In the fall of 2000, I bought a car, and one year later I recorded my thoughts on those first twelve months. Last summer, after it was totaled in a wreck, I bought another car, and it's now one year later, and time to reflect on life with the 2000 Infiniti I30 I call "Gwendolyn."

There wasn't a real World Tour last year, so I haven't put a lot of miles on her: just under 8000, or about one-twelfth of her existence so far. She was in pretty good shape for six and a half years old, and exactly one function is nonfunctional: the indicator light for the driver's-side seat heater does not work. (The seat heater itself works fine; it's just that you can't tell it's on until your keister goes into toasty mode.)

I anticipated, what with 88,000 miles on the clock to start out, that there'd be some maintenance to catch up on, and it would probably cost me $1500, maybe $2000 to get everything taken care of. I wish. The usual 90k service runs $500 or so; however, in addition to this, I've had to replace both front and rear brakes (including rotor resurfacing), the starter, the A/C compressor, the front exhaust tube (where the pre-cat lives), and one of two catalytic converters (the one in front). The service manager at the Infiniti store assures me that he's never seen a car that needed that back cat replaced, but there's a first time for everything. So instead of $2000, I've put out about $4500. On the upside, everything else seems to be in fine shape, and the replaced parts, I assume, should be good for another 90k miles or so. Spark-plug replacement at 105k is the next hurdle: these are NGK platinum plugs, and they're about fifteen bucks. Each. Still, the replacement interval is 105k, and it will be something like 2016 before I hit 210,000 miles.

Which I think Gwendolyn can do. The Nissan VQ-series V6 is considered by most observers to be just this side of bulletproof, electrical and emissions-related peripherals excepted, and the bodywork is in fine shape: there's only one slight paint chip, and it's in the scratch strip on the driver's-side door, although the original gold badge plating has pretty much worn off. Rattles are evident only on the worst roads. (Unfortunately, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area is almost a sanctuary for lousy pavement.) And while the BFGoodrich Touring T/As she's wearing now don't have much grip on dry roads, they're surprisingly reliable in the wet, and they have probably another year or two before they need to be replaced.

Infiniti sold this car in two varieties: Luxury and Touring. The Touring model offered traction control, 17-inch wheels instead of 16s, and stiffer suspension tuning. Gwendolyn is definitely a Luxury model. On the other hand, despite her softer suspension, she does not wallow: only the worst bumps upset her composure, and not for long. Further, everything I've seen on the Touring models says that they have a humongous turning circle, which Gwendolyn does not. (Maybe those 17s were a hair too big for the fender wells.)

EPA reports this car — or did, anyway, until the new 2008 numbers appeared — ge