Blue Gossett, Jr.

Unbelievable. It's been nearly a month since I got Blue Gossett, Jr. (previously the As Yet Unnamed Car), and now that the new-car euphoria has subsided (slightly, at least) I'm learning all about the car's pros and cons. I had assumed that since it's a newer version of the car I already had, there wouldn't be too much I'd have to get used to, but it really does drive and feel like a completely different car, which is almost always a good thing. Let's start with the things I like about it. The ride is great, and shifting is as smooth as silk. The seats are about 2 inches higher than in my old car, which is just enough to be noticable, so I get a better view of the road. There's a substantial horsepower increase over the old car, but it's partially offset by a slightly higher curb weight (despite being nearly 7 inches shorter) and having air conditioning. Still, it's noticably peppier than the red car. The features - which I hadn't even wanted at first - are wonderful. Power windows and a key fob probably aren't a big deal to most of you but to me it's almost decadent luxury. And the rear wiper... how did I ever get by without one? Those 7 inches I mentioned earlier were basically lopped off the trunk, so the hatch is much smaller than in my old car. But the wheels are placed so that the wells don't cut into the storage space as much, so the result is a much boxier space that's actually more useful than the larger, awkward space I had before. The stereo is, of course, awesome. It sounds great, and I've become addicted to XM despite my best attempts not to. In terms of style, Blue gets a narrow win. I'd always liked my old car's defiantly clunky look, though I realized early on that choosing red had been a big mistake. Blue is definitely sportier, and while that can look ridiculous in an economy car, Blue's compact dimensions and tidy proportions save the day. I wasn't originally taken with the color, but it has grown on me, and I've since noticed that the car looks much better in lighter colors - white, silver, blue - than dark colors - black, rust, dark blue. Inside, it's no contest. Blue's interior is unbelievably elegant and restrained for a cheap car. The old car had all sorts of awkward storage spaces that only ended up collecting dust and spare change, while Blue's storage is far more well designed and useful. Now for the downers. The air conditioning is on the anemic side, and we haven't even had any seriously hot weather. The driver's side blind spot is a lot bigger than on my old car so extra care is required when switching lanes. There's a fold-down armrest, which sounds like a plus, but it's awkwardly placed, and it prevents you from fastening or unfastening your seatbelt if it's folded down. Those are quibbles. My only other complaint is that the gear ratios are proving harder to master than I'd anticipated. I seem to have trouble finding the right gear a lot, but it's getting better so hopefully I just need a bit more time. It was easy to accept the many shortcomings of my old car because it had been so cheap, and I definitely expect more from Blue because of it being so much newer and a more expensive trim level. So far, it has delivered and more.

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