annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
Now that Justin's working at the Chrysler dealership, there's a lot of pressure to buy from them. It's probably because Justin is exposed to these cars 11 hours every day, 6 days a week. He gets ideas, you see.

On Saturday evening, about the time he was going to be getting off work he called me at home and asked me to go down there. He found something he wanted me to take a look at. He sounded so excited that I immediately got myself and Dominic got dressed, groomed, and driven to the dealership. He showed me his find: a 2008 Dodge Nitro. It wasn't what I had in mind, but I checked it out. Justin has been listening to me talk about cars for months. He knew exactly what I was looking for and he didn't disappoint. The first thing he looked for was a good sound system. Now, the Nitro's 4 speakers can't really compete with the C30's 8 (what could?), but once I fine tuned it, it sounded darn good. Next, he made sure it wasn't underpowered. The Nitro comes with a 3.7 litre V6. It's a lot of vehicle, but the engine gets it moving quickly. It also has part-time 4 wheel drive, which will be handy in these Ohio winters.

The Nitro is a Jeep Liberty with a Dodge badge. There are a few other differences. For instance, the Nitro is bigger. But the Liberty and the Nitro share a platform and are actually built on the same line in Toledo.

The interior is really nice. It has the two-tone look that I loved in the C30 R-design and the seats are comfortable and roomy. The control panel is easy to understand and use. It's not too difficult to climb into and I don't have to bend over to get Dominic in and out of his car seat.

The dealership was closing so they let us take it home for the night. We drove to Fairlawn to get some dinner and I was impressed with the ride quality. I didn't feel like I needed to stomp on the brake to go around a corner (or risk flipping). In other words, it didn't feel like a truck. I found the steering responsive and the turn radius acceptable. It's a large vehicle so I was impressed with its maneuverability.

This particular Nitro was equipped with some nice extras such as cruise control and a sunroof. I could care less about the color, but Inferno Red is a good look on this aggressive looking SUV.

We signed the paperwork yesterday.

I still want the C30 very much. But my Sephia is dying and I need a new vehicle now. And at the price they were selling this Nitro, I couldn't say no. Fred Martin bought it from another dealership that was going out of business. So even though it only had 44 miles on it, Chrysler considers it a pre-owned vehicle. I bought it for what Fred Martin bought it for plus taxes and title.

I'm sad to give up on the C30, but Justin is under strict orders. If the dealership gets one in, he is to immediately trade in his Rio for it. Then he gets the Nitro and I get the C30. So hope is not lost. In the meanwhile, I really do like my new truck.





One day, I will own a vehicle that doesn't have a stupid name. One day.

Dominic got to hit the sales gong before we left. The thing is so loud that the entire joint rattles and shakes. Kinda scary actually. The first time I heard it there was a woman in the room who was startled and said, "What was that?!"

Justin said, "The Chinese are invading." Justin and I were snickering ourselves to death, but the woman didn't think it was funny.

annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
Ok, I've been thinking about it and I want the Challenger.

This post subject to change.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
Continuing on:

I drove several vehicles yesterday. After the Challenger, I drove the Caliber, then the Chrysler Sebring, then the Jeep Liberty.

First the Caliber: Love the look. Hate the drive. End of story.

Jeep Liberty: Ok. It's a truck. It drives like one. I'm not interested.

Chrysler Sebring: Even more surprising than the Rabbit. I took it on the freeway and hit the gas. It shot up the ramp like a bullet. It shifted pretty hard, but it was cold so I'm giving it a little slack there. Way more fun to drive than I was expecting. The sound system was mediocre, but could be good with some tweaking. Exterior styling was boring. I wouldn't buy this car.

HOWEVER!

Dodge makes the Sebring's sister car: The Avenger. Everything is the same except the exterior styling. Large trunk, comfortable cabin, 6 cylinder engine... But it looks like this:



It's not quite as nice as the Challenger, but it has that aggressive front end and some interesting styling along the rear half of the vehicle. Not too shabby. Surprisingly, this car costs about the same as the Challenger. It's just far more practical.

I could see myself in this car. It has the most important elements I'm looking for. I don't love it like I love the C30, but there are other things to consider.

Most importantly: this car would be way easier to service and repair. Everything from spare parts to tires would cost a lot less than the Volvo.

Four doors does make it easier to get Dominic in and out of the car. I want to ignore this on the Volvo because I love it so much, but there's really no getting around it.

The Dodge has at least 8 times as much cargo space. That's not a joke or an exaggeration.

The Avenger costs about the same as the C30. However, with Justin's employee discount, they knock about 3K off the price. There's a used C30 on sale down in Columbus for 1K less than a brand new Avenger. The Avenger has a lifetime powertrain warranty. The used C30 has no warranty.

My heart still says C30, but my mind says Avenger. I'm not ready to lay down 20 grand for a new car just yet, so I have time to think about it. But my poor Kia is having a rough time of it (it's in the shop today) and I think it may be time to break down and replace it. Before it breaks down and becomes worthless.

Retraction

Jan. 26th, 2009 07:38 am
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
On December 5, 2008 I said this:

"1.) American car manufacturers can make good cars. They usually choose not to.
2.) The very few well-made cars they actually make are well outside my price range.
3.) American-made cars are ugly. Yeah, that's right. I said it."

I must now retract item #3. I said that before I saw this:


The 2009 Dodge Challenger SE.

Elegant, it isn't. Sophisticated? Not really. But there's nothing quite like the quintessential American muscle car. You can practically hear it growling at you through the picture.

Now, I must halfway retract item #2. This car starts at $21K. (The jury is still out on how well made it is.)

I maintain my position on item #1.

Justin started his new job at the largest Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge dealership in the greater Akron area back in November. Things are going well for him there and he thought it would be a good time for me to pick back up my car shopping. He took me there yesterday to look at some vehicles. I've had a thing for the Jeep Grand Cherokee since I rented one back in October '07. Of course, the Challenger caught my eye immediately and I just had to drive it.

Maybe it's because Justin works for the dealership. Maybe it's because they had 50 appointments to handle within the 5 hours they were open that day. Whatever the reason, they pulled the car around and left me to my own devices. I grabbed a CD, jumped in the driver's seat and took off down the freeway with just myself and Ben Folds (Justin entertained Dominic in the dealership's play area).

Driving it was great. It wasn't as fluid as the C30. Not as controlled. But the power behind it... wow.

I can't think of much to describe this car. I hadn't done any research on it (heck, I didn't even know they still made it). I didn't fall in love with it, but I think I have a case of serious lust with it.

But then reality kicks in. This is a 2-door vehicle, and it's only easy to get in the back from the passenger side. There's a negative, but it wasn't the worst. The worst is that I live in Northeastern Ohio where the winters are nasty, cold, wet, and icy. The Challenger is rear wheel drive. Add the automatic transmission and you have a recipe for disaster on Ohio's icy roads in rush hour. Trust me, I drove an '88 Mercury Cougar through downtown Akron during the worst snow storm of '99. There's nothing quite like blocking two lanes of rush-hour traffic on the busiest street in the city because you can't get the front of your car to go up a hill.

It's fun to dream, though, isn't it?

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