My Hot, New Set of Wheels

Finally, my car shopping has come to a close. It was a long and arduous process, but I finally traded in my hand-me-down minivan for a sleek, new-to-me sedan.  To my complete and utter surprise, I ended up buying a 2012 Chevy Cruze with only 43,000 miles on it. Honestly, this car is way nicer than anything I  thought I would be buying. It gets 42 MPG highway, has bluetooth, fold-down backseats, a USB port, and a reeeaaaalllly cool switchblade key that I cannot stop playing with.

I just can’t believe what a difference it is between driving this car versus my old van. This car is so much smoother. It accelerates and decelerates with ease. You may be thinking to yourself, ‘What the hell is wrong with this chick? Shouldn’t it be expected that your car accelerate and decelerate easily.’ I would heartily answer yes, dear skeptic. Cars should accelerate and decelerate easily. My old minivan, however, did not. The van struggled to accelerate up to highway speed even on the longest ramp. I would inevitably be merging into traffic that was going significantly faster than me. Not to mention the fact that once I got going highway speeds, it was really tricky to stop quickly. There was just so much momentum in a heavy vehicle like that. In that vehicle, had far to many rear end close calls, and now that I drive during Madison rush hour everyday, with the constant ebb and flow of stop and go traffic, and near constant sudden stops, the whole minivan thing was not working out. To add to the joys of minivan ownership, I used to be able to tell how fast I was going in the van by the rumbly sounds coming from my engine and how much my steering wheel would shudder.Now, no more! My engine now is actually so quiet, I really don’t realize how fast I’m going. I have to watch my speedometer like a hawk, because it is way to easy to speed in this thing.

Did I mention the difference in fuel economy!? I used to spend about $80 a month on gas. Just one tank of gas in the minivan would reliably cost me $40. Didn’t matter if gas prices went up or down. My gas bill would always be $40 give or take a couple bucks. My gas bill will be cut in half with this new car, if not more. I am so unbelievably psyched for this. Just the savings in gas pay for about a third of my car payment. Sure, I’ll miss the ability to drive seven people and haul a dorm room’s worth of stuff, but I didn’t use that ability more than one or twice a year.

The experience of buying the car itself, however, not so smooth and effortless. The car salesman who was working with us was super nice to us in the lot, but it turned into a bit of a Jeckle and Hyde situation in his office. He got really angry with me when I tried to barter down the obviously jacked up price, and after we got to an acceptable price point he left us in his office for hours. We started the paperwork at 2pm in the afternoon and it didn’t end until after 5:30pm. Mind you this didn’t include the driving to Baraboo and back, the test drive, or the uncomfortable ‘let me show you all the features of your new car’ spiel after I had signed all the papers.

While sitting in an office for three and a half hours straight is never my idea of a thrilling Saturday afternoon, this was even worse, because I was freaking the fuck out the entire time. It’s just so scary to sign that paper that reads, you will pay X amount of money for X amount of years. A four year loan! I don’t know what I’ll want from a car in four years. I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. This car is perfect for me now. I love it. But what if it breaks down in the next four years? What if I get into an accident? The last thing I want is to owe money on a smoldering wreck of warped metal and busted glass. Granted that’s what insurance companies are for, but it’s also their business to screw over their customers. Let’s just say I’d rather not put all my eggs in that basket.

In all honesty my loan is not that bad. I was able to take way about a third of the final price with my sizely down payment, and I was able to knock it down a little more with the awesome trade-in value we got on the van. Granted fee and taxes took their toll on my overall loan, but all in all I only took out a loan on about half the value of the car. Also, as intimate and sexy as this is, I had a sinfully low APR through my credit union. Overall the total amount I’m going to pay from interest is about $300. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. Did this fact stop me from breaking out in stress hives while waiting in the car dealership? Hell no. Does it make me feel better now that I am my regular rational self? Of course!

After this entire experience, I can say it has been about as much fun as going to the gynecologist, but I am super proud of myself for taking the initiative, doing the research, and closing the deal. I’m walking away with a gorgeous car in great condition at a steal of a price. Although the whole first time into debt thing was painful as hell, I’m happy with my loan and I’m glad I could go through the process before I into more serious debt like a mortgage or master’s student loans.

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