Monday, November 17, 2014

Car Shopping

I'm on my fifth car. The first was bought in 1978, and the current, in 2012 - 36 years of car ownership. I'd say my track record is good; though "good" for some people is buying a new or different car every 2 to 3 years; and for others, owning a car 10 to 20 years. The former are what I call "car people;" giving priority to numerous factors beyond practicality.

Because I'm not a "car person" (until I need one), I'm not an authority on what those factors are. Someone might say, "Niiice car," to someone driving a convertible or a sporty car. Or it could be a conservative, sleek, high-end vehicle; or a truck. I seldom ask people why they chose what they drive.

However, I've had friends throughout the years who have brought up the "new car" conversation and volunteered the rationale for, um, their choices. I'll bet you're not surprised that at least half of the women let their husbands choose or are influenced by another significant male figure in their lives. Mostly, the reasons I hear are: 1) I don't know anything about cars. 2) I don't care what it looks like; I just need something to drive that has air conditioning, heat, and music. 3) My husband loves cars, so I'll let him have fun choosing it. That's what they tell me. I express my congratulations and we move on to the next topic.

Except this one time, B. tells me that her husband surprised her with a new car. Yep – just drove up in a sparkling, navy blue crossover and handed her the keys. She and I had met at the mall (her choice) to walk and talk. When we left, I got a glimpse of the shiny new car; a stand out in the parking lot. At that time, crossovers were the newest trend in vehicles, so I had a few questions for her.  She went from faking happiness to moaning about how part of her rear view was blocked by some part of the car that I can't remember; basically, because of the shape of the car. What could I say? I think I just said, "Awww." What I didn't say, was, "You're stuck with a car that you don't like."

Of my five vehicles, only one eased its way into my possession without the benefit of my choice. Darling Husband fell in love with a mid-sized SUV and went down his list of reasons why we should have it. 1) His very old car was not going to last much longer. 2) It's a well-built vehicle with a good safety record. 3) It's used. 4) It's a niiice car! 5) "You'll look good in it." Flattery.

My response: "We already have an SUV (that I chose) and I'm used to driving it. I don't need another car yet. Why don't you get a car that YOU'D like to drive." And that's what he did.

Not too much time later though, I found myself driving it. Somehow, he began driving the big "old" SUV that was mine; and because I don't like switching cars every other day, I began driving the newer one… until one day, my (now his) huge, chunky, lovable SUV met her demise. (Click HERE and scroll down to the end of the other post if you want to see it.) It was now my turn, again, to make the new car choice. Because we had two cars, I was able to take my time scoping the traffic; seeing what everyone was driving. My decision was months later.

Darling Husband wasn't feeling a van, but… that's what I wanted and that's what I got. Still in the midst of motherhood, it is serving me well – and the rest of the crew, too. When a road trip comes up, everyone insists that we drive the mommy van and is elated to hop in.

How long I'll drive the van? I don't know… probably a while; it's just under 3 years old. I'm still glad to have it, and glad DH has his SUV back again… for the second time. The first time, he intentionally gave it up for me. The second time, he reluctantly gave it up for Girl #1 during her senior year of high school. At that time, he was forced to pull his toy car out of the garage. She went away to college and toy car is back in the garage. Not for long though! Girl #2 is lobbying hard for exclusive rights to the SUV.

I digress. Basically, I like choosing the car that I will drive.

What about you? How was ownership of your vehicle decided upon and is your name on the registration? Does it matter?

Images found here and here.


Jimmy said...

We drove a Mini Van for a number of years, we had two different ones which was just a newer model of the old one, they are great when you have kids, and fantastic on a trip, now that the kids are grown we have a SUV which is great but the room in the van we do miss.

Tabor said...

I do research on models and safety and prices before even looking at cars. I narrow it down to 2 or 3 and then hubby and I both test drive them. I refuse to care about color or luxury items as that raises the price. I did want heated seats in my old age and that meant we had to add the bundled luxury package this time. We got a hybrid and like the mileage. I do not like how hard it is to see over the hood when pull in to parking. I do worry about all the problems we are ALL going to have with the computer systems as these cars age!! I would never want hubby to by me a car without consultation!!

ShadowRun300 said...

All through high school, I wanted a Mustang. Instead, I drove what I could afford - a Chevette, a Sunbird, and an old Toyota station wagon.
When I had kids I drove what I HAD to drive - a box van, an even bigger conversion van, and a clunky SUV.
When the first kid got his license, the SUV became "his". He took on the job of car pooling, and I finally got my Mustang! I'm still driving it today. It only fits me, and I am just fine with it. :)

Linda said...

Great post, Anita. Unfortunately I cannot respond to your question...well, growing up, my parents never had a car, we used public transportation. I am 58 now and still use public transit, so I have never, ever driven a car! :)

Abby said...

Great post, I may have to chronicle my thoughts further over at my place!

I think what we drive is often seen as an extension of who we are - a lot goes into the marketing of cars!
I've always actually liked pickups and had three before kids came along, we haven't had one since! Now we're about reliability first and practicality second. Our Honda Element can hold 5 bicycles! Then we have our big van for road trips, and I now drive my mom's old grandma car since she stopped driving and the college boys took our civic to school.

As special as it sounds, I would not want my husband to "surprise" me with a new car!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I hope you get a car that you like. I don't really care about the type of car I drive as long as I know it's reliable.

