Friday, September 2, 2011

The New Ride

Many of you may have guessed by the last post but in case you weren't sure, I sold my old car last weekend. I have been thinking about getting a new car for awhile (as evidenced by some of my earlier posts) however I really wanted to try and hold off becuase: A. the car was running okay and B. I didn't have a car payment. All of that changed while I was on my way to the beach with my mom and sister and my radiator blew leaving me on the side of the road waiting for a tow.

Although this wasn't the total disaster it could have been (luckily I was following my mom and sister who were riding in my mom's car and my mom was able to use her AAA membership to get me a tow) it still put a damper on my vacation and raised new worries about the reliability of my car. Although my car was fixed by the time I was ready to drive back to Atlanta ($469 later) the repair facility warned me that when my car over heated it could have done damage to the engine so I needed to pay attention to the temperature gauge on the drive home. If the gauge even moved a little to the hot side I was instructed to pull over and have someone look at it immediately. Thankfully, this did not happen and I was able to make it safely home. However, even though the car was technically "fixed" I decided it was time to sell it and look for a new ride. I was tired of taking chances.

I sold the Vitara privately through Craigslist. The ad was posted late Thursday night and the car sold on Sunday afternoon for $3,300 (I originally had it listed for $3,500). I was very, very pleased with this number especially considering that a dealership I visited was only going to give me $1,000 for it. Score!

On Monday Erik and I headed over to a local mall to check out some cars I had researched on Autotrader. I really loved my SUV so I wanted to try and find something similar. My mom drives a Nissan Rogue which I really liked, but I also decided to check out the Honda CR-V, the Toyota Rav4, and the Hyundai Santa Fe. We went to the Hyundai dealer first where I test drove a sweet 2010 Santa Fe. It had a lot of really nice features for only being the base model, including bluetooth, a wireless mp3 player (connects with your iPhone), XM radio, radio/cruise control buttons on the steering wheel, and a 4 year factory warranty. The salesperson we talked to was very nice and not pushy at all (which I greatly appreciated) but since Hyundai was only the first place I had looked I wanted to check out a couple other cars before making my decision.

So we headed over to the Honda dealer. I know that Honda has an excellent reputation and that their cars have great resale value. Unfortunately these things make them a little more expensive than similar vehicles and I had a pretty strict budget. After scrounging around their lot, this particular dealership was able to find a 2009 CR-V that had just been traded in that was within my price range--it hadn't even been detailed when I test drove it. It was the base model and was just kind of average in my opinion--nothing fancy or really special about it. It drove well and had a decent amount of space but after driving the Santa Fe it just seemed really plain and boring.

After driving the CR-V I had planned on heading over to the Toyota dealer to try out the Rav4 but it just so happened that Honda had a Rav4 on the lot. I took it for a drive and was really unimpressed. In my opinion the Rav4 was louder than the CR-V and the Santa Fe and I didn't like the interior at all. After the test drives I told the rep that if I had to choose I would pick the CR-V over the Rav4. He worked some numbers and was able to fit the price of the CR-V into my budget. It seemed that I had decision to make: the CR-V or the Santa Fe.

The CR-V had a clean car fax, 50k miles, no warranty, and all the "reliability and resaleability" that comes with buying a Honda. The Santa Fe was a year newer, 37k miles (which is a lot for a 2010 model), had a 4 year warranty, and one front end collision that showed up on the car fax (I was told that the damage appeared to have been only cosmetic--I know this could have been a sales tactic, but things under the hood looked good to me and this was a pretty reputable car dealership). The Santa Fe had a lot of really cool features and the CR-V was just kind of basic.

Can you guess which one I chose?

I picked...the Santa Fe. To me it was a no brainer. The Santa Fe was bigger than the CR-V, had a much nicer interior and lots of cool features, plus that 4 year warranty (which made me feel a little better about the whole front end collision thing). Sure Hyundai may not have the reputation of Honda yet but everyone I know who has driven a Hyundai has loved their car. I'll be honest when I say that before I drove the Santa Fe, I really thought I would end up with a CR-V or Rogue but I was very, very impressed with Hyundai. And I love my car. I mean I LOVE my car! I got a great price and it is so fun to drive. Plus I got an extended warranty (on top of the 4 years) which gives me 100% coverage on my car up to 97k miles. Can't beat that.

So without further ado, my new ride:

The front seat
So pretty!

Back seat--the seats recline!

Lots of awesome hauling capacity

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