Well, yesterday was a…

Well, yesterday was a long day looking at cars. My car is pretty banged up, in a variety of ways, and Kev's a bit worried about me and baby driving it around. I was going to just get it fixed, but it'll cost enough that it might mean that now is the time to buy a new car instead. We spent a while looking at two cars yesterday -- the Honda Fit, and the Toyota Matrix. Both reasonably short, which is important re: parallel parking in the city. Both more roomy on the interior than my current car, which hopefully will help with packing in car seats and strollers and the like. Both in an affordable price range for us, if just barely. The Fit is really well-designed for many storage options, which is nice, and it's a bit smaller, which is even nicer. The Matrix somehow feels a bit more like a real car, though I have a hard time articulating why. We're having a hard time choosing between them.

We did think about an actual mini-SUV thing, like the Honda CRV, but it's both too expensive and probably too big for our current situation. Our parking space in the building involves some tight maneuvering around corners and through alleys past trash bins just to get in and out every day, and doing that with a wider/longer car would be a challenge. I am a bit sad not to have the 90-degree doors, though, which I suspect help a lot with managing car seats that snap out and then lock into your stroller. Ah well.

I hate buying cars. I hate the maneuvering, the bargaining, the 'let me talk to my boss', the 'I'm going to be straight with you here', etc. and so on. I hate that it takes us, on average, three hours to get to these places, drive their cars, and then sit through all the idiotic bargaining and waiting while they consult. Especially since for the most part, I just don't care about cars very much. I want a car to be safe. I want it to run reliably. I want it to fit in parking spaces, and carry enough stuff. If it's pretty, that's a bonus, but I honestly don't care all that much. The whole thing stresses me out and makes me cry. Twice, yesterday.

I think we're going to go look at the Fit again in the early afternoon today, see if another dealer will give us a better price than the one we talked to yesterday (he claimed that the Fit was selling for about $5K more than the list price, due to how popular it is and how hard to get right now, which, if true, makes it more than we can afford). And then decide between it and the Matrix. It looks like it'll either be the Fit in red, or the Matrix in blue. Thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Well, yesterday was a…”

  1. I have a Pontiac Vibe, which is except for minor “cosmetic” differences the same car as the Matrix. (You rode in it briefly.) It might be worth driving a Vibe and seeing if, like me, you prefer it to the Matrix. The Vibe/Matrix gets really good fuel economy for such a roomy car, and they do not feel underpowered, at least to me.

  2. The internet is your friend when buying cars. A Google search on the dealers you’re going to is very, very useful. Especially with Toyota dealers. I’ve not looked into Honda stuff, but I would guess that they don’t have quite the same range of quality as the Toyota folk.

    Sharon and I completely lucked out in that the nearest Toyota dealer was also one of the better ones around. The story you’re getting from the Honda guy sounds pretty suspect to me.

    Also, if you have a CostCo membership, there is a CostCo auto buyer system that’s really pretty nice. It mostly removes the haggling process at the expense of going to specific dealers that CostCo works with (which, in our case, was the nearby good one).All the pertinent info is on the CostCo website.

    It could potentially be worth getting a membership just for the auto-buying program. In our case, we got a Prius for $500 off MSRP, which is about as good as it gets.

  3. Speaking of the Internet, back when I was buying a car Jenn suggested carsdirect.com, and that ended up being a great idea. Unfortunately, when I did a search on a Honda Fit in your zip code just now, it gave me a price and then said “CarsDirect.com does not currently have a dealer in your area that meets your needs.” I have no idea what that means. But at least it might give you some useful ideas about prices.

    Did you ever read Confessions of a Car Salesman? A fascinating but long article in which an edmunds.com employee goes undercover at a couple of car dealerships and reports on the experience. If you don’t have time to read the whole nine-part series, you should at least read Part 9: Lessons from the Lot, in which he sums up his recommendations about car buying.

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