Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good-bye, C3PO

After two years, nine months, 71,000 miles, one rebuilt engine, two recalls (one for airbags, one for an engine thingy) and one suicidal deer, the Farmer and I are trading in our GMC Acadia, C3PO. We pick up our new Chevy Equinox on Tuesday.

I've had a love/hate relationship with 3PO. She was marketed as CUV, a cross-over utility vehicle, a blend of van and SUV as GM faded their mini van line. For me, she replaced C2, a Chevy Venture that I adored. On the surface, 3PO was a great vehicle: spacious, sharp to look at, smooth ride. She had room for both Belgians and Connor. She started every time, all the time, in the worst below zero weather.

But below that, she was high maintenance. It seemed like something was always wrong. Even when nothing was mechanically wrong, which it frequently was, she had a number of odd little quirks. And if anything needed to be replaced, it was never cheap. She was, as the body shop guy said after my deer accident, "spendy."

It was mostly the small stuff that left me wanted to switch to a different type of vehicle, even one with less room (but with lots of fun new options).

Sometimes I wonder if vehicle designers ever actually DRIVE the cars they create. 3PO has a lot of chrome trim on the dashboard. This sounds pretty and it is. But on bright sunny days, sunshine on that chrome was totally blinding to the driver. There were times in the summer when I would have happily thrown a blanket over the dash to cover it up. Unfortunately, that would have also covered the A/C vents, so I wore sunglasses and squinted a lot. Yeah, it was a cosmetic problem but one that made me crazy.

Then there were the blind spots. They might not have bothered me as much if I was 6 foot tall. But at 5 foot, 5 (on a good day) it seemed like no matter where I looked, I couldn't see where I was going. Why did I not notice this when I test drove an Acadia? Maybe because I never backed up. Whatever. Lesson learned.

In spite of her big tires, high clearance and front wheel drive, she did not handle snowy roads well. After slipping, spinning and swearing through three winters, I was on a mission to buy an AWD vehicle. I seriously think my mini vans handled the snow better than 3PO.

I won't even go into mileage. We spent a lot of time at the pump. A good average was 18-20 mpg, which takes a big chomp out a budget when you drive as much as I do.

We get attached to our cars on a very personal level. I think dog people have an even deeper attachment since our cars are more than just transportation. Sometimes we literally LIVE in them.

I've started "moving out" of 3PO and getting her cleaned out. Holy cow, how did I get so much stuff in there? It's like a clown car, the more stuff I pull out, the more stuff I find. It's time for me to seriously re-evaluate how much stuff I need to take with me all the time. Downsizing is a good thing! 


  1. I have a Saturn Outlook, which is the exact same vehicle as the Acadia, and this post made me want to jump for joy that it's not just me! I've had the transmission replaced, had the rear door stick so that I couldn't get my dogs out of their crates (at night, in a hotel parking lot) and it took the dealership 2 weeks to fix, and had countless battery issues, requiring frequent jump-starts at agility and herding trials. I desperately want to replace it but have been thinking it's too soon after only 3 years and about the same mileaege as you - now I feel validated and can go minivan shopping :-)

  2. Good-bye 3PO - time for new car smell! We want PICTURES (with and without crates). I will be to class early Wednesday to smell the new car smell and meet your new little friend!!

  3. FUN FUN!! Car troubles STINK!! When will GM get a clue? Love my Honda!! 200K+ and the only thing I've ever done is replace a timing belt at 120 K just as maintenance. NEVER had any other problem. CRAZY!!!

  4. Congrats on your new vehicle and I agree, I think as dog people that usually drive a LOT with lots of paraphanalia we are more attached to our vehicles than many. I have a Chevy Venture van after having one 2 vehicles previous. I love the space and other than the fact that I really would like a 4WD I love it for travel except in the deepest snow and that I can't take it up in the mountains! For dog stuff it ROCKS!

  5. What color is it?????

    Congrats. Can't wait to see it. Hope it has some "identifiable" trait in case I need to follow you sometime.