Monday, June 3, 2013

Goodbye Ol' Blue

Big deal for us. We bought a new car.

This meant I had to say goodbye to my Jeep Liberty. This was a BIG deal for me (and Aunt Sue and OJ who've mourned a little with me).

In 2001, I read about a new Jeep SUV. Wait, back up - remember reading the P-A-P-E-R? Wow, I don't.

So, I saw this article in the paper - clipped it out and waited. I thought it was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. People told me to never buy the first generation of a vehicle. But, I was 26. What did I care? I liked the way it LOOKED. Period.

I test drove one up North, but it wasn't the car for me. Then, Dad called and said Olympia had the first ones on their lot.

One day later - I brought her home. It was June 2001.

I bought that car for my Annie girl. Mom rode in that car. She used to tell me how pretty I looked sitting up so high in it. I drove it to my first date with Bill. I drove it to my parents' house the day I sat holding on to my Mom as she passed away. I've carted our daughter all over heck-and-gone in that car. Oh the memories.

But, it was time. I'd committed to keeping it ten years and once I hit that mark, I really had no interest in getting rid of it. I loved being car payment free. I still loved it as much as that first day. However, we were putting too much money into maintenance. It was getting terrible gas mileage. When the check-engine light came on in early May, we called the mechanic to bring it in and even he said, "Bill, I think it might be time". Kind of like that horrible conversation with the vet. Then, the sinking feeling started in my stomach.

So, we started looking.

And looking.

Friends helped us with research (thanks, Steve and Beth!) and advice (thanks Tom). Consumer Reports. Autotrader. We'd go to bed early and scour through the Internet reading reviews, researching used and new prices, looking at different brands.

I had decided I wanted a wagon. I need room for kid and dog stuff, but I was SICK of bad gas mileage. My Jeep that originally got 16 mpg was getting maybe 12-14. Ugh.

I thought I wanted an Audi wagon.

Maybe an Acura wagon.


Then, this car kept popping up. It was deemed to be basically the same body style of the Audi, but almost half the price.

But, I thought it was ugly. Well, not ugly, but nothing to look at.

But, I kept reading about it.

I started researching options to make it less nerdy. Tinted windows. Spoiler. Different wheels. Moonroof. Just the right color.

The Jeep had been in the shop for over a week and Pat (our mechanic) still wasn't sure why that light had come on.

When he finally called and it turned out to be an easy fix (and only $70), we still knew it was time.

We had always thought we would buy a used car. However, this car's price, plus the availability of the right used car for us started to change our mind.

We test drove a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI. Turbo Diesel. 49 miles per gallon on the freeway. 49 miles per gallon! WOW. We also looked at an Audi Allroad. Wow, what a beauty. But, the price, another WOW. And not in such a good way.

One week later and five hours of negotiations at the car dealership, I am proud to say we got the price we wanted. They did not make it easy on us. But, we held our ground and were firm, direct, confident, yet respectful. I think our work experiences helped us in our bargaining power. In the beginning, I felt myself getting hot with anger as their first offer was so utterly ridiculous. I felt like walking out and never looking back. But, we found our pace and we soon had the upper hand. It was pretty fantastic and I know that sales manager was not happy. But, we were! Our two year old was a trooper staying up through naptime, loaded with balloons, popcorn, and hot chocolate from their $20K espresso machine. We had a new car. And they bought my Jeep sight unseen. It was a good day even if I was sad driving away from my Liberty.

I honestly bought her knowing she was practical. It was not the car of my dreams. She was reasonably priced. She got amazing gas mileage. She'd be safe for our family.

What I did not expect was to like this car so much. In just the two weeks since we brought her home, I've driven her to Packwood, Tukwila, Tacoma, Ellensburg and the scenic route on the way home via Bellevue. I still don't know how far I can go on a tank of gas, but I was stunned when I went 310 miles on a HALF tank. Wow.

She syncs with my phone and I've loved cranking up the music only to have my lovely daughter say, "Mommy, too loud, Turn it down please!"

Elyse loves the moonroof that extends over the front and back seats. She looks for Swiper (from Dora) in the sky. I like opening the sunroof - it is designed well so it doesn't "mess up my hair" as my dear husband knows I don't enjoy.

She's got a lot of power and I love how easy I can accelerate onto the freeway. It does have that diesel hum, but it is pretty quiet and I kind of like the sound.

It is very comfortable and of course that new car smell is always a bonus.

Grandma Jo likes it because it is easy for her to get into and my favorite quote from her is, "Wait, I thought you were getting black rims?". Priceless. Love it.

I still miss my Liberty. I'm proud I met my goal of paying her off. Keeping her for ten years (I made it twelve) and saving toward my next car. I hope she is in good hands. And I hope that person likes going to the gas station.

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