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July 24, 2005

interregnum – The interval of time between the end of a
sovereign’s reign and the accession of a successor.

Alert readers may remember a post from back in March, when I was considering the possibility of giving up the Xterra for something with better fuel economy.  At the time, my ruminations came to naught.  Faced with a move, I decided to hold onto the Xterra, and good thing I did.  It certainly proved itself more than worthy carting around everything from books to air compressors to dogs and plants.  And besides…gas prices stabilized.  For a time, I forgot all about my idea of trading in the Xterra.

That changed a few days before I left for Europe.  Gasoline jumped to $2.11 per gallon and I found myself paying nearly $40 to fill the Xterra’s tank.  Staring at the gas pump’s smug LCD screen in some combination of rage and incomprehension, the idea of giving up the Xterra reawakened.

I let the idea stew while on vacation, figuring I would make a decision on my return.  And, now that I have returned to Austin, and now that gas prices have climbed yet higher, I have made my decision.

Yesterday, I traded in the Xterra for a 2002 Mazda Protege5.


I am sure that this action will come as a shock to several people, but I assure you, I have my reasons, and they concern more than the price of gasoline.  Allow me to elaborate…

First – A major factor in this move is the price of gasoline.  The Xterra managed 15 miles to the gallon.  The Protege5 will get something closer to 28.  Assuming that gas remains at its current prices, I’ll be saving approximately $1,000 a year.

Second – Necessity.  There is very little the Xterra could do that the Mazda cannot.  At least, nothing I would use it for on a regular basis.  The Mazda can commute, carry the dogs, the mountain bike…it can even haul home a dozen bags of rock, as I learned this afternoon.


Third – It is only temporary.  I have my sights set on 2007, when Jeep will be releasing the second year of their next-generation Wrangler.  I’m intrigued by the upcoming 4-door Wrangler, and particularly the possibility of a diesel-powered variant.   Why diesel?  Because Jeep’s diesel-powered Liberty averages 26 miles to the gallon, that’s why.  Since the vehicle I really want is still two years away, what’s the harm in saving money at the pump in the interim, especially to the tune of $2,000?  This vehicle is something of a stopgap…and interrex…a temp…an ellipsis…call it what you will.

Fourth – I have this odd fascination with compact hatchback things.  The Mini.  The Mazda 3.  The Audi A3.  The Volvo V50.  The Protege5 is a superb way to "test" that fascination, and see how it holds up day in and day out.  If I don’t like it, I can grit my teeth and move on to a diesel Wrangler when it comes out.  If I do like it, well…

Fifth – The deal was just too good to pass up.  I was crossing my fingers for a straight trade, and to be honest I was quite pessimistic.  The numbers just did not seem to add up, until I found this one Protege.  I got much better than a straight trade.   I came away with $2,000 to boot.


So…there it is.  That’s the logic behind my decision, or at least, the logic as I see it…

A day in, I am happy with my choice.  I miss the Xterra, to be sure, but I’m taking a liking to the Mazda, too.  Its a zippy little hatchback with lots of spirit and nice, tight steering.  It accomodated Smith and his drool with aplomb and did fine carrying hundres of pounds of rocks and sand, even if it was riding several inches nearer to the ground as a result…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2005 11:18 am

    I’m having a hard time keeping up. SO what vehicled are currently in the garage….. is it a mustang and a protege? The Acura was how many cars ago? LOL

  2. July 25, 2005 11:44 am

    I’m having a tough time keeping up, too.

    At present, I have the Protege, and Jamie has the Mustang.

  3. Kay permalink
    July 25, 2005 3:20 pm

    What’s the longest you’ve owned a car?

  4. July 25, 2005 4:29 pm

    Three years and eleven months – the ’95 Defender.

  5. Kay permalink
    July 25, 2005 4:58 pm

    How about a daily driver, though?

  6. July 25, 2005 5:06 pm

    The Xterra – 2 years and 10 months

  7. July 25, 2005 9:38 pm

    Not sure what’s scarier… the fact that he’s neverhad a daily driver over three years, or the fact that he has his car durations down to the month. 2 years and 10 months? geez. lol. How about that Range Rover of your Mom’s ..ya know..the one we crashed on I-90….how long did you have that? LOL

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