So… We’re Buying A Car Part 2
The post about us buying a new car has been pretty popular so I’ll keep you informed about what’s happening.
A recap- This car is mainly for my wife Mariko who at 5’1″ is on the petite side. She is not an automotive enthusiast. She wants something practical, comfortable and reasonably priced. For years she has not paid attention to the cars I bring home because she simply doesn’t care about them. She’s into gardening and since I can’t tell the difference between a petunia and an azalea, she figures we’re even when she doesn’t know if she’s in a Chevy or a Toyota. Point taken.
Her biggest problem is visibility. Because many windshield pillars are swept back these days for aerodynamics, it blocks her left side view.
Two cars have been immediately taken off the list for that reason, the Toyota Venza and Kia Sportage. I consider the Kia to be a great value and a terrific design so I have to admit I’m disappointed there. I have had a Honda CR-V as a press car recently and she’s fine with that but considering it’s three months away from a new generation she’s less likely to go for it. Mariko likes the photo of the concept and will wait to see what it looks like in person.
I have showed her a bunch of stuff on the internet and have been pointing cars out on the road and as I have brought them home the past few months. I’m a HUGE fan about trying things out so I’ve told her we’re going to climb in and out of a lot of cars. Test driving can be time consuming so to winnow things down we’re just going out to dealerships and sitting in them to see if she likes the look (inside and out) and whether the visibility works for her.
Just a mile or so from our house there’s a VW and Subaru store right across the street from each other. We show up half an hour before closing so there’s really no chance to drive them. First up is VW. We check out the Jetta SportWagen which she likes. Visibility is good and she likes the interior plus the trunk is roomy. It stays on the list even though she thinks it looks a little plain. Then it’s the Tiguan. This car seems custom made for her. The interior and driving position really connect with her. She’s less happy with the trunk since it’s definitely smaller than the Jetta and the V70 she’s been driving for 11 years. Still AWD is a big plus so it also stays on the list. She also likes the exterior design (though it’s due for a refresh in the coming weeks).
The salesman then leads us across the street to the Subaru showroom (same owners). We peek into a Forester and an Outback. AWD is great for slippery Seattle roads and the prices are in line with what she wants to pay. After the VWs though, she feels the interiors are blah and plasticy looking, especially Forester. Still she can see fine and and the cars have the utility she wants. Ultimately she keeps Outback Limited on her list but drops Forester, mostly because of the interior quality.
What We Have Learned- First she’s more discerning than either of us imagined. After 11 years of driving the V70 she likes the interior quality of the VWs because, and I quote, “that’s what I stare at all the time, it’s important”. Smart woman. She’s beginning to understand that there’s a reason why some cars cost more than others and that it’s not just marketing and a badge.
She also learned that it’s not just a car she’s shopping for, but the dealership as well. This is something she never deals with since I do all the maintenance. Our salesperson did a good job of listening to her, even ruling out the Touareg after asking her about her needs and budget. No up sell or hard sell. He was very patient and stayed with us 15 minutes past closing to explain certain features.
We’re set to hit up 9-10 dealerships in the next day or two to see what she likes. Then we’ll look at the notes and and test drive her favorites. Stay tuned!