Vehicles to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
We identify the 7 vehicles best-equipped to help you keep your promises this year.
The changeover to the new year is an annual opportunity to reflect on, reset and repair those things about your life that have, perhaps, gone awry. Why do we choose New Year's Day for this arbitrary exercise in self-betterment? Perhaps because we select New Year's Eve for our yearly exercise in drunken buffoonery and debauchery; there's nothing like a mind- and body-crushing hangover to inspire life-changing resolutions.
But while most of us pledge to better ourselves, few follow through. According to Psychology Today magazine, research shows that fewer than half of those who make New Year's resolutions are still sticking to them six months later, and only 10 percent manage their self-discipline for a full year.
Clearly, people need help to be more resolute, and MSN Autos thinks the answer lies in the car, truck or SUV they drive. Focus, resolve and self-discipline help, but they obviously aren't enough. So we decided to address seven of the most popular New Year's resolutions and identify the vehicles that could help you make them a reality.
Resolution: Get fit, lose weight
Vehicle: Jeep Wrangler Rubicon | Price: $29,995
The resolution to lose weight and get in shape is a perennial, and perennially broken. That's because most of us think that the path to a leaner, fitter body leads to the gym, and let's face it, going to the gym is a drag. But what if you could get off that beaten path, far off? The Wrangler Rubicon is the ultimate off-road Jeep, and with 32-inch BF Goodrich off-road tires, 10.2 inches of ground clearance, locking front and rear differentials and a 4:1 low range, the Rubicon can take you to any path on Earth. Once there, you can hike, bike, rock climb — exercise that's inspirational, not obligatory. And doesn't exercise in the fresh outdoors sound better than another trudge through a routine in an overheated gym?
Resolution: Save money, manage debt
Vehicle: Ford Fiesta | Price: $13,200
There are less expensive cars than the Ford Fiesta, but few seem like a better value. Ford offers plenty of fancy options for those willing to pay extra, without cheating the base trim out of fit-and-finish details such as supportive seats, sound dampening and plenty of airbags for safety, although the base trim doesn't get standard power windows. Nevertheless, the Fiesta will save you cash in two ways. Its nearly 40-mpg fuel-efficiency rating keeps gas bills down so you can dedicate more of your money to pay off the small loan you took to buy this inexpensive, compact sedan.
Resolution: Further your education
Vehicle: Porsche 911 | Price: $85,400
Technically, a car can't make you smarter. But you can educate yourself on how to drive it better. That's why Porsche created the Porsche Sport Driving School, which takes place at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. The school has one- to three-day courses taught by professional race-car drivers who teach you how to pilot Porsche's legendary sports cars aggressively around a tough track. Once you graduate, you are given official license to laugh at sports-car neophytes who fishtail their rides every time a curve gets too nasty. You, by contrast, will be heel-and-toe downshifting into turns in your 911, then blasting out of them with the skill of an expert. Such are the benefits of higher education.
Resolution: Take a trip
Vehicle: Toyota Sienna | Price: $25,060
The minivan segment has been engaged in a war of options of late, meaning you can really luxe out one of these grocery-getters for maximum comfort on long road trips. The Sienna is a perfect example. One step up from the base trim gets you automatic sliding doors, seating for up to eight and tri-zone air conditioning. If you totally trick it out, you can get a split moon roof, power liftgate, dynamic cruise control, navigation system and rear-seat DVD entertainment center with dual-view screen. It's like taking your living room on vacation with you. And the fewer people you carry, the more stuff you can haul — behind the front-row seats is 150 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
Resolution: Reduce, reuse, recycle
Vehicle: 2013 Ford Escape | Price: To be announced
If you're willing to make resolutions that you don't have to act on immediately, the next-generation Ford Escape, which will arrive later in 2012, will give you eco-friendly credentials that would make a Prius owner blush. The performance numbers aren't in yet, but Ford is offering a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder version of its EcoBoost engine in the new Escape, which is a classic example of having your cake and eating it, too. The V6 version is already on many of its other vehicles, such as the F-150 and Flex. It uses direct injection and turbocharging to give those vehicles the power of a V8 engine, but with the fuel-efficiency of a V6. The new Escape also is baking eco-friendliness into the very core of its materials, using soy-based polyurethane foam in its seating and covering the floor with carpet made from recycled plastic bottles. So buying the Escape is a good place to start your new friendship with planet Earth. The next step is to stop using so many plastic bottles and so much fuel in the first place.
Resolution: Volunteer to help others
Vehicle: Nissan NV | Price: $24,950
There are a million ways to lend a hand to your fellow man, and how you choose to do so is obviously up to you. But everybody is a little more helpful when they have capacious volumes of cargo space to offer. The Nissan NV is obviously built for work, but it speaks to the inner volunteer in everyone. It can be equipped as a traditional van or with a stand-up-inside raised roof. And in the tall-boy cargo-van configuration, the NV offers 323.1 cubic feet of cargo area. Imagine the groceries you could haul to the local food bank. The upcoming NV passenger version of this full-size van can be configured with seating for 12, which can shuttle a lot of octogenarians back and forth from the senior center.
Resolution: Drink responsibly
Vehicle: Volvo S80 | Price: $37,950
If your judgment gets a little foggy after a few happy-hour drinks, don't ruin someone else's night as well as your own by getting behind the wheel and driving home. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid that mistake. A variety of Breathalyzer-style ignition locks are available — usually they are installed at the request of the courts — that can keep a car from starting unless you give it a sample of your untainted exhalations, but Volvo is the first company to offer such a system as a factory option. Volvo calls it the Alcoguard system, and it is offered in Europe on several models, including the S80, the company's large luxury sedan. Volvo has the system in limited testing in its American fleet. Alcoguard uses a wireless, fuel-cell tester that will not allow the vehicle to start unless the user has a blood-alcohol level of less than 0.2 grams per liter.
Sam Foley is a Connecticut-based automotive journalist who has written for GQ, Forbes, USA Today, the New York Post and various other publications.
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No vehicle is a money saver. They all have a substantial cost of operation associated with them.
Two people have given this comment a thumbs down. Either they're not too bright, and/or they've never owned a vehicle. When owning a car, you have operation costs such as insurance, fuel, tires, maintenance, and repairs. ALL automobiles have these costs which are not necessarily cheap. Eventually all automobiles will need repairs, and it doesn't matter if we're talking domestic or import. Owning a vehicle does not save money. Unfortunately, they're a necessary expense in most cases (excluding vehicles that are toys such as sports cars, exotics, over the top SUVs, etc.)
Does anyone know what the make of the first picture, the red car?
Before you buy do a TCO True Cost To Own. You put on the milage you drive a year,insurance cost, ex tax ,repairsGo to Edmunds .com and check out TCO. I was going to buy a new Focus HB,but compaired to the car I really wanted ,the Focus was only going to save me $35.00 a month more,So I bought the car I really wanted for comfort and the resale was higher.I mean 25K for a Focus.