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Apr 03 2005

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Car Sales

Ginny and I are considering getting a new car in the next few weeks.

We went shopping yesterday and stopped by a few of the local dealerships along Golf road. We had surprisingly varied experiences at the dealerships we stopped at…

  • At the Ford & Chevy dealerships we were greeted immediately upon entering by a sales person, asked if we could be helped. The sales people were generally quite friendly, not pushy, and I had no complaints. The Chevy sales person even let us take the Blazer for a test drive without him along.
  • At the Nissan and Jeep dealerships we were largely ignored. Even after accidentally setting off the car alarm on the Jeep Liberty, nobody came to ask us if we needed any assistance. Needless to say we left without even going on a test drive.
  • At the Toyota dealership we were greeted upon entering, but the sales person seemed like he really wanted to be somewhere else. He looked just about everywhere except at us.

Odd that 3 of the 5 dealerships we went to didn’t really seem to be all that interested in selling cars.

As for the cars (SUV’s specifically) we looked at … here’s the rundown …

  • Chevy Blazer — I really liked the size, feel, and handling of it. My only two gripes were the gas mileage and the spare tire mount blocked about 2/3’rds of the rear window. The price was good, but this is the last model year they are going to be manufacturing them.
  • Jeep Liberty — Didn’t drive it, obviously, and I liked the exterior … but the interior was awful. There is no front dash space to put things (like our new GPS), and the passenger side front seat was so high that Ginny was practically bumping her head against the ceiling. There was also a lot of chrome inside that I didn’t like.
  • Nissan Xtera — Too big for me. I like the styling, but overall too much space. I’m not a big guy, so I tended to feel a bit lost in the drivers seat.
  • Ford Escape Hybrid — Ok, this is a car I test drove before and liked it a lot. We test drove it again and I still like it. It’s a tiny bit larger than the RAV4, but not too much so. The Hybrid aspect means it should get better gas mileage, which is a good thing with todays gas prices. My brother Mitch indicated that there were long waiting lists for the Escape Hybrid, but when we asked the salesperson what the lead time was, he indicated it wasn’t long at all. Two weeks at most, he estimated. Hybrid cars, for those who don’t know, are a combination of gas & electric powered. At low speeds the car runs on electric power. Once you go above 28mph (about that) the gas engine kicks in. Even the energy put into slowing the car down is channeled back into the battery (it’s called Regenerative Breaking, this also tends to extend the brake life because less heat is built up). Pretty cool overall.

Suffice it to say, we’re probably going to get the Escape Hybrid. I don’t know if the electric power will result in a huge amount of savings, but it will probably give me some. Plus there’s a $2000 tax credit for hybrid electric vehicles. And, of course, there’s always the warm fuzzy for doing our part to help the environment.

2 comments

  1. david

    We rented a trailblazer for a road-trip out west last year … it was a pretty nice, but way too big for me to use for regular transportation. The Escape is the right size, and the hybrid has the right gas milage (~30 mpg)

  2. Mike Wills

    All SUV’s have bad gas milage as you know, but I looked at a Chevy Trailblazer and it had about 15 – 20 MPG which isn’t bad overall. The Yukon (which I really like) has much worse milage. If/When we buy a SUV, I think it might be a 1-2 year old Trailblazer… thats assuming we don’t win the lottery between now and then. 😉

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