New wheels

On a frigid day in January, 2001, I purchased a new car.  It was a 2001 Kia Sephia, black, with none of the fancy options.  Although the Sephia was a reliable little car, it was … well, a little car.  With none of the fancy options.  And in the five years I drove it, I put 150,000 miles on it.  Did I mention it didn’t come with any of the fancy options?

The last year had been painful for my trusty little home-away-from-home.  I’ve had intermittent starting trouble since the autumn of 2004.  Last December, it needed a new alternator and two new headlamps.  The “check engine” light had flashed sporadically for a week, earlier this month.  The windshield has been cracked for years.  Acceleration?  Increasingly sluggish.

And so, on Tuesday, I sent the Sephia into a well-earned retirement, replacing it with a newer vehicle — a Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, with all the fixin’s: power everything, remote locks/starter, power sunroof, deluxe CD player, special fog lights, four-wheel-drive capability.  It drives like a dream, and it only had 42,000 miles on it (I bought used, this time).

I’ll say this:  It’s nice to be in a big vehicle again.  Before the Sephia, I drove a 1989 Jeep Wagoneer, which was nice but old, with ongoing oil and coolant problems; in fact, I bought the Kia a week after I blew the rear transfer case in the Wagoneer and limped home 40 miles in 4WD, but on the front axle alone.

The only downside might be gas.  I filled the tank from empty this morning for $45 (ouch!).  At least the mileage isn’t too bad; the on-board computer tells me I’m averaging about 23 mpg, which isn’t that much lower than the Sephia (which allowed me about 320 miles per 13-gallon tank, or the functional equivalent of 25 mpg).  We’ll see how far the trip odometer reads when I next hit empty in the Grand Cherokee.

So now, your happy scribe is in a nicer, larger vehicle in which — for once — he is not embarassed to be seen in public.

It’s been a good week!

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