Car Shopping

Janet woke up today and decided it was time to look for her next car. The plan had been to get her new one next spring, but with the deals being claimed now, and having the money in the bank already, she decided she was ready. We’ve been researching for a while, she was pretty sure what she wanted. She’s been driving a 1997 Honda Accord LX, bought new, that has just turned over 70,000 miles. That will become Kristen’s car. So, we headed out intent on looking at Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords. We also decided to look at a Toyota Prius, just because. So:

Car 1: Toyota Prius – great car, fantastic mileage, very nice to drive. Around $25,000, the one we drove, had some options we didn’t really want. Would have gone to the top of the list, except – legroom for the driver was just too tight. I couldn’t drive it very long. But definitely very cool, everything controlled through an LCD screen.

Car 2: Toyota Camry LE – OK, Camrys are great cars and all, but it was just – plain. Vanilla. I expected chocolate ripple at least. Legroom was fine, headroom for the driver was fine, but headroom in the rear seat was tight. My head was bent over in the back. Around $20,000.

Car 3: Scion xB – OK, Janet wasn’t interested in this one, but I wanted to drive it as long as we were there. The Scion xB is freakin’ fun to drive. Strange looking from the outside, but from the inside – this one had a sunroof, front and rear sears, with shade screens. Big expanse of glass in front, and sides – fantastic visibility. It was almost like being in a convertible, except with no bugs in your teeth and with air conditioning. I loved it – a little tight on legroom for the driver, but not too bad. By the time we got back, Janet loved it. When I go looking in a few months, this one’s on my list. 34 mpg too. Did I mention it was freakin’ fun to drive?

Car 4: Honda Civic Hybrid – this drove more like a regular car than the Prius. Roomier too – much better legroom. Less expensive – around $20,000. The 2005 Civic has about as much interior room as our 1997 Accord. But the air conditioner was a little strange – when you were sitting at idle, it wasn’t blowing cold. Maybe there was some adjustment that needed to be made, because it’s supposed to be running off the battery when you’re idling. But with outside temperature of 95F, it got warm fast. Still, a nice car. Janet began wavering on the Accord thing here, thinking that maybe a Civic would do nicely.

Car 5: Honda Accord LX – larger than our 97 Accord, longer by about a foot. Looks like they used the extra length to give the rear seat passengers more legroom, a nice touch. Very nice drive, felt more refined than the Camry. Chocolate ripple. But the roof protruded down in front so I couldn’t see the stoplight when we were sitting at the light. Very strange, and made me uncomfortable driving it. Nice as the Accord was, it was beginning to trail the Civic at this point. Said we could have it for $19490. A little higher than I expected.

Car 6: Honda Civic EX (non-hybrid) – just to compare to the Hybrid. Nice sled. A/C cooled better than in the hybrid. Civic definitely pulling ahead at this point. Said we could have a Civic LX for $15800.

But! I went back to the Accord and noticed this lever on the side of the driver’s seat. Height adjustment!! Cranked it down, and the visibility was much improved.

Car 7: Honda Element – I just wanted to drive one of these, I thought I’d like them. I didn’t like it. I loved it. Most room of anything we drove today. I love the funkiness and the versatility. Not as good gas mileage as the Scion xB, though – about 10mpg less, in fact, despite both being 4 cylinders. But I loved driving it.

Car 8: Honda Accord LX (different dealer) – drove it to make sure the height adjustment was good. Before we drove it off, salesman said we could have it for $18998. Drove it around, came back. Salesman said, OK, $18698. I had decided ahead of time that $18500 was probably an unrealistically low price, so I might offer that to see what they’d counter with. So Janet and I talked it over briefly, she wanted the car at this point. Salesman said, OK, $18600. I said, OK, as long as nothing gets added except sales tax. Done.

So, that was our Saturday.

August 13, 2005 · Harry · 3 Comments
Posted in: Other Stuff

3 Responses

  1. Jim - August 14, 2005

    What! You didn’t drive the S 🙂 I’m sure when you were riding in mine you looked like a hairy dog with his head stuck out.

    Those Elements are ugly btw. You should have driven the Honda truck, they’re nice but with a nice price. So you ended up getting the same car you had just 8 years newer. That’s why Honda is the best, once you have one it’s all you’ll drive.

  2. chris s. - August 16, 2005

    My dad just bought a Scion xB, he loves it. I drove it around to try it out, took it out on the highway as well, it was a blast. I’m not in the market for a new car, but I like them.

    BTW, my wife would never allow me to get a Scion xB even if I was in the market for a car. We had an accident in a small car about 2 years ago and she only wants bigger cars now.

  3. Harry - August 16, 2005

    What, she’s not in to accident avoidance?