a new engine in my 1991 GMC Jimmy, way over its book value. Dumb? Probably. But the car is otherwise in good shape and most importantly, it’s MINE. No banks, no interest, just me and a great (though expensive) mechanic.

    And we used a Jasper rebuilt engine. Not the cheapest, but it comes with a 70,000 mile warranty.

  5. dental ben dental ben

    Buying cars suck. Instead of being an “investment” that grows…such as homes, real estate, stocks/bonds, love and relationships…it is a piece of equipment that has a job: point a to point b. B, you are correct in preparing for evacuations and the “guts” of the car are more important than the “perks”.
    Good luck. And don’t forget, we’re 80 miles NW if you ever need a place.

  6. Lee, I’m not ignoring your question, it’s just so huge it’s hard to know where to begin. I think cars are bad for us in many ways. Actually cars seem to have a legitimate purpose in rural areas, but I really hate what cars have done to American cities.

  7. Lee Lee

    I understand what your saying completely. The thing that bothers me the most about cars is those “Minivan Moms” and “SUV dads.” Nobody needs that much space! Plus they just waste a precious commodity these days, petro. I mainly use my truck for “work and back” purposes only. We use the “clown car” for everything else.

  8. Jeff Elbo Jeff Elbo

    Sometimes driving a minivan is all people have. I’d love to have a small compact car but all I could afford to drive was a beat up old minivan that I found at a decent price.

  9. I just returned from New York, and I have to say that the most useless things I’ve ever seen are the Hummers and the SUVs on the roads in NYC. There are only two reasons I can see to have something like that in the city – 1) status and 2) it gives you a higher vantage point in rush hour traffic.

    There is a major market for vehicles like the Prius in NYC, but the waiting list for them is incredibly long.

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