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caddycruiser

It's NEW new car time...perhaps

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It's finally come around, not just that I've pondered doing it, but that I'm selling the Fleetwood and moving on to something newer, much smaller, more efficient, etc.

For the longest time (and to keep the finances smiling), the idea was something new but used (and quite a bit so) that fulfilled the smaller and more economical but that could be another cash purchase. Think late 90's Accord, and you'll have gotten the drift. Then that went, well, sort of to the side. I graduated college and while not yet making huge money yet or in a dream job, I'm working with a great company at home for the time being and am making a nice chunk.

I love the Fleetwood dearly and it gets me still more attention, comments, and stares than anything (I realized how much so in April when an older guy with his wife in a new Ferrari F430 was pointing at me and talking as I left school down the street, I then lost him, ONLY to hear the most insane exhaust note as I parked at my apartment complex and there he was...with a 20 minute question and answer session and "Do you have any idea how insane your car looks going down the road?!" 3 times). And it is a stunner. And a tank of a tank if there ever was one. But it's also 13 years old, has 133k miles, and is due for quite a bit of stuff--nothing that keeps me from 30+ mile daily driving--on top of just being HUGE and not exactly a Prius. Then again, averaging 19.1 for the past week going to work and back at 40-60'ish isn't exactly bad at all.

But I'm moving on and want to be able to just travel at the drop of a hat anywhere, not have to plan ahead with parking, and also keep myself from continually wanting to spend more and more updating and changing every little thing. Well, that, and now that I've moved back home temporarily while working here, shock of all shocks, even my mother came out one day and said "You really need to get rid of that boat...you can certainly afford something in the $2xx range new per month." No car payments but an old car with big gas bills vs. new and efficient with a warranty for not much more total each month has gotten me thinking--and I NEVER thought it would be because of a parent, one who keeps repeating the same line daily now.

For years, and as I've said many times on various boards, I've had a "list" of possible new cars I'd keep my eye on for a new post-grad car...and I've started shopping. Despite my efforts, I still can't get away from instantly jumping to GM, and there's a ton of those on the list...as well as various others.

The goals are:

1) $15-20k price range, preferably the lower the better, with about $4-5k down. Lease is also something I've pondered given what you can get in this range...but it might really be ludicrous for such a "want it" buy as it is.

2) I've really come to like the wagon/hatch style for practicality.

3) The better resale the better, but also special discounts/financing (a-la GM, Ford, typically) play a big factor.

4) VERY efficient and refined 4-cyl drivetrain. The higher the mpg numbers, the better. Probably auto, but I'm still itching to have a stick...even though I've, uh, yet to ever drive one;)

5) The more "solid" in every way, the better. I like thunking doors, zero rattles, nice materials, and just a general vault'ish feel...but without being heavy because of it.

So what have I been thinking?

1) Honda Fit...perfect size and package, super efficient, as high quality as compact vehicles get, and right at the $15k mark. A bit of a clown car look, but great still.

2) Chevy HHR...never was sure about these, but all of a sudden have become very smitten with them. Tried out a couple that were unlocked at the dealer Saturday night and I really liked the feel, overall, like a mini minivan...with my favorite Ecotecs. Not super loaded, to keep the price down, and helped with rebates.

3) Saturn Astra...the little Euro vault. It wasn't finally today until I saw one of these, and I just like everything about them. Price is fine, but a touch higher, and still without any real discounts. But I love that "feel".

4) VW Beetle or Rabbit...I had a worry about the Beetle image, until a guy at work suggested one again to me seriously. Same for the Rabbit--really a GTI fan, but that would mean a lease.

5) Oh, and, uh, also a Smart FourTwo...seriously. Still, for my uses and wanting to go smaller, I can't think of anything that's shockingly smaller but also shockingly a standout as the polar opposite of a Fleetwood.

