Wednesday, January 23, 2013

ridin' dirty

Well friends, I did it. I bit the big one and bought a new car. A 2011 Nissan Versa, in fact. Here she is:

I've been calling it Strawberry, but Jellybean (or, "the bean") also has a nice ring.
I found her at the end of the work day on Friday after spending hours upon hours on Edmonds, Auto Trader, and KBB. She was at Cherry Hill Mitsubishi/Suzuki and listed for $9,995 - just $5 off the top of our budget. I read the website over and over again, trying to see if the list price included incentives that I knew I wouldn't qualify for (like military or student discounts) or if that was the price with some crazy down payment, but didn't see anything. I made an appointment for the following day in order to "lock in" the internet price.

When we got to the dealership, I let the salesman, Al, know that I absolutely could not afford a price higher than the one advertised on the website. If there was any reason they couldn't give me that price, he should show me other cars. He was very nice and checked with his manager before coming back and confirming that was the price I would get. Obviously, I test drove the car and it was awesome, but that's not too hard when you're coming off a 2002 Saturn with 176,000 miles on it.

The worst part about the dealership was how looooooonnnnggggg it took to sign the actual papers! Our appointment was at 11:00 AM and we didn't leave with the car until almost 3:30 PM. Granted, there were a lot of people at the dealership, so I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that I wasn't the only person buying a car that morning. Moral of the story: Either go when they first open, or wait until the afternoon lull (around 3:00 PM).

Also, because of all that waiting, I got hooked into a few fees that I might not have ordinarily signed to had I not been so bored. The first was the motor vehicle fees. I had every intention of registering and transferring my license plates myself; However, the finance manager told me they "don't allow it" and that they would be handling the registration and tags. Ugh. The second fee was a warranty. Initially, our salesman asked if I wanted to add a 4 year warranty for $10 more to my payment or a 6 year warranty for $20 more. I declined. About a half hour later he came back and said "the finance manager called in a favor and we were able to get you a warranty without increasing your monthly payment." Okay, sounds great! However, what they really did was charge me for the warranty ($1,900), but had the bank lower my interest rate so my payment was the same. I told him I wasn't happy with that behind the back switch (couldn't he just have gotten me the lower interest rate in the first place?), but honestly, I was too hungry and tired to care at that point. So I signed.

My payments are $180 per month for the next six years. I have a 3.6 % interest rate, which is better than I expected, but I'll still probably refinance with PNC next year if their rates are still low. I'm not happy about making car payments for that long, but honestly, I feel less stressed with the thought of the car payments, than with the thought of driving the Saturn around and hoping it makes it through another day.

Plus, it's got all sorts of crazy awesome features that I've never had in a car before, like power windows and locks, keyless entry, MP3 compatible (hello, Pandora!) and, my favorite, cruise control. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the stellar gas milage - 31 MPG on the highway!

so many features!
So, who wants to go for a ride?

1 comment:

  1. Sooo agree with you about car payments being better than worrying about breaking down. I still haaaate having car payments, but both our interest rates are so low (about 2.5%) that it doesn't make sense to refinance or even prepay. We're only paying about $500 in interest over the life of each 5-year loan, so we're focusing on prepaying the higher-interest student loans first.