Friday, July 25, 2003

The old grey mare...

My mother in law just bought a new truck. This is significant because it got my wife thinking about what kind of deal her mother got. Interest rates are low and the dealers are hoping to dump the 2003 models to make room for the '04s. It's a buyer's market for cars right now.

Why is this important? My wife thought it might be a good time, despite that it would bring us two car payments, to replace my car.

She mentioned this to me about a week ago. I started salivating like a canine owned by a guy with a bell named Pavlov. (why would anyone name a bell Pavlov?) As in other situations in our marital history, she said something to me with the belief that the previously discussed event would not come to fruition. She said, "You'd best call the Credit Union and see what they'll loan you." I performed this task with the speed of Mercury (he was the messenger with the winged Nikes, right?). The phone call the next day confirmed that our credit was, in fact, in good enough shape for me to purchase a new vehicle.

And so began the search.

Since I had already requested time off from work to spend time with my neice I found myself with plenty of time to examine available replacements. Lucky for me, my neice enjoys looking at cars.

My first day off was only a half day so we stayed local. The locally available manufacturers consist of Honda, Dodge, GMC, Pontiac, Buick, Chevrolet, Jeep, Toyota, Cadillac, and Ford. The SUV market in this selection is limited obviously by manufacturer as well as price. I'll barely consider a Ford, Pontiacs and Buicks are ugly, Toyota tends to be proud of their vehicles and there's no way I'm paying for a $Cadillac$. So, in 109 degree heat, I test drove a Chevy Trailblazer, a Honda CRV, and a Dodge Durango. The Trailblazer came out on top.

I had the whole next day off so my neice and I trekked to Oklahoma City. I drove the following: Nissan XTerra, Kia Sorento, Suzuki XL-7, Mazda Tribute, and a Mitsubishi Montero. Between the two days, I picked my top three.

Picking my top choices was not an easy task. I kept bouncing back and forth thinking this one had good power, that one had plenty of room, this other one had a better ride... I made a decision matrix. Not only did I decide on my top 3 but also decided that mid-sized SUVs have become too womanized. That is, they are designed now more with a female in mind. That would be great if the vehicle were for my WIFE!

It's so frustrating. All of the SUVs I drove had a more car-like ride and, yesterday, I drove a Toyota Highlander which, basically, IS a car. I know my wife prefers this but, if I'm buying a truck, I want a TRUCK. She told me to look at trucks...

In my mind the decision is made. I'm buying a new vehicle. With this in mind, I set out to clean out and clean up my Blazer. Three kitchen-sized bags of trash, two boxes of crap I need to keep, a bottle of Armor-All and a few screwdriver twists (to remove some stereo equipment) later I felt I had a different car... ready to be turned over for appraisal.

Once again, I took my neice out to a car dealer. This time to look at a Dodge Dakota. The '03 V6 extended cab I drove wasn't bad. Nothing impressive really but when we returned to the lot, there was a dark blue, quad cab Dakota shined up and ready to roll. It turns out it was an '01 model and had been taken in trade but it had everything I wanted: AM/FM/Cassette/CD stereo, 4 doors for a more SUV-like feel, power windows and locks, remote mirrors, and a charcoal grey interior. I scanned the spec sheet they had prepared... it had a V8 under the hood! Oh yeah! I HAD to drive this baby.

I enjoyed it so much I took it to pick up my wife from work and she didn't mind how it rode. It was better than my Blazer but it still had that tight truck-like feel to it. The truck was whispering in my ear.

My more reasonable side told the truck to be quiet but that we might be back. I knew I had to do some research on price, reliability, gas mileage, and all that other stuff. I did it as soon as I got home.

Later that evening, I talked to my wife about the truck. She wants more comparisons and thinks a new vehicle is still the better option. My analitical side agrees with her but my fun side keeps bitch-slapping him and saying he wants the truck. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Zoom zoom.

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