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So how WAS the car shopping experience?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I was so excited about the car, I forgot to write about the car shopping experience.

After our first trip to the Honda dealership, we called other places to check out their inventory. That pretty much proved my theory wrong, because the guys we talked to were just as persistent and, well, car-salesman-like as we had expected before the initial visit.

So we learned that we just happened to talk to a really laid back sales person first, and since we didn’t meet anybody else we liked, we decided to go back to the first guy and give him the sale. If anybody cares, his name is Jonathan at Bellevue Honda. He has a super laid-back and straight-forward style.

The actual buying experience was very typical. We test drove what we wanted, presented him with a price, he went to the back room a couple of times to “check with them” — I don’t care if he was really trying to get the price approved or eating a donut back there, I assumed it’s all part of the game. After a couple of tries, though — he wouldn’t budge. Rather than walking away (which we probably could have done in retrospect), we accepted their price because we knew it was already a damn good deal. We pretty much got a certified car for a normal used car price, plus the miles on it was super low. And I know I’m too soft on this, but since Jonathan was straight forward with us, I didn’t feel like jerking him around by pretending like we wanted to walk, when we really wanted the car.

We did hold firm on other crap they try to sell you afterwards, though. We managed to get a good finance deal by coming in prepared with an approved loan, which the dealer beat in APR. They repeatedly tried to sell us the extended warranty, and I was almost sold (told you I’m soft), but Lucretia held firm.

We drove home the car that day, even though we didn’t expect to when we left the house just a few hours earlier. Jonathan called a couple of days later to check on us, which I appreciated. I don’t remember that from when we bought a Subaru. We may go back to get some small nicks and scratches taken care of. Or we might not, it’s not a big deal to us.

A little update on the car

Driving a hybrid is something I’m still getting used to. The one thing I’m still adjusting to is, like I said in the previous post, the automatic engine shut-off. It seems a bit too sensitive, meaning sometimes it tries to shut off the engine even when I’m not perfectly still. There are two cases where this could be a problem.

One is when I’m coming to a stop, and I’m not quite there yet. I have to hit the gas pedal to get that extra distance because the car is trying to slow down earlier than I want to. This results in a sudden, jerky acceleration followed by a panicky braking.

Another is when I’m waiting for a light while going up a hill. If I don’t have my foot on the brake very firmly, the car might start to roll down because the engine is off. I thought I was going to hit the car behind me twice this week because of this. Seattle has many hills so I’m going to have to be very careful. Maybe this is not a big deal if you’re used to driving a stick? I dunno.

November continues to be wacky in Seattle

Sunday, November 26, 2006



This morning, we got up and saw snow outside! WTF, in November? Last time it snowed in Seattle, as far as I can remember, is January 2004.

Good thing we weren’t planning any early-morning shopping trips today. The city is known for its rain, and people drive here like they’ve never seen a wet road. Can’t imagine what it would have been like if we were out there with the snow on the street!

November 2006 is already the wettest month ever in Seattle. Last week we had a thunderstorm (the first in my memory since we moved out here three years ago). We still have a little less than a week to go in November. What else is in the works, I wonder?