|2016 Subaru Legacy, with the Toaster sitting behind it|
We've had the Toaster since August 2005. It's had very few issues mechanically. We have to keep an eye on the modifications (lowered floor, ramp, etc.) because they rust, so we've had some work done on the mods twice to keep the rust under control. But, it has 128,000 miles on it. We want to keep it as long as possible - replacing it would mean getting a minivan (bah!) and having that modified; a new one would cost $50,000+. Some car manufacturers (like Toyota) will allow you to finance such a vehicle for 10 years, but, sorry, I do not want a big car payment for 120 months.
Over the last year, I've been taking my mother regularly to various doctors. She's 87, stopped driving and sold her car last year. The MD trips require that I rent a car because she has a few mobility issues and can't get up the Toaster's ramp and into the back seat. I have loved driving these rental cars. They ride much more smoothly than the Toaster, which is pretty crappy in bad weather and blows all over the highway in the wind. They have fun technology upgrades like rear view cameras and bluetooth connectivity. They get better mileage. And, perhaps most importantly, they have cup holders! The Toaster doesn't have a center console where you'd find the cup holders as it had to be removed to make space for the wheelchair well.
I thought, then, why not get a new car with a relatively low monthly payment? It would take care of the rides for my mom, reduce mileage on the Toaster and be fun to drive. I also wanted 4-wheel or all-wheel drive to make winter driving safer. I consulted with my brother, who is incredibly knowledgeable about cars. I wanted your basic mid-sized sedan that would be easy for my mom to get in and out of. Apparently, the only such vehicle on the road (at least in the base trim level) was a Subaru Legacy. Ford Fusions AWD, but you have to pay for more than the basic car to get it. Nissan Altimas, Toyota Camrys, etc. don't have AWD or 4-wheel drive. Also, my brother and his wife and 2 of his kids all drive Subarus of various models and love them.
I made an appointment for a test drive at a nearby dealer with the stipulation that I could bring the car over to my mom's house so we could make sure she'd have no problems getting in or out. Loved the car and it worked for her. Yay! Made a deal that day to lease it for 3 years. I picked the car up on April 30th and have loved driving it the last 2 weeks.
I'm getting 31 miles to the gallon and I can go almost 500 miles between fill ups. With bluetooth, I can make and receive handsfree calls right from the dashboard. I often listen to audio books while driving with the books on my phone and that's a snap with the bluetooth. The handling is so much better than the Toaster's and it feels really sure on the road in the rain. No snow yet, but I'm sure it'll be much, much better this winter.
So far, the only problem I've experienced is a recall email 13 days after getting the car. Apparently, some new Legacys have a poorly constructed steering column and it can cause the wheels to stop turning when you turn the wheel. Yikes! The email states not to drive the car and have it towed in, but the dealer is slammed and suggested I drive it in on Monday to be checked out. If the problem does exist, I'll get a rental to use until the repair can be made. I'll be glad when this is squared away, but at least I have the Toaster to use until Monday.
Recall notwithstanding, it has been fun to drive and have this new car!