Discussion in 'January And Everything After' started by Marcus, Jan 17, 2012.
This is where the cars live. Get you one!
I was surprised to realize yesterday afternoon that I had off work today because of the holiday, so I test drove a few more cars. Started by trying to drive a Volkswagon Passat, but the dude said there was only one on the lot that was in the model I wanted, and the General Manager's wife had borrowed it for the day. Must be nice. He said he'd call me when she brought it back, but he never did. So I'm gonna go find another VW dealer.
Next looked at the Honda Accord, where the salesperson seemed confused as to where he was or what to do when I said I'd like to look at some cars. I think he was kinda new. Drove both the 4 cylinder and the V6. I like that car a lot; it seems to have a lot of nice features and is put together well. I'm intrigued by the Pandora music service that the guy said they offer. Seems like it's streaming music service like XM Radio that you don't have to pay a subscription to. I'm dubious, though, and will research more.
Looked at the Toyota Camry hybrid because my wife insisted. It gets really good gas mileage and has much better performance than I expected from a hybrid, but a lot of stuff about the interior of that car seems cheap and not particularly well made. She's interested in it because it gets 40 mpg, but I don't like it and have pretty much written it off.
The car that I LOVE, though, is the Audi A4. Just really well put together, slick construction, tight and responsive ride. It's only a 4 cylinder engine so it gets decent gas mileage, but it has as much pep as bigger engines. It felt like driving a V6. And the A4 is loaded with all kinds of cool bells and whistles, like full voice command for the nav (and the phone, of course). And it's got a hard drive that will let you rip your CDs to store up to "2,000 songs." And did I mention how well it drives? It's by far my favorite car so far, but is priced $10,000 or more than a lot of the others I'm looking at. Will be a tough decision.
More test drives tomorrow. Hopefully the Passat and a Volvo S60. Then this weekend if I haven't made a decision I may drive some of the other more luxury-type cars that are on the list but probably don't have a chance of making it through any kind of reason-based decision making here: a Mercedes-Benz C-class, a BMW 3-series, and a Lexus IS-250.
I really like that Audi A4, though...
I've had Pandora for a few years, and I like it well enough, though Mr. Alligator prefers Last.fm. I was under the impression that getting Pandora for a use that was non-browser required a subscription, but I'm not sure, since I don't own any devices smart enough to have Pandora.
Not sure if anyone is still interested in hearing about this, but we looked at a couple more cars today.
Volvo S60 T5 was first. My wife really liked this car, and I admit that it was slick. Drove a little mushy with the steering and the V5 was lacking in pickup. So we had the guy get us a T6, which felt way more powerful. Had a total "Oh, shit!" moment when I started to floor it on the highway entrance. The car is one of the more expensive that we've looked at, but it's got some nice safety features. The salesperson had me experience the collision detection system by letting it coast at about 10 mph towards a barricade they'd set up in the lot. I had to fight some really strong impulses not to stomp on the brakes, but sure enough when we were just a few feet away the car rose up and rebelled against its human master by slamming on the brakes itself. What my wife really likes, though, is that the dealership was offering free service on the car for 5 years / 50k miles --including wear and tear items like brakes, synthetic oil changes, etc. Only thing not covered are tires. That's pretty appealing, so the Volvo is staying on the short list.
Next we tracked down a Volkswagen dealer that had the Passat V6 SEL Premium in stock and tried that. It looks good on paper in that it has almost all the features we'd want on the lower end of our price range, but it just didn't feel that good driving and some of the controls and stuff felt a little cheap. And it had this awful wood paneling trim on the inside that I hate because it makes it look like an old man car. They didn't have any without that. So I think the Passat is off the list.
Tried to go back and drive the V6 Nissan Altima, but they didn't have any V6s in stock. Said they'd get some in next week. Okay, guess I'll either wait or drive across town to another dealer.
Almost done test driving at this point. Just have the Lexus IS to check out, since it seems to be in our range. My sister recommended an Acura, but the reviews I've read all seem to say you'd be better off just buying a loaded Honda Accord for a lot less. Priced out some BMW 3 series, but as much as I'd like to consider one they got too expensive once I started adding in the features and packages comparable to other cars I've looked at.
So I think the short list right now is the Audi A4, the Honda Accord, the Nissan Altima, and the Volvo S60.
For cars with streaming services like Pandora, am I correct to assume that they have some kind of cellular data device/plan that's included with the purchase of the car?
So my wife accidentally threw out the ownership papers of my car, and it is now off the road (couldn't get MOT without the papers, taking some time to replace them)
2000 songs is like 8 gigs. Not really what counts as a hard drive at this point.
