August 24, 2013

And Then There Were Five

Today I bought the fifth vehicle in my life. I'm 47 and have owned five and I would have been happy at three or four... but it was not to be.

Out of college, I bought a 1988 Mazda 323 for $8000. My payments were $187.03.

I put 157,000 miles on that car, kept it when my eldest was born as it readily held a baby seat, and got rid of it when the radiator developed a leak and I was having a second kid and we needed something a bit bigger for TWO baby seats.

I got a 1997 Ford Explorer. I loved that car. Alas, we only kept it for two years, 50,000 miles, as I got pregnant again and it wouldn't hold THREE baby seats.

I got my first Toyota Sienna, 1999. And we kept that until June of 2004, to about 130,000. I was nervous to take it too high and I'd had the rat incident.

I should repost the incident about the rat... most of you don't know that story and it was the big catalyst in getting rid of that van.

And so from June 2004 until today, I drove this Toyota Sienna. It's really the only car my kids remember. Ringo was 9, T was 7, and Bones was just turning 5. I had just started blogging or was a week away. It was on my blog it became known as the asexual Mom-mobile because nobody ever sees a van and thinks, "Oh! I wonder whose driving that!" It's a given, "Don't look... it's another Mom." I wasn't working back in the aerospace business yet.

I had JUST been asked to take on Treasurer of the kids little private elementary/middle school... a job that lasted 6 years.

A lot happens in nearly 10 years.

But it was time. I met with my mechanic on Friday and he and I discussed a list of cars that would fit my needs. I don't need to be in a van, but I'm not ready for a sedan or hatchback. It's still too tight.

Since I am VERY loyal to him, VERY, and he works only on Japanese and Korean cars, we narrowed my needs down to the Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Kia Sorento, and Hyundai Sante Fe.

I had NO intention of buying. I was just going to sit in them all. I'd done tons of internet research, read through pricing, different reports, looked at what my car was worth, and just needed to sit in them, as a driver and as a passenger.

I have loved my Toyotas, but they missed the boat with this RAV4 redesign. They forgot the families. There are NO air vents in the back and... absolutely not one electrical plug in. NOT ONE. There are two up front, but not in the back seat nor in the back trunk area. NONE. And I know the vehicle isn't huge, but when you have a kid that wants to puke, you have to point an air vent at them.

So we had to cross it off, which was a shame because I really liked the salesman too. I'd refer people to him. And on a side note, the Venza suffers from the same problems... no electrical plug in and no vent in the back seats.

I hated Honda. I just... yeah... nevermind. It didn't click for us.

We went to Kia and it just clicked. The kid who was into sales was sweet, the Sorento has a third row of back seats, that folds in so the car is really no bigger than my Ford Explorer, but when Ringo is back home, we can use that back seat for a trip down to Miami or up to my folks (if not too much baggage is required).

I'm hopeful. I don't care about color. It's a dark cherry color, looks like dried blood to me. The kids are adjusting. They think it's weird not to be in the mini-van. They said they kind of miss it.

The Hyundai dealer... was a disaster. My husband and I walked in, walked around until we found the Santa Fe. We opened the doors, sat in the front, sat in the back, opened the back hatch, played with the back seats, looked for the spare, closed the doors, walked to the Vera Cruze, did the same thing, walked BACK do the Santa Fe, talked about fuel efficiency, cost safety, walked around both cars... and NEVER ONCE did one person come out and greet us, ask us if they could help... NOTHING.

So we left. The place was dead, they were all in a sales meeting, it was 1:00 in the afternoon, and evidently their sales meeting was more important than making a sale. I told my husband, "Don't even take me to another Hyundai dealer. I'm done. I looked at the Santa Fe on my own. I'm good with our decision."

And we went back to Kia and got a sweet deal from a sweet boy, who is trying to get into med school.

So we'll see. My husband took a picture of the van, sent it to Ringo at college and said, "Say goodbye..." to which my son replied, "This is going to be so weird..."

Good memories.

Posted by Boudicca at August 24, 2013 09:59 PM

Congratulations on the new ride. At least you told Ringo. Though in this day and age I don't know how you'd keep it a secret. At the end of my freshman year, I walk out of the dorm with arms full of stuff and can't find my Mom's white station wagon. She walks over to a dark blue Oldsmobile 88 and pops the trunk. Talk about weird. They never said a word. Weirder still . . . the car was longer than the station wagon.

Looking forward to more observations.

Posted by: cin at August 24, 2013 11:12 PM

Grats on your new Kia - they are great cars!

Sorry about your negative experience with the Hyundai dealer! I can guarantee that wouldn't have happened at the one where I work. A sales meeting at 1 pm on a Saturday with no one watching the floor? Holy crap, Batman. I can't imagine that here - there would be an entire new sales staff the next week.

Anyway, I really think you'll love the Sorento (even if I am prejudiced towards our Santa Fe.

Posted by: yak at August 25, 2013 12:16 AM

Cin-I'm not sure I'd have told him. I might've just showed up in Orlando with a new vehicle. It was my husband that spilled it. I'll snap chat him a picture this morning.

Yak- I was horrified. But I'll be honest, I suspect we'd have still gone with the Sorento as they were really trying to move those cars. It's the whole end of August gig and the car isn't moving. The Sportage is moving, so there were NO deals to be found on the Sportage. With the Santa Fe's redesign and it's supposed popularity (probably one of the reasons the Sorento isn't selling so well), the dealer probably wouldn't have given us what they gave us on the Sorento and that's what it came down to.

My mechanic said to me two things: I had about 4000 miles left on this set of tires and knowing how I am, he wanted me to think about now or I'd want to wait 8 or 9 months and get some value out of the new tires I was going to need and the last parting shot was, "You've picked four cars that are close to the same. For you, it'll be who gives you the best deal..."

And that's what it would have come down to between the Santa Fe and the Sorento.

Posted by: Bou at August 25, 2013 08:52 AM

Congrats on the new ride! Sounds like you dealt with one of those sales guys who you think . . "he/she will go far in whatever they do" because of their ability to work with people. ;-)

Will have to let my daughter know about the Hyundai disaster. She works as exec assistant to a GM over several dealerships in this area. Good lesson to keep in mind.

Can't wait to read the rat story!! ;-)

Posted by: Nina at August 25, 2013 09:45 AM

Enjoy your new car! I hope it holds up and gives you many years of good service. I remember when I went to a car dealership to look at a Ford Taurus wagon (many many years ago). The sales guy wouldn't even talk to me without my husband being there!!! Really??? They lost a sale that day. I guess they didn't really need it. heh.

Posted by: Teresa at August 25, 2013 06:00 PM

Will there be a family photo with the new car? We have a picture of our family, taken at the dealership, with the van when we bought it. It's kind of silly, but it turned out to be one of the best family photos we've had ... probably because we were all happy to finally have a car with enough room.

Can't wait to hear the rat story. :)

Posted by: PeggyU at August 26, 2013 12:46 AM

I forgot about the rat story... hmmm... wonder where I can get some fake but remote controlled rats???

Posted by: vwbug at August 26, 2013 04:57 AM

Congratulations! :)

Posted by: pam at August 26, 2013 06:17 AM

I drive a 2002 Santa Fe....she just turned 147,000 and I love her like my luggage. DH drives a KIA Sedona (mini van) and it has been a great both would be a good decision. Sorry the Hyundai dealership was a dud....I really love my Santa Fe. Hoping she'll make another Michigan winter because other than oil changes (which I call her mani/pedi), not planning to put any major money into repairs.

Posted by: Trudy at August 26, 2013 07:17 AM