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My New Car Reveal

March 18, 2011 · 48 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

Do you ever think you should be excited about something, and are disappointed when you are not?  That is how I felt while trying to find a new or used car for myself.

I had been researching and pricing American cars for a month or so, and there just wasn’t any vehicles jumping out at me.  I would be interested in a certain vehicle, but then the reviews would be bad, and I would cross that car off the list.  Since gas prices are so high right now, fuel economy definitely needed to be considered.  However, I knew I still needed something big enough to fit five comfortably.  Those two goals are somewhat mutually exclusive, although not entirely.

Finally, I thought I had the perfect answer with the Chevrolet Equinox.  This crossover vehicle reportedly gets 22 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway.  It also has decent storage space and the backseat can also be moved back to allow for more leg room.

After zeroing in on the Equinox, I researched car prices online and headed to the local dealership for a test drive.   First, let me say I was in shock when I walked in to the dealership.   There were seven salespeople in their cubes and every single one was working with a customer.  I was very happy to see so many people out looking at new cars.   It was so busy that a manager actually came out to work with me.  Either the economy is improving, or the zero percent financing GM is offering is luring people into the dealerships.

Anyway, I worked with the manager, heard a decent price for the vehicle, and headed out on my test drive.

I sat in the car, and the vehicle was quite comfortable, and spacious.  I thought “I am going to like this car”.  Once I hit the road though, my opinion started to go negative.   The Equinox is a four cylinder vehicle, so the pickup was a little sluggish.   I expected that though because it is hard to have great acceleration and great fuel economy at the same time.   What struck me the most was the blind spots that exist in the front on the far right and far left.  There is a lot of plastic between the windshield and side windows which really blocked my view.  Also, the side mirrors are very close to the door or something, and the plastic combined with the mirror to create a giant blind spot.  I was actually a little scared driving because I felt like I was very limited in what I could see from the right.   Plus, certain GM vehicles literally make me nauseous to drive, and the Equinox was no exception.   I know it isn’t just the new car smell, because I drove a Grand Prix for years that always left me a little queasy.

Needless to say, I could not wait to get out of that vehicle.   I only drove it one square mile and that was more than enough for me.   I tried so hard to like the car too, but I just could not adjust to those blind spots.   Plus my head was pounding and I felt like I was going to be sick.  Maybe taller people can see better?   I am five foot two and I do not have a lengthy torso by any means.  Regardless, I was really disappointed because I really thought an Equinox would be the perfect fit for our family.

So, my quest for another vehicle continued…

The next day, I headed to the Ford dealership to check out the Ford Escape.  Long story short, I got a great deal on a 2011, and so far, I absolutely love the vehicle.  Roomy, good gas mileage, and it is so easy to drive.   (Best of all, I don’t feel nauseous when driving it!) Oh, and it is Sangria Red, which I just love!

In the end, everything worked out great, but it was not the easy and fun process I hoped it would be.  Part of the problem is I have a really hard time parting with money, and a new car is a LOT of money.  I looked at a lot of used cars, and for just a little bit more money, I was able to get a brand new car that has no history or hidden problems.  There are so many incentives out right now that for some vehicles, you really may not be saving much by purchasing used.   (At least that is what I found.)

As a side note, does anyone have any idea why I get nauseous in certain cars?   If you have an Equinox, do you think I am just plain crazy?   I know it is a popular car, so maybe it is just me…  I do like the look of the vehicle and have heard great things, but it just didn’t work out for our family.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

First Gen American March 18, 2011 at 6:48 am

My latest company car is an Equinox and I love it. I only got to pick from Chevy products, so it was either an equinox or an impala. It’s the nicest car I’ve ever driven although I’ve heard good things about the escape too. My last company car was a falling apart town and country minivan (that I got stuck with..did not pick) and it had tons of blind spots. I hated that thing, so I actually had the opposite reaction when I drove the equinox (wow I can see).

How exciting.

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

First Gen, I am glad you like your Equinox. We really liked our Impala and I was tempted to buy one this time around. However, I do prefer to sit higher up, and the Escape is roomier than an Impala. (Although the trunks in Impalas are HUGE.)

My old Plymouth Voyager had tons of blind spots too, and it was a deathtrap in the rain. That thing would just fog up no matter what settings I had on the heater. It was an awful vehicle. The Serpentine belt snapped within the first 300 miles, and 2 more times after that.

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Money Reasons March 18, 2011 at 7:39 am

Sometimes the smells of a new car make me sick too. Perhaps you were the first to drive it from the lot…

That Ford Escape sounds great! My sister has one and she loved it!

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

MR, I think I felt kind of closed-in by the Equinox, it was a very odd feeling. The smell was very overwhelming too. I guess I just wasn’t meant to own an Equinox…

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The Biz of Life March 18, 2011 at 7:51 am

I’m no fan of Government Motors products. The couple of GM vehicles I’ve owned were just a step above lemons– they weren’t in the shop all the time, but had enough chronic problems to be a real pain. For what it’s worth, my mechanic likes Fords, Mazadas, Hondas and Toyotas…… hates Kias and GMs, says they are made with inferior parts and are poorly designed.