6) Then the randoms (and lots of other strong choices...but I change daily). New Malibu LS or 1LT...right at the top, and probably too much, but a dealer was advertising LS's for $17,999 over the weekend. Hmm. Also the Aura, which is very similar, but a dog in sales and rebated up. Ford Fusion...again, really like these actually, especially for the price with discounts. Same for the Milan. I ALSO shocked myself by really liking some G6's--which I still ridicule a bit--after trying out some coupes. Those would be out of the range, but I really liked them. Back smaller again, some kind of a Cobalt Sport is quite intriguing to me...Cobalts are everywhere, but still a great package, and such trim makes them quite impressive. Pontiac Vibe, too, either the new '09 or even a leftover '08...dealer had one, and I liked it quite a bit.

Just lots and lots and lots of possibilities. Well, if I actually can get the Fleetwood sold that is, and, uh, get over the scary idea of having a car payment...even a small one. Hey, uh, anyone want a '95 Fleetwood LT1? If you care to get hunted down by Ferrari drivers, old people, and homies alike...it's a stunner with HUGE possibilities for the price;)

Throw out some feedback, good and bad, or tell me I'm crazy to get rid of the tank-like fuel submarine Caddy like 50% tell me and I tell myself at moments...

Otherwise, all will stay as is, or I'll sell it and go cheap old used again...or start putting a couple grand back into the boat and crying when I get my Citi gas card statement for the rest of eternity, hah.

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The only things we have "local" are GM and Ford...so I keep at least wanting to try and take an HHR and a few other things for a spin at lunch time. We'll see.

Crazy or smart as I am.

Oh, and DIFFERENT, plays a big factor in a possible choice...if at all possible. Maybe just because of color and trim, but I'd prefer not to be one of the crowd at a stoplight.

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Not one of the crowd at the stoplight means Astra or one of the VWs (I assume if you don't have a dealer there aren't a ton around).

It sounds like you don't need a whole lot of cargo-carrying capability, so I don't see a whole lot of reason to move to the Vibe for that. I'd probly drive the Astra and Rabbit and go from there. If you don't want either of them then expand your options.

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If you like your current car and it's not giving you any problems, I would hold on to it and resist the temptation to charge right out and put yourself in debt so soon after graduation. If you're making good money, pay off any credit card debt first, then start working on student loans. Given the state of the economy, etc I'd attack any debt which might be hanging over your head first before buying a new car. Just my 2 cents...

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I agree with BigPontiac. Hold on to your dough. Pay out as much debt as possible. Unless your old car is in a crapper, do not make decision to buy a new one.

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If you like your current car and it's not giving you any problems, I would hold on to it and resist the temptation to charge right out and put yourself in debt so soon after graduation. If you're making good money, pay off any credit card debt first, then start working on student loans. Given the state of the economy, etc I'd attack any debt which might be hanging over your head first before buying a new car. Just my 2 cents...

I completely agree. Yet in reality, I'm spending as much per month on gas and maintaining/fixing little things on this stylish dinosaur as I would on a approx. $200 car payment and hugely reduced gas costs, with maybe at most $100 extra per month cost at times. If otherwise, I wouldn't even be considering a change, really.

But between old age, fixing things, being huge, gas costs, etc., it's a budget thing that is more and more realistic the further I figure. Otherwise, no other debt aside from the student loans, and that's something that will be there for a while and paid in max as much as possible. As I venture out more, could be moving further away and traveling more, am no longer in school, and have essentially zero desire to spend the extra attention necessary on a classic showpiece anymore, it's getting clearer.

I still think the same way as much as I think new--especially just to drop a grand or two into the Fleetwood and keep going--but then have more thoughts otherwise. I'd never do anything that wasn't a smart move, or just in the name of "I want it". Still some figuring to do. But the Fleetwood is definitely up for grabs from here on out, regardless--even if I didn't end up going new, I'd still replace it with something much different for cash again. New in the lead, still. We'll see.

