Oct 3, 2019

Took The Plunge

Time For Retirement
Nine and half years ago, I was excited to purchase my Chrysler 300.  You can read about it HERE.  It's now 13 years old and has been costing me several hundred dollars in repairs each time I've had to take it to the shop.  At over 136K miles, it's no longer worth the repairs I've been investing.  I decided it's time to retire the 300.

One would think car dealerships would want to sell a car.  I researched a car I was interested in and I kid you not when I say I contacted no less than five dealerships that had the year, make, and model I was interested in with reasonable miles on it.  Incidentally, prices were ALL over the place with no rhyme or reason.  For instance:

•  30,233 miles, $23K
•  14,475 miles, $25K
•  29,160 miles, $25K
•  29,631 miles, $26K
•  11,165 miles, $26K
•  13,812 miles, $28K

Keep in mind all these are the same car just different colors!  Back to the dealerships, I contacted them all via email because all of them were a distance away from where I live.  Most just wanted to get me into the dealership.  They ghosted me once I started asking questions about the particular vehicle I was interested in.  Some didn't even respond to my "Contact Us" for the car on their website.  WTH?

Road Trip
One dealership stood out from the get-go.  I received a nice introduction email about the dealership and salesperson.  He answered all my questions via email in a timely, friendly manner.  The dealership was the one that had the car I was most interested in.  I took a 3 hour drive (each) way to east central WI to talk to the salesperson and test drive the car.  In my research, I was pretty impressed with the make and model before seeing it in person.  

The Test Drive
I had to chuckle internally when the salesperson asked for my license and took a photo of it with his phone.  Goes to show you how high tech we are.  Gone are the days of photocopied licenses.  The dealership is next to a freeway, interstate, and shopping center so I was able to drive it in several different conditions. 
OMG... test driving it was awesome!  It has a wonderful get-up-and go that my Chrysler 300 lacks.  I pulled into the shopping center parking lot to give the car closer inspection.  It's in excellent condition with no scratches or dents.  Under the hood looked really good, too.  Tires still have a good amount of tread.  I did look at the CarFax:  One owner, it's been regularly into the dealership for maintenance, and the two airbag recalls have been resolved.

The "Sit Down"
There wasn't any negotiation on the price because the dealership uses "up-front price" business model.  This means autos are priced aggressively to the market in order to move vehicles quickly and create volume. In these dealerships, the margins are lower, and they will typically do less (or no) negotiation, and more showing you documentation of why theirs is the value that it is.  Statistics show that most people do not like the negotiation process so some dealerships have moved to the up-front price model.  I didn't need the documentation since I'd already did my homework in this area.  
 I did try to negotiate for not a lower price, but for other things.  No dice.  

For me, the sale was contingent on how much I was going to get for trading in my 300.  I'd done my research on this, too.  Average trade-in value was $1,100.00 for a car in fair condition.  On the low end $925 and high end $1,468.  My car with 136K miles has some rust, a hole in the rear bumper, burns oil, lifters that knock, and needs some suspension work -- way too much $$ for me to want to keep it.  But, I digress.  When the salesperson came back to me with trade-in value of over $1,500.00, the deal was made.  

Since I hadn't planned on actually purchasing, I wasn't prepared. I put a deposit down and we planned on doing paperwork and delivery of the car on the following Thursday.  Yes, they are going to drive it 3 hours to me!  How awesome is that?!

Since this was the first time I've ever had a car delivered to me, I didn't know what to expect.  Especially, when the salesperson joked about how the delivery drivers were retired 80-year olds and don't get paid much. LOL

The day before, I received a call from the salesperson to set up delivery time and place as well as answer any remaining questions I had.

My New Ride
Readers are probably wondering, "Well, what did she get?" I've kept you in suspense, haven't I?  I purchased a 2016 Toyota Avalon Limited.  I thought it was the high end of the Avalon series.  The salesperson told me there was one more higher up called the Platinum series, but not many were sold.  From what I've researched, it is very similar to the Lexus 350ES.  Both cars have the same chassis and powertrain, but the Avalon has more interior room and trunk space.  It's also less expensive to purchase.

