Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The long-overdue tale of buying our new car

Josh and I had been kind of sort of shopping for a new car for the last year and a half (maybe longer!). We put our looking on hold when we put a contract down on our new house, but it wasn't too hard to postpone making a purchase because the only car Josh wanted at the time (a late model used Toyota Highlander Hybrid) was super expensive. And I thought it drove like a boat.

We thought we'd buy a car over the summer, but we found the Mazda CX-5, a super cute looking crossover with good gas mileage, was a little too stiff and sporty and the back seat windows were so high the girls couldn't see out. We liked our 2005 Honda CRV, but thought the new ones were ugly. The new Toyota RAV4 got iffy safety ratings and buying a Subaru Forester meant Josh would literally be driving his mom's car.

More importantly, I really wanted a third row. It would save our parents from having to rent a car when visiting and would make it kid hauling so easy and convenient.

But here's the thing. If you want a fuel efficient car with great gas mileage and a third row, your options are very limited. The Mazda 5 microvan was too uncool. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was awfully big and cost a mint. And we couldn't find a used Toyota RAV4 with the optional third row anywhere.

But there was the all-new redesigned Nissan Rogue, and it was getting good reviews. Having had a good experience purchasing our old CRV from Continental Honda, I emailed Continental Nissan requesting information on the Rogue. I exchanged a few emails and calls with the rep, who was mercifully low-pressure, and explained that I wanted to test drive the Rogue, but only with the Family Package. He didn't have any in stock, but promised to stay in touch.

A month later, he wrote that there was a Rogue with the Family Package on the lot. We went over to check it out and liked it a lot--even though it was the fairly low frills base model. I know better than to make a decision on the spot or start haggling, but I really wanted that car. I emailed my salesman (a 24 year old former football player), basically asking him how close he could get to the dealer invoice price on a Rogue with both the Family and Premium packages. I wanted to negotiate up from what the dealer paid rather than down from MSRP. We arrived on a price (I basically agreed to pay delivery) and he said he could get me exactly the car I wanted--it was just 200 miles away and could be transferred to Countryside ASAP.

It was almost the perfect transaction. But the dream car--in my ideal shade of blue--sold to someone else. It was the end of the month, so the dealer scrambled to find me another car with the specs I wanted. Red wasn't our first (or even second) choice for color, but the silver lining was that instead of getting a 2014, we got a 2015 model. And the 2015 model's Premium package comes with heated seats--something I was planning to have installed aftermarket.

Signing the paperwork and taking delivery of our car was remarkably fast, and I was pleasantly surprised that we weren't asked to spend one cent extra on protective coatings or any other nonsense.

Of course, we'd only driven the car for a week before a Pace paratransit bus sideswiped it on a residential street, ripping off the front bumper. That was a little heart-breaking, but it's all better now. (And we were reimbursed for repairs.)

What do we love about our new Nissan Rogue? I like the keyless entry, the power lift gate and the Sirius XM radio. I like the automatic headlights, the integrated navigation system and the lumbar support in the driver's seat. I like the automatic dual climate control and the stadium style seating that enables my kids to see out the back windows. I like the Bluetooth integration with my phone and the ample number of places we can plug in and charge devices. While the sight lines inside the car aren't great, I love the blind spot warning system. And yes, I love the heated seats. The only thing that bugs me? There's no trash receptacle. What's up with that?