Sunday, June 21, 2009

Alas, the long car search has finally ended...

So about 2 months ago we started entertaining the idea of getting a new car. If we ever wanted to have another kid we'd have to get a new car seeing as children must be in booster seats til they're 35 and we couldn't fit 3 across in our Charger. Not to mention it had been about 10 months since our last car switcharoo and in my time, that's LONG.

So we began our search. Our list included:

Honda Odyssey

Honda Pilot

Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Toyota Sequoia

Toyota Sienna

Volvo XC90

Land Rover LR3

Nissan Armada

Nissan Pathfinder

Acura MDX

Mazda 5

Dodge Durango

We researched blue book, safety, crash test ratings, JD Power & Assoc., reliability, resale value, etc. and were quite surprised by many things we found. For example, we had always thought that the Volvo was the safest car out there. Both my oldest brother and my youngest brother rolled & ran into a tree (respectively) and escaped unscathed. Apparently that is no longer the case.

We looked into the Mazda 5 (the mini minivan) just to find out that it had less space than any of the SUVs we looked at and in my opinion, should no longer be allowed to carry the title of "minivan." I mean, if I'm going to drive a minivan, I'd like it to have the features that a minivan should, like lots of seating, lots of cargo space. Poor Mazda 5 was like the ugly stepsister.... but affordable. I'll give it that much.

I also realized that nearly all used minivans come thrashed inside. I was excited about the prospect of a 2006 Honda Odyssey under $20k with Nav & DVD, early on in our search, only to find out that the previous owners children and dog had exploded inside.

I think the reason we've had such a high turnover rate in cars is because we've always settled. We've never really gotten the car that we want with the features that we want and merely purchased based on our budget alone. So when we finally compiled a list of MUST haves in our new vehicle we came up with the following:

Seating for 7-8
Rear DVD
High resale value
Gets at least 20mpg on the highway
Less than 60k miles on the engine
Around $20k

So little by little, vehicles were getting ruled out. The Highlander Hybrid was out of our budget, the Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequioa, & Land Rover got horrible gas mileage. The Durango had a terrible resale value, the Volvo had awful ratings (safety & reliablity), couldn't find a Sienna or Odyssey with AWD in our price range. So it came down to the Acura MDX & Honda Pilot.

Seeing as the Acura MDX is basically a luxury Honda Pilot. it didn't really matter which way we went as long as we got the features and the price we wanted. After looking at the brand spanking new Honda Pilot and doing the math, we realized a 2006 would suit us just fine. After a couple of failed attempts at negotiating during previous weekends, we headed up to Portland sans kids on Saturday. We initially went to look at a 2006 Acura MDX with Nav, DVD, leather and only 45k miles for $21k: a sweet deal. Too bad as soon as we got there there was another family with 2 kids in the process of financing it. Awe snap. I gave them dirty looks as we left.

So off to the Honda dealership. This particular Pilot was a 2006 EXL with the rear entertainment package. It drove great, had 55k miles on it, Honda certified... and after a LONG day of negotiating and 2 months of research, we drove home with our new car!

HOWEVER, last night we decided to try and figure out the DVD system and ended up getting completely locked out of our car because it thought we were trying to steal it. I about freaked out. Fortunately, Tony called the dealership this morning and we got "unlocked" and we are going to get our DVD player fixed tomorrow morning. Goodtimes.

Despite last nights craptasticness, we are officially done car shopping! Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts and opinions on cars with me! It was very enlightening... I think we'll have this one for a while... This is the first time I've ever wanted to "pimp my car." I want new rims, running boards, tinted glass... I know... I'm ridiculous. But if you know me, and the way I work (Example A: when Tony & I got married I refused to use any of our wedding gifts in our apartment because it was only temporary. We could only use them once we bought a house. Example B: I didn't want to paint, redo our floors or tile our countertops in our house until I knew we'd be staying there a while.) then you'd know that if I want to improve on something then it's something I really want to keep.


Kellie said...

Glad the car shopping process is over and I hope the Pilot works out for you!

susan said...

The next time we're in the market for a car I am totally coming to you for advice. :)

Kerri Anne said...

Sweetness! You are thorough car owners, for sure. xo

Jennie said...

Congratulations!! :)
I'm so surprised about the Volvo research! Most of these cars are on my "list" whenever I get around to getting a new car - probably a few years though. I really like the Volvo SUV...but I'll be knocking that one off the list. :/

I'll be keeping an eye on you and how long you do end up keeping your Pilot. :) It's also probably the most realistic one that I'd end up with.

...or my absolute dream car - a BMW X5...if I could actually talk Mike into getting a Beamer. :)

Cardas Photography said...

You are the complete opposite car buyer as me. Each time I have purchased a car, I didn't really need to, and it was the first/only one I drove. lol

Carrie said...

Angela, I have only once bought a car after it being the first one I drove based on the fact I had no clue what I was doing and I let the dealer walk all over me. It was my first car buying experience. I've become a season purchaser of vehicles since then... and I have to be thoroughly educated before making a decision.

Susan, most definitely let me know next time you're in the market for a new vehicle. I think it's become an obsession. I don't know what to do with my time now that I'm not sitting in front of the computer researching cars.

Jennie, I am with you about the Volvo. My grandparents always swore by them and I was highly disappointed to find out the XC90 performed less than par. I was ready to buy one based solely on the Volvo name.

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