So! Yesterday was my fateful meeting with Cinnamon at the dealership.
Cinnamon was very nice and helpful, and I feel bad now for thinking of her as a stripper. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.
Three hours at a car dealership is not exactly my idea of a good time, but I test-drove lots of cars, and at least found out what I DIDN'T want.
I need a hatchback, because of the hauling I do for the rescues. I started with a Chevy Aveo, which was waaaay too small. Next up was the Chevy Sonic, which was too rattle-y. And there was some weird vibration in the engine, and the check engine light was on when I got in the car, which ... no.
Cinnamon actually steered me away from the Dodge Caliber SXT - she said in her experience, they're kind of spotty, repair-wise.
The Mazda2 Sport was too small, and the Nissan Versa had too many miles for the price.
And then we got to the Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS. This is a wagon, very similar to my Kia Rondo. The one they have on hand is a 2012, and here's the kicker: It only has 15,000 miles on it. It's practically a new car.
Cons? It's more than I want to spend. I was looking in the 12K range, and this one comes in at 16K. I may have some wiggle room, there, because the book value on it is between 14.5 and 15.5, so I might be able to talk the dealer down on the price a little. Either that, or get them to come up on the trade-in on my Kia. They're offering 5,150, which is a little on the low end. Then again, I knew not replacing the timing belt would come back to bite me in the butt.
Let's see, we're doing cons. Because I still owe 1,800 on the Kia, that's gonna cut into my trade-in. Instead of having $118 monthly payments for the next eighteen months, I'd go up to $225 monthly payments for the next five years, depending on how much cash I bring in.
On the other hand, I really doubt that the Kia is going to make in another eighteen months. It's only five years old, 79,000 miles, but I've had an ongoing problem with the heating system, the car clunks like a motherf*cker (that's normal for this car, the garage told me. "It's probably a loose strut plate."), and now it stalls out and the check engine light comes on every time I put gas in it. BIG PROBLEM, and the computer is coding with an emissions problem, which could be nothing, or it could be several hundred dollars. If I hang onto this thing, I'm gonna have to dump some serious money into it. So we're looking a possibly spending a grand or so (and that's not including the pending timing belt), to hang onto the car and those $118 payments.
Pros? With the Hyundai, I'll have a large chunk of the three-year, 36,000 mile warranty to play with. I don't put a whole lot of miles on my cars, so even five years from now, when the car is six years old, it'll only have 65,000 miles or so on it. And it'll be paid off then. It gets better mileage than my Kia, but then again, that's partly because it's only a four-cylinder, versus six on the Kia.
Oh, but another con is going to be the same problem I had with the Kia - It's an import, so there's gonna be a three-day wait for any repair parts.
I dunno. I'm looking at substantially increasing my monthly payment, in order to get out of a bad car and into a newer car. Can I afford it? Well, sure, I can, but a question is whether I WANT to spend that money on a car.
Dear reader, what is your advice? Have you ever owned a Hyundai? Do you regret your car payments? Enquiring minds want to know.