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Help Me Select a Wagon

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Comments

  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    And then there's the Premium fuel issue ...

    The 6-sp AT offered on the Mazda6 s is new for 2005, but I don't know if it's from JATCO.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, I think Mazda and Honda are among the few that don't require premium fuel for their upgrade engine, isn't that right?

    Technically Subaru only requires 87 octane, but they recommend premium and so would I.

    I believe Toyota's 3.3l and Nissan's VQ prefer premium as well.

    -juice
  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    I do agree that the Mazda6 is a big improvement over the 626, but it doesn't feel as peppy at low rpm which is fine, since it really kicks in once it gets going. My old 626 had so much torque that I couldn't coast along at 10-20 mph without it jerking so I had to ride the clutch more than typical.

    One thing that's kind of interesting about my PT GT is that if I'm in first gear at 20 mph, which puts it around 3200 rpm, I can floor it (without touching the clutch) and often it will burn rubber. I've never had a car before that would burn rubber while moving unless I popped the clutch. I usually use mid-grade fuel. It runs on regular, but premium is recommended. I don't really notice a difference when I use regular.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I really think that was due to the short gearing. The engine's sweet spot was still above 4000rpm on that 2.5l V6.

    Then again that was my wife's car, so you drove that model a lot more than I did.

    How long does your PT take to spool up in that situation? Does it spin the tires right away, or is there a second or two delay to build boost?

    -juice
  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    Have PT GT automatic. Very little turbo lag and wheel spin easy to get while starting out, and even at speeds as high as 20 or so when cornering. The traction control allows some wheel spin. Without T/C on there is a lot of wheel hop.

    Have not tested the PT GT for mpg with different octane gasoline. I have on another vehicle that recommends using premium and found that mpg dropped enough that it actually cost more per mile for gasoline to use regular instead of premium. Performance also dropped a bit by stop watch, but felt the same when driving.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, it'll basically retard the timing and cost you a couple of horses, though most people won't feel the difference.

    -juice
  • norrmanndonorrmanndo Posts: 81
    At 3500 rpm there is no lag at all on the PT, and most of the power is there by about 3000 rpm. With the Mazda6, it didn't really kick in until 4500 rpm.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Turbo lag is perhaps a bad name for it. You really have throttle lag. Basically the turbo needs a load to develop boost. It's not necessarily rpm-dependent.

    Even if you're cruising along at 4000rpm, if you hit the throttle is has to build boost.

    I think that's what they mean.

    If at idle you hit the gas, the turbo kicks in well before most engines power bands do, even with VVT. It's just not called VTEC lag, it's simply outside of the power band.

    But a VTEC engine, cruising at that same 4000rpm, will have quicker throttle response, immediate, really. It doesn't have to wait for boost to build.

    So that's what they mean by more linear power and quicker throttle response.

    Turbos are so much better than they used to be, now you get light-pressure boost systems with higher compression ratios for quicker throttle response. Subaru's 2.5T engine also has AVCS (their VTEC) to help it off-boost.

    -juice
  • Trying to make a hard decision here... Mazda and Scion (Toyota) seem to be more trusted names than Chrysler...

    was looking for a wagon, but if Scion tC is as great as protrayed, I can make the satisfaction for the 2dr too. Please help...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Let your needs narrow it down between the coupe and the two hatchbacks you like.

    Do you carry loads a lot? Hatchbacks are pretty practical. In fact the Scion xB is closer in terms of utility.

    Coupes are trendy for a while, but then they look old fast. So only get the tC if you love the performance and that will keep you happy long-term.

    Otherwise, the more practical hatches will serve you better.

    -juice
  • Not always. I agree practicality should be number one, but fun to drive counts too. Reliability is important and some brands tend to be more reliable than others.

    Chrysler reliability isn't bad, especially with the Cruiser. A few years ago Toyota was having problems with engines and now Honda is having problems with transmissions. One can't count on past reliability reputations as a for sure predictor.