Rob-bear said...

I'm with Peaches (above). That said, we are partial to Volvos in out household. They really do last forever (about 20 years) and are safe and reliable (though a touch expensive for maintenance).

Blessings and Bear hugs, Anita!

TexWisGirl said...

no way i'd want to be handed the keys to a car i didn't help pick out! it's got to 'fit' and visibility and parking ability and handling is important! important for SAFETY! :)

i'm not a car person. my vehicles are both almost 10 yrs old, now. and that's just fine with me and my country self. :)

Rebecca S. said...

Hello Anita,
I have ended up choosing every car we have ever owned together. I seem to be able to make fairly good gut decisions about cars and houses so my husband relies on my judgement it seems, although it does feel like a lot of responsibility at times! We are starting to look toward getting a new vehicle and wondering what type it should be and how soon to get it. I don't think we could ever make such a big decision without consulting each other though!
He likes Porches and I like Jaguars but we won't be getting either any time soon, if ever :)

Barb said...

I've never had the slightest interest in vehicles. My husband definitely shops/compares/chooses. He discusses merits with me and drags me along to dealersips. I just can't get too excited. If it drives well in snow and can haul a passel of grandkids, all right by me. We've had some really niiice cars (sporty) in our long married life. Now, living in the mountains, we have a van and a small SUV. I sometimes think we could manage with only one car, but I can't quite give up the independece of each of us doing our own thing and each needing a vehicle to get us there.

Linda Hensley said...

My dad died when I was a teenager and couldn't give advice so I've had to make my own car choices. I actually paid the sticker price for the first new car, but I've learned better since then. It sounds nice to have a hubby buy a car, but I also feel a little sorry for your friend who doesn't like hers. I guess I'd rather live with my own mistakes instead of cussing at a loved one every time I can't see through a blind spot.

Bryan Jones said...

Until now, we've always been fortunate enough to possess two cars, one for my wife and one for me. Now we've both taken early retirement, in January we're going to trade both in and make do with one: let the battle commence!!

yonca said...

Hi, Anita
After retirement, I put a new car at the top of my wish list.
I like Nissan Pathfinder.

Unknown said...

What a thought-provoking post! I never thought about that in an organized manner because I've always had a clear view of what I want in a car and I'll have it in my name. I guess I put in utility at the top of my list of things to consider, followed very closely by safety and driving economy. How the car looks would be the last one on the list, but it's still an important factor. Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts! All the best to you!

Diane Wilson @ Fletcher Chrysler

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Car shopping is so hard - so many choices and such!

Jen said...

Since I'm single, that's a decision that is 100% mine. I like to buy the best I can afford. My Corolla has hit 100,000 miles (I bought it brand new with 15), so I'm thinking of buying something that can go off-road as a second car. I will keep the Corolla until it costs more to repair than to make new car payments.

Arlee Bird said...

I prefer functionality to looks or whatever is considered cool. Most of my vehicles have been vans because I find them most useful and comfortable for travel and they accommodate a big family better. Even for my own use I'd prefer a van because I like to have the room to carry stuff if I need it.

Tossing It Out

Margie said...

I drive a van and love it as Jake goes with me so often on my outings
Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!

Good luck choosing the car!

Jenny said...

Hey you?

Have your changed your blog?

I'm trying to start writing again and I thought I'd stop by and see what you're up to!

My first car was a raspberry red mustang. It was gorgeous.

My dream car is a brown pick-up.

Hope everything is going okay with you and you're just busy.

Happy New Year!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

How late am i to this party? Where does my time go or better yet, how do I waste my time? I've driven the same car for the past 12 years - one my husband surprised me with on our 2t5h anniversary. A silver VW bug. I"d always wanted one, but couldn't help thinking I would have had fun picking one out. I was still driving the Mom van at that time as well. GMC - had two of them. Each for 160,000 miles each. Before that, an econobox which was what we could afford.

I'm boring you, I know. Sorry. Thinking I will need a new car soon. I, too, would like to choose it this time. However, since I am not a car person, I like the VW bug. All cars look alike to me these days.Either a SUV, pickup or a regular car. All black, white, silver or that beigey color. I can find my bug in a parking lot. Saves me often.

Hope all is well, Anita.

Shalet Jimmy said...

I never owned a vehicle except a bicycle.I am always worried that I would gain weight, if I stopped walking....

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Happy New Year, Anita. Wishing you the best that life offers.

Munir said...

Thanks for stopping by. I have not been reading a lot of blogs posts as my computer is on the desk where we had water problems with the base board heater. Now it is fixed so I shall use my computer more often.
I did not have to worry about car shopping. All of the cars we have had were bought by my husband who is an impulse shopper.
The Toyota that I drive has been with us for over ten years. It is very good. It has over two hundred thousand miles on it.
Good Luck with the new purchase. I will come back to check how you did
Happy New Year to you and yours.

Buckeroomama said...

When deciding for the family, luckily my husband and I are on the same page. We pretty much agree on color, the make, and the type of car we want.

SuziCate said...

Hubby is provided a vehicle through work, so I usually choose (with LOTS of input from him) my vehicle. I work from home so I put little miles on it. Both of our names are on the registration though he calls it my car not his. Currently I have a Subaru Outback, and am considering a newer vehicle (SUV) in the spring....he will research and I will peruse and then we will test and see. Car buying is not something either of us enjoy.