Monday, August 10, 2009

To buy or not to buy

Purchasing a car is one of my least favorite things to do. I’m not a car enthusiast to say the least. Personally, I think it’s one of the worst investments a person can make. I respect the fact that people like to reward themselves for hard work and others enjoy it as a (very expensive) hobby. Most of my friends are into cars in a big way, used and new.

So it’s time to replace the nine year-old minivan, and I’m not looking forward to a new car payment that I have been avoiding for 5 years. With the kids getting older now, a new mini van was pretty much out of the question, although it was always there in the back of our minds. Our goals were to get something that was safe, not too expensive, had seating for 7+, high trade-in value for the future, and somewhat stylish. Other hopes were to by American (even with all of the problems in the industry), and to take advantage of the cash-for-clunkers program. Unfortunately, we had no luck on the last two.

Personally, I think the Ford Flex is sharp looking for a family car (especially the cinnamon color with the white top). It also has plenty of room for the family. My wife thinks it looks like a hearse. She’s driving it most of the time, so the Flex was out right away. We also looked at the Chevy Traverse. The space was tight and my wife couldn’t see well out of the windows when backing up. When we went back to look at it a 2nd time, the price went up two grand! No thanks. The Mazda CX9 was just as small, and the Toyota Highlander (the only car that qualified for our “clunker”) had a third row that was an afterthought when the car was constructed.

After three hours at Honda last night, I signed on the dotted line for a Pilot. Nice car, smooth ride, reliable, safe, plenty of room and good car to trade-in down the road. The funny part is that every dealer I sat down with was willing to go below invoice, except for Honda. Did I get ripped off? Probably. But I did read that the average customer is pretty much paying MSRP (sticker price) for this car, which blew me away. At least I feel we landed a pretty good deal after seeing that most of the cars on the lot were sold and I did get close to invoice. The next purchase will most likely be a hybrid of some sort once the technology gets to the next level. My family loves the Pilot, and I don’t mind driving my 1998 Mercury Sable with 155,000 miles. As long as I can get from A to B, it’s all good. Are you thinking about buying a car?

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