An American Hydrid that tops Toyota

Here's something worth noting: An American-made Hybrid Ford that tops Toyota.

I have owned about a dozen cars in 25 years, only one of which was American-made. I've selected cars by price, colour, mileage, gas capacity and miles per gallon and reputation.

I have never bought a brand-new car.

Nissan Pathfinder 1994

My current truck barely fits any of my categories of "must have" but it was the only car I could get in Santa Fe, quickly and within my budget and I rushed into it. It's hard to give up because of the amount of money I've put into him--a new clutch, a new transmission and newly installed plate glass windows.

But at nearly 177,000 miles on the clock, and its fair performance, I would love to get another car.

But what?

This is a community of "America first" and one rarely sees anything but American branded cars for sale, new or used. They are also about 25-50% more expensive than anywhere I have lived--New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Mexico.

I am considering a drive up to New England, come Spring, and checking out local dealers I am familiar with to see if I can get a slightly newer, smaller car, with better mileage, fewer miles on the odometer and excellent traction.

The Saab 900, Silver grey, was my second Saab and probably my last. It was the most difficult to repair, and died on me one day in the worst neighbourhood in Brooklyn. What I did love about her was the traction; it felt like a tank, and stays on the road come hell or hi-water.

I picked up a Honda Accord in 1997 for $500 from a local mechanic I trusted. It lasted all of one year but was reliable during its life with me.

My favourite car, a Honda Civic Wagon, 1986 model. I took this car across country with nary a peep of trouble. My only incident after driving 14,752 miles on the road was the loss of two tires: one in Bozeman, MT, and another in San Francisco, CA. It was my pride and joy but I sold it when I returned to New York City. A big mistake.

My first grown up car was a 1978 BMW 320i. I bought it for cash from a Newport, Rhode Island Club owner. He replaced the clutch, gave me a case of wine, and I was a happy camper on the road with this car for about five years. I sold it in '89 for $500.

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