I had been looking quite a bit over the past few months at different vehicle options. My current ride, the 2000 Blue VW Turbo Beetle, had treated me well but was definitely aging around the edges. I will forgo the laundry list out of respect for its years of service - suffice to say it had 130,000 miles on it and was beginning to show it.
What would replace it? I had been looking at such disparate choices as the Honda Element, Pontiac Solstice, Scion xB, Pontiac G6, Nissan Maxima and Chevrolet SSR. I wanted something under 30k, with a good selection of comfort features, flexibility for hauling people and equipment (bikes) and wouldn’t sacrifice too much in terms of economy from my current Beetle.
I thought I had narrowed it down to the Element, which while it didn’t enjoy as many creature comforts, definitely won in the hauling category. I could always add the creature comforts after-market that I desired. That was, until I went and test drove a current 2007 model year Element and realized they had moved the seat belt mount from the door frame to the seatback.
The change of the seat belt mount became a deal breaker. A big guy like me doesn’t like seatback mounts…they tend to cut into my neck and rub making for a very uncomfortable ride. (Or, I’d have to change all my shirts to be turtlenecks)
So, my sales guy at the Honda dealer suggested I take another look at the new 2007 Honda CR-V. It didn’t quite have as much of the “ruggedness” that the Element had, but that wasn’t an entirely bad thing, either. Plusher seats, more comfortable ride, better creature comforts.
The only hitch - I’ve had leather seats in two of my previous cars, I find myself preferring cloth most of the time…the only problem was that heated seats were not an available option on the non-leather EX level of the Honda CR-V. Minnesota winters make these a necessity, and even longer summer trips are easier when you can let your back relax into a nice heated seatback. I really didn’t need the rest of the luxury “LX” level of the CR-V such as XM Radio, color-coordinated handles/mirrors and a different center console.
Eventually a deal was reached that included after-market seat heaters in an EX level CR-V and all the paperwork was signed. Appointments were made for the heated seat install, keys were exchanged and I was ready to leave.
My sales guy had helpfully pulled the new CR-V and the old Beetle side-by-side to facilitate moving all of the personal contents out of the Beetle and into the CR-V. (I hadn’t gone into the dealer tonight wanting to do the deal tonight, so the Beetle was filled with all sorts of items) We moved everything over; I shook his hand and got into the driver’s seat of the CR-V to pull away. I looked over at my old Beetle, paused for a moment while a tear welled up in my eye, and whispered heartfelt thanks for years of service and a soft goodbye.
[Update: For those playing the home game, it is a Green Tea CR-V, similar to the photo. Totally forgot to mention it. Doh!]