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March 28, 2003

Currently playing: Pet Shop Boys

Currently playing: Pet Shop Boys - E-mail
Ever been playing around on-line and finding something that just makes you wonder what people are thinking?

Mazda's new 6 sedan. 5-speed V6... nifty little car. Guess what? If you want side air bags and side air curtains as an option, you cannot get it with the leather interior. If you get cloth, you cannot get the said side air bags with a moonroof. What the heck? I can get the safety equipment I want, but not all the luxury options...? Granted I only tried this with blue or red exteriors respectively, so I didn't try every option...

GM did a similar thing a year or two ago-- they had ABS standard across most models, then discontinued it in the name of cost-cutting.

Nissan does a similar thing on the new Altima, getting side air bags and xenon headlamps is a pain in the *ss. Nissan's also notorious for requiring you to load up your Altima or Maxima with options once you want more than a handful of options. Personally, I'd take a 2003 Maxima SE 6-speed with HLSD, moonroof, side air bags, and leather... but if I want leather I have to grab the Bose and the Meridian package, which is $$$$. (at least ABS and Xeons are standard on the 2002-2003 Maxima!) Granted this is all hypothetical anyway, but even skipping leather doesn't make it too much easier.

(and the all new, bigger, more luxurious, less sporty 2004 Maxima... 6-speed with HLSD requires leather. Doh. Good thing I don't want even if I could afford one, I can think of nicer boats to buy!)

Nissan's Sentra SE-R Spec V isn't as bad. You can get just side air bags and ABS, I think adding the moonroof requires an option package, but there are only two possible option packages with the bloody car, and it only comes with a real peasant box, aka, manual transmission. Nissan 350Z isn't bad... you buy by trim level, whcih determines most options (uh, Enthusiast Model or Touring Model, please!)... IIRC the G35 Coupe isn't bad either, but to get the 6-speed you have to buy the fully loaded "Luxury Leather 6MT" model. *sigh* At least the Subaru WRX isn't bad... WRX basically has no major factory options (I think they added leather for 2004), just frilly stuff like boost gauges, bodykit, etc. which you can get cheaper aftermarket.

Getting back to Mazda, they do the same thing on the new RX-8. I can get it exactly how I want with cloth, but if you want a moonroof, that's package option only, $1600 more, if you want leather you get the Bose and the moonroof too, $2800 on top of the base RX-8 6-speed with sport package. Yikes!

Honda traditionally does everything by trim level too. LX, EX, LX V-6, EX V-6, all have a pretty much fixed set of options, as does Acura... 3.2TL, 3.2TL NAVI, 3.2TL Type S, 3.2TL Type S w/NAVI...

So, some car makes are better than others. Options sheets clearly don't indicate how restrictive many options actually are.

But man, if you think the sub $30,000 cars I list here are bad (ok, some go above $30k fully loaded)... go check out Porsche or Mercedes. They're truly scary what you can do with options and price!

Posted by brian at March 28, 2003 01:10 AM

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