As I mentioned in my last post, when I first lived in Boston (well, technically, Medford, but few people outside of Massachusetts know or care about the difference), I couldn’t afford to buy a car. In most U.S. cities, that would have made my life absolutely miserable, but public transportation and density make car-free living pretty easy. Also, having Pinky’s Pizza literally across the street was also a bonus. Oh, and my then-girlfriend had a car, so I didn’t necessarily have to walk everywhere.
The problem was, her car was a 2005 Chevrolet Aveo. It was truly a terrible car. It turned on, could go places, and didn’t break down all the time, but that’s about as nice as I can be about it. It didn’t even get great gas mileage. Everything bad that you’ve ever heard about the Aveo is probably true. You should not buy one, even if you’re desperate. And if you do own one, definitely don’t drive it from Georgia to Massachusetts. That’s way too many hours to spend in an Aveo.
And yet, completely unexpectedly, it ended up being a great winter car. We got more than 100 inches of snow that year, which meant I constantly had to shovel the driveway. Or at least I did until I realized that once I’d cleaned the car off, it was light enough that I could basically just drive it out on top of the snow. Was it the correct or safest way to do things? Probably not. But it worked.
It was also cheap and old enough that a little exterior damage was no big deal. Someone once hit us while we were driving in the middle of a snowstorm, which would normally be an absolutely miserable experience. I mean, under normal conditions, a wreck still isn’t fun. You have to wait for the police to come. It takes forever. You know the drill. But throw in freezing cold temperatures and a snowstorm? That’s even worse.
Except when we got out of the car, she took one look at the damage and said, “It’s not that bad. I don’t care. Let’s just go.” So off we went (after telling the very appreciative other driver that we weren’t going to report the accident), and neither one of us ever thought about that dent again.
Throughout that winter, Boston constantly abused that little Aveo. And if I’d taken my E39 with me, it would have abused my car too. But the damage a Boston winter would have done to the BMW would have mattered. I’d have constantly been concerned about what was going to break or get damaged next. Despite how much I didn’t like the Aveo, I absolutely appreciated how well it served its role as a perfect winter beater.
It even got us home from a Jason Isbell show in NYC that was absolutely incredible and was only marred by the fact that yet another snowstorm started about the same time the show ended. It snowed so much that the plows couldn’t keep up, forcing us to drive on fresh snow at a miserably slow speed. But we did eventually make it back, with only one minor scary situation.
So as it turns out, the Chevrolet Aveo actually can be a great winter car. But just because it could be your next winter beater doesn’t mean it should be. Surely you can find something, anything else to buy instead.