Sunday, May 1, 2011


We limped my Forester over to CarMax in Modesto yesterday and got it appraised. Remember how I said I'd feel lucky if they offered my $3,000 for it? They offered me $7,000 for it! (!!!) That's exactly what I paid in a down payment on it! If I'd had another way to get home (and if I'd actually taken my title with me), I'd be minus one Forester right now. Still their offer is good for 7 days.

And remember the conversation that lead me to start looking at new cars as opposed to used? Well, while we waited for the appraisal at CarMax, we walked their lot looking at what they had available. We didn't see anything particularly interesting, although Scoob is now coveting a Honda Ridgeline. But it'll have to wait until we move and get things settled down.

Anyhow, walking the lot gave us some ideas for vehicles to look at as comps for the Subaru Outback. And since CarMax is located on Modesto's auto row, we did some test driving before we came home.

We stopped in at Nissan to test drive the Xterra, which we did. It drives like a truck, which isn't a bad thing. If you want a truck. But the salesman listened to what I was looking for and liked and steered us toward a Nissan Rogue. I barely even knew this car existed before that. It looks/feels slightly more well-appointed than the Outback, at a comparable price. And it was comfortable to drive. Slightly less cargo space, but with a few standard features that will be extras on the Outback.

So, my decision isn't as clear cut as I thought. Early in the day I'd been set on the Outback. Oh, and that particular Nisan dealership offers a lifetime (LIFE. TIME.) powertrain warranty at no additional cost! So, if I do decide on the Rogue, I'll be picking it up in Modesto.

We also stopped at Honda to test drive the CR-V, but I got distracted by a 2007 Subaru Forester on the lot. Even though mine is a 2005, it's still the same car. Man, if Subaru was still making the Forester like the '05, that's exactly what I'd be buying. I love my Forester.

Then I did drive the CR-V, which may not have been a fair shake since I obviously think that Forester year/style is the best car in the world! But anyhow, the CR-V driver seat was uncomfortable (not as uncomfortable as some others, but still not something I would want to take a long drive in), it's get-up-and-go was sluggish, and the interior felt very dollar store–ish.

Knowing the Outback and the Rogue are available at the same price made it a no-brainer, and as the salespeople started to get pushy, I tried to make as graceful an exit from the Honda dealership as I could.

So, I've found a manual transmission Outback that I'll go test drive to day, and I'll test drive another Rogue, but this time on some hills and S-curves—the roads in Modesto were flat and straight so I don't feel like I've got a good sense of how the car handles.

Unless the manual Outback dazzles me (the Rogue only comes with a CVT transmission), I think I'll be happy with either vehicle. All things considered, it may come down to which dealer will negotiate with me more and vehicle stock they have to choose from.

Anyhow, I best go get ready. It's going to be a busy day. Vroom. Vroom.

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