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Northstar

Car Shopping with my Aunt

21 posts in this topic

So my aunt came over for Christmas as always, but she wasn't sure she was going to make it on Christmas Eve, as her Subaru Outback wouldn't start, but finally turned over after an hour's delay. She drove it here and it made it, and then it started fine on Christmas and the day after, when we took it to the dealer's service department. While it was in service being looked at, we went out looking.

First up was the CR-V. For some reason she thinks their cute, and I guess we all have our own opinions. She thought it was what she really wanted, and had high hopes. She picked out one she liked (sticker was $28.5k) and we were on our way. We both thought it was terrible. Harsh ride, loud, annoying engine buzz, lots of road noise, cheap interior (hard plastics, hollow souonding), and she really hated the gauge "hood" which was quite possibly the cheapest piece I've seen on a car. It was also rather cramped, for me at least. The transmission also wasn't the smoothest thing ever. So that ended up being out of the possibilities pretty quickly.

We then drove around at Saturn and looked at the VUE, but she wasn't sure she liked it, so we didn't drive it. We also drove through the Subaru lot to see what they had in new Outbacks, but didn't drive one then.

Next we were off to the new Toyota/Mazda/VW/Hyundia/Kia/Scion/Chrysler/maybesomethingelse auto mall. We decided to look at everything and then tell the salesman what we wanted to test drive. We wrote down stock numbers for a RAV4, Highlander, Passat Wagon, and a 2005 Toureg (yes, brand new). We were going to look at a Mazda6 wagon, but she decided that it looked too similar to an Outback, and that she would rather just go with another Subaru if she was getting something that looked similar. She also later ruled out the Passat because she really wants AWD as well. She didn't like the CX-7 and the Santa Fe's were pricey when you actually had a few options on them, so we didn't do those either.

First up was the RAV4. The interior was nicer than the CR-V, but again it was cramped and we both thought it felt like a little car. I was more cramped in it than the CR-V. The ride was much better than the CR-V. The engine and transmission were both much smoother and quieter than the CR-V, and after her noting this, the salesman goes on to say, "yes, Toyota makes the best engines and transmission of anyone and they also last the longest." I tried not to laugh. However, she decided it really felt too small and cramped, and that the interior, while better than the CR-V, still was nothing special. Sticker again was about $28.5k.

We then drove through the Pontiac/GMC/Buick/Lincoln/Mercury and Ford lots, just to see if there was anything used that looked good (I would have had her look at the Torrent but the Equinox is a much better deal - cheaper MSRP and more rebates). We found nothing except a ridiculously funny (not because he was smooth) salesman at Ford that stopped us while we were just driving around to give us his card. I threw it away.

Next we test drove the Highlander. She liked that it was bigger and roomier than the other two, but the transmission's shifts weren't as smooth, and the engine noise was louder than the RAV4. The interior was alright, definitely a step up from the CR-V/RAV4, but again was nothing great. Turning the test drive, she said that the CR-V didn't feel solid at all, and that both the Toyota's felt better. The salesman then proceeded to say, "yes, Honda makes good cars but Toyota's are the best. That is why Toyota has been outselling every manufacturer for the last ten years." I wanted to correct him, but I was trying too hard not to laugh at his BS. We concluded that the Highlander was a good vehicle, but that both the interior and exterior looked dated. We decided it was a possibility if we could get past the looks.

Next she wanted to look at the Toureg, though the salesman admitted that it probably hadn't sold because of the color (ugly blue). The Toureg was definitely a solid vehicle, nice interior, decent ride, but it was a 2005 and they wanted over $30k for it still, plus she really didn't like the color. The rear seats also don't fold down very easily and it doesn't have a ton of cargo room, which she must have. On the ride, the salesman asked where we were from (she's from about an hour and 15 minutes away), and then proceeded to be a dickhead and say "well I don't want to waste each other's time if you're not going to buy from me." My aunt told him that she would buy from wherever gave him the best deal, and he told us he would be very aggressive with pricing :rolleyes: After that she asked to just drive a New Beetle around the parking lot for fun, just because she has always wanted one, but obviously wouldn't buy one because of the need of utility.

So, after that we headed over to the Cadillac/Chevy/Volvo/MB dealership where I used to work. She thought she might try a used Volvo wagon, but there was nothing that interested her.

