My girlfriend is looking for a car (her search coincides with mine now). So yesterday, I brought her to do some test drives.
Now, she's looking for a hatchback. Her requirements are basic: cd player, good mileage, comfortable, nice colors...nothing major. So she looked at the Sonic. She liked how small it was (in length) but when she test drove one, it felt odd.
Turns out, she drove a trim level that had a turbo...I wasn't there so not sure which one. She hated the lag, which is very evident from when I took it out earlier this year. She liked the interior, liked the price of some, liked the look, did not like the feel.
So on to Ford and the Fiesta. No hatches were in stock so a sedan had to suffice...at the lowest trim. Her impressions after were that it drove smoother than the higher trim Sonic but was lacking in performance. She floored it from a stoplight and the only way I knew that was because I could hear the revs...no real change in lane position. She couldn't see down the hood well, the seating was awkward (long pedal reach but limited wheel adjustment), odd control configuration. Overall, the interior (even on higher trims) did not do it for her.
I wanted to check out the BRZ at a Subaru dealer so we went there. Looking at the Imprezas, she noted that she actually liked the sedan version more. She originally had no intention of even considering an Impreza but, hey, why not? We took it out and as a passenger I thought it was miles and miles ahead of anything she has tried. The ride was nice, the throttle was better. She loved it. Hell, I liked it. The dealer sold the last BRZ in stock but let me at least sit in it. While sitting there I realized that yes, I really like it...but it just felt too small to use consistently. I'm tall and love space. The BRZ would be a toy, a wondrous toy, but I'm starting to lean towards an Impreza myself (but WRX).
But here's the problem...the Impreza is the most expensive option. I feel like it is easily the best car for the money out of what she's looked at, and even what I looked at, but it may still be out of reach given her recent grad status (last week).
Is her search ruined now? Her perception of what she wanted changed after that drive...the bar has been moved up. What will happen next, I can't say? She may very well try and sell her parents (helping on a downpayment) on the idea of a safe, AWD vehicle. Time will tell.