    Juice gave good advice. I'd add that it is sometimes possible to get practical utility along with something that is fun and economical to drive, with a high probability of reliability.

    I have a PT GT that is a blast to drive, very easy to get in and out, holds four full size people with room to spare, is the best assembled car I have ever bought (better than my Acura, Toyota, Mazda, and Nissan), and has been very reliable. The only downside is lousy mpg.

    A Mazda 3 isn't as roomy, but gives great mpg by comparison and is fun to drive too.

    I find the two Scions (A and B) to be underpowered and not much fun, but utility is good. Haven't seen a tC yet
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    What I mean is that in the long-term, when the newness and romance fades, what are you left with? A cramped 2+2 or a roomy hatch? Which is more likely to meet your needs in 5 years?

    For example, if you ran out and bought the first New Beetle, now you're stuck with a cramped Golf and poor resale, and it's not even all that fun to drive.

    If you bought a PT Cruiser, at least it's still practical. So when the honeymoon ends, it's still a useful tool to keep around.

    So if you buy, say, a Mini Cooper, fun-to-drive had better be very, very high on your priority list.

    -juice
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    you probably shouldn't buy. Your post would indicate that you have serious doubts about the PT Cruiser and its reliability and that it would be a deal breaker for you. I would suspect that, going in with that bias, that you would never truly be happy with the car, that you would always be waiting and expecting something to go wrong with it.

    Consumer Reports has rated the PT Cruiser highly for reliability and most people that have owned one are very happy with it. It seems as though they are very reliable, though those people who DO have problems with them seem to have multiple problems.

    My two 2002 PTs have been very reliable so far, in addition are very comfortable and flexible cars. I have had no regrets with either car, in fact my happiness with my wifes car was what encouraged me to get one of my own.

    Unfortunately, no matter how many positive posts you see, there is a very good possibility that you would still "hear the footsteps" and never be happy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd have to agree. The folks I know are either cult-like fans of the PT or pursuing lemon law cases.

    -juice
  • there are only two wagons to choose from ,both made by Ford--the focus or the sable/ taurus. All others are suv's[sport utility vehicles] or sedans with a fifth door added usually in the sedans trunks space, so-called hatchbacks. Hopefully will not contain to bastardize the english language so that no common understanding of words will continue. Thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Not really - the Passat has a very squared off back and is clearly a wagon and not a 5 door hatch. Even the Mazda6 and Legacy are true wagons, look how much more rear headroom there is vs. the sedans.

    -juice
  • tom21769tom21769 Posts: 63
    And what about the Volvo V70?
    Or the VW Jetta "Wagon"?
  • volvo is Ford. VW wagon is as you qualified it ""wagon""? I am just perplexed why we have a word which is descriptive and we bastardize it. What's wrong with saying sport utility vehicle? Thanks for listening
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    "What's wrong with saying sport utility vehicle?"

    Because typically, "Sport Utility Vehicle" denotes a truck based (or, recently, a raised car-based) platform with four or all-wheel drive. See: Toyota 4Runner, VW Touareg, FOrd Explorer. Wagons are almost always variants of a sedan platform (or sometimes the sedan is derived from the wagon; either way, they share common underpinnings)- your aforementioned Taurus/Sable, Legacy, Volvo V50 and V70, Mazda6 wagon, Passat and Jetta wagons, Mercedes C and E class wagons, BMW 3 and 5 series...the list goes on.

    I'm trying to figure out by which criteria the Taurus and Sable can be considered "wagons" that excludes all the other models I've mentioned.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I usually look at the roof line and the D-pillar. If the roof is longer than the equivalent sedan, and there is a D-pillar (and an extra window), then it's a wagon and not a hatchback. Passat, Volvo V70, etc.

    Hatchbacks are usually sedans with a back pack. The roof line is similar but it has a lift back instead of a trunk. Protoge5, Spectra5, WRX, etc.