I had found a used 2006 SRX on the internet at the dealer for $29.9k, so we took that for a drive. She did really like it, but it had more stuff than she needed (3rd row, Ultraview PLUS) so she probably wouldn't buy that particular one anyways. It drove nice of course and she really liked the seats, but she wasn't sure if she wanted to drive a Cadillac to work, "because she might not get another big raise." :rolleyes::lol:

She was pretty exhausted from driving cars and trying to decide, so we didn't drive an Equinox while we were there. She then called Subaru and found out the bad news. Her Outback was leaking oil from the separator plate, camshaft seals, and valves. It was not safe to drive back and would cost $850 to repair, so she decided she was going to just trade it as-is. Luckily a mechanic decided to buy it for a fair price.

We then test drove the Outback, which she liked quite a lot. It's something she's used to, comfortable, has the cargo capability she needs, feels solid, drives and handles well, and the interior is pretty nice (much better than anything we drove except for the Toureg and SRX).

So, in conclusion, the CR-V is a POS, the RAV4 is average at best, the Highlander is a good vehicle despite its age, the Toureg is nice but expensive and doesn't offer the cargo she needs, and the SRX is a very good vehicle (as if we didn't know).

That was all for yesterday, but today she went to look again. She drove my dad's Maxx back to her house, and she said she was pleasantly surprised. She is now considering one I think. She drove the Equinox today, which she really liked except that she thought the seats were too flat, and then the VUE (AWD V6), which is now her favorite. The seats were better than the Equinox and she thought the interior was slightly better as well. She was also going to look at the Passat and Mazda6 wagons now that I convinced her than FWD would probably be ok and that she might like them, but I haven't heard the outcome there.

So it looks like it may be down to the VUE and Outback at this point. She thinks the Outback may be too similar to what she has, and she said she wanted something a little taller possibly when we started looking, so I say it looks pretty good for the VUE. The VUE is also cheaper ($25.x after incentives vs. $31k for an Outback, heated seats, and unwanted moonroof that the VUE didn't have).

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I was going to suggest possibly a Forester, but that sits 0.6 inches lower.

Seems like she is not limiting her options and trying a few things out :]. Hopefully she can find a vehicle that fits her needs.

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seriously, she ought to scope out the freestyle and the edge. i bet she would like the edge, if she could get a mildly equipped one for around 26-30k. the edge is nicer than the vue or equinox. the freestyle has discounts and 3 rows and is very carlike.

would she like a Murano? What about waiting for an Outlook?

No laughs, would she like an Endeavor or a 2007 Outlander? Save $$$$. A new 06 AWD Bendover at around 23k after discounts with the added room would be a good buy for her. And its a pretty well built vehicle, if a little futsy looking. I had one for a loaner and it was very carlike and solid.

Maybe she's X3 material.

Edited by regfootball

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The Escape would be too trucky, I think, same with Mariner. The V50 would be too small.

She doesn't like the Murano, Outlook is too expensive (30k base for XE AWD). The Mitsu's might be ok, but I don't want her to buy one and then have them leave the US. X3 is too expensive as she doesn't want anything more than a year old, and $30k is the price limit, or thereabouts.

I was going to have her look at an Edge, but I couldn't find one anywhere close, and she needs a new car right now.

The Cadillac dealership went to a huge GM auction today in Detroit, so I'm going to go talk to the sales manager there tomorrow to see if they got any SRXs. I also spotted a used SRX on the GMC lot but it didn't have a sticker or anything in it so I didn't know year, etc.

She looked at the Forester before but it's smaller than the Outback and rides worse, so she would rather have the Outback.

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How about a CPO Rendezvous with the 3.6L?

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She drove the CX-7 yesterday, but couldn't stand the gauges (apparently they were blue backlighting and orange gauges), she thought the rest of it was nice, but also didn't like the front end that much.

I don't have high hopes that she would like the Rendezvous. We also drove a Tribeca, and she thought it felt too much like a minivan, and I fear the Rendezvous would feel just as much, if not more, like a van.

Right now I'm trying to find 5-seat SRX V6 AWD with the wood trim package and without the ultraview or anything else in a color she likes. It's not been easy.

