Saturday, October 06, 2007

Andy's Dandy

At the end of July, we bought a 2007 Prius. Sydney's dad, Bill Bowling, has the job of naming all the cars in the extended family, and he's named this one Andy's Dandy.

In these parts, buying a Prius isn't as easy as buying, say, a Camry. We had to drive 60-plus miles to Johnstown, Pa., to test-drive one, then wait several weeks for our local dealer, Shaffer Toyota, to track down the color and options package we'd requested. Shaffer found exactly what we wanted and made us very happy, but we couldn't help wondering why Toyota doesn't put more of these on the market, if it's really committed to the technology.

Speaking of which, the car is a dream to drive, has acres of storage, keeps surprising us with its well-designed electronic extras -- today we discovered the "memo" function on the dashboard calendar -- and, most importantly, gets great fuel economy. Our worst fuel economy to date, on a tank we burned driving the steep streets of Frostburg, was 46 miles per gallon. (As my brother said, with unimpeachable logic, "You have to drive uphill half the time.") Our best fuel economy, while Sydney was visiting her parents in the relative flatlands, was 52 miles per gallon.

Though Sydney has bought several new Subarus through the years, this is the first new car I ever bought. Smiling strangers keep walking up to say, "Nice car! How do you like it?" It's a welcome change of pace from the previous conversation-starters I've owned. Those conversations typically began "Get that piece of crap off the road, buddy!" and went downhill from there.

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