    And yes, the WRX is to me more of a 5 door hatch vs. a true wagon. The Forester is based on the same platform and that's more of a wagon, though it's raised up a bit.

    -juice
  • I'm still awaiting delivery (it's been 10+ weeks) of my new wagon and have a question I hope someone can answer. What color exactly is the gray leather interior?? I've seen pictures of a 2-tone gray (with a pale gray inner section), a pale gray (which would be gorgeous), and a medium-dark gray. The Mazda website isn't helpful - the gray there looks black. My dealer didn't have a gray leather on the lot when I ordered the car. I didn't want black and gray was the only other option with my steel gray exterior. Just curious ...
  • madmadammadmadam Posts: 55
    I'm very happy with the Malibu MAXX because of the roomy rear seat, very smooth & solid ride (V6), very nice interior amenities, generous cargo space, and great prices available for the 2004. It's a hatchback, although Chevy calls it an "extended sedan"--it really functions like a wagon. Give it a try. It has alot to offer and is an excellent car for families.
  • mazda6smazda6s Posts: 1,901
    Two problems I see with the Maxx - no lateral support on the front seats, and no manual transmission available.
  • paopao Posts: 1,867
    cant say I miss a lateral support in the front seat of my Maxx, very comfortable power adjustments...one of the first seats that hasnt given me a back ache on a long drive...must be getting older (47) !!!!...and gave up my 5spd manual in my 99 GT Mustang...due to traffic in the Northern VA area....got tired of shifting 1-2 back to 1st...over 100 times in a 5 mile stretch...on I-95 during rush hour....all in all I realize personal preferences.....however..for the $ and car.....I have enjoyed my new Maxx LT..good luck in your search
  • So, my local dealership finally got a Freestyle in, and my husband and I went dashing out to drive it before it sold. If all I was concerned about was the cabin, I would have come home with this car. It is by far the most comfortable 2nd and 3rd row seating I have found in both mini-vans and wagons. Storage was good. The third row folded flat easily. The third row was fairly accessible. The cloth was fine (though not as nice as the MPV.) I didn't get to test out the leather.

    The test drive was another story. Acceleration was terrible. I did not feel at all comfortable merging. Cornering was also sub-par. I really needed to hit the break to keep from feeling like I was going to tip over. Noise was OK, but certainly not the best I've experienced.

    I really hate how much I don't like driving the car, because it's so perfect for what I'm looking for. But I would never feel safe with that poor acceleration.

    My husband and I stopped off and drove the MPV again. He also likes it. I love the way it handles. I still have to try the new Subaru Outback, and I'm going to try the Odyssey now that rear windows go down. So far I'm leaning toward the MPV if we end up with triplets and the Passat Wagon if we have twins or single. (Ahh, infertility.) The question has been pushed off since my mother-in-law gave me her 1997 Toyota Avalon and we're fine with that for now. In any case, I will need a much longer test drive with my final contenders.

    Joy Elyse
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,149
    We are seriously thinking of replacing our '99 Forester with a Mazda6 wagon. Drove one 2 days ago and was surprised how much we liked it. Besides being great to drive, it seems very practical. It looks like it has similar cargo space to the Forester. I also like the dog net that lifts out of the back seat. My only reservations are that the mpg isn't really an improvement over the Forester. But the Forester is costing us $$$ in repairs on a monthly basis now so I'm not sure whether we should wait till the hybrid Escape is widely available -- like in a year for us here in the country probably. Oh what to do? Mazda has some great rebates going on now which is even more tempting.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,149
    If I had kids and dogs I'd go with the MPV. We liked it quite a bit, but our kids are grown now and we don't need the 3rd row seat. We did have minivans when are kids were small and you can't beat them. And with younger kids, you're always transporting more than just yours. And a slightly smaller van handles better than the larger ones.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Go for it. For 4 years and $50,000 repairs will be under warranty. You won't be bleeding car repair money any more--just car payment money :) You just pay to change the oil and rotate the tires. As an owner of a 6 (sedan), I can say it's the most fun car to drive I've ever owned. After 6 months the feeling hasn't worn off.