Plus, according to the Top Gear guys Audi has replaced BMW as the car for pretentious losers. :-)
You're right; he must have just gotten the number wrong or I misremember. The Internets say it's a 20 gigs.
This reminds me of the time when I was a kid, about 8 or 9 years old and talking with some of the other neighborhood kids about kinds of dirt bikes we'd want to get. I said I wanted a green one, and one of the other boys guffawed at that, saying that having a green bike means that you're horny because that's what green means. I didn't exactly know what "horny" meant at the time but I sure knew I didn't want to be seen as that horny guy with the green bike, so I was all like "Pft, yeah, I don't want a green bike. That's ...dumb. I want a red one like you."
Point is, I'm not nine anymore.
Well, it's certainly true where I live. The kind of guy that always wears a (usually very bright coloured) polo shirt with the collar up, too tan for the season (for any season really), teeth a little too white, maybe wears a gold chain and definitely a very large gold watch, then you can be pretty certain he's driving an Audi. Or a Porsche Cayenne.
Audi is currently sitting in pole position of "car makes most likely to try to kill me when I'm riding my bike to work".
It's true that a lot of pretentious gits here drive Audi or BMW, but if I could afford either, I really wouldn't give a shit. They're nice cars. I much prefer the BMW 3-series to the A4, but if that's out of your range, I understand why you're looking at Audi. But in a world where price is not a consideration, I find Audi almost as dull as you find the Passat. Just like that screams old man's car to you, the Audi screams upper class twit with more money than taste to me.
When that is said, my brother drives a very nice Passat with all the extras and no fake wood interior (he lives in Sweden where prices are 1/3 what they are here), a very good friend has a nice BMW 3-series (not a twit, but she does think that speed limits are more of a suggestion than a rule) and two sets of friends drive Audi A6's (one has his own small company and the other is schoolteacher, who's always been good at saving for stuff - none are gits). So generalization only gets you so far.
To be an upper class twit with more money than taste is one of my greatest aspirations in life. Who the hell wouldn't want that?
I like the BMW 3s a lot, too, but when I priced one out with my must-have features the price was $10k more than what I think of as the top of my price range. And it wasn't actually the entire Passat that made me think old man car; I like the body style just fine. It was just the wood trim on the inside. I just don't like how that particular part of the car looks, and the Passat seemed to have more of it than others I'd look at. I greatly prefer dark leather with chrome/aluminum trim. That looks slick.
I went to the Seattle auto show today. Its not a major show so they don't get exclusives or debuts, but you do get a chance to sit in a lot of cars.
On the subject of luxury brands, I found I like the Cadillac's best. They are a lot better then they used to be and also have a distinctive style. I was not as impressed by the new ATS, though.
It is interesting how much VAG and BMW have pulled ahead of the Japanese on petrol engines - whereas 10-15 years ago it was Honda & Toyota leading. I can't help but think that hybrid is a dead end. Oh well, time will tell. But the new VAG 4cyl twin turbo that shuts down two cylinders when pootling will give as good or better milage as a hybrid without the batteries and extra motors, and the new range of BMW 4 pots are scary good, both petrol and diesel. When they bring out 3 cyls in 2013 (for the new Mini at first) - will be an intriguing package. But yeah, you pay for the extras...
I do like the concept of range extender, especially if/ when you swap a piston engine for a gas turbine (like an APU on an aircraft) Much more robust engine design, and can run on much wider range of fuel. But presumably big environmental issues to iron out to get a small turbine engine to burn clean. And the Volt shows that range extenders aren't yet financially competitive
It's interesting, yes. Already when you guys started raving about the Prius we had the VW Lupo with the new Stop & Go diesel getting better MPG.
Now stop & go are in a lot of cars - even the big ass Mercedes .
Those internal hard drives can be kind of worthless because many of them only allow you to rip songs from CDs. Dedicated iPod connector or bluetooth audio is the way to go.
Also FWIW the g37x is a nice car. If you shop around you can get a pretty killer deal on one (at least I did when I got one in 2009). The rear drive basis for the g37 makes a big difference over a front drive Altima.
Yeah, I'm starting to think I should take another look at the g37x. I may have gotten a little bit of a bad impression because the salesguy seemed to think I was just window shopping and joy riding, as opposed to being the kind of person who would actually buy an Infinity. Probably because I mentioned the Altima and Accord in the list of other cars I was considering when he asked. And I was even wearing a collared shirt and slacks! What more does he want?
