April 16, 2009: Car Shopping

Another busy day of catching up on work.  The weather has been awesome this week and we have been getting a chance to go walking every day.  So far Oreo’s allergies have not been all that bad either.  He is definitely itchy but far better than he has been in previous years around this time.  The grass is being mowed today so this is the first really serious test of his allergies here in the Hudson Valley.

Our cupboards were seriously bare today so Dominica and Liesl ran out to go grocery shopping leaving Oreo and I alone at home.

Our case of wine from Lakeshore on Cayuga Lake arrived today.  We had been worried about it as it originally arrived on Monday and we had left a note that we would be availble to receive it today.  We are quite excited to have good wine again.

I kept working on CD and DVD conversions today.  My desktop has been very busy working on CD conversions and Dominica’s laptop has been working around the clock getting movies converted.  We have finally figured out how to handle foreign films with subtitles so we no longer have to worry about what to do with those.

Strangely, I learned today, Owego, New York has been named the coolest small town in America.  Katie and John will be proud as they both call Owego their home town.  How did Owego get named this?  I have no idea.  It would never have occurred to me to think of Owego as a cool town.  Owego has always seemed such an uncool place – especially considering its neighbouring areas.

Our plans this evening include heading over to Harriman, New York to do some car shopping.  We left at five thirty and it takes less than half an hour to get over there.

On the drive over we were talking about our car buying options.  Dominica really wants to get a small SUV so that we have some cargo capacity.  We have been kicking around the idea of getting a Mazda CX7 in addition to whatever BMW we decide to get and trading in the PR5 for it.  It occurred to me that we should consider a BMW SUV, potentially, rather than a Mazda SUV because it does not necessarily make sense to get rid of the PR5 yet – especially when we own two sets of tires for it and just paid to have so much done to it to get it up to snuff this week.

We decided that it would make sense for us to test drive the X3 in addition to driving the 528i.  We really didn’t know anything about the BMW SUV options (or SAV as they call them) so we were going in rather blind.

We sat in a few cars in the show room at Orange County BMW.  Then we test drove a 2007, black with tan interior, fully loaded BMW X3.  The X3 is an all wheel drive, 3.0 (same engine as our 330) which rides mostly like a car.  You don’t sit up that high and the fuel efficiency is actually better than the convertible’s.  Dominica really liked the X3.  It didn’t hurt that it was fully loaded with all of the bells and whistles including in-dash navigation system and front to back moonroof.

We took Liesl with us on the test drive (Oreo stayed in Peekskill – his first time alone since Liesl was born and since he has gone blind.)  She fit comfortably in the back of the X3 with a ton of available “trunk” space for hauling whatever we need.

Our next trip out was in the 528i.  I preferred the 528i as it was more comfortable in the front when I was driving and, obviously, was much more attractice, cooler and handled better than the X3 and would be available in rear wheel drive for serious drivers rather than all wheel drive for soccer moms.  On the passenger side things were pretty tight for me with Liesl in the back seat.  The trunk is very ample but not nearly as big as the X3.  The cost is much higher for the 5 series, the fuel efficiency is a smidgen less and Dominica does not like it as much.

So the final verdict, after much consideration, is that we will get a BMW X3.  Orange County BMW made us a good offer on our 330Cic – not for as much as we owe but for more than we thought that we could get.  We looked into several options including leasing new and buying used (we know enough not to buy new) and finally decided that what we really wanted was the X3 that we drove.  I didn’t really want it in black but Dominica really liked the black and its an SUV so I really only barely care.  It’s ugly and ridiculous looking no matter how you paint it so might as well get whatever Dominica wants as long as it isn’t white – we saw a white one and it was bad.

So we put down $1,000 on the X3 to hold it until we have time to really make a decision.  I could tell that Dominica really wanted to buy it on the spot but obviously we aren’t about to do that.  But putting a hold on it meant that we could take as long as we want to decide on it.  That seemed like the conservative step to take.  I am happy with getting the X3 over the 528i because of the overall cost savings, additional space and the removal of the need to them get Dominica another car that is an SUV.

Now we can save money by keeping the PR5 for at very least another year if not more and when we do replace it we can do so with a car rather than a truckish thing.  Even with rolling the money that we still owe on the 330 into the payments on the new car we will be decreasing our monthly payments by over $100 and maybe by as much as $150.  A lot of that cost savings comes from the fact that the new interest rate is 4% lower than the old one – if all goes well.  So that makes the purchase a lot more worth it.  And because the X3 has the built in navigation system we can put the Garmin that we have into the Mazda and always have one no matter who is driving what vehicle – even when we are both driving at the same time.

After our test driving was over, it was around eight thirty, we drove down the street to Cosimo’s Pizza and Bar (or something like that) and got dinner.  Liesl did really well all evening barely getting upset at all and only when she was starving.  It was really good that we were able to take her test driving with us because we would not have had a good feel for the cars had we not and it would have taken forever if Dominica and I had to drive each car separately.

We ate dinner and then drove back to Peekskill.  The decision to buy the car is all but made at this point.  Dominica is really excited to be getting the X3 and, while I am far from thrilled about the X3 in general, I am pretty realistic that driving the 330 is not possible and that if we kept it it would just cost us a fortune and never get to be driven.  The X3 is very practical for us at this point and is going to help with the month to month finances.  The sooner we switch from the 330 to the X3 the sooner we start to save as well since our interest rate will almost be cut in half and our monthly payments will be lower (and all of that based on no money down – so we might be able to improve it slight by putting some down yet too.)

Our plan is to decide on the car for sure tomorrow and call them on Saturday since I know that I will be really busy tomorrow.

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