Friday Five | Car Buying

People have definite opinions on car buying.

I posted about my recent car buying adventure on Facebook yesterday and the comments were instantaneous.  And they were all so different. It fascinates the long-dormant Sociology major in me. Some people will only buy new cars, some will only buy used. Some don't mind a car loan, some are adamant about paying cash. And the haggling, it seems to be an all or nothing topic. People either relish the thrill of the deal or absolutely loathe it. I fall into the second category.

I negotiated my first car as a senior in college -- a brand new 1998 black Chevy Cavalier. I was pretty proud of myself too. I was a twenty-year-old female who had never purchased a car before and I did it by myself. The older, responsible Katie probably would have kept my older-model red Chevy Cavalier which was a dependable car, but at the time I was flush with cash. I worked two jobs and lived with a roommate. I was stable, secure. Then my roommate became engaged and moved out and the department store which had just celebrated its 100th anniversary (you don't get much more job security than that) was bought out by a competitor. Suddenly, making that new car payment was not as easy. It was a good lesson though. Always have a backup plan. Never buy more car than you can afford.

After that experience,  I decided no more car payments. I also decided no more new cars. And for the last 18 years, I have followed that mantra. I drove the Cavalier until it hit 150,000 miles and the transmission went out. Since then, we have been lucky to have a long line of dependable cars with very little problems. My current vehicle, a Ford Edge, is long in the tooth and up there in mileage. Little things have started to go wrong so before the little things become big things, we made the decision this month to trade it.

Like I said, I have haggled -- many times -- but I despise it. It just does not mesh with my conflict-avoiding personality. We bought The Engineer's car from Carmax in 2013 and it was a such a great experience that we decided to be repeat customers. The only thing about Carmax is that stock moves fast. When I first started looking, two cars on my list were sold before I could even contact the store to inquire about them. So you have to move when you find one you like. Since it is the Friday Five, I am listing my top five choices in my car search.

Volvo XC60
I have long said this would be my next car. Ever since we rented a Volvo to drive from Miami to Key West, I have been a huge fan. For the past couple of years, when I have seen this car in parking lots, I ask the driver what they think about it and the response has always been overwhelmingly positive. So positive that they fly off the lots and are not that easy to find. Another caveat is that since it is a luxury vehicle, maintenance and repairs are more expensive. But the safety rating is second to none.

Buick Encore
I test drove this yesterday and loved it. LOVED it! It had every bell and whistle that you could think of, including my beloved Bose stereo system. Its drawback -- very little cargo space, which would not work for road trips. It has enough space for Fletch to stretch out and that's it.

Now this is a nice car. The inside is the most luxurious I have ever seen. It reminded me of my grandparents' Cadillac. And the trunk space is fantastic. But the reviews are mixed and if I am going to shell out this much cash for a car, I would like more of a sure thing.

Nissan Rogue
Oh, the inside of this car was fantastic. It had all of the features of a luxury car, without the price. It reminded me of The Engineer's Maxima. And the price was stellar. Unfortunately, the safety ratings were not. Nissan has fixed the issues with the newer model, but we aren't in the market for a new car. 

Honda CRV

This might be the new Team Skelleymobile. I test drove a CRV and really liked the smooth drive but it did not have all of the features that we were looking for, so we ordered one from North Carolina with all the bells and whistles. I received a text from our Carmax guy tonight at Big Kid's basketball game that it was already here! The way Carmax works is that you pay a transfer fee to have a car from another location moved to your local dealership. You are under no obligation to purchase the car and if there is something concerning about the vehicle, you can decline the sale and possibly use the transfer fee on another vehicle. The transfer fee ranges from small to large, depending on the distance the car will travel and our transfer fee was relatively small so I felt that it was worth it, even if we were not yet 100% sold on the vehicle. We have a few concerns about the CRV, so we aren't sure yet but should know tomorrow whether this is the vehicle for us. I stopped a lady in Barnes & Noble parking lot and another lady at Publix to ask them about their CRVs. They both gave it a rave review and did not side eye the random woman who wanted to talk cars.

If the CRV is not the one, there is always this.
Our Ford Edge has been a fantastic car. We have had very few problems and it has been reliable and comfortable. It also has all of the features that we want -- plus, we know that cargo space is the right size and it has the V6 that The Engineer likes. There is a part of me that would be happy with trading our current one in for a newer model and calling it a day.

I was fretting and stressing about this whole process, because let's be honest, this is a lot of money. I took to social media to gnash teeth and received this comment from my friend Tim who put it all in perspective.

 #FirstWorldProblems. But seriously, is there anything cooler about being an adult than getting to pick out your own car? I mean maybe picking your own bed time, but buying a car is pretty high on the list of perks that come from being an adult. Now go buy a Corvette and enjoy the ride. 

So right, Tim, so right.

I would love to hear your thoughts about car buying, or if anyone has any recommendations, please leave a comment. Happy weekend!

Joining in with:

glasses emoticon


  1. I hate car shopping! My mother in law has CR V and loves it. Hondas are great high mileage cars.

    1. So far I am loving it -- the ride is so smooth!

  2. My parents and my best friend both drive CR-Vs and absolutely love them. My parents always have a Honda of some sort so I am not sure that they have had enough experiences with other cars to compare it to but my friend (who dives her cars into the ground) spent over a year carefully researching her options--went to multiple car shows, multiple dealers, test drove tons of cas, etc. She has had her CR-V for about a year now and couldn't be happier with her decision.

    1. What you get for the price is amazing! Plus, I am amazed at the space inside. I am no shorty and I have plenty of room. The backseat is also very spacious for a small crossover. Thank you for the info., I think your parents have the right idea! I am a Honda convert. :D

  3. I am glad you found something you love.


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