Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Car-Buying Adventure Continues - Decision Made!

I promised a quick reveal of my decision and I had a few guesses....  so here goes. I picked.....

The Pontiac Vibe!

Seemingly a surprise to most, it was actually a relatively easy decision for me.

After driving both the Matrix and the Vibe, it was clear the cars are nearly identical. The Vibe does have a few more options, such as Intelli-trac to prevent over-steering and a 115v plug.

All for less cost than Toyota. Of course, the Vibe has been discontinued, going the way of the wholly mammoth with its parent brand, Pontiac. Yet, parts remain guaranteed for 10 years, and while I love the car, hopefully I do not find I am looking for parts in 2020. I suspect I'll have moved on. Let's hope.

The engine is Toyota, yet not affected by any recalls and the care is easy to maintain. All that aside, the deciding factor had little to do with features. I live in a region where the economy hinges on GM. Everyone here, myself included, has a direct link to GM as the automaker's plants hire most of the town. A year ago, I realistically did not think I'd ever consider buying a GM. As I weighed my options, I was very pleased to discover the Vibe and in this case, it became an obvious choice.
With that decision made, I found myself faced with the next decision in this adventure. New or Used?

A new car depreciates as soon as its driven off the dealer's lot, so I never thought buying new was worth the extra cost. After determining my annual high-mileage habits left me few used options, I started to seriously consider 'new'. There are certainly benefits; warranty and OnStar for one year are the only 2 that now stick out as significant, although I'm sure there were many more. I was convinced lower financing, cash discounts and the value of warranty made the cost of new and used relatively equal.

My logical, left-side thinking then took over and so was developed this chart. New versus Used. The costs of each option, including taxes, interest and insurance rates over the lifetime of the vehicle.

After taking into account the costs, and finding a rare, all-wheel-drive Vibe with extremely low mileage, my mind was made up. I was buying used!

I can't tell you what a relief it is just to have the shopping part of this process done. No more staring at every car on the road. No more slowing down while driving past car lots.

A few more days and Savvy Homegirl with be a 'new-car-girl'!

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