Boy, talk about first world problems.
As we get older, we get softer. There was a time when my ski car had 4WD, a V8 with a 4 barrel carb, a rear axle locker, and not much else. It would have been perfectly appropriate in a 3rd world country somewhere.
It had: 2 front seats held together with duct tape, no back seat until I made one out of plywood, 4-speed Muncie truck transmission (3-speed plus granny), headers, heater, roll-up windows that mostly didn't work, no insulation, power steering, power brakes, windshield wipers and washer, headlights but no interior light, doors, windows, floor, roof...you get the idea - sturdy but very, um, basic.
Remembering that, and seeing what people around the world manage to get by with, I realize that old truck would still get me around, although it might not be all that much fun and I wouldn't be tempted to drive it very far.
So, this isn't so much what I can't live without as much as it is what I want.
1. It must never break. I'm getting old. I don't enjoy hanging around garages, paying for stupid repairs, or fixing things by the side of the road. The idea that 250,000 miles is the new 100,000 miles is one of the best things to happen to motor vehicles today.
2. It has to get good enough fuel mileage to make it worthwhile to sell my current vehicle, which is reasonably quiet and capable, but gets poor gas mileage. The requirements here are rigorous, because the current vehicle was paid off over 10 years ago and is still very reliable. Even though gas is expensive in Canada, the fuel mileage would have to be quite high to make up for the other increased costs of ownership.
3. It has to have controls that I can operate without looking at them. Menu diving on a screen at 60mph is not my idea of smart.
4. It has to have seats that do not increase my back pain. I broke my back years ago. It always hurts. I don't want my vehicle seat to make it worse.
5. It has to swallow skis without a mileage-robbing box on top.
6. All the usual stuff. Air, cruise, electric windows and mirrors, power seats, heated seats, power steering, power brakes, auto headlights, blah, blah. And AWD/4WD. I've had it for many years, I'm fond of it, and my current driveway is a pain without it.
7. Probably lots of other stuff that they'll convince me I just have to have if I ever start shopping for another vehicle.
Much of this gets dumped if the next vehicle is a toy like a Caterham 7 (look it up). That's not a ski car. It could be argued that it's not even a car, but a street legal (in Canada) go kart.
Oh, well. So many toys, so little money.