I need a new car.
I'm not desperate yet. The one I have still runs, although it has its moments. Most recently it has a phantom fuel problem. Nothing that ever happens at the shop or in any consistent way that I can pinpoint. But it runs. Its paid for. Insurance and registration are way cheap. Hasn't stranded me on the side of the road... yet.
But I need a new car.
I bought my Ford Focus in December 2000. It's almost ten years old and will have hit the 150k mark on the odometer by the time its birthday rolls around. She's been a good little car. Any problems she had were more to do with the fact that she was the first model year than anything else. Once most the kinks were worked out, she's been quite the trooper. Even if I bought something new, I'd keep her. Let DB drive her to work instead of his gas hog of a truck. Have an extra car in case one needs work done on it (likely in our bunch.)
My list of requirements is short. I just want more power (V6), to be higher (SUV), to have power windows (my car was the last to roll off the lot without them), cruise control, and an auxillary input for my iPhone. I don't ask for much. A lot of cars fit the criteria. The problem is buying a new car. Or a used car. Nevermind that it makes me nauseated to think of the $500 a month payment (for a low end model) or the quadrupling of my insurance and registration costs. I'm slowly coming to terms that it isn't 1993 and cars don't come new for $13k anymore. I've just gone too long without a car payment.
The problem, really, is car lots and car salesmen. I hate them. I hate the haggling dance. The buddy buddy attitude that's slick as oil and turns on you the minute they think you're onto their game. I'd considered buying a used car. Thought it could save me some depreciation and get me more car for the money. Went to a local lot with a no-haggle policy. Found a car I liked. Was on the verge of buying it, until the test drive uncovered a noise that was either crappy tires or a wheel bearing problem. Expensive no matter how you pick it. But they wouldn't fix it. Not until after I bought it (if they could find a problem.) The car has such a fabulous warranty that they were sure they could clear up the issue (if there was one and it was covered by said warranty) after I'd ponied up over twenty grand.
Nope. Walked away. Broke my heart cause I really liked the car, but I wasn't going to set myself up for headaches with them. Now I'm thinking maybe just buying new would be better. Get model end clearance deals and rebates on a new, lower end model that might bring the cost in line with a used one with more features. I don't need leather and a panoramic sunroof anyway. There'd be warranties. Less bugs. Hopefully less lying and hassle. I'd still debating.
In the meantime, my little car will just have to do. I refuse to be rushed and cajoled into this. How did you buy your last car? Any suggestions or recommendations? New? Used? Leased? I'm in the market for a mid-size SUV/crossover (Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, etc.) if you have any tips or experience with one of these to share.