Kathy, Kelly, Claire, and I went car shopping last weekend. We started off by test driving a mini-cooper convertible. Fun, but just way too little space. It even made Kathy feel a bit sick as a passenger… kind of like a roller coaster. (Maybe it was my driving.) To set the seat back where I would want it, Claire would have to put her legs in the trunk. The other thing that sealed it was that the nearest service center would be 35 to 40 minutes away. We bagged the mini-cooper idea. Maybe when I’m an empty nester.
Next we drove a 2006 Jetta TDI. (A new car, really, just a carried over model.) With the diesel engine, I could expect 37 to 40 mpg or about 600 miles per tank. It was a fun drive and had enough backseat room for adults. Kathy and I liked it. On the way out we spotted a dark gray Passat on the showroom floor. It was a “Wolfsburg Edition”. We sat in it. More room than the Jetta and some nicer features.
Next we went to the Honda dealer. Yawn. (No offense bruthu and fathu.) “Do you want to test drive one?” the saleman asked after explaining the 20 different variations of models. “No thanks,” I said, almost falling asleep where I stood. This cracked Kathy up as we got in the car to drive off.
We had looked at the new 4 door Wrangler before, but had yet to drive one. At the Jeep dealer they had just sold the only one they had on the lot. We were able to take a look at it. Kathy liked the “rock red” color and really likes everything about the 4 door wrangler. In fact, she decided that would be her next car and not mine. (At 19 miles per gallon, it just didn’t make sense to be mine.)
Off to the Toyota dealer where we test drove a Toyota Camry Hybrid. Kathy announced as she drove it that it was “like driving a cloud.” It was very strange coming to stop lights and hearing only the fan of the air conditioning. I would turn off the air, just to verify there was no noise. We enjoyed the ride. Kathy thought it felt luxurious. Our salesman was nice, but terrible. He put us through a back-and-forth negotiation on payments that made no sense. We eventually just left, not understanding what he was trying to do.
After much discussion and research, I asked Kathy what she thought about the Passat. We decided to return and test drive that the next day. It felt like a combination of the fun of the Jetta and the luxuriousness (although not cloudness) of the Camry.
More research, and I decided the Wolfsburg Edition was a good deal. VW had introduced a volume push in April with this edition, by putting together a nice package of features, building it in Germany (vs. Mexico or Brazil), and pricing it a couple of thousand dollars lower than existing inventory without the features. (Creating a problem for the salesmen who had to try to explain this.) The cars we saw were an early wave of this push, and most were gray, silver, white, or black. I had a hard time finding any color.
All of us liked a shadow blue-on-tan Jetta we saw on the lot, so I went looking for a similar color scheme in the Passat. Found one that had just been delivered to Jim Ellis in the back of their lot Thursday evening.
Kathy gave me the price target, and on Friday, I started negotiating with Jim Ellis (who had the car) and Dwight (who could get the car by Monday.) I was able to get Jim Ellis down to Kathy’s target price. Dad and I went over Friday night and wrote the check. It took about two hours to go through the process of getting the car. Much longer than I expected. I told them they should go study the CarMax process.
It was fun, though, when Dad and I arrived to find the car all cleaned up and ready to go sitting on the showroom floor. The sales guy gave us a tour of all of the features. Once the paperwork process began, Dad headed home… after making sure the price agreed was the one I got to write on my check. It was.
This is the fifth volkswagen in my life. The first was Dad’s light blue bug (which also had a sunroof.) Kathy drove a light blue bug when I first started dating her. We left it with a frozen engine somewhere in Marietta. Kathy and I were married in my brown Rabbit. Later I bought Carol’s white Fox. It’s good to be back in a VW. Driving is just more fun in them.
I hope Carol can see it soon. I want us to both climb in the back of the trunk together like we used to do in Dad’s blue VW.