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A4 Avant quattro?

She said something about looking at Audis today to my dad on the phone, but I think A4s are going to be too small for her. I also don't think she's going to find one for cheap enough that's a 2006 or newer

She just called me and said that she drove a new Santa Fe and now it's between the VUE, Outback, Santa Fe, and SRX.

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Now that she has looked at countless vehicles, she has decided the Santa Fe is her favorite, but she's still not in love with it, so she thinks maybe she'll buy something used so she doesn't take the big hit when she drives a new one off the lot and then take the money she saves there to buy something new when something comes out that she really likes. She likes the Maxx a lot, but doesn't want one new, though she is considering a used one. Tomorrow she is looking at A3s and maybe A4s, and she's going to contact the Cadillac dealer to see if they can service Saabs, as she has decided that she doesn't necessarily need AWD if she really likes the car otherwise and is going to look at Saabs if they can be serviced at the Cadillac dealer.

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Now that she has looked at countless vehicles, she has decided the Santa Fe is her favorite, but she's still not in love with it, so she thinks maybe she'll buy something used so she doesn't take the big hit when she drives a new one off the lot and then take the money she saves there to buy something new when something comes out that she really likes. She likes the Maxx a lot, but doesn't want one new, though she is considering a used one. Tomorrow she is looking at A3s and maybe A4s, and she's going to contact the Cadillac dealer to see if they can service Saabs, as she has decided that she doesn't necessarily need AWD if she really likes the car otherwise and is going to look at Saabs if they can be serviced at the Cadillac dealer.

please please try forddirect.com and type in her zipcode and try to find an edge if the santa fe is what she wants. the first edges shipping are the under 30k price points, possibly one with AWD just under 30. i would stick a fork in myself if anyone bought a santa fe and at least did not drive the edge first. they are in stores now, you just need to find one. i really think she may find the freestyle appealing in some ways also and those will sell low to mid to high 20's. I KNOW, its a FORD, but man, its not a HYUNDAI then.

would she like an XL7? that's one way to go GM and it might be a good size for her. It would be like getting a good nox. And its in her price range.

I can understand the apprehension on the endeavor, but its a solid vehicle for the price, for what they sell them for, used anyways.

Is the CX7 too hip for her? The CX7 is cool at first but when you find out its almost just a puffy mazda6 wagon, the appeal wanes.

Hey, maybe she's SPortcombi material..........

I bet she would be thrilled with the SRX by the way. that would be a good choice too.

Edited by regfootball

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She actually said she sat in an Edge today, and it was pretty nice, but it didn't have what she wanted on it, and it starts out more expensive than most of the stuff she is looking at. She actually liked how the CX-7 drove but she really hated the gauges.

I think an XL7 is a little bigger than what she wants.

As I said, she really doesn't know what she's doing, because there's nothing she really really likes. She may end up with something cheap (like a used Maxx) and keep it for a maximum of 2 years until she finds something that she just really likes. She said she likes the looks of the new VUE, but seeing as how she doesn't have a car, she can't wait until May to buy one.

It seems rather wide open at this point. She would like utility, but she can probably do without it for a little while. I told her the A3 wasn't going to give her as much as she wanted, but she thought it might be a fun drive, which I'm guessing it will be. She has definitely decided to look at more stuff (before it was AWD, must have a certain amount of cargo area width and length with only the front row up, needs to be higher-up than a car) and now because she can't find exactly what she's looking for, it could be anything that doesn't suck gas or suck.

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She actually said she sat in an Edge today, and it was pretty nice, but it didn't have what she wanted on it, and it starts out more expensive than most of the stuff she is looking at. She actually liked how the CX-7 drove but she really hated the gauges.

I think an XL7 is a little bigger than what she wants.

As I said, she really doesn't know what she's doing, because there's nothing she really really likes. She may end up with something cheap (like a used Maxx) and keep it for a maximum of 2 years until she finds something that she just really likes. She said she likes the looks of the new VUE, but seeing as how she doesn't have a car, she can't wait until May to buy one.

