Well, it's like this: the Cruiser's getting old. It'll hit 12 this year, and even though it only has 54,962 measly miles, the signs of aging were starting to show and the decision was made that a new car might be a good idea, and that new car should be <gasp!> an automatic transmission.
I have never owned an automatic, but a certain senior son was never able to master the whole shift thing, and since his dad and I were driving sticks, there was no car for him to drive when he came in to town without his own car. My father-in-law was the one who pointed out that one day he would be here for an emergency and he would need to have wheels. I couldn't exactly disagree, so I started the arduous process of car shopping.
Everyone I know was polled on this topic. There were all sorts of suggestions, although my favorite had to be from JB who suggested I go with my heart: a car I could maintain all by mechanical self...in other words, a 1968 Volvo 144 with dual carbs and a choke. Definitely my kinda car...but alas, a stick...as if I could even find one! So after much research, I narrowed it down to four: Toyota's Prius and Rav 4, Honda's CR-V, and the Nissan Rogue.
Driving the Prius could only be described as driving the foiled wrapper that comes around a cupcake: shiny....and flimsy. I didn't like how it handled and I hated the ride. It went off the list. And even though the Rav 4 started out as theoretical leader of the pack, it, too, quickly fell by the wayside. Gone was the nifty little Rav4 my friends drove, replaced by this cumbersome thing with a carbuncle on the back end. It's just clumsy looking, and clumsy feeling behind the wheel. I was so disappointed.
The Rogue was next. It felt substantial but agile; acceleration with continually variable gear ratio was smooth and the acceleration sound seemed not to be unduly stressing the engine. Having only driven a stick, engine sound is a big clue for me. Being really short, I wanted a back-up camera and this one was very easy to see. And boy, was it smooth. The sales dude was very laid back, very easy going, and very patient with all my questions. He was definitely not in my face and I was okay with that.
I was just about ready to dismiss the CR-V....but decided to drive it anyway. Turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The rear camera, however, wasn't in the best place for a short person and I had some concerns about the thickness of panels containing the side air bags; they were distractingly large. But the size and the handling were about right and I was second guessing the Rogue. The Honda sales dude was about my age, he was like hale-fellow-well-met and never shut up which was a bit problematic, not to mention annoying, for the engine queen here. He was nice enough but totally in my face...and not in a good way. Still....the car was definitely worth considering.
The Rogue and the CR-V were about the same for price and mileage per gallon. Each one had positives as well as drawbacks, so I hatched a plan. On Friday, I visited both dealerships and said, "I'm half way between the Rogue and a CR-V. Pitch your best offer and convince me to buy your car."
Rob White, the Nissan dude, was thorough. Period. When we got back from the test drive, the used car dude took my car for a test drive. The offer he then made on the Cruiser was right where I'd hoped it would be. Since the color combination I wanted was not immediately available, they were willing to deal. The final number (with tax and license) was right in range of my target price. I never once felt like I was being hustled. This was an excellent thing.
I wish I could’ve said the same about Honda. They lowballed the Cruiser, offering me far less than what it was worth, and there was no negotiation, no incentives, no nuthin' on the price. Despite the Honda dude's saying he wanted to be aggressive about getting my business, he was not. And I got the impression he wasn't trying that hard, either.
Back at home, I reviewed the two offers with the F-I-L; he listened as I ran down the pros and cons. Finally, he asked, “Which one do you want?”
The choice was pretty easy.
This afternoon, I went go over to Luther Nissan Kia in Inver Grove Heights where my Platinum Grey Rogue with black leather interior, sunroof, back-up cam, navigation system, and assorted really cool bells and whistles was all spiffed up and waiting for me.
And I handed over the keys my most beloved PT-Cruiser, my little silver tootle car. I will miss the suede seat centers. I will definitely miss the stick shift.
What I'll miss most is having the last car Steve and I bought together. It’s odd, though, that I'm picking up the Rogue on July 2nd of all days. Kinda bittersweet, I guess. He really would've liked watching those negotiations; I can almost hear the snorting.
Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
For women buying new cars:
Stand. Your. Ground.
Your money is just as green as a guy's money.
35 years is still 35 years;
some people still remember and that's okay.
I do, too.