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Interesting perspective from the mechanic, and I suppose they would know best.

I have been really pleasantly surprised with Ford vehicles. Their reputation has really improved over the years. I remember in the 70s, my dad avoided Ford products.

I will say that my husband’s Malibu has been great so far, and his Impala was very reliable and comfortable. Oh, and our favorite all time car was the Pontiac Sunfire. It was the cheapest car we ever bought, but it ran like a champ! I still like a lot of GM products, but there wasn’t one that suited us this time around.

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Kaycee March 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

I am so sick of the dumbholes knocking GM. Please keep in mind, the car companies got a LOAN (which they have paid back) The banks got a HANDOUT and none of you say squat about that. You’re either hypocrites and/or idiots. @@

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The Biz of Life March 18, 2011 at 7:51 am

Congrats on the new car, by the war. There’s no experience like driving a new car.

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The Biz of Life March 18, 2011 at 7:52 am

….. by the way…..

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Debi March 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

I have a Pontiac Torrent which is the Pontiac version of the Equinox and I love it!!
I am a couple inches taller than you so maybe makes up for the blind spots.

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Debi, I am sure you are more than a couple inches ‘taller’ than me in a car because I am torso-less. My legs are as long as my son who is 5 foot 9.

Glad you like the Torrent. I like how that vehicle looks.

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sherie March 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hey Congrats on the Escape! I just went through the same thing you are going through and had a very similar experience. Choosing a car is a lot harder and a lot less fun than you think it will be. I ended up with a used Ford Escape, for similar reasons. I’m disappointed in the gas mileage though, but mine has 6 cylinders and it’s 4WD with tow package so that knocks mileage down a little. We’ll have to talk and compare some notes on it. On the up side, it’s one of the few vehicles that have the side-airbags which make it a lot safer, especially when we pass them down to our girls in 2 years.

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Sherie, I am becoming such a follower! First the Freestyle, now the Escape. (Although I didn’t know about the Escape, must have been subliminal.)

Your Escape is bound to guzzle gas since it is so powerful. You would kill me in a drag race, even while pulling a boat.

My daughter isn’t getting this car! The Taurus X is with my oldest, and that will be passed down to her, and then the youngest. Although I do love the Taurus X and it will be taking us to Florida soon.

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Little House March 18, 2011 at 9:49 am

Congrats on your new Escape! As for the nauseous thing,I’m also 5’2″ and cars that are really large inside and difficult for me to see out the windshield make me feel like I’m experiencing a bit of vertigo. I wonder if it has something to do with the curve of the windshield or how much distance there is between my head and the hood or something. In your case, it could be this or maybe it’s a particular smell in GM vehicles? At least the Ford Escape doesn’t make you feel this way and that’s all that matters. 😉

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Little House, maybe I have the same problem as you with the vertigo. Let me think, the Grand Prix made me sick, but that had a funky windshield and shape. I was fine in the Trailblazer, Beretta, Sunfire and Impala. My husband’s Malibu makes me a little sick to my stomach. I test drove a Saturn Outlook and almost threw up after about 20 seconds.

Maybe there is no rhyme or reason to my nausea?

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101 Centavos March 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

A new car smells should be intoxicating, not nauseating.
I’d get nauseous in a GM vehicle too, but only from thinking about all the taxpayers dollars that went to bail out this dinosaur of a company. 🙂
Congratulations on the new car.

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

101 – That was funny.

We have owned countless GM cars, but my husband is from a GM family and we always got great discounts. Also, I worked for EDS for years (which was owned by GM at one point), and I felt somewhat pressured to have a GM vehicle.

I branched out and bought my first Ford in 2006, and I loved it. I have bought Ford for myself ever since. My husband basically has to drive GM because they are his biggest client.

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DoNotWait March 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

Ford Escape Rules!! LOL. We have one too and simply looove it! We got it used, but only 1 year old so it still feels new and no bad history on it. We find it very comfy, easy to drive (almost like a car) and love the view! I think you picked the right one! Okay, maybe I’m not objective. As for the nausea, it does happen to me as well sometimes, but only when I’m in the passenger seat and the driver is nuts!

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

DNW, you are right, it does drive almost like a car.

Maybe my nausea problem is caused by my own bad driving? 🙂

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Sandy H @ Journey To Our Home March 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

I’m not sure about the nausea’s thing. But after I had my son I wasn’t able to be in a vehicle for more than about 20 minutes before getting sick. The first time I tried to drive myself I actually had to pull over at 30 minutes and vomit on the side of the road.
It doesn’t happen anymore- but I’m lucky my drive to the sitters was only 15 minutes, and I had another 15 minute drive to work when I started driving more!

