Sunday, July 14, 2013

Car Search Recap

For our new car Ceil wanted a small SUV. We are finally moving out of the dreaded minivan phase. We drive too many miles to lease a car, so we had to go used. Larger SUV's like the Highlander and Pilot are too expensive and don't get enough miles per gallon. These are the six models we considered most seriously.
Ceil's favorite was the Ford Edge. We looked at them at our first (and only) venture to CarMax. The Edge was at the top of our price range. I liked the styling as well, but was wary of Ford quality. After Ceil talked to our mechanic she wanted to focus on Honda or Toyota.

Next I took Ceil to the Toyota dealership to show her my favorite, the Venza. She immediately gravitated to the car next to it: the RAV4.  I had never liked the RAV4, and she didn't like the spare tire on the back. Seemed like only the 2009's were in our price range. My least favorite.
While at the Toyota dealership Ceil checked out a good-looking white 2010 Prius. Even though it would be too small for extended trips, the great gas mileage would make taking two cars on trips affordable. I researched prices and found many 2010's in our price range. Even one 2011. But in the end, Ceil thought the Prius was too small. Too bad.
Ceil hated the Toyota Venza, which was far and away one of my favorite cars on the road. Toyota quality, the largest of all the cars we considered, AND the best gas mileage. At the top of our price range for a black 2009 or green 2010. I just couldn't talk Ceil into the Venza. Probably a good thing, because in the end we paid thousands less.

I also liked the Kia Sorento, which is made in West Point Georgia. Kia is supposed to be the new quality leader, surpassing Honda and Toyota. The Sorento looks great on the outside and inside. Some models even have a third row seat, which would soften out transition away from a minivan. Visiting the nearby Kia dealer, by chance Ceil picked the loaded model to test drive. She liked it. 
Thinking the Sorento would be our next vehicle, I looked for the best deal. Last Wednesday we hit the dealerships on Peachtree Industrial. Though silver seemed to be her favorite color, we stopped first to look at a white 2011 LX at the Honda dealership. The price had been reduced to $15,900.00, as had a loaded dark grey EX with the third row of seats.

As we drove home I thought we had found our car. I'd been praying that God would lead us to the best car at the best price. But driving up PIB it bothered me how every dealership had a Sorento or three. Back home I continued to research, and wondered why there were so many 2011's for sale. Ceil's brother has a Sorento, and has been disappointed with the MPG. So were many others that had commented on line. The Sorento reports 21 MPG city / 28 highway. Many on line reported mileage in the 15-17 range. Unacceptable. There were also many reports of poor quality. Not what we need in a car.

I turned my attention to the Honda CR-V. I love Honda, and love the CR-V remodeled in 2012. But we couldn't afford a 2012. We'd be doing good to get a 2010. A 2010 looks like an old car, with the new model out. The CR-V's in our price range had the ugly wheels. Not my first choice. But there were some CR-V's with decent prices. I was ready to buy, and narrowed the field to three cars: a 41,000 mile black 2010 with expensive aftermarket wheels and two lower-priced silver CR-V's with 61,000 2010 and one 2011. Higher miles, but a thousand dollars less than the black 2010.
Ceil thought the black CR-V with tinted windows looked too gangster-like, and the CarFax showed a previous accident. The 2010 was at a dealership that didn't want to lower their price. Friday afternoon I checked out the 2011. Clean CarFax. It had the lowest price, and the dealer fee was waived. Sutherlin Nissan had lowered the internet price because this CR-V had been on the lot for too long. This dropped the price another $275.00. Best deal in town. I'd better act fast.

I drove up to the Mall of Georgia in a bad thunderstorm, and took the test drive in the rain. I had Ceil drive up in rush hour traffic to be sure, and had the dealership hire an outside professional to clean the seats. Deal.

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