I had only ever had one name for my cars until 2004: Agmobile. College nickname was AGZO, so the car was nicknamed the Agmobile by my brother who is now Dr. Courtemanche. That all changed with my red Ford Explorer which was nicknamed “The Sleigh” because Santa needed a red vehicle.
The yellow Xterra from Nissan a few years ago went for a long time without my naming it, because my wife had given it a girly name. It had developed a loose plate in the back after she forced it on me and made me buy her a new car (but I digress) and roared between 1200 and 1900 rpm. Thus, it was named “Buzzy” under my legacy because it sounded like an angry hornet. I loved that noise. It really annoyed the luxury car drivers who I blew past at the lights (Yes, a 16 year old lurks inside – and this deceptive old war wagon was fast out of the gate.)
And now it changes again.
Meet “The Bloodmobile.” It’s a 2022 Kia Telluride in Sangria – blood for all you non Spanish speakers. But calling your car blood makes it sound like you’re in a bad 60’s movie about race relations. Bloodmobile has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
So, let me tell you about buying a car in Southwest Florida: it’s expensive. I shopped heavily, drove a test drive or three, and spent months limiting the list of competitors. I really wanted to buy American, but GM is out since they took the buyout during the recession a few years ago. They screwed their bondholders and ran with the loot.
Ford has effectively worked their way out of contention with terrible quality reviews the last few years, putting everything they can on a car chassis so they don’t have to engineer trucks for ride, and a price that’s just plain silly for what you get. Add to it the fact that almost every new car lot is empty of the models I might buy and – adios Ford.
Enter Kia/Hyundai. Kia is partially owned by Hyundai, and the cars are remarkably similar. The Hyundai version of this is the Palisade. The young man at the dealership was very cordial, even called to check on me after the hurricane in spite of the fact I’d told him I wouldn’t be buying a car from him- nice touch! I’ll keep you in mind…
I drove a Palisade: very nice vehicle. But all the reviews I read (dozens) gave Kia a little edge in customer satisfaction and a bonus of a few extra bells and whistles. Add in the new gear-shift (it doesn’t move, totally electronic) in the Hyundai and the fact that Kia assembles the Telluride in Georgia and the decision was made.
Now to the buying part. If you buy a car in my area, it will cost thousands more than if you make the 2 hour drive to the Miami area. Kip and I headed to Miami and went to Rick Case Kia – purportedly the largest dealer in the world. Or something.
Our salesperson Ryan was very cool. His sales approach is excellent and I’m sure he spotted me for a sucker right at the door. I haggle very well in Arabic, not so much in English. Anyway, he was very good, met my requirements for trade in on Buzzy and I bought a car.
I got the next-to-the-top model and let me tell you, it’s amazing. Two generations of technology have passed since Buzzy was made, and Buzzy was a base model with craptacular wheels, and nothing extra at all. I added fog lamps myself after a year, because they help in the snow. But short of counting the awful zebra-stripe seat covers my wife chose, it was very plain.
This here Bloodmobile drives itself. Truly. Set the cruise control and it will maintain distance from the car ahead of you and follow the road. If you have the guidance system on, it will anticipate curves and slow down going in, accelerate through, and resume speed on the other side. Me likey.
It is obnoxiously comfortable compared to Buzzy, mainly because Buzzy had the suspension of an ox-cart and the seats from a kid’s homebuilt go cart. I now have headroom and air-conditioned seats. Yeah, it’s that nifty.
I paid to get a great car and so far it is. The mileage is amazing when it’s in Eco mode (around 30) and if it’s in Sport mode you leave rubber at the intersection. Let me see your average SUV do that!
I will have more real pictures soon. This week has been busy. Working on voice over stuff, writing a book (more on that in a few weeks) and cooking up a storm making freezer meals for us and a neighbor who just had a baby. I love cooking and happytime is in the kitchen.
At any rate, one of my neighbors said they will miss Buzzy because they always knew it was me. I am not sure if that’s because of the color (screaming yellow) or the rattle.
Agzo! Somehow I think you specifically missed naming details about the giant green boat/car you drove when we went to the U of M and lived in Mendota Heights. I do believe that may have been the original agmobile that you were referring to, but I’ll let you off the hook.
The beloved 1973 Pontiac Cataline in puke-green was indeed the original AGMOBILE. It was the perfect vehicle for me: it cost $300 and if it got totaled I didn’t care. That thing was a tank and the only thing that killed it was my enlisting in the Navy. It died 3 days before I left for basic training and it was a better deal to sell it to a salvage yard than try to fix it for a few days.