May 02, 2007

We Might Make a Deal Tomorrow.

We're definitely going used. The more I think about it, the more I want to do it that way. But not private party: I want more guarantees.

Bachelor #1 is a yellow Matrix, with which I'm secretly in love—because he has a sunroof, a tape deck + a CD player, a SIX-speed manual transmission, and a quirky maneuver for getting into reverse (one has to move a certain way, while reciting pagan incantations).

It's un-stealable: say there's a car thief who knows how to drive a stick—despite the fact that it's a dying art. He or she won't know how to get this bad boy onto the road. And it's got plenty of pickup, despite being a souped-up Corolla with a strange, practical Euro-style body.

Od: 35,326
Vintage: 2004
Extras: 4 years or 65,000 left on the extended warranty; tape deck

Even Attila the Hub, who was initially quite put off by the color (inspired, rumor has it, by French's mustard) is starting to warm to the quirky little car. I remind him that he only has to borrow it around three times, so he can get the feel of that funky reverse gear, and then he never has to set foot in it again unless there's an emergency.

Meanwhile, he's seeing more deep-yellow cars all over the highways, and is losing his reservations in that arena. "It's a cheerful color," I remind him. "Without being the kind of cop magnet that most shades of red are."

Bachelor #2 is respectable-looking Honda in a really beautiful light shade of metallic seafoam green. This one doesn't sport a sunroof: it's a grownup-looking car, but it cooks. It's got that Honda maneuverability, and the gears feel nice.

Od: 19K
Vintage: 2003
Extras: It just looks like a sober sort of sedan, in a non-aggressive/pretty color, and yet it maneuvers like a charm. Its another one of these small-but-clever cars, engineered so even tall guys like A the H can ride in comfort. Therefore, I could take him out to dinner without borrowing his car to do it. (Always a nice perk in the marital arena. When it's his birthday, I like to do the driving.)

Bachelor #3 is another Honda Civic, but of the hatchback variety they don't even make any more. He was a sweet ride. His bad habits: two doors (not counting the hatchback), and a rearview mirror that sucked, making daytime look like nighttime. But he might be available for less than his brother four-door Civic, and he like to rock and roll. For me the dealbreaker is that dim rear-view mirror—except that I know these are available on the aftermarket, and some of them are quite a bit better than the ordinary variety. This one is mounted into the windshield, but still: I'm sure there's a fix, and it probably isn't too expensive.

Besides, I carry a purse: think of all the time I'd save by throwing it into the back seat without having to open a back door! Two doors can be pretty practical, when you think it through.

There are a few aces up our sleeves, as Attila the Hub and I set out to negotiate with these people, and maybe even bring one of these sweethearts home:

1) My car works just fine. We aren't in a hurry.

2) When push comes to shove, I'm willing to drive an automatic, if it means a better deal. But they cannot sell their manual-transmission vehicles to people who don't know how to drive 'em.

3) A the H is using a special account for this purpose, and we put $4,500 less into it than we originally planned. This isn't an accident, or carelessness: it's because we knew that once I'd fallen for a couple of used cars, that would get us into a more appropriate price range for the models we were considering.

And I'm me: once my driveability buttons have been pushed, I'd prefer to spend the extra money fixing up our house. I want reliability, and a bit of a speed buzz. After that, who cares? I want to ditch the wallpaper, and paint this palace.

4) We are willing to walk. Not in a dramatic way, but if we aren't happy with a deal on offer, we will saunter off. After all, there are other sweet, sporty abandoned cars with stick shifts that are available for adoption all over the city. We are ready to deal—but not committed.

So if anyone's ready to buy a used car from an actual used-car lot, it's us. We are wearing our financial armor, and yet we carry the loudly beating heart of a passionate wife who has a deep need for speed.

Posted by Attila Girl at May 2, 2007 02:17 AM | TrackBack

The MoP and I have been really happy dealing with Enterprise Rental's car sales (http://www.enterprisecarsales(dot)com/carsales/, and my daughter is quite happy with CarMax (

You can preview cars on the web from both companies.

And, no, we have no interest in either company, except as occasional customers.

Posted by: leelu at May 2, 2007 10:53 AM

Let's see. . .
All signs point to Bachelor No. 1.
Guess that means you will go with the unmentioned 5th choice. Women!!!!

Posted by: Darrell at May 2, 2007 07:48 PM

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