Exterior color is called Sizzling Crimson Mica.  Crimson is a strong, red color, leaning toward purple.  Mica is a crystalline mineral used in the paint to make it pearlized and creates a multicolored effect on vehicles. On my new-to-me car, this means in bright sunlight it looks red.


In the shade, or on overcast days it looks maroon or purplish.  The interior is light gray with black accents.

Size-wise, the Avalon is about the same length as the 300 and just a few inches less wide.  Both have 18" wheels with the Avalon having Super Chrome Alloy vs. the 300's aluminum rims.

I thought I was stylin' with a built-in garage remote control on the Chrysler 300. I am blown away at all the high tech features of the Avalon I purchased! 

•  Touch-based dash switches
•  Central touchscreen for GPS, radio, and phone
•  268-horsepower, 3.5-liter, 6-speed V-6 engine
•  Three driving modes:  Eco, Normal, and Sport that adjusts steering, throttle, and shift feel. 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds.  I can attest to this -- I was going almost 80mph coming from the off ramp onto the interstate and I didn't even know it!
•  Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection offers collision avoidance support for pedestrians.  No pedestrians to test this out, LOL.
•  Dynamic radar cruise control uses radar technology to adjust your vehicle speed to help maintain a preset following distance between you and the vehicle directly in front of yours
•  Automatic high beam headlights detects oncoming vehicles 2000 feet away and switches HB off then switches back on when vehicle passes
•  Lane departure assist signals if your car is about to leave your lane.  The alarm actually went off during the test drive when the car was too close to the center line.  So, I know it works!
•  Integrated backup camera with projected path.  Tested this out too and it works, too.
•  Heated power outside mirrors -- will come in handy during the winter months!
•  Leather heated seats in both the front and rear.  Cooled seats in the front.
•  Three zone heating/cooling:  two in front and one in the rear
•  10-way power adjustable drivers seat with lumbar support and cushion extension.  8-way power passenger seat

•  Entune multi-media bundle:  7" screen with split screen display, AM/FM radio, CD player, USB port for MP3/WMA playback, voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phonebook access  and music streaming via bluetooth technology, Siri, and SiriusXM
•  Entune App Suite which gives real time info including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports, and stocks.  It also does destination searches, has iHeartRadio, Pandora, FB places, and Yelp
•  Power moonroof, power windows, and power door locks, and power rear window sunshade
•  The steering wheel has paddle shifters (not sure what theses are yet) as well as controls for the hands-free phone, voice command, and multi-information display
•  Qi wireless smartphone charging system
•  Auto dimming rear view mirror with compass, map lights, and garage door opener
•  Rear window defroster/defogger with timer
•  Two 12 volt auxiliary power outlets
•  Push button engine start/stop
•  One of the neatest things -- the Smart Key System.  You can lock and unlock the front doors and trunk with just a touch of the hand.  THIS video explains how it works.  So cool!


Purple Pixie Dust said...

Really nice car. I like the video too, lots of good information. hugs

Bancy said...

Good luck. It’s beautiful.

Robin in Virginia said...

Enjoy your new wheels!

Carol said...

Sounds like you really did your research and your hard work paid off with a great salesperson and a beautiful car, Meari! Enjoy :)

Faith... said...

Beautiful car! I just love the purple color that is looks like sometimes.

Enjoy the car but be safe!

Katie said...

Only you could make buying a car this awesome. Awesome find and great work figuring out what you wanted and getting it.

Pam in IL said...

I remember when you bought the 300. Hard to believe how long ago that was. I love how thorough you are about all the details of your car purchase. I am looking at purchasing a newer version of the Toyota Highlander and test drove a 2017 just to see what it's like. It had all the same features as your car. I'm driving a 15 year old Highlander that we've had for 10 years, so I have no idea what it's like to have all those fancy features, lol. My DD got a new vehicle and it doesn't need the key. I can't even imagine not using a key.

Lynn said...

I really enjoyed reading this post, I am not usually interested in cars but your experience made me smile, I loved the part about the driving licence! Car is very nice!