The 2014 Ford Transit Connect Titanium Wagon LWB has just the place for a purse, even though it's known as the 'man van.' (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Leasing a car is a bit like knowing when you’re going to die. Also, it’s a bit like being Michael Corleone.
But I mean both of those things in a good way.
Before I leased my Buick LaCrosse, I never knew exactly when I’d need another vehicle. I’d just wait for the sound of the transmission hitting the street and take that as a clue.
Now, at least in one area, I am certain of my termination date: June 29. By then — assuming, knock wood, that I’m still alive and kicking tires — I’ll need to have my next set of keys in hand.
Fortunately, three days of strolling Cobo Center during the North American International Auto Show’s press previews last week left me with plenty of intriguing options.
Unfortunately, rather than shorten my shopping list, the experience expanded it — sometimes in opposite directions.
The new Jeep Cherokee looks tempting, but so do the stretched-out Fiat 500L and the stubby little Buick Encore ... along with the Chrysler 200, Ford Escape, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Chevrolet Cruze Diesel and half a dozen others.
The one thing I’m sure of, almost, is that I’ll be leasing again.
First off, by definition, I don’t have a trade-in. Besides, I’m already getting letters about bonus money for things like “lease loyalty” from GM or “conquest” from everyone else.
I feel your pain, Godfather; I try to buy, but the lease offers keep pulling me back in.
If it's not nailed down...
There’s a new Detroit-centric food court at Cobo Center. If you’re planning to hit the auto show, keep that in mind.
The smallish Michigan cherry salad I had there cost $9.50. Keep that in mind, too.
Also, while you and your family are enjoying the wholesome family event, please don’t steal the Shinola notebooks. Or the shift knobs.
Larceny comes standard at the NAIAS. Carmakers understand that if something screws or pops on, somebody will attempt to unscrew it or pop it off. That’s why even the radio controls are glued on.
Hood ornaments, badges and even side fender lights have been known to vanish. And now up pops Shinola, the Detroit-based manufacturer of cool bicycles and watches and such, with a display tucked into the Lincoln exhibit.
The timepieces should be safe, since they’re inside heavy glass cubes. The jackets, shoe cream and leather notebooks are decidedly vulnerable.
Says product specialist Jeremy Kucharek, 27, a Wayne State theater grad now living and auditioning in L.A., “We’re going to have to keep a vigilant eye.”
Assuming someone doesn’t steal it.
Wanted: purse holders
On orders from my wife, I’m directing a question to the automotive designers of the world:
Where the heck is she supposed to put her purse?
Other car buyers concern themselves with trivialities like horsepower and safety equipment. She likes to set her handbag low, between the front seats, and if she can’t do that, she’s not interested in your vehicle.
She’s clinging to a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox because the driver’s right armrest swings upward to expose the perfect purse perch. But I might have found a replacement in the new Ford Transit Connect.
The original Transit Connect showed up in 2009 as a small, sensible work van with all the amenities of a public restroom at an Eastern Bloc train station. For 2014, it’s still sensible — two, five or seven seats, lots of space, close to 30 mpg highway — but it’s considerably more civilized.
Among the refinements are a recessed console with definite handbag potential, and something original or darned close to it: an overheard, airliner-style storage bin. The bag would have to be skinny, but it could work.
Brand manager Minyang Jiang says her team refers to the Transit Connect as “the man van.” Apparently, more guys than I realized carry purses.