Saturday, July 23, 2016

Car Fun: Narrowing it down

I've been driving the Hyundai the past two weeks since selling my GTI. The Hyundai is a perfectly acceptable car. It holds all my stuff, it looks great, it gets good gas mileage (on regular, no less), it gets me where I need to go reliably, and it's a big hatchback.

Trouble is, it's leased and it's up for turn in/purchase in a week or so.

I like it enough, but it just doesn't speak to me. Not like the GTI did, which I miss quite a bit.

Sure, the GTI had it's quirks, but I understood it. I knew how to get the electrical to work at the touch of a prong. I knew the driver's side door would squeak upon opening. I knew that the cupholders wouldn't eject unless you pressed on it *just right.*

Even with all those problems, I loved that car. I had it for 10 years, longer than I'd had any other car. But it's gone and there's nothing to do about it.

I've been looking around since selling the GTI. I've been looking on Craigslist, thinking I'd just hand over the $2300 I sold the GTI for to the next guy for a reliable car. However, after a few days of searching, it appeared that $2300 would buy me a scam, or something not good. Marci advised me not to do CL, to spend more money on a dealership used car or something.

What?? Spend more money? Well, OK.

I started looking on Cars.com and CarGurus.com and Autotrader.com. I started at about the $8k range, figuring that with a $2300 payment, it would reduce said car to $5700 or so, on which we could make small monthly payments.

I began by targeting price, then started looking at VWs of course. I found some Passat wagons, of the 2004-2005 era, going for $7k to $8k. I headed over to check one out last week, and it was gone. However, I saw a listing for a 2007 Jetta GLI, with about 48k on the odometer, going for $8998. I asked about it, they said it was sold. But it got me looking at the GLIs.

CarGurus.com showed a white one in Tacoma. I had a morning off this week, so I trucked down there to take a look. It was sort of a mess. Missing center caps on the wheels, spray painted taillights, big stain on the back seat, cracked windshield, it was a mess. It was hard to see all the detail in the pictures on the website, but needless to say, though I drove it, I didn't buy it. I also test drove an 07 GTI as well as a Mazda 3 hatchback, both of which were not great.

Fast forward to later this week and I come to find a nice little A4 Avant (2006) on BMW Seattle's website going for $12k (see how my price went up??). I was all excited about it, plus Knight said his boys there would hook me up, so I made an appointment to go see it on Sunday (tomorrow).

Then, after checking out this A4, I get a note about the first GLI going for $8998. Turns out they have it and it was getting cleaned up to be put out for sale. I took a look at the pictures and was pretty excited about what I saw. The car was in great shape and was in Bellevue. I talked to the sales guy a few times today and ended up going to Mercedes Benz of Bellevue to check it out.

I got there, ogled some AMG MB wagon, and then met with the sales rep, Evan. He brought me out back to see the Jetta and I was very pleasantly surprised. Dark gray, with nice 17" wheels. No major cosmetic defects other than some scuffs on the rear bumper, which for a 9 year old car, were to be expected.

I had a seat in the driver's seat, leather, and took a look around. Everything seemed to work. It had the moonroof package, leather seats, bi-xenon headlights, DSG automatic transmission, all the goodies! Inside had some wear and tear on the window buttons (peeling paint) and around the shifter (same), but nothing some black touch-up couldn't fix (maybe a Sharpie?).

He let me take it for a drive and it drove very well. Nice power (200HP) and that steering wheel felt great in hand. I only wish it was stick, but I'm sure I could live with it. He told me the previous owner had it shipped from Boston, where she went to Harvard. I'm not sure how accurate that is; Carfax tells me the car was bought in Boston, the relocated to CA, then up to WA in 2012. Regardless, the car is in better condition than my GTI was and I'm excited.

After driving the GLI, I was pretty much sold on it. We got back to the dealership and I had them put a 48 hour hold on the car. In other words, it's mine to buy or not; no one else can get it.

So, I want it.

And now I have to wait on the funding. I'll have to talk to Evan tomorrow to negotiate pricing. I'm looking to get him down to $8k or so. Then I'll slap down my $1900 ($400 has to go to Hyundai as the disposition fee for turning in the Elantra) and finance the rest.

Sounds easy for now. But a few things have to fall into place on the money side of things. I have the next two days off, but the banks aren't open until Monday. I'm hoping I can talk to Evan tomorrow, get him down to $8k, pay for the car, and have it by Monday. Then we just have to turn the Elantra in, and I'm back on the VW wagon!

Or, maybe not. We'll see what happens. Here are a few pictures the dealership took.