I think I’ve found my next car

After much deliberation and waffling and driving myself (and I’m sure those around me) nuts, I believe I have found the car that I’m going to buy.

I decided early this year that I was going to get a new car. I currently have a 1997 Pontiac Grand Am. I’ve had it for almost 9 years (I’d hit 9 in July). I can’t roll down the driver’s side window … the motor is pretty much dead (would cost $300 to fix). The wiper switch is screwed up (has been since last summer). If I hit a bump, it sets off the wipers. And if I do need to turn the wipers on, I have to fiddle with the damn switch to get them to turn back off (and it would be another $300 to fix).

Since I first decided I wanted a new car, I was sure I wanted a Chevy Impala. I think part of it had to do w/ NASCAR (yes, I’m a silly girl). My uncle has 2 Impalas (one personal and one work), and another aunt and uncle have one as well. Both said they loved theirs and that they were good cars. I was also considering a Dodge Stratus. Robin has one, and it’s a nice car (I’ve ridden in it a time or 2 or 3 or 50). The only problem with that choice is that there really aren’t any around the area (and I’ve been looking in Fargo/Moorhead, Grand Forks, Detroit Lakes, and Wahpeton). I recently started to consider the Honda Accord. You just can’t overlook the Honda’s reliability.

I got a subscription for Consumer Reports online for a month to research things. As I said, my search was focused on the Impala, Stratus, and Accord. It was when I looked at the reports that I started to no be sure sure about the Impala anymore and starting considering the Accord a little more. But then again … I had my heart set on an Impala. I was seeing them all over town.

I talked to my bank to see what kind of rate I could get. It turns out they’ve got a special going on right now of 4.49%. I thought that was pretty damn good and didn’t think I could find a better rate at any dealership. The only bad thing about that is that they only financed 80% of the car. The other 20% would have to be a down payment and my trade in. I was planning on doing some sort of down payment, but I didn’t want to take that much out of savings.

I’ve been slowing researching things since the beginning of the month. I finally got down to business (last nite and this morning) with figuring my limit and my down payment limit and searching for a dealership that had the car I wanted on their lot. I was figuring things based on financing through my bank, and I didn’t even take into account any trade in (since I wasn’t sure what I’d get for my car). I put together a spreadsheet to figure out what I could afford. After figuring all that out, I was shopping online. I had already found some cars that I was interested in … mostly Impalas but a couple Accords.

The more that I looked at a 2007 Accord at Muscatell Kia, the more I wanted to at least check it out. I decided at about 4:15pm this afternoon that I would go over and check it out. I was just going to take a peek at it. I didn’t really plan to do much else. I wasn’t even sure I was going to do a test drive today, but I was at least considering doing so. As soon as I drove on the lot and got out of my car by the Accord, a salesman made a beeline for me (not surprising). He went and got the key and I sat down and checked things out … the fit of the driver’s seat, the trunk, the backseat (which folds down).

He then suggested a test drive, so we took it out. I went out on I-94 and then a little around the area of the dealership. The only thing I noticed was that there was a slight vibration at highway speeds. He said they’d check it out. Hopefully it’s just that a tire is out of balance or something simple like that. Otherwise it drove nice. I barely touched the accelerator and the thing took off … not used to that. Just as responsive with the brakes. Of course I had to check out the radio. Good sound. I’m not an audio geek, but it sounded good to me. It doesn’t have an auxiliary jack for my iPod, but it does have a 6 disc changer. I’ll look into some sort of FM transmitter thingy so I can use my iPod, but I having the ability to load 6 CDs should be good enough. The only other thing it’s missing is an auto start, but he said they could put that in and include it in the financed price. Of course he mentioned the ‘top of the line’ one … one that reports back if the car starts or not. I’m not sure I really need that. I might just go with the standard one that doesn’t report back. Either way, adding an auto start will add less than $10 to the monthly payments.

Speaking of the monthly payments … My intention was to go through my bank, but I agreed to let the dealer check things out so I could see what they could offer. It turns out they were actually able to beat my bank. If I went through my bank, the financing would have been for 48 months since it was a 2007. Through the dealer, I could get 60 months. With my bank, it would have been 4.49%, but through the dealer (and since my credit is so good) it was 4.25%. That really surprised me. I didn’t think a dealer would go so low. And they’re gonna give me $1000 for my car. I thought I’d be lucky to get $500 for it, so I was very please to hear them say $1000. The car went from being at the top of my price range, almost out of my comfort zone to being right in the middle of my comfort zone.

I left the dealership without buying it, but I told them that I would be back on Monday during my lunch hour with my decision. I said I was 90% certain I would be buying it. In actuality, I think I made the decision before I left, but I wasn’t gonna buy it today. I need to make sure it’s the right choice. I did a little more looking around tonite and wasn’t able to find another Accord that I liked that was any cheaper. And after taking a peek inside an Impala while I was there, I no longer wanted one of those. It just didn’t look like it fit me. I think I fell in lust with the Accord just by looking at the listing online. Oops.

Tomorrow after the race I’ll clean all my crap out of my Grand Am and get all my papers together. Monday morning I’m going to call my insurance agent to see how much it would cost to insure the Accord. Then on lunch, I’ll go to the dealership (luckily it’s just down the street from work) and finalize everything. I wanna take it out on another test drive if they’ll let me, especially since I wasn’t really ready for the one I took (I didn’t have my notes or checklist from Consumer Reports). I’m hoping that by the end of the day, I’ll have a new car. I’m not sure how long it will take for them to address the vibration, but hopefully it won’t be too long. And I’m sure I can schedule the auto start installation at a later date. I set a goal of having a new car by the end of this month … it looks like I will actually meet that goal. 🙂

This is what it looks like. I hope it’s the right one for me.

2007 Honda Accord SE

Comments

  1. Hi —

    Great to hear that you used Consumer Reports to help you purchase your new car. Even though ConsumerReports.org is a paid subscription site we do have some helpful free content. [links removed by site admin]

    Han K.
    Consumer Reports

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