Can’t go compact just yet

Published 12:04 am Saturday, April 7, 2012

It might be the most fun joke I ever played on my husband.

When Massey Automo-tive first got a Nissan Leaf last fall, they asked several people to drive it, just to get the community talking about it. I was tickled to be asked, but I didn’t tell.

I picked up the compact, electric car on a Friday afternoon, called home and asked Honey if he’d like to ride with me to a football game in Red Level.

I still didn’t tell.

So I parked the Leaf in my space, ran in to change clothes, and said, “No, I’ll drive.”

The poor man nearly had a heart attack when he stepped out of the back door and started to quiz me.

“You bought a new car?” he asked.

I answered in the affirmative. “It’s electric,” I said.

“How much was it?”

“Thirty-five thousand.”

”What! You paid thirty-five thousand dollars for a car and you didn’t even let me argue with them?

“Ho-ney,” (in his scolding voice). “You know I love to argue with them.”

It was at that point that I lost my poker face and ‘fessed up. No, I didn’t buy it, but I did love it. The technology is amazing.

In today’s paper, we wrote about the trend toward more fuel-efficient vehicles. Compact, it seems, is the new cool. When gas goes over $3.50, one salesman said, consumers start trading in SUVs.

It’s a place I’ve been trying to convince myself to go. My crossover is almost eight years old, has more than 150,000 miles and doesn’t ride nearly as smoothly as it once did. I am frequently on the road alone, tend to drive to my own bed, even if I’m way past dark getting there … and mine is the newest car in our garage.

And let’s face it, I’m short enough to drive a compact comfortably.

Still, I can’t convince myself.

First, there is the convenience of the hatchback, and Lord knows I am forever hauling food or newspapers somewhere.

Then, there’s my third-row seat argument. They are perfect when Sarah and Christopher, my beloved niece and nephew, are fighting. Never mind their parents traded for a sedan last year. (Theirs came with a wooden spoon, which I am told cuts down on misbehavior.)

But mostly I can’t get past the day last summer when a friend proudly showed me her “new” car, for which she paid $300.

Puts everything in a different perspective, doesn’t it?

So I’ll keep rattling along in my current vehicle until gas prices or a needed repair force me to make the decision to give up my SUV.

God bless the salesman who gets to argue with my husband when I do.