Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

CR-V and Antike
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Although we like the Subaru Forester quite a bit, the Honda CR-V may oust it for our final choice. We visted the Honda dealership today to check it out, and came away pleased. We're scheduled to test-drive one on Monday.

Mostly it comes down to details, because the two models compare in most respects. The turning point is really the amenities and designs given how similar they both are as competitors with each other. Base price, mileage, color choices, and both internal and external dimensions are essentially equal. Consumer Reports recommends both, but CR-V has a longer reputation behind it, and apparently a lower depreciation rate.

The competing points for us:

Sunroof (we really want this because of interior heat dissipation)
Only on top-end model of Forester, incurring significant cost increase with no other added benefits we care about, but it's huge (seems like the whole roof). Comes standard on CR-V, but not as big as Forester's. CR-V's lack of additional cost overcomes size in this feature.

Rear door
Opens upward on Forester. Opens sideways on CR-V, plus it has a window that opens separately. CR-V wins for the window, which is enough to sway me away from preferred upward opening.

Bike rack
Can get either roof or hitch mount on the Forester, which allows roof to be used for cargo carrier if we have bikes on the back, plus we already own a hitch rack. Only roof option on CR-V because the rear spare tire mount prohibits a hitch mount. Forester wins for the flexibility in this case, by a tad, because the roof rack on the CR-V with bikes on means all gear must go inside, however the spare tire not being in there means more room.

Spare tire
Internal beneath cargo area on Forester. External mount for the CR-V, which frees up significant cargo space area by letting us keep our emergency kits beneath the cargo area in a waterproof storage bin there. Plus the external mount means it's easy to get to the tire if the cargo area is full, albeit we may have to secure the tire with a lock.

Picnic table
Not included on the Forester. For the CR-V, the base of the cargo area is a card table! Pop it out, unfold the legs, and voila! CR-V wins for the sheer cleverness.

Rear seats
Forester splits 60/40, immobile, fold flat. CR-V splits 60/40, mobile, don't fold too flat. CR-V wins for being able to move them forward and backward.

Only one local Subaru, but at least three local Hondas for more choices means Honda wins this one too.

Both offer CD-changing stereos (don't care about that because they're not MP3 CDs), however the CR-V also has a cassette tape deck, which is highly desirable not because we use that medium any more, but because we have adapters for it that allow us to play our portable devices (computer, DVD player, MP3 player) through there. Forester offers no input methods at all (aside from annoying wireless FM-radio converters). Further, the CR-V sports steering-wheel-mounted controls for all the normal radio functions you'd want. In my book that improves safely and helps sell me the car.

Enough of vehicles for now.

Gaming tonight, at Larry's, introduced us to a new must-have game: Antike. It's a great deal of fun, with a new what-can-you-do-this-turn mechanism. Further, although it's a exploit-expand-engage kind of game, it actually speeds up in the end, which is unusual. It's going on the wishlist forthwith.

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