    I suggest, however, you wait for the '05s to get the (supposedly bulletproof) 6 speed auto transmission. If it's a manual you want, go for an invoice or below invoice deal (before rebate) on an'04 off the lot.
  • So after yesterdays MPV and Freestyle test drives, I decided it was time to get myself over to Subaru to try the '05 Outback wagon. I had been unimpressed with the '04's performance, but I really liked the '05. I looked at the LL Bean model. It was fun to drive. It handled well. Acceleration was great. The sunroof is pure genius... the quietest I've heard. Aside from memory seats, it has just about everything I want standard. Does it seem a little loud to anyone else?

    I need to drive the Outback and the Passat back to back, which should be easy if I head out of the city a little further. There's a VW dealership, next to Subaru, next to Honda. I'll probably head over there later in the week when the new Odyssey comes out. With the Mazda dealership down the street, I can hit my final four in a row and make a good comparison. (Kind of funny to include the Odyssey in my final four when I've never driven it, but it's perfect on paper.) I had really wanted a wagon, but I'm leaning more toward the mini-van. It seems the best kid/dog mover. Is there anything less cool I could want next?

    If the MPV had better emissions/gas mileage, I think I'd just go with it, but I really want a more environmentally friendly car. I love driving it so much. I just don't know how to reconcile my conscience with my desires. :)

    Joy Elyse
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,149
    I'm not sure quite what you mean by "environmentally friendly". All the cars you're looking at seem pretty similar with regards to mpg and emissions, no?
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • So after yesterdays MPV and Freestyle test drives, I decided it was time to get myself over to Subaru to try the '05 Outback wagon. I had been unimpressed with the '04's performance, but I really liked the '05. I looked at the LL Bean model. It was fun to drive. It handled well. Acceleration was great. The sunroof is pure genius... the quietest I've heard. Aside from memory seats, it has just about everything I want standard. Does it seem a little loud to anyone else?

    I need to drive the Outback and the Passat back to back, which should be easy if I head out of the city a little further. There's a VW dealership, next to Subaru, next to Honda. I'll probably head over there later in the week when the new Odyssey comes out. With the Mazda dealership down the street, I can hit my final four in a row and make a good comparison. (Kind of funny to include the Odyssey in my final four when I've never driven it, but it's perfect on paper.) I had really wanted a wagon, but I'm leaning more toward the mini-van. It seems the best kid/dog mover. Is there anything less cool I could want next?

    If the MPV had better emissions/gas mileage, I think I'd just go with it, but I really want a more environmentally friendly car. I love driving it so much. I just don't know how to reconcile my conscience with my desires. :)

    Joy Elyse
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Why not try the Passat wagon with the TDI engine if you are concerned about fuel mileage at all. It gets 27/38 mpg.

    Remember you have to pay $32,000 for the Odyssey that gets good mileage, while all Siennas are just about as good (1 mpg worse) In fact both Sienna and Odyssey (the expensive one) do better on fuel than the Mazda 6 wagon.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,149
    The Sienna has the same rating as the Mazda 6 wagon: 19/27.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    joyelyse - don't hit refresh!! Your identical message has been posted three times (I deleted one) - you need to use the "recent messages" link to check for responses.

    kirstie_h
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  • Kirstie, Thanks! Sorry everyone!!!! I'll never do it again.

    I beg to differ that the four vehicles I'm looking at are all the same Emissions-wise. At the moment, the wagons are better than the mini-vans. We'll see what happens with the New Odyssey. Interestingly, I couldn't find the LL Bean model's pollution score at the Subaru dealership. The base model is an ULEV, but they didn't know about the LL Bean.

