Saturday, April 12, 2008

New car, not orange!

A few weeks ago, I was parked on a quiet side street, and someone backed into the driver’s side door of my car. It turns out it will cost about $3400 to fix it.

My tired old Grad Prix is 11 years old, has 137,000 miles on it, only one working windshield wiper, bad rust on the running boards, and an ominous sound in the front end. I could kiss the woman who backed into me.

So today, Ben and I took a drive in a 2009 Vibe. We’d tested a Honda Fit, which I like because of the great mileage and the cheap price, and Ben liked because it was orange, but it’s just too small for Ben, me and Lily. So I’ve been researching the Vibe. Made in a joint venture with Toyota and Pontiac, the Vibe is reasonably priced, gets pretty good mileage, has a luggage rack, room for Lily. With a Toyota motor and drive train, it retains value like no other Pontiac. Side curtain air bags are standard. The old Grand Prix has been a good, steady car, but it’s time to change.

The salesperson was a very handsome, very nice young man, father of three, who took a real shine to Ben. Even though Ben and I had come from a very muddy visit to Pioneer’s baseball field to watch his friend Will pitch in the JV baseball game, he welcomed us into the new car, muddy shoes and all. He was soft selling the car, and we will have further discussions. Ben loved the car. When he sits in the back, the front passenger side seat folds flat so he can, for the first time ever, see out the front window. We can also fold down the seat beside him, so that he has a play surface. He didn’t want to get out of the car when the test drive was over.

So for the first time in a lot of years, looks like a new car is on the near horizon. I’ve really liked not having a car payment, but with the insurance money and a little supplement from my Roth IRA, we can keep our payment under $300.

And Ben didn’t mind it wasn’t orange.

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