Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I'm in the market for a new car. This is all new to me. Never bought a new car before in my life.Considered it once or twice, but then always went for the cheaper, used option (or hand-me-down from family, long, long ago!). So I want to make sure I make the right choice.

Here's what I'm considering:

Option #1 - The Toyota Prius.

This car is very soothing to the sensible side of me. It calms the wanna-be tree-hugger deep down inside. But, in reality, the incredible gas mileage is really and truly lost on me. I currently drive a Jeep Cherokee, and only filled the tank once in the last three weeks. Still have half a tank, even though this weekend I actually had a "date night." So, better for the environment, yes, but I'm thinking I'm not really the target market for this vehicle. Plus, the inside is really, really small, and there's no hatch really, to speak of. The battery is back there, and there's virtually no room for stuff, much less a 5-year old to change into his soccer practice clothes!

Option #2 - Scion HB.

Okay, now I KNOW I'm really not the target market for this car, but it's appealing to my space needs. I'm pretty much over the fear of the Scion name-brand, since it's actually made by Toyota, and the shape of this car has been looking better since 2007. Much less like a pickup truck with a box around it, and more like a low-rider SUV. It gets just "okay" gas mileage, but like I said before, that's pretty much lost on me - I drive 2 miles to my office, another two miles from there to pick Zac up from school, then another 2 miles back to the house. I live, work, and do the mom-thing in a teeny tiny triangle. What's really appealing about this car is the price, and that may just be what gets me. I can soup this thing up with whatever the heck I want, and still have a car payment of about $250/month. Very easy to double up on if I want, and easy on the wallet in case the miracle of all happens, and I find an affordable, safe place for my son and I to live - you know, somewhere where we actually pay rent, not just a bill here and there to help out!

Option #3 - The Dodge Caliber.

I just plain think this car looks cool. It also has the price going for it, since it's a very reasonably priced car. Size-wise, it's pretty similar to the Jeep, which is also very appealing, considering my son's love for changing into his soccer gear in the back of the car. Seems he no longer thinks it's cool to go into the ladies room with mom. Go figure.

The hesitation with this one is that I'm hearing about company troubles with Dodge. Something about a takeover, or buy-out or something else. I'm going to go research some more and see what I can come up with, but I'm also looking forward to a free night or weekend where I can do some test-driving.

I also won't buy from a salesman who treats me like I don't know anything about the car. In this day and age, I think they should expect that the customer has researched a bit in advance, and not try to tell you things like "well, you can't get a standard transmission in anything but the top of the line model." DUH. Like I haven't "built" online versions of the car and know that they can get any model in any transmission I want (minus the Prius, of course). The Dodge dealership in Waldorf, MD is already off my list because of a silly mistake like that!

Wish me luck!


Blogger Theresa said...

On Saturday, I traded in my Jeep Cherokee for a Hyundai Tucson. The Tucson doesn't have as much cargo room as the Jeep, but it has a much bigger back seat: as in adults would actually fit back there comfortably!

It is my first new car too. I love it!

Or course, the tree hugger in me wanted a hybird too, but price and size didn't make them practical for me. Hopefully next time! And since I work at home, I filled up my Jeep once every two months. Once in three weeks for someone who actually drives places every day is amazing for Jeep!

Good luck!

11:52 AM  
Blogger LisaBe said...

we went through this last summer, too, with a lot of the same kinds of thoughts. we really wanted to be hybrid owners--we make an effort to be green in our behaviors and our purchases, we could afford it, and we are totally smack dab in that target demographic. but we really wrestled with the space issue: we buy a lot of big-box stuff (costco, home-improvement stores, ikea) and shop a lot of second-hand stuff (construction junction, yard sales, estate sales), plus we have two big dogs and take a few road trips each year. all of these things require more space than the prius or the civic hybrid (the other contender in that category) allowed--the civic seats didn't even fold down! ultimately, we decided that, as little as we drive, between him taking his bike or public transit if he doesn't ride with me and me telecommuting at least half time, we would better serve our needs to buy a small, good-quality suv that we could drive for a really long time (read: not junk any time soon). our honda cr-v is an absolute dream in which to spend time, as driver or passenger, is spacious, and gets 22-26 mpg--which, at the number of miles we drive, is okay with us. (we just flipped 7,500 miles and we've had the car since june 2006; most of that is road trips, or highway driving.)

anyway, i highly, highly recommend this route. and i also recommend our sales person, gerry, at valley honda in monroeville. totally no pressure at all, gave us a very fair deal (we'd done the pricing info at consumerreports.org so we knew what was fair), and we got exactly the car we wanted. i love it every time i drive it!

9:11 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

I hate patronizing salespeople!! I have also come to the conclusion (after much resistance) that we need an SUV for our second vehicle, now that my husband's car has finally died after 14 years of service. It seems so like a "default" which is why I resisted it, but I guess there is a reason that everyone has them - they really are practical. I say go for the last one. All the car companies are so screwed up that you can't really go by that. (spoken by someone whose customers are the OEMs and who previously used to work for one.)

7:01 AM  

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