Monday, September 21, 2015

Downsizing, from boats to Buicks

I finally traded my trusty 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis, the last of the traditional Detroit boats, six passenger four door V8 sedan.  The body rot had broken thru the fenders, my friendly local mechanic told me he might not be able to give it an inspection sticker next year due to serious rust underneath, and it had 110K miles. 
   I found a low mileage 2003 Buick Le Sabre.  It's not too bad.  It's smaller than the boats, it's just a four passenger car with the old Chevy V6 for power.  It's the top of the line as far as bling and interior trim goes.  The engine isn't anything like as strong as the 4.6 liter V8 in the Merc, even pulling a smaller lighter car.  It has a tachometer, I really need that for those fast power shifts drag racing off the stop lights.  Right.  It has an amazingly tall front axle gear, the engine is only doing 1000 RPM at 50 miles an hour.  At least the transmission lets the engine wind up to the red line if you put your foot into it.  Passing power is OK, but nothing like the Merc. 
  Fuel economy is decent, I got 30 mpg on a trip down to Lebanon and back.  That's better, the Merc only did 22 mpg.  
   The dashboard is confusing.  I had to dig into the owner's manual to figure out how to turn the headlights off, and work the radio.  The damn manual is 300 pages long, the index sucks, and it's missing things like factory recommended tire pressure.  It's full of platitudes about seat belt usage and DUI.  Most of the buttons on the dash have two or three difference meanings, tap once ,double tap, press and hold and they all do different things.  You wouldn't believe what you have to do just to set bass and treble on the radio.  There is a single little hard to read digital display that can show oil pressure, battery voltage, fuel economy, tire pressure, coolant temperature, and the phase of the moon, after you press all the right buttons.  For all this digital fanciness, it lacks an outside temp thermometer, a winter driving necessity. 
   Styling is undistinguished, standard industry all rounded over look. 

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