Monday, March 07, 2005

Saturday (*) Car Blogging II: What, If Any, Kind of Car People Are We?

by Tom Bozzo

I confess to constantly scanning the automobile market for my next car, however improbable an actual move at any given time (right now: not very improbable), and so the major auto shows are always an exciting time. The Geneva Auto Show opened last week with a few significant debuts.

As a new parent with what turns out to be a merely adequate income (no link, as last week's Sunday Styles feature, "Six Figures? Not Enough!" is already in the Times paid archive; instead see Majikthise here), I can forget about my James Bond fantasies and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage for a while.

Among the attainable and workable choices bowing in Geneva, I liked the Lexus IS, which carries the brand's new fastback exterior styling very nicely, was shown in silver (where, after Henry Ford, I'll get a car in any color as long as it's silver), and appears to do away with the outgoing model's supposedly youth-oriented interior design quirks.

After showing the IS pictures online to Suzanne, since financial decisions of any magnitude in the household require consensus,** it was clear that she was unenthusiastic about the car beyond the usual attenuated spousal enthusiasm for my car shopping jags. She'd prefer the Acura TSX,*** hitherto the leading contender for the family sedan role, as a matter of brand anti-elitism. Acura marketing literature may be as pretentious as Lexus — maybe more, as they're striving to move up — but that's basically just marketing BS: they're Hondas underneath it all.****

I can understand Suzanne's point. Part of me wants to say the hell with the automotive status rat race and just get an Accord, such time as a second car with back doors is deemed to be required. But the part of me that doesn't want to drive what everyone else is driving will probably push us to the Acura.


(*) Even though this post is dated Monday, and composed Sunday, it was originally conceived and meant to have been posted on Saturday.

(**) While I largely support the feminist blogosphere's reaction to David Brooks' ridiculous joint checking account column, I'd note that division of power is the real issue. Separate checking accounts are neither necessary nor sufficient for equal division of financial rights and responsibilities in a relationship.

(***) There are worse things. The Acura is a blast to drive, in part because it's not wildly overpowered, and I've recommended it to a friend who is in dire need of a new four-place car with an available stick-shift.

(****) Yes, I did point out that Lexuses are Toyotas.
Read (or reread) Robert Frank's Luxury Fever. Then buy the Accord.
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