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 11:56 am

Sandy, that sounds absolutely awful! How long did that last?

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Sandy @ yesiamcheap March 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm

That “new car smell” is off-gasing from all the materials in the car (plastics, paints, woods, etc.) and not just stuff they spray in there to get that smell. Open the windows wide and drive on the highway to get rid of that smell.

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MoneyCone March 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

Congrats on your new SUV! I do not know the merits of one over another, but this is exactly why you should test drive! If you don’t like the feel, you should look at a different model. Glad you found one that you liked *and* got a good deal on it!

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Kris March 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

MC – I am heading to Kentucky in a couple hours from Michigan, and I am excited to drive my vehicle that far. (Curious to see what the gas mileage really will be.) Thanks for the well wishes!

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krantcents March 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Congratulations on the new car! It is amazing what you can learn about a car in 5-10 minutes. I read today that Lincoln was rated number 1 for reliability. It appears Ford has improved their cars.

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

Krant, I do think Ford has drastically improved their cars.

I learned in about 1 minute that I could not buy the Equinox. You are so right, you figure it out almost immediately.

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retirebyforty March 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I had an ’05 Mazda Tribute (Ford Escape twin) and it’s a really good vehicle. I’m guessing you might feel sick if the suspension is floaty? The Escape is tuned to be a bit sporty and it doesn’t bounce around that much.

I think you should have waited for the Ford Focus Cmax – 6 seats. 🙂

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

RB40 – I love my Escape,and it is the perfect size. I didn’t want another 6 seater because we already have one. The Escape is much more efficient.

I don’t even know what the Cmax is, I will have to go look it up.

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Crystal @ BFS March 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Congrats on finding the right car for you!!! I personally get a little sick driving any regular-sized car or more and I’m 5’2″ as well.

I loved the Chevy Cavalier I drove my last year of college but disliked all larger rental cars. I love how the Chevy Aveo I drive now sits (high) but it is a POS – cheap parts. I personally dislike the blind spots in my husband’s Toyota Prius but love the extras like the push button start and the 52 mpg. I have started craving a Toyota Yaris for myself, lol, since it’s a small car that makes 35-40 mpg without even being a more expensive hybrid.

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

I love sitting up high too, and I sit real high with the Escape. Actually, I am surprised by how high I sit.

52 mpg would be amazing!!!

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Barb Friedberg March 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Kris, I empathize with you. If our daughter buys one of our cars, we will also be in the car buying market. I’m not one to get excited over cars either. Good luck with the process, it’s stressful. Check out some of the great advice at car negotiation coach!

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:42 am

Barb, I have read a lot over at CNC, I love that site!

Turns out I am more excited about my new car than I thought. I guess it is just the process of buying that is so frustrating!

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Financial Samurai March 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm

I’ve considered the Ford Escape as well. It’s a good size for the city, and to Tahoe.

Did you follow the 1/10th rule!?

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:43 am

Sam, I don’t know what the 1/10th rule is! I hope I followed it, if I am supposed to.

You will never replace Moose…

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Lindy Mint March 20, 2011 at 12:54 am

I was just talking about these exact two cars with my mother yesterday. She’s wanting a lower profile and better mileage than her Ford Expedition. I was pushing for the Escape. I have a bias against Chevys – that’s what my first car was and it was constantly in the shop. Now I have even more fuel for my argument.

Congrats on your new wheels!

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

Lindy – if your mom likes to sit high, then an Escape is great. It is still easy to get in and out of though too. It drives and handles really well. It is my all time favorite car at this point.

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The Lost Goat March 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I’m not sure why buying a new car would be fun, except that the commercials say that it will be. After all, you are making a significant purchase out of which you will need to acquire years of utility. Unless you work in the auto field, you have no background for this purchase. And everyone knows that the salesmen are there to sell you, not to help you. I can’t think of anything more stressful, personally.

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Kris March 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

Lost Goat, I think the excitement comes from the new car smell, and having something new. The process itself may not be as exciting as getting to actually drive the new vehicle.

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karen ho fatt March 20, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Cars besides the mortgage is one very expensive debt. One of those necessary evils we cannot live without.

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Kris March 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

Karen, very true. It is hard to live without certain types of debt. People have different thresholds of debt though. Some even think mortgage debt is bad.

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Sandy @ yesiamcheap March 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I won’t comment on the car itself but you seem like you made an informed decision! I guess if you had been impulsive and just ran out and purchased one you would be giddy. But that’s okay! You can get giddy if you buy air fresheners for the car. Lots of options there and at $2-$3 a pop, I give you permission to just grad the first one you see.

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Kris March 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

Sandy – I am giddy about the car itself now that I see how great the mileage is and how comfortable the ride is!

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auto transport June 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Buying a new SUV? Well it is the main things that people avoid right now, anyway congrats for your new car! About nausea, lot of people got that when ride a new car, my little brother had it too. Don’t have idea about medical appointment if you are wondering about it.

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