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Sofa, car, whatever

I thought I might buy a new sofa this weekend, replacing the queen-sized sofa bed damaged by the long-departed Agatha-cat back when I lived in Jackson, Miss. However, Friday's attempt to give the current sofa to the son of my college roommate failed (he's a grad student at GaTech), making that shopping expedition somewhat less critical. Then my sister-in-law, knowing that I was planning to buy a car sometime this year, presented me with a half-joking plan: I could buy a new car this week, keep the old one through the summer, and then the nieces would both have vehicles to drive to their various activities of summer school, jobs, athletics, and so forth. In August older niece heads to college (Yale), and younger will go to Italy for her junior year of high school, and the folks next door will go from being -1 in the car-minus-driver equation to +1. I pondered this plan briefly, and decided it was feasible and would get the new-car decision made and the dreaded purchasing process done with.

SIL being very willing to assist (saving her from having to rent a car for the summer), we set out almost on impulse yesterday for me to test-drive the 2012 Honda CR-V. (My current car was a first-year CR-V...that's the 1997 model year.) The Honda drove fine, the interior met my tests of "is there a place my purse will fit?", and basically the car was a strong possibility but I needed more research on both competitors and pricing before trying to buy. I still like the "compact SUV/cross-over" body style for the ability to haul reasonable loads home from Home Depot, so looked at the Honda, the Subaru Forester, the Mazda CX-5, and the Ford Escape. (The Toyota RAV-4 got eliminated during sister-in-law's last car search--those things have a horrible center console that bumped up against my leg all the time.) A look at Consumer Reports knocked out the Ford, but the other three were possibles.

On the way home we stopped at a Costco for me to buy a membership and ask about their car-shopping service. I'd hoped this would be like my last purchase, made through my credit union, where I told them what I wanted, they got the car for a good price, and I just showed up a the credit union to pick it up. Those services seem to be gone, but Costco has an arrangement where you tell them the car you want (I did it via email), and they tell you a dealer who will call to make an appointment for you to come get a quote. Well, in my case the bid arrived in email about a hour later, and from the same dealer where I'd made the test drive. It was about $600 under the quote I'd gotten after the test drive, and as the CR-Vs aren't getting discounted much that seemed pretty good. (As SIL pointed out, it also would pay for the Costco membership.) I spent the evening on various car review sites, settled on wanting to drive the Subaru and the Mazda to see if either would be strikingly better than the Honda, and then would be ready to buy.

And so it worked out: SIL came over at 9 and we set out to beat the Memorial Day car-shoppers. Subaru was first, we had a nice low-pressure sales guy, and got to take it for a spin: I concluded it was very nice, had better visibility than the Honda but worse gas mileage, and would need a couple of additions to the base model to get it where I wanted. Off to Mazda, still ahead of any crowds, but where it took forever to actually locate a base model CX-5 Sport and to get it gassed up for a test drive. From my reading I expected the Mazda to handle much better than the Honda and maybe the Subaru, but instead my strongest impression was of the uncomfortable seat--felt like I was sitting on a square block of foam rubber. The Subaru actually had a better steering feel to me. After that it was back to the Honda dealer where my Costco quote had been passed along to the salesman who gave me the test drive yesterday. I drove the CR-V again, this time including a short stretch of interstate, and decided this was the car.

The paperwork took a long time even with me paying cash, and SIL made her most valuable contribution by firmly announcing "we'll go somewhere else" when the first price based on the Costco quote came with an extra fee "for pinstriping and mud flaps--all the dealers put them on, and they'll cost you more at ____". (That would have brought the purchase back to within $100 of the first quote.) I pointed out I'd asked him what number the Costco quote represented on yesterday's quote sheet and he'd said the "purchase price", which was before tax, title, and tag fee....no mud flaps and pinstriping. I made my calculation and had the bottom line figure in huge digits on my iPad screen, and he went away for a while, and returned with a handshake and "congratulations, you have a car". A further wait for the car to be washed and prepped, much signing of papers, I wrote a check, the salesman showed me some of the controls setup and got my phone paired with the Bluetooth, and off we went. SIL drove the old CR-V, I the new one, and we grabbed burgers and fries at Five Guys to celebrate. Got home at a little before 2 PM. Oh, and the dealership gave me a $50 gift card--I thought it was for the purchase, SIL thought it was just for taking a test drive. As long as it spends, who cares?

The new car is a 2012 Honda CR-V LX (the bottom model), in "Urban Titanium Metallic" which translates as bronze to my eye, or you could call it brown. The Bluetooth is going to be nice, as is the ability to play music or audiobooks through the sound system, the backup camera will be handy, but mostly I'm glad to be rid of the rattle that has persisted for the last few years in the old one.

On the sofa front, no takers on freecycle this weekend for the claw-damaged sofa bed. Will try again, and perhaps shop for a new one next weekend. In my new car.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
ann_mcn
May. 29th, 2012 09:36 am (UTC)
Congrats on the new car! The shopping details are good to know. I bought my 4Runner in 1997 via the Internet -- said what I wanted, what options, and received bids from the various dealers. With Consumer Reports, I knew what the fair price was and got my car with no annoying song and dance at the dealer.

That particular service is likely long gone, so it's good to know your process.
kk1raven
May. 29th, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
I hope you enjoy your new car.
filkferengi
Jun. 8th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!

You know, a library book sale or thrift store run are great ways to break in new cars. There's a new thrift store in Stockbridge & the Clayton Co Library book sale on Friday & Saturday June 29-30. Just so you know.

;)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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Nancy Barber

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