In the midst of gas prices at 4 bucks a gallon, I didn’t feel like I could continue to drive a car getting 26 mpg on the highway. Here is the story behind my decision.
Let’s begin with how I wound up buying a Honda CRV in 2007. My wife and I found out we were pregnant. I wasn’t loving the used Camry we had and thought it would be helpful for us to have a larger car. So we went out and bought a new Honda CRV. It was mainly for her, as my road car was a Toyota Matrix. So a month after buying the CRV, we go in for the ultrasound and find out, we are having twins. WTF?
In case you aren’t aware, a CRV will not hold 3 car seats in its backseat. I also don’t know if you are aware that the car dealership will not take back your car without you taking it hard in the wallet. The Matrix didn’t get much better gas mileage, (29 highway), but it was a great road car. Didn’t want to sell it, but knew I needed to so I could use some of the money to put down on a minivan. Yeah, you heard me right. Look I never thought I would have a minivan, but then I never thought I would have 3 kids, either.What a fucking breeder, huh? See Below how this did give some new comedy material, though.
I bought a used Honda Odyssey because it was cheaper and got better mileage than a comparable SUV with a 3rd seat. For the past 3 years I’ve been driving a way too nice car to be used on the road. After the first year, the windshield cracked all the way across and I didn’t fix it because I didn’t want to drop over 300 bucks on that. Just as big of reason for not fixing it, though, was when I looked out at it, the view was of a car I should be driving as a road comic—not a 24 thousand SUV. I had no plans on selling the CRV until I at least put 250,ooo miles on it, but as gas prices kept killing me at the pump, I started doing the math and thought it was time to get a different ride.
At this point I would usually look for a used car, but the new cars are getting so much better gas mileage than even 2 year-old models because of being forced to meet new federal standards. In this situation, I think buying new made more sense. With gas prices so high, small cars are becoming more coveted, so I was concerned by summer that my choices would be slim. Pressure on small car supply will be even more exacerbated by the earthquake that hit Japan this spring which is going to impact how many cars Honda and Toyota are going to be able to ship. I also read that all the red and black car paint is made in Japan, which will put further pressure on the market.
I originally went shopping for a Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit because they both got good mileage and they have hatchbacks. After seeing them I just couldn’t get past the fact that they were really fucking small. I’m a grown-ass man and I will admit I would be a little embarrassed by driving a car half the size of every other one on my block. I then went to look at the Ford Focus because they have a hatchback. I liked it, but since the hatchback model is new, I couldn’t find the color I liked and it was hard to work a really good deal on it. I went to look at Hyundai Elantra, as it gets 40 mpg highway and I liked it, but the sales guy mentioned that the model up, the Sonata, was only going to run me about 1000 more and it gets more than 35 mpg highway.
Now, I went in only considering a hatchback, as it is easier to deal with merchandise with one, but getting a Sonata for less than 20,000 seemed like a no-brainer. I did a lot of research and found out it is the highest rated car in its class, as Hyundai has risen to being right behind Honda for reliability, It gets spectacular mileage for a mid-size sedan. I have been getting 36-38 mpg on highway since I’ve had it, which is just below a hybrid and it cost me a lot less. I bought the base model which was loaded with everything a road comic would need. Cruise control, satellite radio. The best feature is the bluetooth which allows me to just say a person’s name and it dials the number hands-free with great sound clarity. I know this will be standard in a few years, but it is worth a lot to me and I got it with a base model. By the way, I think the car looks great.
When I told my mechanic what I had just bought, he said that was the best car I could have purchased. He said that the Sonata is a gamechanger in the market and reminds him of when Honda was so far ahead of the competition in the last 80’s. This made me feel great because I know shit about cars. Cars are like women to me. Mysterious. I don’t know how they work at all. I just want to know is she reliable, does she have some cool features, and does she look shiny and pretty. Hello! (I realize this might sound a bit hacky. Hey, I’m writing a free fucking blog. So you can take your critic’s pencil and shove it up your ass.)
A few added notes.
When you are a road comic, you go into the showroom with an agenda that doesn’t usually translate well to the salesman.
- Would you like to lease? Uh, no, I would blow past the 12000 mile limit in less than 4 months.
- This car has a great protection plan and we can also get further protection on it. Uh, let me mention again. I will be putting around 40000 miles on it per year. I will blow past your protection plan in year 3. Not needed.
Probably the most important advice I can give you as a comedian is to pick the right car. You need a car with great reliability, which is why so many road comics have been driving Corollas and Civics for the past 2 decades. My first car was a Chevy Beretta, which I got right out of college. Remember this piece of shit. Is there one still on the road today with its original paint job? I bet not. My next car was a Pontiac Grand Am. This fucker kept overheating and blowing gaskets to the point where I lost my ass and traded it in…for another piece of shit, the Ford Taurus. Just like how most of these Taurus’ did during the 90’s, the transmission dropped out at 60000 miles. I grew up with my Dad and both Grandfathers’ members of the UAW, but I couldn’t buy American, again.* Since then I’ve had a used Celica, Camry, Matrix, and CRV. Never had one problem with any of these cars and they ran strong well into their upper 100’s. *Ford and GM have increased their reliability greatly in the past few years, so for the first time, I did consider them. I love Michigan and I hope that next time they make a product that wins out. Oh and btw, the Sonata was designed in California and built in Alabama.
Now I realize that some of you have been reading this and thinking, fuck this guy and his new car. I can’t afford that. I get that, but since I spend so much time in my car, I want something nice. I have busted my ass to buy a car that most people who do other professions my age would think is kind of low-rent. Look, car shopping is a pain in the ass, but there is no more of important decision to make as a comic than getting the right car. If you can’t be reliable getting to your gigs, your name will be shit. Booking agents who don’t even speak to each other, might break that rule if you end up fucking them by having car trouble and being a n0-show. I’m not a believer in comedy being one of those professions where half the battle is just showing up, but it is important. With gas prices taking half of the profits for some feature acts, you have to plan more than ever on what gigs will work and what won’t. Having a reliable car with good gas mileage is vital to you being able to stay in the business.