Despite the perilous economy we are looking for a new used car. We have one small car for Peter's in-town commute. It's a bare-bones Saturn which worked fine as our family car as well until we needed to add a third car seat to our traveling routine. We also used to have an old, lumbering 10, no, 11 year old Buick Le Sabre. It was a comfortable car to drive and looked right at home in the parking lot at the Senior Citizen's center. I felt like I was driving my bed down the road and it had the added benefit of accommodating all three children.
We had the Buick for about six years before it met it's untimely end. Peter was driving it home when he suddenly realized that the car had lost some of its usual vigor. In fact, it wouldn't drive any faster than 15 miles an hour. He got it to the mechanic safely and found out that the transmission was utterly destroyed. Cool. There's nothing like a $3,000 repair for a car that's worth about $2,000 to clarify one's priorities. As much as we enjoy being free of car payments, this is perhaps the time to consider taking some on. If we could fit everyone into our wee little Saturn the decision might have been more complicated, but as it is the path was clear.
We went that night to the Toyota dealership where our budget wasn't exciting enough to get the sales guy to be much help. We told him what we wanted to spend and that we needed to fit three carseats into it. He recommended a Chevy Cobalt and a Honda Accord. Really. We left discouraged and feeling like it was a huge mistake to even be out car shopping. Since we were up in Dealership Alley anyway, we swung by the Saturn dealership to see what they had on the lot. The contrast in service was blinding. Our sales woman had a working knowledge of every car in her inventory. She asked a lot of pertinent questions to help us get a better idea of what we were looking for. And then, and THEN she had the cars we wanted to look at driven into the showroom so we could look comfortably instead of in the cold, windy weather. We didn't buy a car that night, but it was certainly time well spent.
To tell the truth, we haven't bought a car yet, but we have a better idea of what we want. Though we have resisited it, it seems to be time to move to a mini-van, at least for the time being. Having three car seats isn't the motivating factor for me, oddly enough. What is really selling me on the idea of a mini-van are the sliding side doors! Getting the two older children in and out of the car is tricky enough, but getting enough room to open our car doors wide and get the infant car seat out is near impossible in our garage or in parking lots.
We are going back to the dealership on Saturday to do another test drive. I don't know what we'll end up with, but I can tell you one thing--I hope I'm done with car repairs for a good, long while!