Northstar - Agreed. Especially Astra. There's something (well, so many things) I just love about that little car. And, funny enough, today was finally the FIRST day I've ever seen one on the road...from out of state. I have no need, desire, etc. for big and expensive, and the Astra is a whole lot of car, really, for the price. Same for the VW's, which I like for similar reasons, the only concern being fuel mileage that probably is the least impressive of any of these small cars. And, for both brands, at least no dealers within 5 minutes like a Chevy or Ford.

As for the HHR, I'm still not sure why I like those, I just do all of a sudden. Same for the Fit, which I may not be huge on the look of, but love it's economy and quality. Lots of choices in this range.

Edited by caddycruiser
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I don't think I could give up what you have for what you are looking at.

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I don't think I could give up what you have for what you are looking at.

Lots say that, and if I had the space or time to have a second play toy...it would be as such. But this is a daily, and has always been extreme as one. Fun and attention getting and durable as could be, but a holy terror sometimes as a daily. My brother wants it. My dad wants it. (Though both "want it" for $1-2k...) People who see it--such as at work--say they like it and not to get rid of it. But I'd rather see it in the hands of someone who CAN really appreciate and take care of it as a play toy of sorts, or at least a pampered driver with the mileage. I just don't enjoy anything much about it anymore except for the looks, space, and attention.

We'll see. Good comments guys, and all still some of what I've already heard.

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How about low-mileage used?

You could get something a bit closer to what you have for less money than the drastic shift that the new cars you are looking at would be.

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Why not just keep it and get a new or used car? You obviously are attached to it, and it won't sell for insane amounts of money anyway, so just keep the old girl as a weekend toy or whatever and then have your small, economical car. Best of both worlds.

As for small, if you're in no rush maybe wait for the new Fiesta to come stateside. There's also the PT and the Caliber, though I'm not sure if either tickle your fancy. Atra and VW seem like strong choices to consider.

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HHR SS- work on getting a deal and you can be closer to 20 than 25, get the stick

Jetta wolfsburg edition.......2.0t and DSG with sunroof for 23k a great gti alternative (more than your limit, but still a whole lot of good for the dough....i am tempted to drive one)

cobalt SS

base taurus- 18 and change. no lie. not attractive, not blazing fast, not fun. old mans car. just a good value. ( i know, snicker away ;) )

mazdaspeed 6

how bout a used grand prix GXP? you might actually be able to find a new 07 or 08 GP for 20 grand or less right now.

skip the g6 unless you can get a v6, the grand prix is a much better buy

fusion is ok only if you want something more mainstream

aura? big discounts right now

skip the astra, nice car, no hp

there is a cool element to the HHR SS i got sitting in one at the autoshow that has me at least thinking a lot about it lately. i think its the over the top style of it. in SS trim in red with red sport seats and the saab shifter it really is a bitchen presentation. and trust me the rabbit dont have HALF the luggage space.

current gen mazda6's are cheap right now too.

Edited by regfootball
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HHR SS- work on getting a deal and you can be closer to 20 than 25, get the stick

Jetta wolfsburg edition.......2.0t and DSG with sunroof for 23k a great gti alternative (more than your limit, but still a whole lot of good for the dough....i am tempted to drive one)

cobalt SS

base taurus- 18 and change. no lie. not attractive, not blazing fast, not fun. old mans car. just a good value. ( i know, snicker away ;) )

mazdaspeed 6

how bout a used grand prix GXP? you might actually be able to find a new 07 or 08 GP for 20 grand or less right now.

skip the g6 unless you can get a v6, the grand prix is a much better buy

fusion is ok only if you want something more mainstream

aura? big discounts right now

skip the astra, nice car, no hp

there is a cool element to the HHR SS i got sitting in one at the autoshow that has me at least thinking a lot about it lately. i think its the over the top style of it. in SS trim in red with red sport seats and the saab shifter it really is a bitchen presentation. and trust me the rabbit dont have HALF the luggage space.

current gen mazda6's are cheap right now too.

