Last week I had to say goodbye to my Oldsmobile Intrigue. She'd been with me since 1998. Not the most reliable of cars, I'd bought her because she was the color, make and model of car driven by Fox Mulder in the X-Files film of that year, Fight the Future. I was a big X-Files fan. Very, very big X-Files fan.
Her registration came due recently, so I took her in for a pre-smog check oil change and filter. The OC&F was $29.95, but the multi-point check came back with a quote for fixing the coolant system: $1850. Since the system had never actually overheated - at least, not in the last decade or so - I was a little skeptical, but they insisted. "I need to go to Las Vegas to see the Dead Weather next month," I said. The dealership assistant shook her head.
Sbs passed the smog check with flying colors, and still wasn't showing the slightest sign of a coolant leak, but yesterday I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata LE. It has all the features the Olds had, and in almost all cases, in exactly the same place. It's like sliding into a slighter bigger version of Sbs - but with XM radio, mp3 player capability (Sbs had an adaptor via the cassette deck, of all things), moonroof and a silly but fun way of opening the door, which is to recognize you when you approach so you don't need to get the keys out of your pocket. (It also starts with a push-button, so you still don't need to get your keys out of your pocket. The drawback is that, of course, you have already taken the keys out of your pocket by force of habit, so you drop them in the cupholder for lack on anywhere else to stick them. This means that the keys are no longer in your pocket when you leave the car. The salesman intimated that the car is clever enough not to lock you out under these circumstances, but I don't necessarily want to have to find out the hard way.)
It drives very well, with its silent engine and decent handling. It doesn't have quite the oomph the six-cylinder Intrigue did, but it seems capable of accelerating if needed.
It came with a free (actually $30 non-optional extra) iPod cable! But iDon't have an iPod!
Oh, and it doesn't have a cargo net. Sbs had a lovely cargo net. Grr.