Monday, 03 September 2012
Well, hullo interwebs. How was your Labor day?
I spent mine car shopping. Whee.
So, I set out with the thought in mind, as it has been for the past year or so, that the Hyundai Accent would be the car for me. My dad owned one for 10 years, and two of my friends owned them and loved them. It's a cute little compact sort of car, and I had driven my dad's before and liked it. Perfect, right?
With that thought in mind as the ideal, Dad went online and did a search for the 10 cheapest cars on the market today, and then for dealers nearby where they might be purchased. Thus, we began our valiant quest.
First stop was a Toyota dealer, to look at the Yaris. I had seen Yarises...Yarii? around and thought they were cute, but didn't know how affordable. Well, they made the bottom ten in price, so apparently pretty affordable. The sales dude was young but knowledgeable, and very nice. We talked for a bit, I sat in the car, he asked if I wanted to test drive, I said sure.
Well, apparently the only test drive-able car was the one on the show room floor, so they had to maneuver a bunch of cars out of the way first before I could drive it, which took way longer than I would have liked. Eventually, we were able to take it on the road. I liked the size and the handling and the maneuverability and all that jazz. They tried to get us to buy it right away, by giving us $500 bucks for my car, sight unseen (we'd taken Dad's car out for this trip). We said thanks but no thanks, since we definitely didn't plan to buy anything today, and went on our merry way.
Second stop was the Kia dealer down the road, since the Kia Rio is basically the same as the Hyundai Accent (and Kia is part of Hyundai). The one they had in the showroom was way bigger than what I wanted, and the salesman swore that it did not come in a two-door variety. The overall selection at the dealer was pretty small, and Dad came away with the conclusion that the place must be going out of business, since despite huge signs advertising "CLEARANCE", there were very few customers (in contrast to the Toyota dealer, which was jammed) and only three cars on the showroom floor. We only spent about 5 minutes at that place, and went away very unimpressed.
Third stop was a Mazda/Hyundai dealer which did not have any Accents on the floor, but they did have a large selection out in the lot behind the building, which the salesman drove us out to on a golf cart. The Accent was a disappointment, as it has been completely redesigned from the cute little thing it was into an ordinary, dull sedan. The price has also gone up to match. We drove it around the lot, just to appease the sales guy, but I had already decided in my mind that I no longer wanted this car.
He then showed us the Mazda M2, which was much more in the size range that I wanted (and a bit more in the price range as well). I liked the way it handled as I drove it, and I liked the size, though Dad felt it was much smaller-feeling on the inside, in contrast to the Yaris which had not felt cramped. The salesman obviously wanted us to buy a Hyundai instead, since he kept emphasizing the better warranty and construction, and the fact that we might be able to work a deal out of the fact that Dad had purchased a car from them before, although his most recent Hyundai purchase was not at that dealership.
Overall, I felt the Mazda was good enough to keep on my list of possibles.
Next, we went to a Chevy dealer, with the idea that we would look at the Sonic and also something neither Dad nor I had heard of before called the Spark. The Sonic looked kind of big to me, and when we saw the Spark from across the room, Dad at first thought it was too small. However, it was very roomy inside. The salesman told us that the Sparks have been selling like crazy since they came out, which was only about 4 months ago, and people were actually waiting for it to be released so they could buy it. The dashboard configuration is odd; it's just two little circles above the steering wheel, one with the speedometer and the rest a digital display of the tachometer, mileage, and current gear.
We took the base model out for a spin, a simple model in a neon green color called "Jalapeno." According to the salesman, it comes in white, black, Jalapeno, Salsa (a red-orange) and Denim blue. Despite the fact that it was the base with no extra options, it felt pretty luxurious inside, although new cars always feel luxurious compared to my own broken-in model. I wasn't impressed with the acceleration, and it felt a little sluggish, but such is the case with small, cheap cars.
In all honesty, I think unless I get a turbo-charged 6-cylinder, I'll never be pleased with a car's acceleration.
So after that we sought out another Kia dealer, which had none of the Rio in stock. We drove down the road a bit more and found another Kia dealer which was closed, but did have a Rio outside on display so we could see that it was basically the Hyundai Accent and I was overall unimpressed with that, as I'm sure you've guessed from my description of the Accent. The same thing happened with the Suzuki dealer, which was closed. Our goal there was to see the Sx4, which is actually quite cute as a hatchback, but a little more expensive than I'd like to spend. The sedan model was a sedan, (boring!) and also on the higher end of the price range.
To conclude, my list of car possibilities includes the Toyota Yaris, the Mazda M2, and the Chevy Spark. Right now the Chevy is at the top of my list for several reasons.
1. It's cute! Although I don't think I'll get it in Jalapeno green. Also, it's new and flashy and most people have never heard of it, so it'll be one of those "first on the block" sort of situations and everyone will be envious of me. Or perhaps just curious. Perhaps people will stop me in parking lots and say, "What is that?"
2. The price. Although this was the base model with no options (and the other cars I looked at were not the lowest-available prices) this was the cheapest, and the base model seemed to have enough amenities to make me happy. Also, one of my aunts used to work for GM, and might be able to get me a discount. Also, since I current own a GM car (a Saturn) I might get some sort of loyalty type pricing there as well, making it even MORE affordable.
Anyway, anyone have any thoughts for or against those cars? I've got some time to make a decision and see which dealers might give better pricing, and my car might have another few months in it before it kicks the bucket. So there's no real rush, and I'd like to get a few opinions from others.
Thus was today. Tomorrow, back to work!