Here’s the old car – a 2000 Subaru “Outback Sport” (Impreza).

The bumper sticker, which is hard to read at this angle/resolution, says, “Buckle up. It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car.” Also, notice the lack of hubcaps. This is a common feature on 2000 Imprezas, to the extent that I always double-check any such that I find to see how many are missing. There’s almost always at least one, and as recently as this past Sunday I saw another “four-missing” parked right next to us at Smolak Farms. You can’t tell me that’s not a design flaw. That and a few other mostly-cosmetic gripes aside, though, it really has been a good car. I replaced a muffler and a couple of rear bearings, each time for reasonable prices (compared e.g. to Toyota which might need maintenance less often but costs an arm and a leg when you do). Besides commutes and errands, its 60K includes many trips to/from surrounding states and a couple to/from Michigan. Gas mileage has been decent, hovering around 25mpg for mixed driving the last few months. Overall, I still think it was a fine car for the price. It was just a little old and a little cheap and a little boring compared to . . .

For the record, that’s a 2008 MINI Cooper S, manual six-speed transmission, with stability control, automatic AC, upgraded steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, and wood dash to match – none of which you can see in the picture, of course, but I’ve been enjoying all of them except for the stability control which I don’t expect to notice until I’m in rain/snow. It’s a very nice ride, but I don’t need to say much about it because all the specs etc. are right on the MINI site. The blue is fairly new, and not the same as the older light blue you’ll see on most MINIs. I want to get a green car some day, always have, but frankly the “British racing green” that MINI has is one of the less desirable greens out there. At least this is an ever so slightly green-ish blue. Cindy has driven it too, and seems to like it. I’ll probably post an update after a couple of weeks when I really have more than first-drive impressions to share.