I Want A Celica!! Or do I?... My drive from mid-life crisis to practical green-ality

I Want A Celica!! Or do I?... My drive from mid-life crisis to practical green-ality

Has anyone here turned 40 and found them self with a vague unscratchable itch for a fast car? Thats one of those text book life events, isnt it? Well, its 5 months past my birthday and Im not ashamed to say that the age-relative-to-sports-car-cliché has not escaped me. My lust for muscle, style and speed behind the wheel is nothing new - but now that Im older than my dad was when he taught me how to parallel park, I feel as if Im entitled to throw caution to the curb, spend my money however I want, look cute (again!) and go fast! Maybe my midlife colleagues, kicking the tires on that used neurosis and listening for rumblings under its hood will recognize the knocks and pings of mortality: "If not now...when!?"..."What about?..."

The fact is, Ive been obsessed with buying some kind of Toyota Celica for over 20 years, but Ive always held back and gone for a more conservative choice. The hesitation has usually been based on economics - avoiding either the price for a newer model or, too much potential layout for maintenance on the rare and dreamy Holy Grail: a late 80s Supra. Im no mechanic, and auto body work wont fit into my 9 to 5, or my budget... But, then again, maybe Ill find "the perfect buy"? Ive been checking places like Autotrader.com but pickins are slim: only found one 1989 Supra with a crummy paint job and two 87 Coupes. But I really want a lift-back... weah!!

Meanwhile, Im talking my inner 21-year old back from the edge, using all of the practical buzz words expected from someone with the supposed wisdom of experience: "Are those old Celicas safe?", "What about gas mileage?", "Something that old probably has high emissions... thats bad for the planet! Didnt I want to get a hybrid!?" "If Im going to buy a used car, better make sure its Certified."

Searching online for safety features and ratings related to 1980s Celicas left me scrolling through blank boxes on howsafeisyourcar.com and iihs.org (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). As for gas mileage, according to fueleconomy.gov, a 1980s Celica/Supra gets between 16 and 22 mpg... pretty shameful when compared to the most recent Celica model (2002) at 24 to 30 mpg! Now compare those numbers to a modern, age-appropriate, supposedly responsible choice: the Toyota Prius Hybrid, at 46 mpg. Its hard to keep justifying frivolity when the hybrids roll in for inspection.

The Prius runs on a hybrid battery/gasoline engine and gets excellent scores on both CO2 emissions and air pollution scales. I like this idea, have heard great reviews of hybrids and driven a Lexus hybrid myself - so Im almost back to reality in the realm of something I would actually buy. But... the Prius, to me, is just a little bit goofy looking! Im not a fan of the stubby back end. Even a Certified Pre-owned model that gave me some extra wallet space would leave me flat on style, and Id still be craving a cute little fast-back (cue White Snake on the cassette deck...)

The 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid has a more well-thought-out body design than the Prius - combining the original 2000 Insights sleek fast-back appearance hatchback style with its new, larger, safety and family oriented 4 door frame. I like the interior design of the Honda Insight over the Toyota as well. The Honda seems tighter inside, more ergonomic and attractive than the Prius. I also prefer the color options available for the Honda Insight, colors like, "Tango Red Pearl" and "Clear Sky Blue Metallic". You can see them at Honda.com or MartinHonda.com.

Considering that 2009 is nearly over on auto-dealer calendars, Im hoping to find a Certified or Pre-owned 2010 Insight by staying in touch with local dealers over the next six months. Like most Hondas and Toyotas, the two cars compare almost identically on all mileage, safety and emissions features. So, on style alone - if Im going to satisfy both the aging and forever young parts of my car-buying ego - I will have to choose the Honda Insight. If and when I make a decision...

Heather Schaefer writes for Honda-Certified.com. For more information visit http://honda-certified.com Successfully encompassing everything customers of Honda Certified products could want or need - including personalized price quotes from regional dealers - Honda-Certified.com goes even further for shoppers in Delaware (DE), Pennsylvania (PA) and New Jersey (NJ). Pre-owned Honda shoppers keep coming back to Honda-Certified.com for news, buying tips, regional inventories, specials and prices for all Certified Honda models.