I am trying to get to a reasonable, sustainable transportation machine without losing my soul or taking on an elephant.
Honda Insight - small, light, excellent economy & emissions performance. We got ours shortly after they went out of production. Now sitting at about 110,000 miles.
The Fiat 500e was a brilliant choice. Devaluing being the exception - its value sank like a lead weight on a fishing line - but we leased so it wasn't our problem.
The usual Fiat body but wonderful trim, colors, and performance, for a bargain price (it was $150 a month lease, no cash down) thanks to brainless California regulators forcing auto companies to make and sell cars most people don't want.
OK, white interior is silly on a lease car but we are old and careful and had plenty of other cars to do "the dirty work"
GETTING RID OF THE DINOSAURS
Some of you know that I gave my Volvo to the auto museum as a donation and they resold it. The Jaguar was miraculously turned into a fraction of a U-N Perpetual and resides in the garage of a pal. The Honda Insight also started out as a swap-over -- I converted an FP Journe CS into cash by handing it over for the pink slip of the Honda.
ONE STEP FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK
But for this generation of vehicles I paid real money. The first move, after becoming discouraged by the lack of station wagons and the tidal wave of SUVs, was to buy a Kind-of-a-Pickup. Honda Ridgeline is not too big, not too heavy, plenty of V6 normally aspirated power, not a CVT transmission but a real shifting automatic, 4WD for off-roading and towing, folding back seat for extra utility, and a trunk in the pickup bed. It's okay to drive but the User Interface of the controls is terrible, alas.
THIRD TRY IS A CHARM? (I hope)
Now comes the new Electric Non-Elephant.
Question: How do you know when GM (or any manufacturer) gets a car right? They discontinue it!
So I got a Chevrolet Volt (Opel Ampera) a couple months after discontinuation but before stocks ran out. This gem is powered by 2 electric motors, an 18 kWh battery pack and a 1.5L all-alloy 4 cylinder ICE. Thanks to clever buttons on the console you can force it to electric, gas, or computer-control. It will do at 100 km on (plug-in) electric and 600 km on 8.5 gallons of gas. So no range anxiety whatsoever.
The shape and curves are nice too, even (or especially) in white / black livery; the aerodynamic tuning is far more complex than the Fiat was.
The color is not nearly as exciting too look at but the overall experience so far is quite nice. Interiors are normally boring black but I was able to find a rare grey (Light and Dark Ash is the marketing name) leather interior.
It seats 4 real people and 1 dwarf, and because the batteries are in the central tunnel, not under the floor like the Fiat, there's actually room for your feet.
and a very spacious boot / hatchback area with separately-folding seatbacks.
It's no featherweight midget like the A110 but then I have two Lotuses and a Honda Insight in my fleet to fill that role.
How is it performing so far? The dealer gave us the first tankful, and I had to drive home 100 miles, but including that we've now done 550 miles - 100m on $5 gas and 450m on $15 electricity.