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Thinning the Automobile Herd

The internet is a wonderful thing. It enables me to shop based on my requirements without setting foot in a dealership.

I entered my base price range at Yahoo! Autos to generate an initial list of vehicles, and used the auto comparison tool at Edmunds to get details on five at a time. (I wish I could have told it what I was interested in rather than scrolling through all the differences it found, but I can't complain too much about something that's free.)

Here's the data I collected on 45 vehicles. I'm leaving out details about brakes and airbags, the former because only one vehicle failed to meet the requirement (it's off the list), and the latter because the report at Edmunds was difficult to interpret and I think virtually all the vehicles met that requirement, too.

It would be unfortunate if any of the details I gathered are incorrect, but going to every individual automobile's website would have taken prohibitively long. The automakers should ensure the data Yahoo!, Edmunds, and others are displaying is correct.

MakeModelTrimMSRP
($)
Power
(hp)
Torque
(ft-lb)
Turning Radius
(ft)
Heated SeatsTelematicsDual
Climate
Control
Rear
Parking
Assist
AcuraTSX5-Spd AT2719020016640ynyn
AudiA42.0 T2735020020736.4ynyn
AudiA42.0 T Quattro2945020020736.4ynyn
AudiA42.0 T w/ Multitronic2855020020736.4ynyn
BMW3 Series325i2930018417534.4yBMW Assistny
BuickLaCrosseCXL2533520023040.4yOnStaryy
BuickLaCrosseCXS2833524022540.4yOnStaryy
BuickLeSabreCustom2672520523040.7yOnStarnn
ChevroletImpalaLS2546020022538yOnStaryn
ChevroletImpalaSS2855524028039.6yOnStaryn
Chrysler300Touring2730525025038.9ynnn
FordCrown VictoriaLX2757022426540.3nnnn
FordFive HundredLimited AWD2809020320740ynyy
FordFive HundredLimited FWD2629020320740ynyy
FordFive HundredSEL2596520320740nnyy
HondaAccordEX V-62885024021236.1ynyn
HyundaiXG350L2649919421636.1ynnn
KiaAmantiBase2550020022037.4ynyn
LexusIS 300E2973521521834.1ynnn
MazdaMAZDA6s Grand Touring2612522019238.7ynnn
Mercedes-BenzC-ClassC230 K2925018919235.3yTeleAidyn
MercuryGrand MarquisGS Convenience2573522427440.3nnnn
MercuryGrand MarquisLS Premium2964022427540.3ynnn
MercuryMontegoLuxury AWD2616520320740nnyy
MercuryMontegoPremier2670020320740ynyy
MercuryMontegoPremier AWD2859020320740ynyy
MitsubishiGalantGTS2649923025040ynnn
NissanAltimaSE-R2930026025140ynnn
NissanAltimaSL2705025024937.4ynnn
NissanMaximaSE2735026525540ynyn
NissanMaximaSL2960026525540ynyn
PontiacBonnevilleSE2796520523040.5yOnStarnn
PontiacGrand PrixGTP2673026028037.4yOnStarnn
PontiacGrand PrixGXP2933530332337.4yOnStarnn
Saab9-3Linear2685017519535.4ynnn
SubaruLegacyGT2609525025035.4ynyn
SubaruLegacyGT Limited2859525025035.4ynyn
ToyotaAvalonTouring2860028026036.9nnyn
ToyotaAvalonXL2635028026036.9nnyn
ToyotaCamryXLE2555521022036.7ynnn
VolkswagenPassatGLS TDI2566013424737.4yOnStarnn
VolkswagenPassatGLX2979019020637.4yOnStarnn
VolvoS40T52606021823634.9ynyn
VolvoS40T5 AWD2771021823634.9ynyn
VolvoS602.5T2973520823638.7ynyy

My hard requirements included at least 200hp and telematics, and these alone were sufficient to thin the herd to only 8 vehicles. Somewhat surprisingly, they're all made by General Motors. The non-GM vehicles in my price range with telematics were all underpowered.

GM's push to make OnStar standard on all vehicles by 2007 will pay off for this particular buyer. (Other automakers have given up on telematics.)

I'm not sure if I'll use OnStar for anything but safety insurance, but I know it can be used to place telephone calls. As one of the last people on earth without a cell phone, I might actually use it as a phone.

MakeModelTrimMSRP
($)
Power
(hp)
Torque
(ft-lb)
Turning Radius
(ft)
Heated SeatsTelematicsDual
Climate
Control
Rear
Parking
Assist
BuickLaCrosseCXL2533520023040.4yOnStaryy
BuickLaCrosseCXS2833524022540.4yOnStaryy
BuickLeSabreCustom2672520523040.7yOnStarnn
ChevroletImpalaLS2546020022538yOnStaryn
ChevroletImpalaSS2855524028039.6yOnStaryn
PontiacBonnevilleSE2796520523040.5yOnStarnn
PontiacGrand PrixGTP2673026028037.4yOnStarnn
PontiacGrand PrixGXP2933530332337.4yOnStarnn

I'm amused to see the LaCrosse make the short list. I've been thinking about it since December.

Why is rear parking assist so rare? Is this a new technology? I assumed it had been around for a long time.

UPDATE 2005-05-09 05:40:24 UTC: This concept car makes me salivate. It looks mean. It has eyebrows. And teeth. It's gorgeous. It's a shame it only lightly resembles what they're actually selling.

Tiny Island