Sunday, February 17, 2013

Itch Scratching

As I neared the end of my three year lease on my KIA Sorento I started to get that new car itch that seems to take hold of me every three years.  And I suppose it's a little pretentious to say "my" KIA Sorento but lease, buy, or steal a vehicle, when you drive it for three years it just feels like you own it.   I could have owned it if I wanted to buy it at the end of the lease and it wouldn't have been a bad move because I knew the vehicle had been taken care of for maintenance and had not been abused. And I liked the Sorento except for one thing...the miles per gallon performance was not nearly as good as advertised. It was supposed to get up to 29 mpg highway. If you drove fifty miles per hour on a straight and level road, I could get 29 and higher. Sometimes as good as 32 mpg. But that's not realistic highway conditions as far as I'm concerned. At 60 to 70 mph the best I ever got was around 25 mpg. I'm not a lead foot driver but if traffic and weather allow I usually try to maintain 4 to 5 mph over the limit.  In Florida that means setting cruise control to 74 or 75 mph. The result was that the Sorento achieved an average of 24 miles per gallon at those speeds. Not terrible performance for a mid size SUV but disappointing nevertheless because it's so much less than advertised.

So, long story short, I did not buy the 2011 Sorento at the end of my three year lease. I shopped around and test drove the Ford Escape, the Mazda CX-5, the Jeep Compass, and the Hundai Santa Fe, and the GMC Terrain. I read all the reviews from Edmonds and Car and Driver. I test drove each of them and they all had their good points. But the one that seemed most likely to satisfy my itch was the Terrain. I've got about 1500 miles on it since I started leasing in December and highway mpg is averaging 30 mpg (as opposed to 32 mpg advertised). Not quite up to the hype but significantly closer than the promises by KIA. Anyway, here's the new wheels pictured below. Ain't she purty?

GMC Terrain SLE-2
She's not top of the line. As a matter of fact she's 2nd from the bottom of five available Terrain models. But she's got enough bells and whistles for me, a comfortable ride, similar size as the KIA, and much much much better miles per gallon performance.  She scratches my itch.