I think you're getting me...most of those are above the theoretical limit and NO V8's let alone V6's, but still, interesting ideas.

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Yeah, I'd look at the Aura if I was you... But then again if it was my situation I'd buy a cheap GM Certified Impala or LaCrosse

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Why not just keep it and get a new or used car? You obviously are attached to it, and it won't sell for insane amounts of money anyway, so just keep the old girl as a weekend toy or whatever and then have your small, economical car. Best of both worlds.

As for small, if you're in no rush maybe wait for the new Fiesta to come stateside. There's also the PT and the Caliber, though I'm not sure if either tickle your fancy. Atra and VW seem like strong choices to consider.

Agreed on keeping the Caddy...

HHR or Vibe would be the way to go...both have room, are peppy, and are good on gas......

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Getting an economic subcompact seems to be the way to go instead of worrying about what's the next thing to go wrong on the Fleetwood. Keeping the Fleetwood as a second car would be great, but only if you had money to spare. I prefer the HHR over the leftover Vibes, which have no power. The HHR does have a bit of a toy-like feel, though. Most people here don't like the G6, but as long as it doesn't have the electric power steering, it's not a bad car, better than the W-bodies. For a solid feel, a VW would be the way to go. The Civic and Mazda3 should also be on the list, as with the Fit. I haven't driven a Smart, but a friend did, and he said that it's really slow. It would give you a lot of looks though.

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Why not just keep it and get a new or used car? You obviously are attached to it, and it won't sell for insane amounts of money anyway, so just keep the old girl as a weekend toy or whatever and then have your small, economical car. Best of both worlds.

As for small, if you're in no rush maybe wait for the new Fiesta to come stateside. There's also the PT and the Caliber, though I'm not sure if either tickle your fancy. Astra and VW seem like strong choices to consider.

I'm always on the go, and living at home only for the time being while working here, there's already no space...and when I move in the future, there's not going to be space. Beyond that, I have no desire or budget to continue with a second car AT ALL let alone a toy or project one. It's time to downsize, go newer (the Fleetwood has been a tank, as they all are, but is far from perfect...and it's a risk everyday I drive that something might happen), go much more efficient, etc.

Honestly, yes, I could go a bit lower in price with something else and keep both...but I have beyond zero interest AT ALL in that. It's been great, but I'm done, and too busy in the start of life to care about having more than anything new.

How about low-mileage used?

You could get something a bit closer to what you have for less money than the drastic shift that the new cars you are looking at would be.

Yep, I've considered it, and would--something essentially new, but very low mileage, an exec car, etc. If something I really like/want/can afford just happens to also be as such...fine. But at the same time, I still prefer brand new--even if that means less equipment or what have you (big deal, really)--with no miles, new car rebates and financing, etc.

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Oh, and some new thoughts. Lots of Mazdas, hah.

-Completely forgot about it, but am intrigued VERY, VERY much by the Mazda 5. I knew about them, but had somehow forgot until reading the name somewhere today and then looking up prices. For a "base" in the $19k MSRP range, just a screaming standout that so few know about, mini-minivan and all. Even reading owner reports, not only is the quality like the Fit, but it realistically seems to get mileage in the high 20's and then into the 30's without much effort. Just wondering, even small, if it might still be a bit too big. Good deals now too.

-Mazda 3. Of course, always a popular choice. The funny thing is, as much as I love this look and size, a starting model hatch is the SAME price as a larger, more packed, etc. 5. Almost oddly so.

-Mazda 6. A classic, but nearing the end, and again, deals to be had on a stylish, fun car that's decently efficient.

And lots of other things, continuing, especially the Fit and HHR with the new ones above. Though I really liked the G6 coupes I played with, I don't think I could bear spending so much on something with one of the worst resales ever...and so "Enterprise". Same with a lot of GM's, actually. As much as I love them, there's an even stronger pull telling me explore and go outside that realm for once.

