Dear Car Talk:
I own a 2011 Lexus ES350 with 150,000 miles. The car has been dealer maintained from day one and has never given me a problem. It's the best car (reliability) I have ever owned. The missus thinks I should trade it in for a 2021 model because of the enhanced safety features. I feel the 2011 is safe enough and paid for! What say you? -- Jesse
Is this dealer open today, Jesse?
Your wife is right. The deployment of new safety equipment over the past decade has been revolutionary. Cars today have what are essentially self-driving technologies. Through increased processing power and miniaturization, we now have computers and sensors in cars that really can prevent or minimize accidents.
They'll stop the car when you're not paying attention. They'll nudge you back into your lane when you drift out of it. They'll keep you from changing lanes when there's a UPS truck in your blind spot. Maybe your wife has noticed that you can use a little help in some of those areas, Jesse?
The truth is we all can. Computers are just better at some of this stuff than we humans are. And a computer never gets distracted by a text message or a spouse making the case that you need some help with your driving. For older drivers, these things are even more helpful, as our reflexes inevitably slow down.
You got 150,000 trouble-free miles out of your Lexus ES350. Go get a new one. Get a hybrid and, in addition to the safety enhancements, you'll get 44 miles to the gallon. You'll also be pleasantly surprised at how much you can get for your 2011. With the computer chip shortages caused by the pandemic, used car prices have gone way up. So cash in, use that as a down payment, keep your wife happy and make both of you safer. Enjoy the new car, Jesse.
P.S. You're miffed that you wrote to me now, aren't you