Figured I'd might as well introduce myself and give a little story of why I'm here.
My wife & I planned a trip to Ottawa/Montreal from Hamilton just before the holidays. I've known for awhile that the timing belt in our 2000 Neon needed to be replaced badly (about 30K past recommended change interval!) and that it needed an alignment badly. So I dropped it off at the dealer, who just happened to own a rental company as well. We originally wanted a Magnum R/T (we had a 300C last year, wanted to see how different the Magnum would be) but couldn't find a rental one any where. Ah well.
So my wife says "I'd like to try an SUV." Last year I did a quick search for an FX35 but quickly realized that was a lost cause for renting. So this year we thought we'd try a Liberty. We both liked it in general and it was _much_ easier to find as the dealer-owned rental place had one.
So, dropped off the car, headed over the rental place. As we pulled in, I saw a black Nitro SLT sitting there. I asked "Is that just being returned?" The guy said "Yup". "Can I switch to the Nitro?" "Let's find out."
10 mins later I had a Nitro to rack up 1600kms (almost 1000 miles). The standard allowance was only 200kms/day. I asked if they could do more? (I was going for 6 days and knew that Google Maps clocked Hamilton to Montreal in at 1056kms return....1200kms would not be enough). The girl made a call, then told me we could have 300kms/day. Yeah! Damn good thing!
So, back home, pack up the truck and head off to meet my wife. We actually were going to Barrie to stay the night, then take all backroads to Ottawa. What an awesome trip! Saw very weird things (like shoes hanging from wires across a road....???) and strange stone structures (found out they were lime kilns from way back) and got some awesome pics of scenery.
The roads were extremely dry so I was wondering if I ever was going to get to use the 4x4 switch. Then we hit a road that wasn't quite gravel, but certainly covered enough to potentially make it slippery. So, being the cautious guy I am (ok, so it was a cheap excuse....sue me<G>) I switched it to 4x4 Locked mode.
Between the 4x4 mode and the ESP, I am glad as there was one point where I hit a 's' in the road just a weeeee bit too fast and the truck started to slide. Then it caught and we kept on going. WHEW! I think the ESP just saved that Nitro and my insurance policy premiums! Oh yea, us maybe too but we we're going _that_ fast (I am serious about that....just a slippery road spot).
So, my heart did eventually calm down and we enjoyed the back roads trip to Ottawa.
Onto Montreal. That was relatively uneventful but the feeling of sitting up nice and high with a decidedly commanding view of the road, I had this strange feeling come over me. It was like pure joy. It was strange. I had the 300C last year, that was a blast. I test drove the Charger R/T and Magnum R/T last year, and even a few months ago was allowed to mildly abuse a Top Banana Daytona Charger R/T (the salesman actually told me that if I couldn't whip the backend around on the dead-end street, he'll show me! He was cool), all of those cars gave me a pure rush of power.....but this feeling was different. It was like....calm and exciting at the same time.
That was when I decided that next year, I am buying one.
While in Montreal, I felt big and powerful. Like, "Don't get in this truck's way!". Heck, I even washed the truck 3 times over the 6 days we had it. (Don't tell my Neon! It hasn't been washed in a month!).
When I priced it out online in Ottawa, I was stunned, literally stunned to see that the topped out, all options, with towing package, only came to $36K (CDN)!
On the way back, my wife wanted to try it. I was quite reluctant but since it was only on the highway, I let her try. She liked it, and almost caused an accident when I told her about the cruise control indicator. She looked down too long, the truck started to veer left into another lane, she jerked it back, the truck is now swaying. I reached over and just grabbed the steering wheel to keep it straight. Whew. Eventually my heart slowed down again and I resisted the urge to tell her to "pull over and I'm driving." She got the hang of it and liked it but when she gets her own vehicle again, she says she wants something smaller.
Me, I'm getting a Nitro.