But the Fleetwood is definitely heading for sale, and still such a stunner--especially thanks to my car. Too bad I can't keep it in a capsule just to look at, but honestly, I'm beyond that too...just time to move on, and do it sooner rather than later. All when I can find the car a good home. I have a few ideas of people to contact, and it'd be perfect for a collector/driver, which I hope it will be. Time to appreciate these cars from afar, but not drive one.

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I think you're getting me...most of those are above the theoretical limit and NO V8's let alone V6's, but still, interesting ideas.

were the same. we want high function, low operating cost cars that are solid and somewhat interesting and mid level fuel economy.

not seeking to validate our existence with an image car that cost wayyyyy too much.

i did stop by a chevy dealer tonight because they supposedly had an HHR SS bt it wasnt there yet. i sat in an HHR with tan interior for a long time. i wish the cargo area was a little bigger and the hip room 2 inches wider but its a neat little cabin inside for such a cost conscious car.

if you can't spring the SS a 2LT would be nice.

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were the same. we want high function, low operating cost cars that are solid and somewhat interesting and mid level fuel economy.

not seeking to validate our existence with an image car that cost wayyyyy too much.

i did stop by a chevy dealer tonight because they supposedly had an HHR SS bt it wasnt there yet. i sat in an HHR with tan interior for a long time. i wish the cargo area was a little bigger and the hip room 2 inches wider but its a neat little cabin inside for such a cost conscious car.

if you can't spring the SS a 2LT would be nice.

As long as you can nix the running boards, those drive me nuts..plus the break easy...

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Oh, and some new thoughts. Lots of Mazdas, hah.

-Completely forgot about it, but am intrigued VERY, VERY much by the Mazda 5. I knew about them, but had somehow forgot until reading the name somewhere today and then looking up prices. For a "base" in the $19k MSRP range, just a screaming standout that so few know about, mini-minivan and all. Even reading owner reports, not only is the quality like the Fit, but it realistically seems to get mileage in the high 20's and then into the 30's without much effort. Just wondering, even small, if it might still be a bit too big. Good deals now too.

-Mazda 3. Of course, always a popular choice. The funny thing is, as much as I love this look and size, a starting model hatch is the SAME price as a larger, more packed, etc. 5. Almost oddly so.

-Mazda 6. A classic, but nearing the end, and again, deals to be had on a stylish, fun car that's decently efficient.

And lots of other things, continuing, especially the Fit and HHR with the new ones above. Though I really liked the G6 coupes I played with, I don't think I could bear spending so much on something with one of the worst resales ever...and so "Enterprise". Same with a lot of GM's, actually. As much as I love them, there's an even stronger pull telling me explore and go outside that realm for once.

But the Fleetwood is definitely heading for sale, and still such a stunner--especially thanks to my car. Too bad I can't keep it in a capsule just to look at, but honestly, I'm beyond that too...just time to move on, and do it sooner rather than later. All when I can find the car a good home. I have a few ideas of people to contact, and it'd be perfect for a collector/driver, which I hope it will be. Time to appreciate these cars from afar, but not drive one.

Funny you should mention that about willing to sacrifice some features for teh sake of buying "new" rather than slightly used. My boss drives a brand new Civic. That's all well and good. These past few days have been in th 90's. I came into work and he ha d just got in and was all sweaty. Latery myself, him, and a coworker were leaving for the day and talking about aiur conditioning. The coworker's older Maxima doesn't have good A/C...and my boss' car doesn't have it AT ALL. I almost burst out laughing. This country's obsession with buying new just for the sake of buying new (That has to be the only reason anyone ever bought Echos and cheap Korean $h!boxes) is hilarious. Meanwhile, I have A/C that works great...and it's the oldest of the 3 cars. :P

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Too bad the new Chevy compact won't' be out in time. You don't have 7 months to wait, or at least it doesn't sound that way.

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As long as you can nix the running boards, those drive me nuts..plus the break easy...

the SS dont have em!!!! does the SS also lack armrests though?

