As we shared last night, we finally bought a new car. We both got nearly ten years out of our previous cars. We sold mine last spring, and now it was time to unload Dain’s car since it didn’t have a lot of life left in it. And it felt like a go cart driving down the highway, which makes even people who don’t get motion sickness start to feel a little queasy.
It was stressful to suddenly have to get a new car, but we are so glad we did it. We briefly started our process last spring by looking into car leases, which we thought would be more affordable. At that time, we were considering this puppy.
The Ford Escape
We put the whole car idea on the back burner since we had a busy summer, but we actually test drove one of these (as a rental) for a long weekend in July when we went on our Missouri trip. We liked it, but we didn’t LOVE it. So naturally we waited until a new car was a necessity until we looked into any other cars.
Starting last week, here’s what we considered. We were going for a larger car or small suv that would be safe and reliable and hopefully give us ten good years. And that Dain could haul stuff from the Home Depot in.
The Kia Sorento
We stumbled upon this at a local used car dealership. The guy basically had us sold. Until we went home and read what Consumer Reports had to say about it. It was spacious (with a third row of seats to seat 7) and had a lot of nice features included. But in the end, it got less than ideal reviews on resale and reliability. Making it a no-go for this girl even though her husband was in lust.
The Jeep Patriot
We briefly considered the Patriot since it was in our price range, but Jeeps just aren’t a comfortable ride in my opinion. So once again Dain’s dreams were dashed by my finicky ways.
The Dodge Journey
We had never heard of this one, but it came up on some list we found from a google search of the best affordable suvs. So we checked it out and gave it a test drive. But once again, this one was automatically out after our Consumer Reports research showed it got below average owner satisfaction and reliability scores. And the salesman drove us both crazy so that never helps.
The Honda CR-V
This is one that we chose based on the Consumer Reports data since it was recommended as one of the best used cars in its category with good ratings in most areas. We test drove a used 2011 model, but this time it was Dain who didn’t like the drive and thought it was really basic for the model in our price range.
Ironically, we test drove the eventual winner on Friday, loved it and decided it was out of our price range. But by Saturday night we changed our mindset to loving it so much that we were determined to fit it into our price range. And the winner is….
The Subaru Outback
Obviously. For so many reasons. Most importantly, it is a very safe car. It also happens to be recommended by Consumer Reports and get really high ratings amongst owners with a high resale value. In fact, we learned the hard way how much these retain their value. We were never planning on buying a new car, but we couldn’t find very many used Outbacks that fit our specifications. And used 2011 models were not that much cheaper than a new 2012 model. We also have a family member who used to have an Outback and loved it. And we loved it after driving it. So it was basically a love fest.
The only snag was that there was no way we would be able to afford the sticker price. So we spent two days wheeling and dealing, and it paid off. We learned all about dealership pricing and the games dealerships play to reel you in. We dealt with a few unpleasant people, but we went with a salesman that we really liked and that was willing to work with us. In the end, we got a really good deal and an awesome trade-in for our car (both of which were necessities for us to be able to afford this.) And we also shelled out a little more than we originally thought. But we think it was a good decision. This will probably be us buying our Christmas tree in a few weeks.
It’s a big step up for us in the car department, and we are in love with all of the little features. And by “we” it might just be me who is enchanted by heated seats, a compass, and the outside temperature. I think Dain is more enthralled by more important features. But we are both glad to have found this because car shopping was not fun and was quite stressful. Being the true Minnesotans we are, we are both totally passive aggressive, and just the thought of haggling makes us cringe. But we got through it together.
And now we can drive in peace. Hopefully for a really long time. The only downside is we’re too afraid to drive it anywhere, but I’m sure we’ll get over that soon enough.
(P.S.-These are completely our personal opinions. The other cars we considered are probably a great fit for other families, and we very well could have enjoyed any of our options.)