The Blue/Green Oval — My New Ride

My New Ride

After quite a bit of thought, debate, and cal­cu­la­tion around our house­hold, we final­ly decid­ed to trade in our Land Rover Free­lander on a Ford Escape Hybrid. This may seem like a shock to some of my friends and fam­i­ly, who knew how much I real­ly did like dri­ving our Free­lander. It was fun to dri­ve and it’s not as though we had­n’t put a lot of thought into that pur­chase. How­ev­er, gas prices as have risen con­sid­er­ably over the past (near­ly) four years. Fur­ther, there were issues that I did have with the Land Rover (aside from noto­ri­ous LR elec­tri­cal sys­tem issues): a sport trans­mis­sion that had hor­ri­ble lags pri­or to shift­ing, no arm­rests for the dri­ver (you nev­er miss them till their gone), rear seats that fold­ed in a way that robbed the vehi­cle of much need­ed car­go room, a gas tank that result­ed in a max range of only 330 miles, and (weird­est of all) the engine heat would essen­tial­ly cook your right foot while dri­ving over long dis­tances. Peo­ple would occa­sion­al­ly ask me how I liked it or if I was still enjoy­ing dri­ving it, and truth be told I did. Despite those gripes, it was a great vehi­cle and I have no rea­son to doubt that it will keep run­ning for many more years. In a way, that was the biggest prob­lem of all: I was going to have to keep pay­ing for a gas-guz­zling SUV for many more years to come. That began to weigh more and more on both our bank accounts and our consciouses.

Well, this past week­end, we got a call from the Ford deal­er just a cou­ple of blocks away. They hap­pened to have the only 2006 Escape Hybrid in cen­tral Vir­ginia (there are a few left up in NoVa). We had test dri­ven it before, and they knew were inter­est­ed. I think they gave us the “there’s some­one else who’s real­ly inter­est­ed in this car” rou­tine, which was­n’t real­ly the big deal. It was the fact that they had just added some more incen­tives or last years mod­els to move them off the lot that perked our ears. We did the math one more time and came to the con­clu­sion: the insur­ance was less (domes­tic parts, most­ly), gas mileage was near­ly 50% bet­ter, and there were some nice incen­tives in the form of zero (and low) APR’s and cash dis­counts. This cou­pled with the fact that the IRS recent­ly changed the hybrid tax deduc­tion to a $1,950 tax cred­it made the car not only more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly, but also much cheap­er to own and oper­ate (seri­ous­ly, do you have any idea how much the main­te­nance sched­ule on a Land Rover runs?).

Well, we went over to the deal­er­ship with to see how much we could get for the Free­lander (turns out, it was still worth some­thing, at least after I got it a final bath). We also want­ed to know if they could locate a Hybrid Escape that had a sun­roof, since we loved hav­ing one so much. After spend­ing an awful lot of time and ener­gy try­ing to track one down, I decid­ed it was just too expen­sive and like­ly to be not worth hav­ing (it only comes with $4,000 in extra options we did­n’t real­ly want). At the end of the day, I decid­ed we should just buy the nice black and sil­ver one which we had test dri­ven. Angela reluc­tant­ly agreed, and so we drove away in a our new truck late that evening.

I’ve already decked it out with some roof racks and a few stick­ers here and there. I took my Ter­ra­Pass off of the Free­lander and stuck it on the new vehi­cle. Pur­chas­ing car­bon emis­sion off­sets com­bined with a hybrid puts us pret­ty low on the CO2 scale, which is good. Now, we nev­er thought we were all that snot­ty about dri­ving a Land Rover (hard to be when the inte­ri­or looks like an ’83 Dat­sun), so we’re not going to start being all smug about dri­ving a hybrid SUV, either. We do care a great deal about reduc­ing our car­bon foot­print as well as the envi­ron­ment in gen­er­al, but eco­nom­ics was the main rea­son we made this pur­chase, not altru­ism. We sim­ply don’t have the resources to be that smug, any more than we did to be snot­ty enough to buy a Range Rover.

As far as the new vehi­cle goes, so far I love it. It han­dles and per­forms very well (as good or bet­ter than the V6 did in the Free­lander). It essen­tial­ly fix­es all of the issues I had with the Free­lander with­out many draw­backs (no mesh map pock­ets on the ceil­ing). It even has a few niceties the Land Rover did­n’t have. So, I’m glad I changed out the Eng­lish Green oval for the blue oval, even if it was a much more green deci­sion to do so.

Note: It was a weird coin­ci­dence that Trey book­marked this post last week, about a guy who made a some­what sim­i­lar deci­sion that Angela and I did.