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AFAIK, running boards are an option on HHRs, not a requirement.
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were the same. we want high function, low operating cost cars that are solid and somewhat interesting and mid level fuel economy.

not seeking to validate our existence with an image car that cost wayyyyy too much.

i did stop by a chevy dealer tonight because they supposedly had an HHR SS bt it wasnt there yet. i sat in an HHR with tan interior for a long time. i wish the cargo area was a little bigger and the hip room 2 inches wider but its a neat little cabin inside for such a cost conscious car.

if you can't spring the SS a 2LT would be nice.

YES. A month or so ago, I really liked the idea of an SS, Turbo and all...but one is really just a bit beyond the limit. Hence, if HHR, most interested in either 1LT or 2LT models. And it's a toss-up with engine, if I continued to be interested. Loved the 2.2L in my rental Malibu, it gets better mileage, and is cheaper...but the 2.4L definitely has more zing.

Our favorite local dealer has an oddball 2LT that's been sitting around for a while, obviously loaded up with all the standard 2LT stuff (great wheels, interior toys, etc.) BUT nothing else and it even has a stick--something that seems so few and far between. I love the idea of an Ecotec and a stick, especially a 2.4L, and for barely over $20k MSRP, it's an impressive package. Now, if only I had ever driven a stick, hah. Something I like and WANT in theory, but just haven't driven.

I've yet to drive any though, so who knows. Really still liking the oddball Mazda 5 and Honda Fit right now.

Funny you should mention that about willing to sacrifice some features for teh sake of buying "new" rather than slightly used. My boss drives a brand new Civic. That's all well and good. These past few days have been in th 90's. I came into work and he ha d just got in and was all sweaty. Latery myself, him, and a coworker were leaving for the day and talking about aiur conditioning. The coworker's older Maxima doesn't have good A/C...and my boss' car doesn't have it AT ALL. I almost burst out laughing. This country's obsession with buying new just for the sake of buying new (That has to be the only reason anyone ever bought Echos and cheap Korean $h!boxes) is hilarious. Meanwhile, I have A/C that works great...and it's the oldest of the 3 cars. :P

Well that's just DUMB...I'd never sacrifice that much. When I say ignoring some option boxes for the sake of price, I'm talking things like sunroofs and upgraded audio--basically, extra toys on top of standards. If that were the case, and I could afford no more, slightly used would be a no brainer.

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CRUISER- the dealer told me last night the HHR has a 2k rebate right now. That oddball one you are admiring would have the rebate i think, and prob a nice dealer discount. In my case, i have nearly 2k in GM card burning a hole in my pocket and GM even has an incentive out there to make up to 2k in my final lease payments on my Ford as well. What I am saying, check the rebates and test the waters on the dealer discount.

The Fit is a thoughtful car, but cmon, its light, has no power, and will not have the solidity of the HHR. A few spring potholes and where is the Fit? And if you make the choice solely on engines alone, you already know the ecotec is a great torque four that gets great FE and has passing reserves. That Fit motor just can't keep up, despite how seemingly awesome hondas torqueless wonders are.

Mazda 5 is nice and has more interior versatility than the HHR. I don't think its faster though and at least from when i researched it, i don't think its real world FE was all that much better than cars like the Ford Freestyle were (Freestyles consistently scored 20-25 real world city, my 500 has been seeing 22-23 this summer in town).

A 20k sticker to me translates to a maximum 17k price out the door after rebate, maybe even closer to 16 than 17. If you shop around, you'll find virtually nothing as cool in that price range.

Talked to my neighbor last night. He is a big car guy. He works part time for Dodge doing promotions on the side. He owns an SSR, that's his toy. his wife needed a car. he said he tried to steer her into an HHR but she wanted AWD so they got a Suzuki SX4. he didn't even get a Caliber...LOL. Point being, he thought the HHR is a super package as well.

Edited by regfootball
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