I’ve been wanting a truck, van, or stationwagon for a while now: anything that would carry more than my tiny Neon. Especially with the new house, I’m finding I need stuff (furniture, accessories, tools, etc.) and it’s tough getting them home. Most of my needs are simple and it’s annoying to find an inexpensive desk costs more to deliver than it costs for the desk! Yesterday I started shopping, just checking local dealers to see what was available. At first I was pleased to see that there was so selection in my price range (I was thinking about $5K for a used vehicle), but once I started thinking about it, I got depressed. You see, most of the vehicles I was finding were ten years old and had more miles than my Neon! Paying $5K for a used vehicle with unknown problems and 100,000+ miles was not exciting. Then today I stopped at the local Mazda dealer. The car I really wanted was the Mazda3 5-door, but for right now, it’s too small for my needs so I’d decided to buy a used truck and wait a year or two for the Mazda. But the Mazda dealer had some used vehicles in stock. After considering a Ford Focus Wagon, I saw a large van/truck and asked the sales guy about it. “Oh, that’s a little older, but hey, it would probably work for you.” It was a third to a quarter of the cost of most of the vehicles I’d been studying, but was a 1990 model with nearly 200,000 miles. But it started right up. It was a Mazda MPV which Consumer Reports rates highly (though unfortunately their ratings don’t go back to 1990). It’s in great physical shape and seemed to run well, though of course you never know about an engine that old. In the end, as the price dropped during our negotiations, I decided to take a gamble. I wrote a check and drove home a new minivan/truck! (It’s technically classified as a minivan, but has four-wheel drive, so I guess that’s why Mazda calls it a Multi-Purpose Vehicle.) Here’s a picture if you’re curious. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll use the van: if it drives well I may use it a lot, or I could only use it when I need to haul things. I hope it lasts a year or two. It seems like it should, unless I discover the engine needs some major work. Then it because a dilemma of how much to put into an old vehicle. But if I can get a year or two of good use out of it, it’ll be a steal. Meantime it’s so cheap I can keep my Neon and have two vehicles, which is nice as they back each other up (my Neon will be eleven years old in March). I’m probably crazy to be so impulsive, but that’s how I do things.