The art of diplomacy

Marriage is all about compromise, or so I'm told. So when the subject of a new car came up, there was the need for compromise....or negotiations.A little backstory: my car, that I thought was the greatest piece of mechanical ingenuity ever conceived, is a pile. OK, that's a little harsh. It's frustratingly buggy. I have owned it for about 6 months (one of which I didn't drive it because I was overseas) and it's already had some irritating not starting in the morning. I NEED reliability in a car. I guess I was spoiled with the Honda. Then the blinkers crapped out. Not crapped out like stopped working altogether, crapped out like they had Tourette's syndrome. Sometimes they will work, sometimes they won't, sometimes they will blink so arthymically and spastically that it's embarassing to even use them. I posted my problem to one of the passat message boards and the prognosis that came back was faulty hazard relay. I vented my frustration about this and the response I got was "What do you expect, you drive a Volkswagen." That irked me no end. So I began to discuss the possibility of getting rid of the Passat while we still had the upper hand on the equity. Deanne and I talked about it and in the end we just didn't see eye to eye on a replacement that we'd both be happy with. However I proposed a compromise. I said I would keep the Passat IF she let me put a navigation system in it. She didn't even have to think twice about it. It actually makes more sense to be honest. The Passat over all is not a bad car. It's fast, looks good, and is pretty comfortable. My friend Brian, who is a Volkswagen mechanic says they're just over-engineered. That's absolutely right. There's no point in ditching it just to get into another car that might have the same problems. So I keep the Passat but I get to put a navigation unit in it. I got a taste of navigation when I had the x-dash in the CRV. It was so useful, I used it all the time. Now my car is littered with mapquest printouts. But the PC based GPS software never quite got it right. It took forever to get a satellite lock, the interface was designed to be used with a mouse, not fat fingers while you're driving, the destination was not contextual (i.e. it didn't know where you were) and it was a pain to use sometimes. But not the units MADE for cars. The few times I've driven Ken's car, I was impressed by the navigation. When you entered a destination, it knew where you were and would filter out the possible destinations on the fly. Not only that you can ask it directions while you're driving and it will calculate your route from where you are. Impressive. Even though I had the blessing from the missus, I didn't want to spend a lot of money. There's nav systems out there which are $3000 but I just can't justify spending that kind of money unless it actually drives the car. So I did some research and found out that it would make sense to get a Pioneer screen for the nav because I have a Pioneer XM unit which means I could remove the XM controller I currently have and control it through the screen. I consulted with Ken some more and he said that even though I could use an another companies (potentially cheaper) nav unit with a Pioneer screen, I would lose some functionality, plus the Pioneer nav unit is the best on the market. So I went from trying to avoid Pioneer on a cost basis to making the entire system Pioneer based. You with me so far? Ok good. So I looked online at the prices....ouch. Ok, I am so not paying that. Ahh my old friend ebay, what can you offer me? Treasures galore! I opted for a screen that has recently been discontinued by Pioneer and as such the price has dropped signficantly. I had the chance to play with the newer model and I have to say it was amazing. The most noticeable feature was the addition of a touchscreen interface. But even after playing with it, I decided to stay with the older model for two reasons; price and also I've been told by several sources that the folding mechanism on touchscreen monitors tends to crap out after a while because of constant "jabbing" by fat fingers. Now, I've settled on a screen....what about a nav unit. This one was much easier. Pioneer's newest nav unit is incredible. It's DVD based so it can store the entire US and Canada data including 2 million points of interest, and the DVD-ROM doubles as a standard DVD player if I get bored. You can view your route from 5 different angles. It also accepts voice commands, e.g. you can tell it