Sunday, June 02, 2013

the car hunt continues

Robb and I spent the weekend test-driving used cars.  Or more accurately, I drove a lot of cars while asking Robb to repeat the comparative prices and mileages of all the cars we were considering.

Robb is a saint.

We're trying to buy from no-haggle dealers, because I loathe, detest, freaking ha-a-a-a-ate used car dealers. I hate the whole bogus negotiating.  I honestly don't understand why they bother with the whole charade.  Nobody in their right mind could possibly believe that the buyer has any power to influence the selling price of a car sold by a dealer.  So why do we go through the ridiculous ritual of pretending the arrive at a price?  The dealers are in total control, so why do we pretend otherwise?

Lynne turned me on to the Buggy Bank, and we also looked at a lot of cars at Autometrics.  If anyone knows of any other no-haggle options in the greater Bay Area, I'd sure like to hear about it.  We're willing to do a bit of work, to get a decent used car.  Has anyone bought from a rental car company, like Hertz?

What we're trying to do is find that perfect car, less than six years old, able to carry large loads, and somewhat fuel efficient.  Right now, we've found a lot of cars that we can afford, but don't particularly want.  I think there's a missing middle, in terms of used car sales.  There are the cars that are at the end of their lives, being sold for low prices by people who are sick of driving junkers.  There are the cars that are quite new, being sold at high prices by people who buy new cars every few years.  And then there are the cars that are perfectly good, so they're still being driven and are not for sale at all.  Sadly, those are the types of cars I'm hoping to find.

I'm more than a little bit in love with the 2004 VW Passat wagon that I drove, but Robb's research on this particular car leads us to believe that it's like a bad, bad boyfriend.  So attractive, so much fun when everything is going well.  Such total pain all the rest of the time.  I'm trying to tell myself that I know better, and that I'm past that stage in my life.  But, oh, those bad boyfriends can addle a girl's brain.


Bungalow Boxer said...

I agree. Once my 1998 Passat got to about 100,000 miles, it was a constant headache. It was awful. When I started putting more $ into it than a monthly car payment, I bought a brand new car instead.

Anonymous said...

My first 2 cars were new VW's and (1984 Rabbit, 87 Golf - Wolfsburg Editions) in my experience no one gets rid of a good VW. I also found them extremely expensive to maintain. I am currently driving a 98 Chrysler Cirrus LXI with 238,000 miles on it (my 3rd car). My last fill up indicated I got 32 mpg (highway). As much as I loved my VW's I probably will never own one again. ~speedsquare

spencer said...

You could try CarMax, though Sacramento may be the closest to you. Good luck! (and yes, our friends had yet another difficult Passat - the major things were fine but the small ones kept needing repair)

Unknown said...

Used former rental fleet cars get a big "NO!" from my trusted mechanic. He said the cars start out not as good as real ones (apparently fleets order the cars new with the least powerful engines and without useful longevity options) are are driven quickly into the ground. Maintainence tends to be cosmetic because they turn them loose for resale with low mileage, to become someone else's nightmare...


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