Sunday, November 8, 2009

Now I'm going in a whole NEW direction...

Yesterday afternoon, B decided we all needed to "go for a ride" - we ended up in F'ville, car shopping. We stopped at the Toyota dealership to see if they had any Highlanders. They had a single Hybrid out front - I was hoping to locate a gas version to drive. The salesman, who had a wet-mop personality, drove us around back where I spotted a Limited non-Hybrid, but... he couldn't find the key. Oh, well...

We left there and headed over to Carmax. B's idea there was to look at different types of vehicles "side by side" instead of hopping around between dealerships. To be honest, I wasn't too excited about this idea; I went along to be nice, since he did drive all that way just to look for a new car for me. As I expected, they didn't have much that I was willing to consider, BUT they did have a Volva and an Audi. The Volvo - well, it was a Volvo - not exactly my style. The Audi, on the other hand... OMGoodness... I just loved it!! Not as "flashy" as the Highlander, but still had all the "bells and whistles" and as B pointed out, the "Krautmobiles" are built solidly and built to last!

We left there and B was even energized anew. He couldn't believe that I was willing to consider a used vehicle; he just assumed that I would insist on new. I let him now that I'd had plenty of used vehicles and had no beef with them; in fact, in I have my druthers, I'd rather buy a 1-2 year old version of a more reliable/higher end car than a brand new cheaper version. B agreed wholeheartedly.

We got the Baby Girl some lunch at her favorite place - McDonald's - she had a meltdown at the end of the Audi test drive - and then stopped by the Mercedes store. We were actually looking for an Audi dealership, but the closest one is in the Raleigh/Cary area. Anyway, the Mercedes place just happened to have one GL450 on the lot. Uh, WOW!! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous... an luxurious as can be! It just doesn't get any better!! These things go for $80+ new!!

Well, after much discussion, we decided that the Mercedes might be a bit of a stretch. I mean, I CAN afford one if it's what I truly choose to buy, BUT it's going to be a house payment and higher insurance, etc., etc. End result, it seems that the Q7 is the better choice for us at this time.

Once Baby Girl was settled for the night, we both pulled out our computers to see what we could find online. The Audi at Carmax had 47k miles and they were asking $33k for it (and the price is non-negotiable). B went to ebay (surprise, surprise) and I went to I found a bunch of great deals!! Much better than B came across. He actually switched over to see what I was looking at!! LOL

At the end of the day, I found 4 very good possibilities... all of them are 2007 models; all of them have less than 18k miles (!!). My very favorite of them, by far, is pearl red, with black leather interior (I actually prefer the 2-tone beige leather, but... I guess in used cars, you have to make concessions); it has the auto start feature (button start) and the nicer rear seat accessories (seat heaters, 4 zone cooling, wood trim arm rest). It also has a back-up camera that comes on automatically when you switch into reverse! And, the steering wheel is heated! The panoramic moonroof is absolutely beyond compare and no one else has anything like it! I think it's the coolest thing I've ever seen in a car!! It extends over both the front and middle rows and has a retractable shade (powered); the front half of it also lifts up and slides back in varying degrees - there are a dozen or so levels that it can be opened. It can be operated from the front and from the 2nd row as well. There is a separate sunroof over the 3rd row seat, which pops up; it has its own sunshade, though it is manually opened/closed.

For all that's "right" with the car, it isn't perfect - the Nav system isn't activated, but that can be done by a dealer (needs a module installed, I believe); and it didn't have the DVD system like the one at Carmax did, but to be honest, in all of our searching, in the dozens of vehicles that we looked at, we only found TWO that DID have the DVD players. I spent some time online today looking at options, and will likely get that done after-market. For a couple thousand $$ I can get headrest DVD players installed so the kids can each watch their own movie!! B even suggested putting one in one of the 2nd row headrests so that the 3rd row passenger (the times that there IS one) would have his own screen. I LOVE that idea!! The other wicked cool thing we both loved was a wood steering wheel (and a matching shifter knob)... again, we only saw it on a couple of the vehicles we looked at. In fact, this isn't even offered as an option on the Audi website, so it seems to be after-market. But, it's something that I'll consider; I should be able to get it done for no more than $500 but it adds SO much to the "richness" of the vehicle!! B found a place that applies the matching wood to your own steering wheel - you have the dealer take it off and ship it to them; they revamp it and send it back to be reinstalled...

Of course, once I settled my mind on the Audi, B started pushing the Mercedes. WHAT?!? He's the one who kept saying "it's out of reach" and convinced me to be satisfied with the Audi!! The problem is, there are just too many to choose from, and they all have "cool" features... but I can only afford ONE vehicle!!

The Mercedes is, well, a Mercedes - and it has powered third row seats (push a button to sit them up or lay them down); but... it looks kinda like a Suburban (superficially speaking, 'cause a Mercedes will NEVER look like a freakin' Chevy!!). It's also quite a bit more expensive, and I really don't want to go older than 2 yrs or over about 25k miles.

The Audi is the most stylish, externally speaking. It has indoor/outdoor type carpet which is awesome because it doesn't show the wear like "regular" automobile carpeting. It also has the awesome and incredible panoramic moonroof, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOCE!!

The Acura MDX looks a lot like the Q7, but it's a rice-burner, and I think I've had enough of those for the time being. The Volvo is nice, but it's a Volvo - all boxy and hard angles; just not "me". The Lexus only has 2 rows; same with the Nissan Murano. The Mazda CX-9 is a bit "crude" - their attempt to keep it "sporty" rather than more luxurious leaves it feeling "cheap". The Hyundai... hahahahahahaha!! Like I'd get another one of those!!

So, where do we stand right now?? Early this coming week, the Hyundai people are supposed to get on the phone with the dealership and start figuring out what to do about this situation. I'm sure there are endless possible solutions they could offer... I can't see them doing nothing since we've already established that this is a "safety issue" - that would leave them WIDE open for legal ramifications! I suppose they could "fix" it, but we've been there, done that many, many times over the last 16 months, so there is NO way they will EVER convince me that that car is fixed for good. They could buy me out of the car, which would be fine; they could offer me a new Veracruz, which also would be fine, as long as they let me keep my existing loan - with a brand new car and only $24k owed, I'd trade that bitch in so fast, it would hardly have time to gather dust!! Offering me a new car with a new loan would NOT go over well, and I do believe that I'd have to veto that offer! Right now, the anguish is waiting for them to decide. I hope they'll be expedient as I'm without a vehicle, and they can't really give me mine back, for the aforementioned safety concerns.

Well, tomorrow is Monday; keep your fingers crossed that it brings GREAT news on this front!!