Reliability isn't Everything

Dear Car Talk:

I just traded in my 2004 Jeep Liberty for a “used” 2020 Jeep Renegade Latitude with 4,000 miles. It was a demo. Sticker price was $29,000. I paid $21,000. It has all the bells and whistles; cold weather package, safety package, etc. I even got the color I wanted: Metallic Bikini.

My son is a mechanic. He was, well, let’s say, unhappy with my choice. He said, “Mom, it’s a Dodge Neon engine in a Jeep body.” I love my Renegade. I joined the JROG (Jeep Renegade Owner’s Group), and it seems most people love their Renegades.

Am I an idiot? Is my son right? Did I make a bad choice? I did get the extended bumper to bumper warranty because of the amount of electronics. Please give me some ammunition to use against my son. Thank you. — Gretchen

Your best ammunition is “your mom is happy, son.” I mean, he’s not wrong. The Renegade would not be my first choice, in terms of reliability or advanced engineering. On the other hand, my mom never wanted a car in Metallic Bikini.

He’s probably worked on cars in a shop and seen more than his share of Jeeps come in, and he’s just looking out for you.

I think your other strong argument is that with all the money you saved, you wisely bought the extended warranty. So if something goes wrong with the Jeep, tell your son that he won’t have to scrape his knuckles to figure it out and fix it. You’ll be able to go back to the dealer and get it fixed for free, while fending off the salesmen trying to sell you another Jeep.

You also might tell your son this: Reliability isn’t everything. There’s also fun. And cute. And the image of adventure. And being in love with your car. And some folks are perfectly willing to trade off some reliability and lots of other things for those characteristics. Hey, it’s a free country.

Plus, if you’re stepping up from a 2004 Jeep Liberty, this Renegade has got to feel like a Mercedes S-Class to you, so tell him to let you enjoy it. And don’t tell him when it breaks; just quietly get it fixed.

Todays Car-o-Scope

What the stars say about your car for 11/23/2020
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