So, starting this evening, my computer keeps shutting itself off, no warning. I'm getting very annoyed. Am now trying to do stuff without the power supply plugged in, and so far, so good. We'll see if it lasts. And if that's the true source of the problem or not. I'm hoping so, because it's easier to get a new power supply than to get the laptop fixed or a new laptop altogether.
So, with regards to the subject of this post...
This is sitting on our street right now. Yep, looks exactly like that one, too. Red, sport package with the spoilers and fog lights and everything. Let me tell you how all this started...
I've been saying for some time that Lou needs to get a new car. I was determined that we were not going to go through ANOTHER summer with him taking the minivan because it had air conditioning, while his Dodge Shadow did not. We've put more miles on the van than we had originally intended because it's more comfortable and convenient for us to drive, even on short trips. But the summer driving was the killer, both on gas mileage and general mileage on the van. Lou thought we'd get him one before the winter, I was determined before summer.
A couple of weeks ago, Lou's car started making a terrible noise. We brought it into Firestone, and they said it needed new shocks and struts, and a bunch of other stuff too (not all of which it really needed, to be honest), to the tune of over $1,000. Lou told them to fix the shocks/struts, and that came to $600. But he realized it was really starting to go (it is a 1993, after all), and he needed to start looking around.
We had him sit in Jack's Toyota Prius right after Jack got it, since a hybrid would be perfect for Lou's job. But it was a little bit too tight, I thought, for him to be comfortable using daily. The Honda Civic Hybrid, however, is at least an inch larger in just about every dimension. (oh yes, four doors is a necessity for our cars now, so no Honda Insight.) Lou also started doing some comparison shopping online, at Vehix.com, and found that the Toyota Matrix also got pretty good gas mileage.
This was the first weekend we've really had time to go even looking at cars since he had the repairs done. We did try to go by one dealership on Sunday, but they weren't open, much to our surprise.
Last night, we went out to dinner, and drove by a couple of dealerships afterwards. We couldn't find the Honda one we were looking for (it was further down the street. The same dealer had a Nissan/Volvo shop that we thought was the Honda one), but we did make it to the Toyota of Dartmouth dealership just after it had closed. The gate was still open, but no one was in the showroom. We took a look at the Matrixs (Matrices?), and they had this nice red one up front as a used car, but a 2003, which was odd. We resolved to come back the next day.
This morning, after breakfast at Persy's, we found the Honda dealership (thanks to the 'net last night, we found out that we had to go further down Rt. 6), but they had no Civic Hybrids. They did have those neat Honda Elements, but the gas mileage is nowhere near what we want/need. The salesman did say that the regular Civics had the same dimensions as the Hybrids, so he pulled one around for Lou to sit in.
It was ... okay. Definitely bigger than the Prius, but I could tell it still wasn't quite right for him. We got the salesman's card, with his promise to call us when they had one in stock, and we trundled out to head to the Toyota dealer.
A very nice salesman came out as we approached the Matrix we had seen last night, and he went and fetched the keys. After a false start with the wrong key on the correct tag, the right one was found and we opened it up. Lou sat in it and was much more comfortable right off the bat, I could see. It's still not perfect, but what car is going to be when you're his size? Not many, let me tell you. But the arm room was better, the leg room much better, and overall it just has much more room inside, including headroom. The salesman asked us if we wanted to go for a test drive, and after fetching a license plate and levering his overlarge body (he was probably a few inches taller than Lou, and had a few more pounds on his frame as well) very easily into the back seat, we were off.
A quick trip around the block, with some highway driving and down the pothole-filled Rt. 6, we were back at the dealership and the salesman asked us if he should run some numbers. Lou said yes, and we went in to see what they could do for us.
Oh, right, it's a used 2003. Should mention what was up with that. I asked as we were on the test drive, and this is what I was told. Turns out there was a nice married couple with two young kids who didn't want to get a minivan, and were doing everything they could to avoid buying one. They were able to fit the car seats in the back of the Matrix just fine, and drove it for about 3500 miles before they got the good news. The Mrs. was pregnant again. They traded up to a minivan, and the car was available for us to enjoy!
The numbers were run, options were discussed, and while I was not smart enough to ask to wait for the financing through AAA (I really had no idea how much of a break we could get through AAA. I knew what it was when I bought my Tercel in '91, and what we got for the van in '99. I should have just said no, but I did not, and we shall pay the interest difference, alas.), we ended up driving the '03 off the lot this afternoon for just under $19,000.
The options on the used one were: Sports/Sports Plus package (fog lights, some spoiler-type thingies), radio/CD/cassette player, a standard household type plug (so Lou could plug in his computer without needing an adapter), 4 wheel drive, cruise control, 16" alloy wheels, alarm and remote keyless entry, and of course, AC. (though air conditioning is standard on most cars these days) There may be a few other options that I'm not remembering now. The dealership even picked up the registration costs and the sales tax. Plus we can take it into the dealership twice a month to get it washed, which is pretty neat.
I highly recommend Toyota of Dartmouth for any future car needs to my friends, btw. Just remember to get an AAA membership and use them for the loan!
Now, we just have to find a place to which to donate the Shadow. We'll need the tax credit, since we didn't get the hybrid!