It sounds reasonable enough; I mean how tough can choosing a new car really be? On the list of important factors, first there's price of course - we can afford only what we can afford. Once we work out how much we have to spend - and not a penny more - we can then sit back with our hands behind our heads in the knowledge that we will inevitably exceed that figure. This is, of course, the primary consideration - for me, at least. For my lovely lady, however, it competes for pole position with that all-important problem of what colour will the car be. Red, for example, despite breaking up the crushing montony of Canadian car colours (grey, silver, black or white) is an absolute non-starter. Blue (any shade of blue) comes a close second in the over-your-dead-body stakes, followed by yellow and/or orange. Green is also unpopular, as is brown, purple, and (praise the lord) pink. White isn't much good either (despite us having owned a successon of white vehicles) although silver doesn't rattle her cage too much, and black is of course absolutely awesome...
A black car it is, then...despite the fact that she NEVER washes the car and she has been - repeatedly - told that keeping a black car clean is a bleedin' nightmare. Sigh.
Second on my list is functionality - something I eschewed for our last vehicular purchase - a decision I am now regretting each time I shoe-horn myself into the car and subsequently drag myself out again with the aid of a team of dray horses and much grunting. The car needs to work; it needs to be big enough (PLEASE) for me to use, big enough to get a reasonable amount of stuff into (rather than being full with just a few bags of food shopping) and not too big to park in a regular parking stall. No more big pickup trucks then.
Third: it must consume less petroleum than a small developing country - a lesson we learned (albeit slowly) with a couple of former vehicles, with which I believe we single-handedly kept BP and Shell solvent. Unfortunately, when it comes to combining the second and third factors, the choice becomes very, very limited.
Fourth: it must be able to occasionally accommodate a 100+ pound canine package of stupidity, often damp and sometimes soaking wet. Said canine idiot must not therefore have ready access to the human seating area of the vehicle.
Fifth - and this is the one that's giving me the most trouble right now - I must not look like a complete twat in it. My wife, for example, enjoys the luxury of looking like a woman driving a car or truck, etc., no matter what she drives. I, on the other hand, have quietly developed the ability to look like an utter pratt in certain kinds of cars. Specifically: small cars. Not-so-specifically: any car other than a really large car or truck.
This is somehow connected with my large head, neck and shoulders rather than me being incredibly tall - which I'm not. I suppose what I'm saying is that I'm strangely shaped/deformed/mutated....which is a bit of a nuisance, really. In this context, it only leaves me terribly exposed to unintentional tawattery in the form of looking like a twat behind the wheel of anything other than a mechanical behemoth, but it's still something I'm (I now realise) a little too conscious of. Driving a small car as I do at the moment, this explains the extended stares that I am - many times a day - subjected to by other drivers and pedestrians. I can't blame them, I suppose; the sight of what amounts to an oversized human marshmallow stuffed into a tiny box on wheels must be a little disarming.
So the hunt for a suitable car continues. I think I've I identified one, but the acid test has yet to be conducted: whether I can fit into it without feeling like (or just as importantly, LOOKING like) a space hopper in a biscuit tin. Wish me luck...