Sunday, June 26, 2011

New car shopping!

Yesterday we started off bright and early to car shop. The Hub's goal was to have a new car by the end of the day; I was not as ambitious, I just wanted to test drive the different cars on my list:
Volkswagen Jetta
Toyota Corolla
Mazda 3 Hatchback
Honda Civic
and the Hubs added Nissan Altima to the list.

It was quite an adventure, and I wanted to make a few notes of things to remember for the next time we car shop (hopefully that will be awhile!).
Don't forget to take:
a notepad and pen, so you can write down what you did and didn't like about each car. Items we checked on every car: trunk space, engine compartment ease of access, passenger side legroom for the Hubs, backseat legroom with the front seat all the way back, cruise control, stereo.

Water and a snack. I forgot the snack, but had a bottle of water. It was pretty hot yesterday, in the upper 80s.

A list of cars to look at, including mile per gallon ratings for city and highway driving, and the max amount the bank will loan for each car.

Know the minimum amount you will take for trade in on your car

Download the application to your smartphone. This app lets you search for car by manufacturer, make, year, radius from current location, price, etc. It also has a payment calculator so you can put in a car's sticker price, your trade in value, interest rate, and term of loan and will calculate your monthly payments. 

I was amazed at the varying degrees of cleanliness of used cars. The Altima we test drove was spotless inside and out. But the Corolla and Civic were dirty inside. The dash hadn't been cleaned, the Corolla's backseat was stained (probably would have come out with a steam cleaner!).

On to the first "adventure" segment of the trip....At the second dealership we stopped at, there was a Mazda 3; it met all the criteria and was really the car I had my heart set on. Two downfalls we noticed: the previous owner had installed a different, loud (rice-burner-type) muffler, and the car had been lowered from factory height. Those two things were easily fixable. However, when I pulled out of the parking lot, the car started bucking. It was an automatic, but was almost like when you shift wrong in a standard and the car doesn't like it. The Hubs thought I was letting on and off the gas pedal, but I wasn't. It was the weirdest thing. I drove it around the block and when we got back the Hubs asked the salesman if he had ever been to a rodeo. The guy was a little confused and the Hubs told him what the car had done, and then suggested the salesman drive the car back to the mechanic shop to have them take a look at it. As soon as the guy took off the car started bucking. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. The car was in really good shape otherwise, but it seemed like they didn't even test drive it before they put it on the lot to sell!

Second "adventure"... We were looking at a used Mazda 3 Hatchback on the southside of town, but it was way over our budget, and priced way above the value that my bank would loan me. Like $3,000 over the NADA value of the car. While I'm looking at the car and waiting for the salesman, the Hubs looks at the app on his cell phone and finds a car one year older, with 45,000 miles, with a sunroof, for $2,000 less than the bank will loan, but it's in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Hubs calls and talks to the dealership and there's nothing wrong with the car, we'd be the second owner, etc. etc. The Hubs hangs up and the salesman finally comes over and the Hubs asks point blank if the guy will lower the price to our range, or if we need to drive to Fayetteville. The guy doesn't really make a move, and we were pretty tired of listening to sales pitches all day (or at least I was- I'm not a chit chatty person and there were several times I just wanted to get up and walk out!).

So we drove to Fayetteville to Adventure Subaru.

These guys were so nice to us. They weren't pushy. They knew we'd be getting there right at 5, but a salesman, the finance guy, and a shop mechanic all stayed for us. The car was clean inside and out. It had been washed that day, and still had a little bit of wax residue. We took a little less for our trade in, but the car we were buying was priced so low that it wasn't a big deal. Our payments are still under $200/month!

So here's the baby we brought home last night, "important" things shown first:

a 6-disc CD changer, plus auxiliary input to plug in an MP3 player


It's a standard! I've really only tooted around on the farm with a manual, with a few trips to town. So this morning I went and practiced hills at the park before driving it on the street!

Sorry for the glare!
This is the kind of crazy life we live, and the kind of loving husband I have. He knew which car I really wanted, found it, and did everything he could to get me that car, including driving 120 miles out of town to barely make it to the dealership by 5 on a Saturday. He is so selfless and sometimes I am so selfish. He teaches me to be patient and loving and selfless even when I don't know if I have it in me.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...