Nonphenomenal Lineage

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Buying a Car

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Two Saturdays ago I test drove some vehicles at a nearby dealership. I tried the Toyota CRV, the Toyota RAV4, and the Honda Element. They all are fun to drive, and all fit my need of having a lot of space so I can move all my stuff to Nevada, but I think the CRV is kind of ugly, so I’m crossing that one off my list. I don’t think I can afford payments on a new car, since I can only afford to put down about $500 up front, so I have found two used cars that I like:

RAV4, Vin# JTEGH20V630086252

*Update* I looked up the vehicle on Kelly Blue Book. and here’s what I found! It’s listed at $13,140, so I might try to haggle my price down to that.

This RAV4 Has about 55K miles on it, is a 2001, and is an automatic. It’s priced at $15,681. I’m gonna go look at it this weekend, and, if I like it, I’m going to see if they’ll knock the price down to $14,800. I have the vin# and I’m going to look it up on Kelly Blue Book to see if anything fishy has happened with it since it’s been owned.

I think the RAV4 is SO cute, and it gets about 28MPG highway, which isn’t too bad! That’s what my Pontiac Sunfire got. The RAV4 is what I’ve always wanted; they always turn my head when I see them on the street. Not to mention, they’re super fun to drive! There’s more room than my Sunfire, so I think I should be able to fit everything in. And what I can’t fit, I’ll just ship.

Element, Vin# 5J6YH28573L027507

Here’s the Element. It’s a 2003, with 78K miles on it, but is priced a little under $14,000. It gets the same MPG as the RAV4. I believe this is an automatic too. The Element isn’t as fun to drive as the RAV4, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up 10 fold in handling and supberb design. The Elements have amazing turning radius’ and can fit into tiny spaces. I tested parking it, and it was a breeze. Also, Honda’s design team has done a spectacular job making every square inch of the car have a specific function.

For instance, the plate that covers the spare tire folds out into a picnic table. If you fold the back and front seats down, it forms a bed. The car is designed so you could practically clean it out with a garden hose. It’s got spaces for everything, and the back seats fold up against the sides of the car so that the space in the back is maximized. The back of the Element is HUGE. It reminds me of an ice cream truck. Also, the salesman mentioned to me that it’s kind of like driving a mix between a Mini Cooper and a Hummer, which made me laugh, because he’s right, as improbable as that sounds.

The price is good on this one, but the downside is the mileage. Almost 80K. However, the reason I’m considering it is because of Honda’s amazing reputaton for vehicle longevity. (Toyota too, in fact, these are the only two car companies I have even considered).

I am hoping to buy the car maybe this weekend. The dealership said they would store it for me until I leave, which is awesome. I think also, that all I would have to put down is the down payment, and then I wouldn’t have to start making actual car payments until I picked it up at the end of August.

I was a bit intimidated by the huge dealership from which I’m buying this car, they have like 28 stores throughout New England. There’s plenty of competition, so I don’t feel like I’m supporting a monopoly, but I am still a little worried about getting scammed.

I’m trusting my gut reaction and women’s intuition to guide me through this uncertain territory. Oh, and the wonderful help of both my father and this awesome article I found on the internet. I’m also dragging along Ariana to the dealership, so I can take advantage of the supreme haggling skills she’s acquired throughout her travels in Africa.

Now I have to start thinking about insurance. Apparently, both Massachusetts and Nevada are famous for high insurance rates, so looks like I’m going to have to pay a lot whether I buy my policy from MA or NE.

This is a big decision for me and just a little bit scary, because I really want to make the right choice. I don’t think I can go wrong with either Honda or Toyota when it comes to quality, but I’m still a little concerned about getting a lemon. Perhaps I should take it to a mechanic? I need to research how much they cost to do a check up on the car.


Current listening to: Magnet


Written by pocheco

June 29, 2006 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Hi there. By your post you sound like you’ve done all your research. Go with your gut, definitely and I really don’t think you can go wrong. As for taking the car to a mechanic, make it a couple.

    A “friend” of mine who was a mechanic helped me with my first used car. He told me the car was great so I bought it. A couple weeks later I was trading it in for something else ’cause it needed too much work and parts were going to be too expensive.

    I’ve learned from that that mechanics are hard to trust when you’re a woman. I’ve been screwed by them (not all the same place) a couple times since then so take the vehicle to as many mechanics as you need to. I wouldn’t rely on just one. If they all say the same thing you’re good to go.

    Good luck and congrats on the new car!


    June 29, 2006 at 2:54 pm

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