Car Shopping

As I age, I am increasingly finding it less and less comfortable to fold myself into my current car, a Honda S2000. I wouldn’t have noticed this if I hadn’t spent a few months with the use of my Step Father’s Jeep Cherokee after he passed. A compact SUV, it was comfortable to drive, and I found that I enjoyed that.

The S2000, or “Stewie” is a hard edged sports car, real wheel drive, 2.2l 240BHP, and it drives like it is on rails. A true driver’s car, it is a lot like an airplane cockpit, where usability and control access for the pilot is the prime design objective.

With the settlement of the estate pending (the house is going to close on Wednesday), I am considering a car change to something more befitting my middle aged body, yet not sacrifice too much of the sportiness of the Stewie. The Jeep, while a nice ride, and a capable off roader, really didn’t fit my lifestyle, and it got shitty fuel mileage. Poking around the owners forums, one realizes that the 4WD versions of Jeep Cherokees have a lot of expensive sounding failures in the transmission and PTO units.

So, I began looking. Honda’s are good cars, and my preference, so I looked hard at the CR-V, but, even at the high end, they just seem meh. Sure, serviceable, reliable, but no excitement. Going from the Stewie to that, even in AWD trim would be a pretty big gap. Also it has a CVT transmission, something that I am not too comfortable with.

But, I thought that the Acura badge has a couple of SUVs and one of them being compact seemed to fit the bill, the RDX. Some research, and I am thinking this might be the one.

A few weeks ago, I had some afternoon business near a dealer, so I popped in to look at one up close. I got a test drive in a 2019, SH-AWD version, but otherwise it was a base edition (there are three package trims that are available, A-Spec, Technology, and Advanced.) Nice car, it felt well appointed inside, drove and handled well, and with the addition of the technology package, it was clearly something I could see myself driving. I wasn’t ready to buy, as I explained to the salesman that I was waiting for the trust to wind down, and in about a month, I would be ready to buy.

I did mention that I was interested in trading in the Stewie, as I really am not a multi car person (and only have one spot in my garage) so I thought I would see what they would offer for the trade in. I had researched it, based on condition, mileage, and my zipcode, I could sell the car for about $16K, and that I should expect about $14K for a trade in from a dealer. The offer from them was a paltry $9K. An insult for a well kept, low mileage, and excellent condition semi-rare car.

Even while I told the salesman that I wasn’t yet buying, and would be a cash customer when I was buying, he kept offering me their leasing deals, mentioning that they have some great promotions, yada, yada. Nope, I walked away, still mostly certain that is the vehicle I will end up with, but souring on this dealer.

Then came the emails. First from the salesman. Pleasant, but insistent. Then the sales manager. More of the “what will it take to get you into this car” desperation.

Then yesterday I got a phone call from the sales manager’s manager asking what he can do. Was there a price point I needed, or other concessions. I made it clear that I will be back when I am ready and not a moment earlier.

I guess you can’t blame them for trying, but it is annoying. If I do buy, I will look at the other local Acura dealer.

In the meantime, I will look at a couple of comparable cars, the Lexus NX200 (Pretty sure from what I have researched, I will not like that one), the Mazda CX-5 Signature (comparable, cheaper, but I suspect that it will lack some of the refinement of the Acura), and I will also try the Honda CR-V, just to be certain.