After test driving many cars...
By annas on Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
- Not Rated
Pros: "Top-notch interior, different styling"
Cons: "MPG, smallish trunk, smallish back seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Full disclosure--my last car was as 98 S70 turbo. Full disclosure 2.0--I really thought I wanted a BMW 3 series.
Having a little too much librarian blood, I researched the heck out of the sport sedan segment. Yeah. I like sport sedans. No, I love them. I want a peppy ride, but also a back seat that folds down so I can haul my music equipment. Why not get an SUV or crossover? I hate the handling. I am the quintessential sport sedan owner. All indicators said BMW 3 series. It is the benchmark. I know you all read those reviews, too, since you're bothering to read this.
So, I test drove all potential rivals, excluding the Volvo because I was ready for a change. The rivals, I admit, were somewhat limited due to geographic limitations...what dealerships were in my area. My test cars:
Passat TDI. I wanted to love this car since it has fabulous MPG. Handling was OK, but not great. Impressive torque, though. Exterior bland. Interior blander. What is it with the pleather?
Kia Optima Turbo. This car is a gizmotron. The sunroof was cool. Handling was pretty sharp. Acceleration adequate. Exterior on the turbo was ugly. Interior was uglier. I am just not the demographic for this car. It is made for some 25-35 year old dude who for some reason wants a sedan. If I was that dude, I would go with the Dodge Charger.
Ford Fusion Ecoboost. Hubs wanted to test this car. It gets great reviews. They didn't have a six, so I drove the four. It is noisy. Sure, the car is a gizmotron like the Optima. But, I don't really care about giving voice commands to my car. Just give me an easy to reach dial for the climate. The interior is spacious, but not appealing. I hate the much-lauded exterior. The grill looks like a catfish and the rear has those squinty Audi taillights(like the Kia Optima). I know other people love this look, but it makes me wince.
I headed to the BMW dealership ready to buy. Already, I was sold on the the 328i's exterior. But, something unexpected happened when I got in the car. The interior was...strange. The info screen was kind of propped up on the dash. The cup-holders had a weird tray over them. What am I supposed to do with this tray when I have a coffee? Toss it in the back seat? It was all a bit unsettling. But, drive it. The steering is, indeed, wonderful. As is the braking. But, I just couldn't love the 8 speed automatic. Getting on the freeway, tearing through an awful lot of gears on an on-ramp, just wasn't pleasant. Then, there was the gas-saving feature. The engine turns off at stop-lights. Wonderful in theory. Annoying in practice. Sure, you can turn that off, but why pay extra for something that annoys you? Ditto on the heads-up display.
Fine. I'm going to go look at the Volvo S60 because it is just down the street from the BMW joint. The S60 has a great eye-catching exterior with the sweeping line of the trunk and the bold grill, but I really wanted to move into another brand. Ugh. I got into the car and absolutely loved the interior. It is elegant and simple. The ride is miles superior from my old S70. It was smooth, but had just the right amount of road feel. The 6 speed automatic handled a quick shift from 0-65 with pleasant ease. I knew after five minutes in the car that it was "The One." Sometimes, you just know.
I can't vouch for reliability since I've only had it for a month. So far, so good.
Oh, and when an artist friend saw the new car, she said, "I don't usually notice cars, but that car is beautiful.""
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