To the back left, you can see my old van. I had driven it for 16 years. We bought it used, with 33,000 miles on it, when the twins were two and our other two children were not even born yet.
Two weeks ago I traded it in, with 275,00 miles on it, our twins now 18 years old, and their siblings being 13 & 14.
So you see, buying a "new" vehicle is not something we had a lot of experience with. We didn't buy new - out of our price range for one, and since they lose so much value the second you drive it off the lot.. not something we'd do even if it was in our price range.
So we knew we wanted used. We knew it had to have roof racks for the kayaks, and after some research, we found that i really didn't like the aftermarket racks, I wanted the base racks preinstalled at least, we were willing to install after market crossbars. We wanted decent gas mileage, and for our over 6ft tall boys to be able to sit in the back without turning their knees sideways. In our price range. And I really, really wanted a sunroof, if at all possible. I loved the one on our sons jeep!
Who would have thought that would be so hard to find? Geesh! I had no idea car hunting would be so exhausting, and frustrating, and stressful.
I did find a mint green vintage Jaguar that I was willing to compromise all of that on - it was even below our price range.. but Dan stood firm. :-)
These sites really helped.
Checking the Gas Mileage
This site is great for comparing gas mileage ratings, what a car says it should get on the sticker, and what real reports are -
(by the way, I did my own test on sunroof use.. on my car, I save over 6 miles to the gallon if I keep my sunroof closed on the highway. It's not as severe on the country roads, but it makes a big difference)
Checking the Value
A lot of dealers hated me because I use a Smartphone, and would pull up the Edmunds site for every car, while on the lot
It gives you appraisals based on mileage, make, color, and condition, for your area - both for private sales, and dealer sales. We knew what every car we looked at was worth, and were not willing to overpay.
Checking Our Options
After we found a car we liked, and checked the price, I'd go to cars.com, and look to see if there were any others in the area at other dealerships, to compare prices and colors and mileage and make sure there wasn't a better option for us.
We didn't set out even looking at the Rogue. Although I'm Nissan loyal, how can you not be after driving one for 16 years, 275,000 miles, and never having any real problems? It only ever left me sit once in 16 years - this spring when we did the 50 mile 5 day trip, up and over the mountain on dirt roads, I blew a radiator hose. At roughly 274,000 miles. But Nissan had nothing for me. The cars were too small, the Murano doesn't get good gas mileage, and the vans in our price range, available in the area, were not reviewing well at all. (Have I mentioned how much I did NOT want another minivan?)
We looked at a lot of "suv crossovers", which still makes me laugh. They are station wagons. Seriously - look at them! Station wagons. We looked at a lot of options with 3rd row seating - like the suzuki xl7. But third row seating in cars like that is not really practical if your kids are older, and over 6ft tall. We finally decided, after much debate and guilt, that we no longer needed a vehicle that all 6 of us fit in. The twins are 18. With their work schedules, it's very rare we all travel together, even to church. For vacation this year we had to take two vehicles, the twins joined us later in the week, because of their work schedules.
So we looked at the Ford Edge. I liked it, and we went to another dealership to see another one. My hang up was the gas mileage, but I was starting to give up on ever finding something that got the 25mpg that I was looking for.
At 6 ft tall myself, and being used to a minivan, I found I really didn't like the vehicles I had to stoop so low to get into, and then felt like I was sitting on the road with my knees to my chest, once inside. That was the case in most cars.
At the dealership, I'm looking at the Edge, and our son is standing around, I told him to get in the back of the nearby Rogue and check it out, never expecting him to fit - it looked to small. Our experience with most cars like that was that there was no leg room in the back. It was surprising how many vehicles we crossed off our list before looking any further than having our son sit in the back.
So as I'm looking at the Edge, I hear "Hey mom, I have a lot of room back here". Huh? In the rogue? That's a Nissan. Remember, I love Nissan. So I climbed in the other side of the back. And I had a lot of room. Huh. Got out and looked at the front. Out of our price range. the salesman is staring to tell me about the car, and I stop him by pointing to the price tag - too expensive for us. And he says "wait, I have another one with higher mileage.." and sure enough, he does. In our price range. And it had a sunroof. A sunroof. I was sold before I ever sat in the drivers seat, which is why Dan has to come along. LOL!
I drove it, and remembered what my van was like 16 years ago. When I could step on the gas and know it would GO, without hesitating. When I could turn sharply. When I could sit in the seat comfortably. I was in love!
We would never buy a car first time we see it. We left. Dan spent the next day on the phone, haggling price. He's good at that.
Came back the next day. To buy it. :-) Dan is filling out paperwork, we're short on time, so I run over to the store to get some things we need for a get together that evening, in my soon to be new to me car. Go back to the dealership, and Dan is outside waiting for me already. Uhm, that was fast...
They can't sell me my car. Ok, we have a problem, because I just drove to the store with my phone plugged into the stereo listening to my music through the sound system, with the sunroof open, and I am pretty sure I actually giggled when I clicked the button on the keychain to lock the doors. (the van did not have automatic anything, other than the transmission. I'm not complaining, I loved that van.. but I was ready to move on. We hadn't even locked the van in years, usually left the keys in it!) I wasn't giving this car back. LOL! Turns out the dealership didn't have the title, because it was a previously leased car, and the title was still with the leasing company. The salesman wrote out a slip for me giving me permission to drive it with dealers tags, and I took it home.
But for two weeks, we looked at every other rogue in the area. Dan seriously considered another one, but the price wasn't good enough, and the mileage was higher. He made me nuts. I didn't want another one, I didn't want a better deal - I wanted THIS one. I knew that was irrational, so I was trying hard to be good about it. It was a long, stressful, search.. but "my" car is now mine. :-)
I do have to mention that this is not the color I would have chose. Black, on a farm, back 1/4 mile long dusty muddy lanes, is stupid. I know it. But check Edmunds - part of the reason this was cheaper is because it was black. Black lowers the price. And when it's clean it does look sharp. The interior shows ever speck of lint. I'll have to buy a dustbuster, and a new shopvac for the garage, and the car wash will be a regular stop. I'm ok with that.
I took it back in before we bought it to have it looked at, there was a noise that concerned me.. it made me laugh to hear the mechanic say it was common on "higher mileage cars". This car has 48,000 miles on it. That's considered "higher mileage". LOL! 275,000 on my last one, and I'm planning to see at least half that many on this one. We did start a few others with the same, or higher mileage, and found the mechanic was being truthful - it has to do with the way the oil settles, and only makes the noise when it starts up. It's not the heat shield, that goes out on so many of these.