Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Carmageddon 2004

Today was the day of Carmageddon 2004. My friend Adam and I went to 6 car dealerships today. Why? Well, we are both in the market to get a new car, me in the the shorter term, him in the next few months. And we decided to check a bunch of things out, because well, it’s sort of fun. Here is a rundown of where we went and what we drove.

We started out at Honda, as Adam is interested in the Element. I should mention that Adam is quite tall and that there are many cars that he can’t drive realistically, as either he just doesn’t fit, or his eyes are over the windshield. Anyway, the Element happens to be a car that suits him in that respect. We saw one at the SF auto show back in November and we decided that it was really pretty neat on the inside, even if it looks like a lunchbox. I really can’t get over the styling, but Adam has evidently. Anyway, we test drove one and it drives ok, pretty much like a CRV. No surprise there. All-in-all the Honda dealership was an OK experience, they didn’t pressure us too much into buying a car that day, and such.

Next we went to Ford. As you probably know, I hate Ford. Adam has it in his mind that he might want an Escape, however. Well, this Ford dealership was dorky, and they didn’t seem to want to show us one without a Sunroof, or really show us one other than the floor model. The salesguy just kept talking about financing, and tried to talk Adam into an Explorer. We soon left, none-to-soon in my opinion.

Then it was down the road to a Jeep dealership, after a stop at 7-11 for some Gatorade. We wanted to try out the Liberty, mostly for kicks. We talked the the salesman a bit, who was sort of aggressive even though we told him we in no way were going to buy a car that day. He had an appointment that came in though, so he asked if we could come back in a couple of hours an test drive one. We said OK, and drove off.

Next and best, in my opinion, was our stop at Subaru. Some of you know that I have been jonesing for the new Forester 2.5XT Turbo for the past few weeks. Well, today was the day that I finally got to try one, and I my jonesing was NOT misplaced. The salesman gave us a quick rundown, and told us that he was really impressed with the car, even though he likes to drive small zippy cars (probably like the STI, I guess). Anyway, he let us take the car out by ourselves, and just told us to be back in around 15 minutes. Yeah, he took our licenses and probably ran a credit check, but whatever! We zipped down the freeway and tooled around a parking lot. The car handles like a dream. It’s nominally an SUV, but it really is more like a car. It’s incredibly practical, but also fun. The turbo works very smoothly, the car turns like a dream. The interior is not luxurious, but it is very nice. The sunroof is amazing. This car is just great. We brought it back and had smiles on our faces that we quickly hid before talking to the salesguy. He was pretty laid back and no hassle really. I think I will at least try to let him sell me a car soon.

Then we went to Pontiac, which was relocated in a Cadillac dealer. Adam wanted to check out a Vibe. We spent 20+ minutes tooling around the floor model Vibe and none of the salesmen even acknowledged us. Probably don’t care on the low margin, low commission Vibe. Whatever. On the way out Adam said “Hey, is there a Pontiac dealer anywhere around here” to the lazy salesmen out front, and they looked a little embarrassed and showed us a Vibe on the lot but we didn’t press for a test drive. We just left in a guffaw, never to return.

We went back to Jeep, and we test drove the Liberty. It’s big car, and you can tell it while driving, but it handles pretty well. It certainly is no Forester though. It’s barely in the same class as Forester, CRV and RAV4. They call it is “small SUV”, but it isn’t. Still, it turned pretty quick… the salesman had me do half a donut near a little airport. Good times! He then tried to find out if there was anyway he could get one of us into a Liberty that day. NOPE!

Finally, after all that we went to… SCION. Why? Humor value. We cracked ourselves up on the way so that we could ask with a straight face if we could check out an xB. Well, we took one out and I have to say, I am not impressed. The ride was awful, you could feel every little pebble on the pavement. Also, that engine is just pathetic. Yeah, the car has traction control, ABS, etc, for $14,000, but you know, if it feels like you are driving in a crazy coupe on top of a rock pile, is that money well spent? Not in my head.

Overall it was a great day. Sunny, warm, perfect for driving around. I learned a lot, but mostly what I already knew… that I want a Subaru Forester XT.

posted by neil at 10:46 pm
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