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Saturday, June 26, 2004

 

Painless (Almost) Car-Buying

As I mentioned the other day, today was to be a car-hunting day. I had done some research on Hyundais, and for my purposes, it looked like their Elantra model would be a good value for me.

We made it a family outing today, with Ben tagging along with Sandy and me. I drove to a fairly new Hyundai dealer on West Street in Annapolis, and as we pulled up, a familiar looking young salesman came over to us. It turned out to be Jason K, whom we've known since he was five years old. Jason had been at the dealership for about two weeks. Jason's younger sister Lauren and our Ben were in nursery school together at age two and have been fast friends for many years. Sandy and I consider Lauren almost another daughter, and her parents look at Ben almost like another son.

Jason went with us on a test drive of an Elantra, and I liked the car right away. It felt fairly taut and had decent pickup. At least for my needs - I've never been a really fast driver and I'm certainly no car afficianado. Reliable, somewhat comfortable transportation is my aim.

Well, I liked the Elantra, and we found one on the lot in a color I liked ("crimson") and without lots of options I didn't want. The Elantra comes standard with a lot of good stuff anyway, like front and side airbags, power locks, windows, and mirrors, air conditioning, am/fm/cassette stereo, pinstripe, etc. The only extra option this one had that I could have lived without is cruise control - I'll be using this car primarily for commuting. I would have liked a CD player, but (a) it adds $350 on its own and (b) you can't seem to get one without lots of other gimcranks like power moonroof, fancy trim, etc.

So we sat down to negotiate, and to my pleasant surprise, the price Jason brought back from the office was very reasonable. Sandy wrote a check (we'd been saving for a while - that's the advantage of driving 10-year-old cars) and that was it.

Before we drove off, I gave Jason a hug and wished him Mazel Tov on his sale. The whole affair wouldn't be complete, of course, without the obligatory documentary photo, so here it is:

Ben with my new Hyundai Elantra
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This is probably the last time we'll see the car this clean for a long time. I tend to wash my cars every two years whether they need it or not.

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