    MPV
    MPG (City) 18
    MPG (HWY) 25
    Greenhouse gas emissions 9.3 tons
    EPA Pollution Score (scale 1 (worst)-10 (best)) 4-LEV

    Honda Odyssey 2004
    MPG (City) 18
    MPG (Hwy) 25
    Greenhouse gas emissions 9.1 tons
    EPA Pollution Score (scale 1 (worst)-10 (best)) 4-LEV

    The new Odyssey will be a ULEV vehicle and have 20/28 MPG. More specifics are not yet available.

    Passat Wagon (4 motion, 6 cyl)
    MPG (City) 19
    MPG (Hwy) 26
    Greenhouse gas emissions 8.8 tons
    EPA Pollution Score (scale 1 (worst)-10 (best)) 6-LEV

    Subaru Outback LL Bean 2004 (2005)
    MPG (City) 19 (19)
    MPG (Hwy) 26 (25)
    Greenhouse gas emissions 8.8 tons (NA)
    EPA Pollution Score (scale 1 (worst)-10 (best)) 6-LEV (NA)

    It's way more work than it should be to get this information. While you can find it on EPA websites, etc., it's not usually on Edmunds or Cars.com or in reviews. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    How about a Focus wagon. It has a PZEV engine (10 on the EPA pollution scale and about 6.5 tons of GHG), gets much better mileage than any of these vehicles (26/35), is about the size of the Subaru or Passat inside, can be had with traction control, leather etc., and ride and handling are up with the Passat and 05 Subaru.

    Also - what about Sienna? Mileage of 19/27 (epa pollution of 9 and 8.6 tons of GHG)
  • The Focus is as big as the Subaru and Passat? I'll check that out. I thought it was smaller. In truth, I'd like it a little bigger. Oh, someone had asked about the Volvo earlier. I had been really into the Volvo, but I liked the Passat more and it can be had cheaper.

    The Sienna was perfect on paper, but the steering was so mushy. I can imagine parallel parking it in Boston. I just didn't like it. That's why I'm holding out hope for the Odyssey. It's similar, but supposed to steer better. We'll see.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,469
    Yes, the Focus, Subaru and Passat all have about the same passenger room. The Focus is a little shorter, and will be easier to park. Interior finishes are nice, but not up to Passat/'05 Subaru levels.

    A wild card could be the Malibu Max. It has limo like rear seat room, though a little less cargo room than the wagons. Decent mileage (23/30). Heavily discounted right now (6k off of sticker for an 04). It is even available with a rear DVD like some minivans.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,149
    We looked at it too. Cargo capacity is similar but the interior dimensions are smaller so it feels a little cramped.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sorry to hear you didn't like how the Freestyle drove, I too liked the interior a lot.

    Good luck with the fertility thing. Put it this way, I hope you need the 8-seat Sienna. :o)

    -juice
  • Based on my personal experience as well as those of friends and family, the turbo engines do tend to wear a little quicker. Turbo engines run very hot and can contribute to engine wear. I have a V70R and my mechanic showed me how it compared to a regular V70 with the same miles. It was easy to visibly inspect that my engine was worse for the wear (rubber and plastics looked dry and worn, etc.) than the regular V70.

    So, when it came down to deciding between the 3.0R VDC or the 2.5 XT, I opted for the 3.0R VDC. The 2.5XT is certainly quicker, but I preferred the refined/smooth ride of the 3.0R VDC, added safety of VDC (it works extremely well), and the reliability. If I went with the 2.5XT, I would definitely have spent the extra $1500 or so on the extended warranty.
  • I don't know what you mean about wear quicker.

    My experience with four turbo cars is they don't 'run' any hotter than a car without a turbo (water temp about the same as non-turbo), but there is residual heat from the turbo after shut down. In addition, because the turbo itself is very hot the oil around the turbo tends to cook after shut down in addition to having a hot spot to go through while the engine is running. Using synthetic oil takes care of the heat with respect to oil. My Volvo 740 turbo (with boost kit and some extra boost too) did not show any signs heat related wear and tear under the hood after 8 years. All of the hoses and belts were OE and were still soft and flexible. Same was true of my Mazda turbo and my VW turbo. My Cruiser turbo doesn't have the miles or years of the others, but so far shows no sign of heat related wear and tear.

