Last weekend J and I started test-driving cars. It's about time for us to replace our 1999 Elantra* so we've been car shopping online very casually for a few weeks now.
We were thinking we wanted/needed a truck, because**:
- It would be very useful for property management things, like moving large appliances.
- It would be very useful for trips to home improvement stores, because my little car doesn't fit much. HD sometimes tells me, uh, maybe it would be best if I just come back for the rest of whatever I've bought.
- It would be very useful for pulling our DOOOOMBUGGY when we take it to go buy hay each year, and when we use it to transport animals.
Last Saturday we went to test-drive four different truck models, so that I can see how I like different kinds. J wants me to have a preference. He picked the Yaris, he says, so I can pick my truck. I just need to pick something that is within our budget, not too old, and something that meets our needs (like, I can't totally ditch the truck idea and get something sporty**). But I could get an SUV if I wanted.
First we went to test drive a Toyota Tacoma. It was a lot dirtier than it had seemed in the pictures online. There were thug-ish vinyl decals on the outside. The windshield was cracked (but the guy said he would get it fixed for a real buyer)...and when I drove it, I LIKED it! It was not nearly as truck-like as I expected it to be. BUT... it really wasn't going to work for us, because it smelled like smoke. I am super sensitive to cigarette smoke, and within a few blocks of our little test drive, I was feeling sick. It was ok, though, because it taught me that I like Tacomas. When we brought the truck back, I did a terrible job of parallel parking, because I couldn't tell how wide I was. As we were leaving, the guy offered to clean out the truck and see if he could get the smoke smell out, but I said it probably wasn't going to work out. Sorry.
Then we drove out to Brad's Cars*** to test drive a Nissan Frontier. It was even cleaner than it had seemed in the pictures online. It looked brand new. The dash was SO classy. I liked it! And then, when I test drove it, I felt like I was driving Noah's Ark. The truck felt huge, and I hated it, and it made me feel as if I was being a really risky driver because I was afraid that I would sideswipe, like, everyone. When we brought that truck back, I didn't even bother trying to park in a particular place, because I would have crunched other cars that they had for sale, for sure. Also, that truck made a churning-thumping noise as I drove it, so that wasn't really confidence-inspiring either. We decided Frontiers were out, since I hate them.
Our third stop was down in American Fork, to test drive a Chevy Colorado. The outside of the Colorado looked nice! The inside had seen better days. The weird thing was, we're only looking at trucks that are '04 and newer, but the dash in this thing looked like it was from 1980. It really did. And then we started driving it, it was ok. It was boxy, but not as bad as the Frontier. Nothing to get excited about, but it would work, I guess. And then we realized the back had no seats. It did have one car seat anchor thing, but no actual seats. That salesguy said it was because it had been a work truck. Ah, ok. Well, we're limiting our search to extended cab stuff, so the Colorado was out.
Then we drove home.
In the evening, J found a Tacoma online that he wanted to check out in Salt Lake (because it was cheap and low miles) but the guy couldn't meet us that night, so we didn't go. Instead, we went to the Toyota dealership that J bought our Yaris at, just to see what they had.
The sales-guys laughed at us for wanting to spend what we've decided we want to spend. Then the sales-guys laughed at us for looking at 2 wheel drive trucks in Utah. They didn't really have anything that met our criteria. Our sales guy tried to talk us into buying a Tacoma that was 4WD, with a shell, which had just been a trade-in from the night before. He was telling us he could do that for $15,000, and he would give us $1500 for the Elantra as a trade-in. Hm. Well, that was more than we wanted to spend... What about for $14,500, he asked. We decided to test-drive it.
Visibility through the truck's shell was minimal. The brake light stayed on, even though I'm sure the parking brake was off. The engine made a weird noise. I pulled it into the next row of parking stalls, and that ended my test drive. We went back inside to find our guy, and he came back out and tried to drive it. He tore through the parking lot, turned around and came back. He told us the brake light clicked on and off for him. He said the tires were having some problems, so it was a bumpy ride. And then he told us it hadn't been through their shop yet, so they didn't know how much that was going to cost, and what if if were a little over $15,000 but we kept it close to $15,000 and he wasn't sure if he could, but would we be interested? Eh. Not really. Thanks, though.
So, our next options were the Tacoma that J had found, or an Isuzu that was cheap (but 3 hours away, in Idaho), or another Tacoma that was a little spendy, but looked nice, and was up in Bountiful.
And then, something amazing happened. I found A PERFECT CAR.
[To be continued!]
* Which J actually bought new.
** We keep borrowing J's dad's truck for things.
*** NO CREDIT CHECKS!!!!! WE CAN FINANCE ANYONE!!!!! (uh oh)