Up until last week, I had never driven a brand-new car (pause for reaction). I’ve been a passenger in plenty of new cars, but the opportunity to actually drive one myself did not arise until recently, when I was able to test drive CG’s long-term 2012 Honda Civic EX-L sedan. For the first time ever, I was driving a new car.
Driving a New Car
The only cars that I had ever previously driven were all products of the ’90s. To state the obvious, the differences between cars made in the past couple of years vs. any car that is 10-plus years old are vast. For me personally, experiencing the differences was somewhat shocking considering I went from one day driving a car that is so dated it has a cassette-tape player to driving one the next day that has Bluetooth streaming capabilities (among other high-tech features).
The technological differences between my own car and CG’s long-term Civic EX-L were definitely the first I noticed. Having never used a navigation system prior, let alone a navigation system that absorbs some of the car’s audio functions, I thought I was going to have some trouble getting acclimated. However, I was able to figure out most of the basic functions before I left the parking lot of the office—although the somewhat dull sensitivity of the Civic’s touchscreen annoyed me from the get-go. I was more so surprised, actually. I guess I’ve been spoiled living in an era of smartphones and tablets that have touchscreens that respond instantly to light tapping.
After I got over my initial anxiety of the possibility of getting into an accident with a car that is not mine, I was able to really get to know the Civic. Unfortunately, my first test run was in rush-hour traffic during a downpour, but I felt that the Civic handled itself very well in wet conditions.
Additionally, I quickly learned that there are many more things to become distracted by inside the cabin of a new car, especially one with so much technology on hand. With the amount of different functions a driver can play around with and look at while driving, you really have to keep yourself in check. Therefore, I really came to appreciate the convenience of using the steering wheel controls.
Honestly, I could fall in love with any car that I knew wouldn’t leave me stranded or have me spending stacks of money on fuel. Picky, right? However, the Civic earned points with me for being easy to drive and maneuver as well. I’m used to struggling to navigate a much larger, bulkier car (I think by now we all know about the trials and tribulations I experience with my Chrysler 300M, and the Civic was a refreshing change of pace in that respect.
Regardless of what class of car, anyone shopping in the new-car market that hasn’t done so before is really in for a treat. To quote a conversation I had with my little brother (who has recently become of driving age) after I brought home the Civic:
Little Brother: “Can I drive it?”
Little Brother: “C’mon! I’ve never driven a REAL car before.”
Me: “Still no.”
To elaborate, what he meant by a real car is one from this century that doesn’t feel and sound like a creaky pirate ship when it’s driven. You know, driving a new car. But if you haven’t been keeping up with the Joneses (or the Kardashians, whichever you prefer), new cars will more than likely surprise and impress you with their overall refinement, technological capabilities, and efficiency.
After driving the Civic 436 miles and seeing 32.9 mpg—which I was ecstatic over—I feel sufficiently welcomed into the world of new vehicles.