    None of my turbo cars use(d) more oil than my non-turbo cars and there has been no sign of mechanical wear and tear - but I do use synthetic oil.

    BTW, I like the refinement of the 3.0 too.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The XT Ltd is priced lower than the H6 LL Bean, but demand for the turbo is actually greater so the H6 has lower street prices.

    It's nice to have 3 engine choices.

    -juice
  • In my experience (everyone has their own experience), turbo engines wear quicker than non-turbo engines due to the increased heat generated by the engine.

    I always use synthetic oil and take great car of my car (garage, etc.), but the fact is that the heat generated by my turbo vehicle has affected its engine. When I speak of heat, I'm not referring to engine coolant, I'm referring to the temperature in the engine compartment. Fact is that a turbocharger is an air pump run by hot exhaust gases exiting the engine that pumps more air into the engine generating more power which creates more hot exhaust which makes more power to pump more air which..., well these things get pretty hot.

    I know the automobile makers are building better systems to cool the turbochargers, but they always run hotter and, thereby, cause some wear on the engine and its components. Some more than others.

    Again, in my experience (everyone has there own), my turbo V70R has had some expensive bills to replace/repair items that normally wouldn't wear out so quickly if the car was a non-turbo.

    I think Subaru acknowledges this wear/reliability issue somewhat by charging a few hundred more for an extended warranty on the turbocharged vehicles than on the non-turbocharged models.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good point, they do have a surcharge for turbo warranties, and it's not insubstantial either. Might be a "just in case" charge, though.

    -juice
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Actually, the best indicator of engine wear would be an oil analysis. I wonder if anyone has done a comparison between the H6 and H4 turbo engines.

    While I don't doubt higher temps and pressures would result in more wear, the question is during what relevant range of time? Is there a significant difference after 5 years? After 10 years? I have a feeling that with modern-day engines, the owner's driving style and adherence to a routine maintenance schedule probably has far more impact on the engine's longevity than the presence of forced induction.

    Ken
  • I just noticed this group and read back a few pages. I just purchased a silver wagon with gray leather. Regarding the earlier question about the color, it's a medium gray. I hate black interiors, but this is not too bad. I love this car already. Previous car was a WRX wagon, and previous to that a BMW 328 sedan, which is a benchmark car. The Mazda feels almost as fast as the WRX and is roomy, quiet, and comfortable. The Bose stereo is awesome. It really only falls slightly short of BMW in the categories of engine sound, steering/road feel, and rwd handling. I think that's saying a lot about the car. btw, I first drove an automatic and was not at all impressed. The 5 speed is the way to go if you enjoy sports car driving.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,149
    I really liked the Mazda6 wagon too. In fact we were seriously thinking about buying one. Found the one we liked, negotiated a good price, found out what a trade-in would be. My idea was to go home and think about financing options, what to do with our car (trade or private sale) and hopefully buy the car within the week. Then I got the "this price is only good today" pitch (to be fair, yesterday was the last day of the month). Now I'm remembering why I keep cars until they die. I like the car, but why should the buying process be such a turnoff?
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • On Wednesday I walked out of the Mazda dealer because we were so far off. They called me within 15 minutes and gave me a great deal - under invoice for the car and way over wholesale for my trade in. Sometimes the rebates end on the last day of the month and don't start up again right away, or they may have other dealer incentives we don't know about. I ususally try to avoid talking price until I'm ready to deal. Good luck on your next round
  • >> I just purchased a silver wagon with gray leather. Regarding the earlier question about the color, it's a medium gray. I hate black interiors<<

    That's why I wanted gray. Ended up with a squall blue pearl wagon with gray interior, and I like the medium gray with the blue very much. I've got 3K miles on my wagon and have almost no complaints. Even my teenagers love it. I caught a man circling it in a parking lot last week. Pretty sure he was admiring it, not looking to steal it. :)
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