Hey everyone, sorry for the long hiatus. Was off in Bermuda for a few weeks checking out the Americas Cup Racing – all the pictures are over on other blog The Canadian Loon. Since getting back it’s been trying to get the spring time chores done, get back into the work mode and shop for cars.
I’ve already detailed the reasons for shopping, see my VW rant so time to put that behind me and figure out the next chapter. After a winter of research and my criteria of it not being a full SUV, can carry canoes and kayak and dogs and not be boring, the 3 options were clear to me, another VW, which allows me to take advantage of some tax breaks as part of the settlement, the 2018 Subaru CrossTrek and the 2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman.
Last week I went into the VW dealer to test the waters and see how pissed off I would get. Fortunately the experience was ok. A saleslady had been recommended to me and she was quite good. First I took a Jetta Wolfsburg for a spin. I wasn’t overly impressed with the small engine. Found it very under-powered compared to my current turbo TDI. Next up was the VW Sportswagon. Basically what I have now but with some updated styling and a gas engine. The inside was pretty plain jane as I have come to expect from VW and the engine was better but nothing exciting to drive, even at 180hp turbo it wasn’t close to my current TDI. But it would easily replace what I had.
Also took a quick look at the Alltrack and I just can’t figure out the massive price tag. It’s near identical to the sportswagon, has no options and costs 6k more. Scratching my head over that one. Pricing on the Sportswagon was decent with 0 percent financing. But it still bugs me that I would need to go to 5 years to pay for it when I have 3 left on my existing car. They should be swapping the car with mine and calling it even and giving me compensation. They were polite, respectful and did a good job so I left feeling a bit better about VW.
On to the Subaru. This one surprised me. I was worried, if the Jetta has a 150hp turbo and it’s a POS how good could the Subaru be that has a 152hp non-turbo and a CVT transmission? Well, I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t drive a 2018 Crosstrek because they’re not here yet. But the 2017 Impreza is the exact same car (engine, styling, global chassis, etc). The only difference is the ride height is 3 or 4 inches more. This was a nice car to drive. No delay on the gas, responsive and sure doesn’t feel under-powered or a CVT. A cool video screen, great AWD, nice styling etc etc… Felt roomy and comfortable. Dealer is completely unwilling to negotiate and this seems pretty consistent across all Subaru dealers so at least everyone is getting the same price. I’ve been into the dealer twice and they still have not taken my contact info or called me to “check in”, seems to back their claims that they have more then enough people coming in. The Crosstrek is about 100 more per month then the VW (remember that I get a deal on the VW) but I think it’s worth going to the Subaru over the VW at this point. But would need to wait until Sept to be able to get a 2018 at the earliest.
Then came the Mini. Oh my. I had no idea how big this car is. It’s almost as big as the Crosstrek. In fact, it’s taller, wider and has more power. It’s just a hair shorter in overall length. Walked in the dealer and there wasn’t a customer in sight. The room is full of young metrosexual salesmen. They are freaking clones! I won’t even comment on the ladies. I don’t think they took me too seriously with my wrangler shorts and walmart untucked shirt with ballcap and unshaven….. But one of these guys eventually wandered over to assist, nice fellow but I kinda found that I seemed to know more about the car then he did. Turns out he has a “real job” and only works there on Satuday – wtf?
Over to the showroom demo and crawled in. OMG, heaven! What a beautiful car. Comfortable and beautiful styling. Played around for a bit and told him to go find me a demo to drive. First up was the 3 cyl version which is around 140hp. He claims that 80% of what they sell is this version. Brings it around, play with the settings a bit and out for a drive. Right off the bat I can see it’s a bit underpowered. Fine on the city streets but going up the highway ramps I can tell that this thing would struggle on hills or passing. But it handles like a race car and is an absolute pleasure to drive. I could drive this car all day. So comfortable. We get back and I tell him to go find me an S version, this one has a 190hp twin turbo. Now we’re talking! Lots more zip and and power on this one. But you sure feel it at the pocket book once you run the numbers.
Back to the shop and I get him to start pricing stuff up. Now he’s starting to take me serious, he’ll probably be surprised when he finally sees my yearly salary haha. Now I have to admit I have been very spoiled the past 20 years or so. I drove the same pickup for over 10 years and Toyota paid me a mint for it due to a major safety recall and since then I have always had large down payments on normal non-luxury cars (Toyota, VW, Ford, etc), this was my first time pricing something a little higher end. OUCH! I have never had a payment of over 300 or so and to suddenly be looking at numbers of 500 and higher (even with my down payment) hit home a bit. In talking to people I was surprised to hear them say “that’s cheap” and then what they pay for “everyday” cars. But this is all pre-negotiation so I know the numbers will come down a bit.
It’s obvious that Mini wants to negotiate, no less then 3 phone calls this week since I was in the shop. 1st was to offer a coupon (which I will now beat them over the head with when negotiating), next was to see how my experience was and finally to see if I was coming back. This coming weekend is also the last weekend of the month. End of month quota crunch time? I’m hoping so. I have an appointment tomorrow morning where I want to go through all the stock, see if my canoe racks fit and start pushing the numbers.
Back home and start searching the internet madly to research the shit out of this mini countryman which I had never taken seriously thinking it was too small. What’s wrong with this things? What’s good? What did I miss? What’s a proper price? Put all 3 cars side by side, need facts and figures and then figure out what to do.
The economical and fiscally answer is to go with another VW. The sensible thing is to go with the wildly safe and do everything Subaru Crosstrek and the completely wrong car that costs too much and is nothing but feeding the mid-life crisis and out of pure passion is the mini. So the decision is easy, I want the mini! 🙂
I have watched every video of the 2017 Countryman on youtube, I have spreadsheets coming out of my ears, I have a written list of every car in their stock, I have calculated all my financial numbers (both lease and finance options) and have my “hard” drop dead numbers. I have played the conversations over in my head and actions to claim that I have a deal on the table from Subaru, I have counselled myself that I will walk out the door if I don’t get what I want and let them chase me. I have lost sleep because of all the research and obsessing has gotten me to the point where I can’t stop thinking about it so can’t sleep. Enough, time to go buy so I can sleep again – lol I have never purchased a car this expensive or nice before, it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time. In other words, it’s fucking stressful!
And once this is done I still have the VW to get rid of and that means starting all the paperwork to get the buyback done while having 2 cars in the yard. Time to park the VW before I crash it or something and lose the buyback money.
I am now an expert on all 3 cars, if anyone needs info let me know hahaha. Now the stressful part of dealing with these salesmen to get the best deal that I can and the right option for me. Have to put passion aside, these people are not my friends and I have to settle with the Subaru if Mini won’t deal. Will update tomorrow as to what happened.