DEAR CAR TALK: I’m 64 years old and drive a 2005 Buick LaCrosse with 56,000 miles. Dealers want me to trade in my car. OK, here is what I want in my next car:
1. Manual roll-down windows for front and back. I’m not lazy.
2. I want the little triangular window in the front window. I won’t need to use air conditioning, and will be able to save gas with this window.
3. I want a wide car. The length of a car doesn’t impress me; make the cars wider for heavier people.
4. I want to be able to open all of my doors with a key. It will come in handy when locks are frozen.
5. I don’t want all the high-tech gadgets. Give me heat, AC, rear-window defroster and radio. I know how to back up without assistance; I know enough to slow down when approaching a vehicle; I know enough to look when changing lanes.
6. Get rid of the rear slanting window. I don’t want to bend down to look through the back window. Your comments and suggestions? – Leo
RAY: That’s a tough shopping list, Leo.
I think you’ll be able to find a wide car. That won’t be a problem. And there are plenty of cars that still use keys, for the time being (sometimes as backups to remote key fobs), so I think you’ll be able to find one of those, too.
But manual roll-down windows are hard to come by these days. And the triangular windows up front are gone – at least the vent-style windows that open.
Touch screens are becoming ubiquitous, as are backup cameras, which will be mandatory starting in model year 2018 – so you’d better move fast, Leo.
And the other safety equipment you refer to (automatic pre-collision braking, blind-spot monitoring, etc.) is trickling down into lots of less-expensive cars, too.
You still can avoid that stuff by buying the lower or lowest trim levels. Since most people want those features (and we strongly recommend them), car makers sell them as part of more-expensive option packages. But you can just decline those.
And the extreme slant of the rear window is the current style. It’s aerodynamic, and hard to avoid unless you buy a station wagon or a squared-off SUV.
So I don’t think you’re going to get everything on your list, Leo. Actually, now that I think about it, I may have the perfect car for you. When you’re ready to sell this ’05 Buick, what you need is … a 1955 Buick!
Or maybe a DeSoto. No, wait … the DeSoto doesn’t have the rear-window defroster. But maybe you can get a hibachi and leave it on the shelf behind the rear seats.
I’m not sure what to suggest, Leo. A bare-bones “stripper” version of a wide-ish car probably is going to come closest to what you want. But even then, it’s going to be a challenge.
Let me know what you end up with, so at least I’ll have something to steer my other readers away from. Good luck!
Got a question about cars? E-mail Car Talk’s Ray Maggliozzi by visiting the Car Talk website, www.cartalk.com.