So Friday morning Zach leaves for work, then calls me 10 minutes later to say that the car (2001 corolla, bought 5 months ago, admittedly in pretty beat-up condition-- this was the car that'd just drive Zach to work and back, didn't need to be perfect and we were kinda in a rush) was making a god-awful noise and so he took it to the garage down the street to see what was wrong. Apparently, there was no oil in the car (the seller mentioned the car ate some oil-- the oil lamp had just come on that morning), and the noise was the engine. Zach asked what he could do to fix it. The answer? Get a new engine. Right. Zach got the car back home, but not before it died on him once in the parking lot first.
Needless to say, we were suddenly not too confident about driving that car and getting anywhere with it.
So we started talking about what to do. We figured we should buy a new car, and try to sell this one (not sure who to yet-- we'd both feel pretty shitty about selling it to anyone without clarifying that it is quite likely to die on them at any time). Zach had just been joking the past few months about how maybe we should've waited on buying a second car till now, as the deals are so good. We think about doing our usual routine of looking at civics/accords/corollas/camrys in the 4-6 yr old area, but then we started thinking about the Honda Fit...
Now, we've got a bit of a history with the Fit. When we were car shopping right after moving to Switzerland we saw this super cute little cars called Honda Jazz. We'd never seen anything like them in the US, and they were not only adorable but also very roomy (I swear the trunk space is about the same as in our CR-V, for a car that seems so much smaller from the outside). Unfortunately, as with most things in the Geneva market, these cars were scarce and expensive, and we were unable to find one in our price range. Then we moved back to the US and discovered that those cute little Jazzes? They're the Fits that were rband-new to the US. Instantly, Zach wanted one. The problem-- they've only been sold here for a couple years. And with their cuteness and usefulness and high gas mileage and gas prices skyrocketing, these were popular little cars, to the point that used listings for 2008s were at the same price if not slightly higher than what dealers were quoting for 2009s. So we gave up on the idea of owning one quite yet.
Zach and I have always had a bit of a moral aversion to buying *new* new cars, mainly b/c the initial depreciation is just so high that it doesn't seem worth it to us. But in a classic case of the reptilian brain convincing your consciousness of what it wants, we decided we wanted to get the Fit after all. Sure we would've preferred to buy one that was a few years old already, but then again if there's ever been a time to buy a new car it would be when car makers are tripping over themselves trying to sell anything they can, right?
All in all this was possibly the most painless car-buying experience we've ever had. Sunday morning we looked at a 2008 Fit sold by a private party. It was great, though a funky lilac color that is either really cute or really weird. We then stopped by a dealer on the way home to look at the 2009s to judge how different the new models were, then came home for lunch. Zach spent a while on the phone calling the various local dealers and comparing quotes, negotiating more fiercely than I've ever seen him do before (turns out not being face-to-face makes it a lot easier to just ask for what you want). He got the assurance from one dealer of the price we'd wanted (which several other dealers claimed they didn't believe possible), and while Benjamin and Karen kindly watched over Donovan, Zach and I headed out to pick out a color (storm silver), fill out the paperwork, and hand over a check. The exact car we wanted was at another location, but Zach got to pick it up today on his way home from work.
Kinda crazy, all of it. Before this, the youngest car we'd ever bought was I think 5 yrs old at the time. Not to mention that just 4 days ago we were in no way thinking of buying a new car. But that's life. The nice thing is that we had the cash saved up to justify this, although it does cut into our house-down-payment-fund. Then again I'm starting to wonder if this whole home ownership bit is perhaps overrated, but I think that's a different post altogether... Hopefully this car will last us for many years. And our other car, a '99 CR-V, seems to be in great shape despite its age (my only complaint has been a wonky radio), so hopefully we'll get a good 3-5 years before there's any talk of upgrading.
For now, Zach and I will have to fight over who gets to drive the Fit. ; )