Monday, April 30, 2012

New Toy

As I mentioned in a previous post, we recently purchased a new "toy" for the hubby. I've been meaning to write a post about it for a little while now, but with the pile of school work that has surrounded me (along with a serious case of procrastination), I haven't gotten around to it. I was talking to Dan about the posts I need to write, and when I mentioned that I was going to do one about his new "toy," he asked if he could write it. I was a little surprised, but also a little excited that he wanted to get his feet wet in the world of blogging. We've even gone as far as making him his own account so that he can contribute to the blog whenever he feels like writing. So, without further ado, I'm going to turn over the reins to the hubby...

My wife has allowed me to take the keyboard for this post. During our spring break I asked if we could start our endeavour of looking for a new vehicle for me. It has been something I had been putting off. Sure, I had been researching car information online but it is no comparison to actually sitting down and driving the vehicle. Now I do have to admit, I am bias towards Chevrolet, but my brother convinced me to try other brands. After reviewing with my wife what we where looking for we came up with:

-Four door or two door car
-Gas mileage equivalent to our other vehicle
-Low mileage (less than 30,000 miles)
-No more than 2 years old
-Cruise control
-Comfortable long distance driving
-Decent trunk space
-Had to be within our budget

Speaking of budget, we decided that if we could find a vehicle that met our criteria and we could get it with a monthly payments below $200, we felt comfortable getting it. Now that's a low monthly payment but we also had a cash down payment of $4,000. On top of that we plan on trading in my old Saturn, which we figured we could get $500-$1000 for it. 

So with the list together and budget in mind we set aside a day and drove to the nearest dealership which happen to be a Chevy dealership! Just my luck, maybe I can convince my wife right off the bat! We started to look around at the new cars on the lot to see if any would happen to fit into our price range. Unfortunately none of the cars would unless I wanted a very small car like the new Chevrolet Sonic, which I did entertain the thought of, but immediately came to the conclusion that it was too small. We made our way over to the used section where once again I thought we would be in luck. They had a wide range of Chevy Malibu's in stock with multiple colors and interior. Boy were we shocked to see the price of the car versus the mileage on each. Almost all where over our mileage and almost over our budget.  I happen to like one, it was a White Malibu LT Automatic with a lot of nice features:

This car looked great until we saw one thing! 42,554 miles! That's a little too much! Especially since round trip to work is 104 miles a day (yes, that is all highway driving). So I decided I would entertain the sales person and take it for a test drive - never hurts, right? The sales person gets the tag and we are ready to go... Until the Low Fuel light comes on (there will a trend to this issue). So we take it for a test drive and I fall in love with the car, all except for the mileage. At this point I was really considering the purchase of the vehicle. After sitting down and filling out the information and multiple times of telling the sales person the monthly price isn't good enough we ended up walking away. 

We made our way into town where more of the dealerships are located. As I said before I am not one for other car brands but I decided to take my brothers advice and take a look at some others. Our first stop was a Niassan dealership. My middle brother currently owns a Nissan Versa but has had multiple problems including what seems like a misfire condition, bad gas mileage, and a constant check engine light. With this in mind, I already had a bad taste in my mouth regarding Nissans, but decided to take a look at their used inventory anyways. After not seeing anything interesting we left. 

We made our way to the next dealership. The KIA dealerships have been running an advertisement that with any trade-in you get $5,000 towards any new KIA. So I looked at the Rio, Forte and Optima. Our salesman asked us what our budget was and let us know even with the trade in and incentive we could not afford a new car. So he takes us around the lot and found a 2010 Kia Forte. The price was right and the mileage was as well. I took the vehicle for a test drive and could not get comfortable. Once again we left the dealership. At this point all the dealerships started closing down so we waited until the next day to continue our search. 

Day 2 of our search started out at a Hyundai dealership. Still not a fan of foreign cars, but worth a try. We looked through the used cars and didn't find anything. The salesperson, much to our surprise, wanted us to look at a new Hyundai Accent. I never thought I would like the vehicle but I was pulled in. After looking at their stock, only one caught my eye, but I still wasn't feeling 100% about it. He insisted on us being able to afford it so I took it out for a test drive. We started to get a little worried when he did not ask for my driver's license. I also mentioned the car needed gas so he decided to give us a $10 dollar bill and told us to fill it up at the corner station and bring it back without him in the car.  At this point we where both totally shocked and suspected there were hidden cameras in the car catching this and we would later be told we are on some TV show. We arrived back at the dealership handing the keys over to the sales person. I had decided the Accent was not the car for me. I didn't care for the interior and, again, it wasn't really that comfortable. 

By this point I was starting to feel like we were never going to find the right car for me. We stopped at another Chevrolet dealership. Started looking around at the used cars, but only found one that had a price on it. I got with a salesperson and asked more about this 2011 Chevy Cruze. This vehicle was red with chrome accents (not my style) but fully loaded. I asked if we could possibly afford this car and he told us no. But he knew the Service Manager was using a 2011 Chevy Cruze we could possibly afford. Unfortunately, their service manager took this vehicle home for the day - just our luck.  Th sales person wanted to confirm if I would like the vehicle so we took a new 2012 Chevy Cruze out for a spin. After the test drive I fell in love with the vehicle and didn't want to entertain the thought of any other car. I scheduled a day to come back and test drive the car that had been taken home, just to ensure this was the vehicle I want. 

We came back, much to the dealers' surprise, and I took this black 2011 Chevy Cruze LT for a test drive. This car confirmed not only my love for Chevrolet vehicles, but also that this was the car for me. We went back and had to do some haggling but got the price down to our range.

So here it is, my new toy!

Our Final Deal
Total Vehicle Cost: $17,947.64
After tax, tag, title, gap insurance and etc: $22,687.58
Trade in value: $1,952.83
Down Payment: $4,000
Total Loan Amount: $16,734.75
Monthly Payment: $223.13

We had originally said that we wouldn't take a monthly payment any higher than $200, which we didn't. Basically, our monthly loan payment was exactly $200. But, once you add gap insurance on top of that, it came out to $223.13. The wife didn't want to get the gap insurance. I have never had an accident but I didn't want Murphy's Law to show its head in this case. Especially with how much highway driving I do. So, I convinced her that the extra cost was worth it in the long run.

Here are some more pictures, including the car I traded in!

My old car. Will sure miss my Saturn!

My favorite picture!

More Car Details
2011 Chevy Cruze LT
1.4 L Turbocharged engine
12,986 miles at point of sale.
EPA estimate: 24mpg City / 36 mpg Highway
Black on Black interior
Cruise Control
16" Wheels

I've owned the car for over a month now, and I still love it! I get about 35mpg on the highway. The only downside  is with spring time comes bugs - I do have to clean the front of the car almost every weekend to keep those darn love bugs from making a lasting impression on the nose of the car. But overall, I'm definitely glad we went ahead and purchased this new car to replace the Saturn, which was starting to crap out on us.

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