Sunday, July 17, 2005

Vroom Vroom Vroom Volvo

When I think about my dad and all of the things I have learned from him over the years, I immediately think of his knowledge about investments. Some basic principles that I have heard repeatedly growing up include buy stocks in products that you love and use, greater risks equals greater profits, and everything is cyclical.

In December I will graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with my MS/EdS in School Counseling. Recently, after discussing my upcoming graduation with my parents, my dad suggested that I begin looking in to buying a new car. Although my first thought was about how much I have enjoyed riding in my friend’s 2004 Volvo S40, a second thought quickly followed. Another principle that dad has engrained in me is in regards to buying two of life’s most basic possessions: houses and cars. He has always taught me that when buying a house, you spend more than you can afford, because houses appreciate in value. On the other hand, cars depreciate in value as soon as you drive them off the lot, so you do not buy the most luxurious car on the market, but instead you try and get the best deal possible. Despite hearing Dad’s words of wisdom in my head, I have my heart set on buying a new Volvo S60 as my next car.

Through my research online, my discussions with Volvo owners, and my experience at the dealership, I have learned that Volvos are considered one of the most dependable cars. One owner said, “Volvos have earned a well-deserved reputation for being safe, dependable and durable.” Statements like these have fueled my attraction to Volvo.

Furthermore, the Volvo website,, simply states, the S60 is “uncompromised performance, technology and safety in the body of a stylish European sports sedan.” One test driver said, “These vehicles have capabilities other manufacturers will be chasing after.” Another said, “While relatively small on the outside, the S60 is very spacious inside and the 2.4T was a pleasure to drive.” Most importantly, you can load it with lots of premium features. The main options are a navigation system ($2,120), leather trim ($1,300), Dynamic Stability and Traction Control ($1,100).

In my research I once again considered my dad when I looked at the optional GPS system. This would most definitely be one of his favorite bells and whistles, as for years he has told me about how cars will drive themselves someday. This particular system is described as an “information and route guidance system which helps people to reach their destination in the simplest way possible.” The system uses satellites to track the location of the car and then a recorded voice directs the driver to the desired destination. The key here is that the driver can then direct their attention on the driving. While my dad was disappointed that the navigation system is not yet standard, it is still a nice option and supposedly it is easy to operate using a few buttons on the steering wheel.

While the decision will ultimately be up to me, I will certainly consider Dad’s philosophy when I purchase my next car.

Whitney Miller