So looking at some of the sites like Edmunds.com and kbb.com that let you get MSRP, invoice, and "true value price" the latter of which is supposedly what others in your area have been paying. Sometimes, though, the true value price is well below invoice. Why is that? Is it a small sample problem where people either provided inaccurate data, got some sweet incentive or rebate or loyalty reward, or something along those lines? I'm just wondering how realistic a "you should pay this price" price is if it's below invoice.
A lot of it has to do with those rebates and incentives and how willing dealers are to make deals on particular models. Edmunds true market value FAQ is here.
Grr. I tried using Carsdirect.com and edmunds.com to get price quotes, but am having no luck. Per the websites I was supposed to provide all the details I wanted, then get a quote from local dealers. One guy just wrote me to invite me in for a test drive. I wrote him back saying I wanted a quote, and he just provided the non-sequeter that I could might be available for a rebate. Another guy tried calling me (at home, where I am not) even though I had said I wanted e-mails only. Another asked what kind of car I wanted, even though all that was supposedly passed through by the website. The only one to send me a quote actually sent me three on three different cars, none of which were particularly close to the trim and options I had specified.
Fail. If I'm going to deal with someone in person, it's going to be the guy who has taken me for two test drive and worked with me so far. I tried e-mailing him asking for a quote, but he hasn't answered. I'm going to have to actually go down there in person, aren't I?
more seriously, just try expanding it out by another 60 miles or whatever and say "Hey, people keep NOT giving me a quote, so if you want to make a sale, just give me a good quote, since no one else is"
Or just invert it, don't argue with sales reps, just go in and say "This is the price, yes or no?"
Sadly hardcore haggling is a difficult skill to develop in a retail society like ours.
What I have done for a couple of my last three cars is figure out exactly what I want (and pick 2 or 3 color combos) then just call (very important) every dealer and say bottom line it for me and if you are lowest I am coming in to buy today. This works well with any car with a decent amount of stock. I got 5k off of my g37x that way and 5k off of my wife's VW EOS. I did not employ that tactic for my Evoque because there were like 5 within 30 miles and it just wasn't going to work.
Edit: be very up front with what you are doing, no need to play games with them, just be honest.
Xaroc, do you have them e-mail you the offer in writing or is the implicit threat of going to the next guy on the list enough to keep them from pulling an "Oh, that price doesn't include..." move once you're there?
I didn't with either of those deals and they worked out ok. The g37x they had to get me from another dealer but they were right on the money. I had the payment calculated to within a dollar and they hit it.
Just make sure to say no to all the "extras" in the finance office and you are golden.
I may try that. I want to buy on Wednesday since I'm off work. Also paying cash so that makes things more straight forward.
Possibly. Sometimes they'll work a price down on the assumption that they'll make some back during financing (just like they do with a trade in). If they can swing a financing deal that is ultra low percentage that saves you money on the total price then it may make sense to take it then pay it off immediately.
In our case, we had a financing off of 1.9% with 0 down over 72 months, which is absolutely worthwhile since that cash can be rolled into paying off higher percentage debts or (more risky) put into investments and generating a return.
Yeah, that's been my experience with that, too. People say it's worked for them, but in my experience, it ends up being the "get on our spam lists forever" option. I suppose you could call on the phone, but honestly I'd rather go to a dealership than talk on the phone.
I've heard people have success doing the direct approach via email. And by direct I mean they directly contact each dealer (not through an intermediary), explain what they want and how they will pay for it, and mention they are sending the same message to competitors. Basically, anyone who doesn't want to play ball gets dropped right away. If you are in an area where you have multiple dealers competing with the same car you can get enough of them to respond the way you want and go from there.
For example, there are something like 10 Subaru dealerships either in or close to Seattle. I'm pretty sure I could get some bottom line offers out of at least a few of them via email.
Wait, what? I think he's fuzzy on what at least one of those phrases means.
All right. I bought my car this morning! Like I said, I kind of liked the Audi A4, but in my final analysis some of the things people in this thread stuck with me. I didn't want to be "that guy" and I guess image does matter. Click the spoiler below to see what I ended up choosing instead.
The process went pretty well. I followed Xaroc's suggestion yesterday and called all the dealers in the area to give them the "I want X car with Y and Z options. I'm calling everyone else with the same request and will buy it at 9am tomorrow morning from the one with the best price." This ...didn't work all that well, possibly because there weren't a whole lot of the car I wanted on lots here in town. So what three of the four places did was tell me that they didn't have that configuration and that it would be a 120 day wait, but they didi have this other car that wasn't exactly what I wanted. At least one of them was outright lying in an attempt to move what inventory they had on hand, because I called them back, talked to another salesperson, and he reported having two different cars that the first guy never mentioned. Whenever I asked if they could trade with other dealers or something along those lines, they said no they couldn't.
