Monday, July 7, 2008

A Whole New World… (& it’s not the Disney kind, kids)

The saga of my love/hate relationship has ended. The outcome was not as I would have wished, but I guess that big car heaven in the sky was beckoning the Mighty Sebring Convertible home.

We got the call on Tuesday of last week that there would be no surgery or band-aid fixes for damage from the accident earlier the previous week. I believe all involved thought it was such a lost cause that not even the body shop was willing to tow it across the street for the claims adjuster to look it over!

Aaron & I saw the car for the last time the same day we got the news. We went over to the lot it was sitting in, took a few pics for memories’ sake & then cleaned it out. I bemoaned the thought of having to drive Aaron’s Acura for ‘my’ car again. (Sure, the Acura’s not bad if you have to drive someone else’s car, but it’s not MY car).

After the news sank in about the tragic end of the convertible, Aaron & I sat down for a REAL discussion about what we were going to do about wheels for me. Now, let me preface this with saying Aaron hasn’t been batting too well in the buying of used cars. All 3 used cars either have needed or are still in need of $$$ work. I don’t know about you, but that’s not something I look for when I buy a car. Granted, these were paid off, but in my book, if you are still paying for fixes, then it’s not really paid off.

I finally got Aaron around to my way of thinking… we needed something reliable, &, for us, that was going to equate to a car payment. Notice I didn’t say NEW, I only said ‘car payment’. We could have easily ended up finding a nice, used car in our price range.

What we did find though was lots of car dealerships & car manufacturers ready to give us great financing options or rebates. This made looking for a car even better b/c it meant – Amie was getting a NEW car!!!!

I went into this whole search thing with no idea what I was looking for. I really just wanted something that got good gas mileage. You think that’d be easy right? Well, there are lots out there with respectable gas usage… there are lots without that little perk… Aaron & I talked about an SUV – with the above mentioned ‘perk’ needed, of course.

We test drove the Ford Escape (4-cylinder) & actually really liked it. What we didn’t like was the 2-toned interior with tan & grey together. If there is one thing that’s a make or break feature for me – it’s tan interior. Yuck. I guess it’s just as well b/c the one we test drove was the only one in the area Ford could get their hands on (rumor has it that demand is much more than what they have to offer!). Though we liked that SUV, we moved on & trained our thoughts on other SUV models we might like.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but Independence Day isn’t a big day for car dealerships to be open. We could only test drive the Escape on our first day out. It did give us a chance to look at a few cars, read their info & decide if we’d bother coming back for a drive when they were open (sorry, Saturn Vue, you were axed in this process – gas mileage not so good).

We went back out on Saturday (picture this: rainy morning, sun comes out in the afternoon – what’s it feel like? NASTY!) and hit the Hyundai dealership. We were interested in the Santa Fe & Aaron wanted to drive the Tucson (lower end model of the 2).

Our salesperson was actually rather annoying. I guess he was hard-up for sales, or he was just in a pushy mood. Whatever the reason, he rubbed me the wrong way. We drove the Tucson first. It was just ok. & I mean… JUST OK. There wasn’t even much in the inside to look at. If you know me, you know that I like me some gadgets, gizmos & buttons! If it could look any more pared down than it did, I would be surprised.

We drove the Santa Fe next and both liked it much more than the Tucson. However, we weren’t sold on it. I was especially put off when the salesdude looks at me & says that I haven’t told him yet what I liked. Hey, I’m sorry, Mr. Salesdude, but if I knew what I liked I would certainly be there getting it!

Come on… it’s been 14 yrs since I had to look at BRAND NEW CARS!!!!

Needless to say, we booked out of that place almost as fast as the salesdude took our number down.

Next on the list of visits was something completely different – Pontiac, to test drive a G6. I had seen the G6 in the lot at the Carmax dealership, so I knew what it looked like and the ‘going rate’. (Aaron & I had also driven out to the dealership [on the outskirts of ‘the boonies’] the day before when they were closed to see what they offered).

We were greeted by a wonderful salesman named Jim. He wasn’t pushy at all and listened to the things I was looking for in a car. Jim rode along with us as we drove the G6 sedan down the country road & back. I think I remember him saying something about keeping it at 45mph, but I found that to be next to impossible. That is one slick car for a 4-cyclinder!!

Even though it didn’t have a sunroof… or come in blue with the black interior anywhere in the city… the price was right; the gas mileage was right and I loved it!

I drove home my new 2008 Pontiac G6 in cranberry red with ebony interior that evening! Pictures to come.