November 15, 2005

Dream vehicle

As gas prices have lurched around and my loyal 1996 Saturn's odometer has clicked past 162,000 miles, I've been thinking a lot about what I'd like my next vehicle to be. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist, though I'm pretty certain all the parts for it exist.

  • I'd really like a small pickup truck with the slightly extended cab (for my two reasonably small dogs).

  • I'd also like a hybrid, so that I can put the energy I waste going down the hill into Ithaca or stopping at a traffic light back into my car when I want to accelerate, instead of it just burning off into the air as heat from the brakes.

  • I'd like a diesel, for their generally high efficiency.

I can have any one of those three, but I don't think I can combine them. Diesel engines have historically belonged in large pickup trucks (and European cars), while hybrids are mostly cars and (lately) SUVs. The only hybrid pickup I've heard much about, the Chevy Silverado, is a full size that still gets a lousy 18/20mpg. There's been some research on diesel hybrids, but the extra up-front cost of the diesel engine seems to scare companies off. (For what I'd need, a 3-cylinder diesel would probably be adequate.)

Driving around Dryden is a mix of city and country, and the pickup bed would definitely be helpful for political chores like collecting signs after an election, as well as various construction tasks on my house, hauling lumber, and generally moving things around. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I'll hope the Saturn holds up.

(Update: The Saturn's still going, even passing 179,000 miles. I've also added a bit to the dream vehicle vision.)

Posted by simon at November 15, 2005 8:44 PM in
Note on photos