The other day our son in law Michael, upon hearing that we were putting the coach up for sale, asked whether we were going to sell the CR-V along with it. Ya know, I never even thought about that. He suggested it because the CR-V has the Blue Ox towing baseplate already installed and if you try to do that job yourself it’s the better part of a day’s worth of work, and if you have a dealer do it you can plop down a good $1000.00 in the process.
The question got me to thinking about alternatives and the alternatives have made me realize how out of touch I have gotten on the topic of cars. The CR-V is now 11 years old, it’s been a faithful old horse that has never let us down, and we really like that car. Built in 2004 it doesn’t have many of the electronic gadgets and geegaws that the new ones all come with. From the point of maintaining it I’ve been a happy owner.
I asked Peggy about buying a new (to us)/different car and of course I realized before the words were out of my mouth that she pays no attention to cars at all. She’ll notice the dog in the car window, or the child in a carseat as we are passed (or we pass them) but asking my lovely wife about what ‘kind’ of car she’d like is going to be fraught with “hems” and “haws”.
On a lark (no we did not buy a car) we stopped off at the three dealerships nearest us after our mall walk on Friday. I’ve bought cars before at the end of the year. The prices are often attractive. One year I bought a Ford Lynx Diesel on the day of the worst weather in a year. The temps outside were -10º and I think the salesmen were happy just to have something to do that day, even if I did drive a hard bargain. Of course that reveals it was back in the day when there was actually some room for bargaining….
Anyway… It’s nearing the end of the calendar year, dealers want to move cars and you can imagine the results. Salesmen started walking towards us before I’d even picked a parking spot. I could have had a good laugh by moving the car from one spot to the other and making the salesman walk further! 🙂
Seriously though all I had in mind was to “Test Sit” a couple models to see which we could eliminate from our consideration. All things considered we drove away unscathed; you have to give the salesman a chance to do his/her job — but I was upfront with 3 different salesmen and told them straight out all we wanted to do was test sit a car or two. For the expenditure of 45 minutes we have effectively eliminated about 15 different models made by 3 different manufacturers. That we did by looking at only 5 vehicles.
Before driving onto any of the three lots we had looked at the manufacturers line ups and from the 6 or 7 offerings by each there were only 1 or 2 with each company that made the initial cut. Too big. Too small. Mileage estimates too low. You can cut out a lot of trash if you make your initial selection before you walk in the door. I’m a good sized guy and I always have issues with: legroom (500 miles a day on a trip requires a few extra inches for the footsies!), head room (no moon roofs for me — if I can’t sit up straight in the seat it’s a non-starter), and the most embarrassing one: the seat pan — I’m a good sized guy and if the seat is so narrow that the high outer edges of the seat frame rub hard against my leg it’s not going to be comfortable on a long drive.
So, we spent a few minutes on a preliminary look-see. Out of the 5 we looked at only 1 is a real contender, a second one is a longshot possibility. There are other manufacturers we need to look at but we’re thinking about the process anyway. We may not do anything, but should we find a buyer for the coach who wants a tow vehicle too — it may be worth considering.
I’ll say that each time I go car shopping the process has changed. Today there were lots of cars on the lot but an awful lot of them were the same — barring color variations. The variety of options were far more limited and refined than 10 years ago. Unfortunately they all have more gadgets to break down — but the selection process is simpler. The manufacturers got tired of making cars to order. Standardization is the name of the game. We built the wonderful machines to do the job better and now they are so wonderful that you have to buy what they want to sell you just to keep the machines moving along at peak speed. (just a little bit of cynicism there)
I’m not in any hurry to replace the CR-V. We may keep it for a long while if we can sell the coach without the car. But ideas floating around in the back of your head are dangerous things. I hope I can control the idea and the idea doesn’t take over to control me.
Thanks for stopping. I’ll be here again tomorrow. Why not see what’s up?