This month, I'm kicking off a new series of posts here at SoCal Mom and at my review site, SoCal Stuff.
The occasion: The imminent end of the lease on my beloved Volvo C60. I have until the end of June to make a decision to either purchase the Volvo -- or move into another vehicle.
Overall, I've been happy with the Swedish car -- but I'm not certain I want to keep it for another five years (at least)... Not when there are so many new autos on the market, with new features to choose from (like hybrid engines, natural gas powered engines, and more).
A lot of innovations have been brought to the automobile world since I took out my 3-year lease. Toyota and Honda are no longer the only makes offering hybrid engines -- you can find them from just about every one of the major auto makers (notably General Motors, which manufactures hybrid models for eight of its vehicles).
However, the last time I looked, the Prius was still the leader in hybrid gas mileage. But I recently read an article that stated that the Scion xB (with internal combustion engine) was a better choice for the environment, due to a combination of mileage and the kind of materials used to build it Honda makes a version of the Civic that runs on natural gas. And the tiny Smart car gets such good mileage that it doesn't need to be a hybrid (although I hear they've got one coming out, too).
I also want to take another long, hard look at the offerings from American car companies - although I realize that there's a lot of intermingling between auto makers these days. That Toyota you're looking at could have been built right here in the U.S. And that Volvo I've been driving for the last two and one half years was made by a company owned by Ford.
Making a decision is going to be hard. That's why I'm beginning my research at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens November 21 at the LA Convention Center.
Our family enjoys going to the show every year: It's a lot of fun to see all the displays and get up close to some of the vehicles that one can only dream of driving some day. But in a year when we actually have to purchase a new car, it's the most convenient way to see EVERYTHING on the market, all in one place.
Sounds like fun, huh? Wanna come? I'm giving away a family FOUR-PACK of tickets and an official LA Auto Show Messenger bag. You can enter my random drawing by leaving a comment on this post, telling me what you'd most like to see at the show. (For inspiration, visit their official website, here.)
The winner will be announced on this blog next Monday, November 17th.