Fortunately the last place I called was the place (and the salesperson) I had done two test drives with and he was very accommodating and helpful. He said he didn't have exactly what I wanted in stock, but he could see that there were some cars right off the boat in Houston that he could trade with another dealer for and get to me in about a week. Went in this morning and got him to come down a bit from the price he quoted me, and I was happy with it since it was almost exactly what all my research told me was a fair price for that car. They appraised my trade in (a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GT) and only noted one of the many mechanical problems I knew it had. They offered me exactly what Kelly Blue Book said it was worth, so I took that offer too.
Now I just got to wait and I'm super excited! I know there are nicer cars out there, but I think this qualifies as the first really nice car I've ever owned. It's a bit unnerving because it costs more than anything I've ever bought that wasn't a house, but I'm paying cash and my finances are all in order elsewhere in my life. The "grew up poor" kid in me can't believe it, but I think it's going to be okay.
I love Audis. A few years ago (well, more than a few) I did my research and test drove the hell out of an S4. I loved the ride, couldn't get enough of the thing. The salesman was grinning like an idiot because it was probably going to be his easiest sale of the month. I went tearing through parking lots, up and down hills, racing around the Beltway, all kinds of fun.
My wife was surprisingly cold about the car. She's usually supportive or at worst indifferent, but she kept nitpicking and finding things to dislike about the car, the ride, the dealership, etc. Not enough to give me second thoughts, but I knew I'd be doing a bit of penance. When we sat down to sign for the car, the ice vibes were enough to give me chills.
Finally, she insists on interrupting the deal and pulling me off to the side. After a few terse sentences, I had to walk back, cancel the deal, make some apologies, and take off.
Turns out she'd just found out she was pregnant. She'd been waiting to make a nice surprise out of it, but felt that getting a "sports" car with a kid on the way was a bad idea.
Point is, I take a certain voyeuristic pleasure in anyone enjoying an Audi. Have fun!
I hear it's a nice car, enjoy!
If you don't drive like that guy, you won't be that guy. And it is a nice car.
Okay, it's not black.
Speaking of black, though, I'm kicking myself pretty hard right now because the dealer is running a Black Friday deal where you get a $500 gift card to Macy's (a department store that sells clothes and home goods) if you bought a car before 9 am. I e-mailed the sales guy and the general sales manager telling them they needed to give me one.
You did buy it before 9am, after all.
I know! Right?
I know Macy's. It's a dangerous place:
All that means is that if they were negotiating on a car before 9AM today, they'd refuse to go lower than $500 above what they'd normally go.
Woo, my car finally came in last night and I picked it up. Took a lot longer to get here from a boat in Houston than they led me to believe. But I drove it in to work this morning and by far my favorite thing is the bluetooth streaming. It just starts playing from the last active audio source on my phone, and turning off the sound system pauses the playback on the phone. And I don't have to wear headphones! And the AC/heating actually works! And the windshield wipers don't get stuck in the up position!
The phone took some getting used to, though. On my way home from the dealership my wife called me and I panicked, stabbing at every button within reach. I think I reset the trip meter, turned on the defroster, answered the call, opened the sunroof, then disconnected the call all within about five seconds.
Also, you guys, did you know they have porn on Sirius XM? They totally have porn channels on Sirius XM! Two of them! Huge missed opportunity not naming at least one of them something like "Keep both hands on the wheel, buddy."
Also also, my car is a mobile wifi hotspot. But only for the next six months unless I pay, which I don't think I will.
So I'm getting close to 100k miles on my Acura MDX, which is a great SUV, but it started me thinking about how much I miss having a sporty car in my life (my ride before that was an Acura CL). I think I might be due for what I'm terming a "practical mid-life crisis car" i.e. - something with some juice, but still practical enough to operate as a daily commuter and whatnot. I'd still keep my MDX for hauling my bigger toys (kayaks, etc), but the idea would be to keep it in the driveways most days.
The two options that I'm looking at most "seriously" right now are the BMW 135is and the BMW M3. Both seem like they could fit the bill, and the question I suppose becomes where the intersection of mid-life crisis desire for big performance numbers intersects with practicality and price differential (the M3 is about 20k more than the 135 new). I'd be interested in any thoughts y'all have (summoning
Eightball in particular here).
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