It seems rather wide open at this point. She would like utility, but she can probably do without it for a little while. I told her the A3 wasn't going to give her as much as she wanted, but she thought it might be a fun drive, which I'm guessing it will be. She has definitely decided to look at more stuff (before it was AWD, must have a certain amount of cargo area width and length with only the front row up, needs to be higher-up than a car) and now because she can't find exactly what she's looking for, it could be anything that doesn't suck gas or suck.

Well, the Maxx sure is nice. You couldn't go wrong with that. One idea......Would she like a Mazda 6 hatchback. It's comparable to the Maxx in terms of utility, even if the engine is a bit of a groaner.

Isn't if funny how something like gauges can ruin one's feelings about a car?

Edited by regfootball

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I will mention the 6 hatch to her, though she didn't want to look at the wagon, and I can't find a used one anywhere close. I'm really hoping that the Cadillac dealer there can service Saabs. I think a 9-3 Sportcombi would be perfect. She likes how the Maxx drives, and it's going to drive much better, it has a much nicer interior, is probably a bit quicker, and she likes how it looks. But, there isn't a Saab dealer where she lives so if they can't service it then it's out of the possibilities.

I also think Empowah's suggestion of the V50 might work too now that she's not so concerned about size if she finds something she loves, though again there's nothing close to her except a new one at the dealer.

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Well, she got a Santa Fe. It came down to the Outback and Santa Fe, and she decided that she would like something different and it had more features for the price. I must say I am impressed with it, and she got a great deal. It's an AWD Limited with sunroof (leather, heated seats, stability control, traction control, power seats w/power lumbar all standard). MSRP of $29050 + 670 destination, but it was a demo (the salesman didn't realize that at first, and destination is paid by the manufacturer for demos) with 6900 miles, so she got it for $25k. The warranty takes effect after she buys it, so it has warranty until 107k miles.

I would have chosen the SRX or used XC70 we drove today, but she wasn't in love with either of them, and really like the Santa Fe, so that's what she ended up with.

I was really impressed with the Santa Fe. The fake wood is terrible, but there isn't much to gripe about other than that. Good power from the V6, relatively good looks, rides nicely, handles well (according to my aunt - I didn't drive it), and the interior was far nicer than I was expecting. It also has a great list of features for the price, lots of cargo space, including an 1-foot deep storage bin that's reconfigurable behind the second row, and is surprisingly quiet on the highway. It makes the RAV4 and CR-V appear to be the pieces of crap that they are, and I can say with a straight face that it's the first Hyundai that's best in class.

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Saturn Outlook? Chrysler Pacifica...maybe with the 4.0L and the 6-speed? I sat it one of those and they are VERY nice inside. What about a 300 or a Magnum? AWD and added utility withthe magnum and the SXT 3.5L now has the 5-speed. Other than that...the SRX or the Subaru seems the best of the ones you looked at. One other question..if the repairs are only $850 why not have justfixed it. Not save to drive my ass...the Shadow leaks from there and more bvut it still runs like a trooper.

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The Subaru had oil leaks prior, and she didn't want to have to repair it again down the road. She doesn't like the Magnum's styling, Outlook and Pacifica would have been too big if the SRX was.

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well, anytime someone buys new its worth congrats.

The main thing is she is happy.

Its amazing some of the deals going on right now. I saw an ad for new 06 pacificas for 18 grand today. That's alot of car for the money. And the 07 4.0 upgrade is a good powertrain, I've driven it.

Mits dealer was ad'ing new 06 Endeavor AWD's for 22 grand. Sizable solid crossover rig for the dough w/ massive warranty.

Chrysler vans have never been cheaper than now. Even though they are dated, they are a great value. New from 13 grand on up.

14 grand off Chevy Silverado hybrids.

Once you get past the 20 or 30 hot selling cars its amazing the competent cars that can be had for MUCH cheaper. New Maxx's for a little over 17 grand. Loaded Mountaineers for 24k. New Grand Marquis for 17 grand. Even new rigs like the CX-7 already coming in around 22 grand to start. New 500's for 20k. New Fusions for closer to 15k. New 300's for 21g. Even new Siennas (and other Toyotas) they are needing to slash prices on now to move them.

That's why I still cringe at spending over 20g's on any vehicle. Something like a Saturn Outlook which I really dig but is much closer to 30-40k than 20k. No one has $$$$$ for that much car. No one I know anyways.

Edited by regfootball

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