I have recently purchased a car… Not a new car, mind you, but new to me. I can tell you one thing, though. This has been more nerve wracking that anything I have gone through in some time. My word of advice to everyone is this: If you are suicidal, have a tendency towards violent emotional outbursts, have been known to start speaking in tongues when in the presents of used car sales people or have uncontrollable fits and spasms when someone says, “Let me go talk to my manager.” If any of these describe your state of mind, then please do yourself and the legal system a favor and go pick yourself out a good ten-speed. As for the rest of you, please read on.
As any of you who might know me will understand, my last vehicle sucked. I drove a 1997 GMC Jimmy that had been nothing short of a money pit since I bought it. Luckily I also bought a warranty package, so much of the money that it has sucked, in the beginning, was from the dealer. This was my vehicle for eight years… and yes, I was surprised with I realized that I had had it that long as well.
Going into this process, I laid out three vehicles I was interested in, and kept it to that. In order of importance, here is that list: 1. Honda Ridgeline, 2. Chrysler Pacifica, and 3. Hyundai Sante Fe. Now I can already hear some of you out there groaning about the Hyundai, but let me tell you something. I was actually surprised to learn that they have come a long way and turned out to be a pretty good car maker these days. I was not, in the least, hesitant to look at a Sante Fe or a Tucson by them.
My final decision was based on the current market and the fact that I was made a very good deal on the car. It was the 2006 Chrysler Pacifica, touring edition. I wanted the Honda Ridgeline, but with the current credit crunch, Honda (and a few other dealers) are extremely tight on their policies and restrictions for whom they finance. I can accept this, as I will be the first to say that I have not been a saint with respect to my credit. I have had issues and events that have broken down my rating.
I can say, though, that my experience was not completely unpleasant. The only down side to the shopping experience was giving my cell phone and home address to Barber Honda. Even after I advised them that I was going with another dealer and not interested in them, I continued to get calls and letters from them. The place that really helped us with locating a car and the purchase process was a company called Autoland. Since my wife works with a credit union here locally, she got us in touch with a gentleman by the name of Lenny Garifo, who went out of his way to get us into what we wanted, and at the price point we were looking for. If you are a member of a credit union that uses Autoland, and get to the point where you are looking for a vehicle, then I suggest you look into them.
In the end, I think I ended up with a pretty good car that is very comfortable. Best of all… it is nice to enjoy driving again.