Adventures in Vehicle Shopping

Our lease is coming due next month, and we have to start getting serious about what ‘comes next’. To that end, Friday on my day off, we did a little vehicle shopping at a dealership about 40 miles from us. Just so happens to be in vicinity of both a strip mall that we shop at, as well as a standard sized mall across the Interstate, which is catty-corner to both Red Lobster and Olive Garden, places we like to get a meal.

Based on our past needs and preferences, I’d made a list of what vehicles appealed to me that we could look at. We’re generally in the market for what’s called a mid-size or ‘crossover’ style of SUV, since that’s the successor to what used to be called the ‘station-wagon’. Too, we don’t normally go for something that’s basic, we like to have the ‘bells and whistles’ that are available, with the probably exception of a tow package, light machine guns or rocket launchers, as they tend to be a little too bulky for our specific needs.

As I’ve mentioned previously, we’re going to be leasing, and we’ve had Subaru’s before, so the first dealership we went to sold them. Driving around the lot, we noticed a gaggle of ‘vultures’ (my wife’s term for the salespeople) hanging around one of the entrances to the main building, so we avoided them until we needed one. Driving around, oddly enough, I didn’t see too many Subies. They seemed to have a lot of other brands, but not them. So we parked at the Cadillac side of the dealership (multiple brands) and walked over to where I did happen to see a few Foresters. But they were all used, or ’16s, ’18s and earlier. Finally giving up, we acted lost and one of the vultures detached from the gaggle and came to see if he could help us.

‘Bill’ introduced himself and asked what we were looking for. I introduced myself and my wife and told him that we were in the market for perhaps an Ascent (the new Subaru model out this year) or a Forester. He informed me that I was looking in the used section, that the newer vehicles were in another rank. We began with small talk as we walked over, and he showed me what the Ascent looked like. Oy, big damn vehicle! Almost taller than me, which proved to be too much vehicle as soon as I looked inside. Anything that has three rows of seats or appears to be suitable for toting a small pachyderm around comfortably, is going to be too much hassle for just the two of us. Next!

Mr. Bill asked if we might be interested in an Outback, as he had lots of those. I informed him that back in 2010 we looked at one, but for me it was too cramped in the cabin. Just for the hell of it I sat in a 2019 model and…same result. It’s a nice vehicle, but for someone with my large frame, it feels too cramped. So it’s either going to be a Forester, or something else from another manufacturer in the same size range. Bill informed us that Foresters are a limited commodity this season, as they’ve been heavily advertised and people are snapping them up, much like what happened when the Prius originally came out. There used to be a waiting list of several months for them, but that died down over a year or so as the supply train caught up with the demand. So getting a Forester might be a lost cause, since most of the ones he has on site, or coming in over the next month are already spoken for.

We looked at a few more possibles and then went on our way to the Nissan dealership on the other side of the Interstate, near the mall. This time we didn’t engage with any of the vultures, we just looked at vehicles from the outside. I liked the look of the Pathfinder, I think that’s going to bear more investigation. On my list of ‘possibles’ was a Rogue, but I think that’s going to be a wee bit too small for our needs. Not Outback small, but the size of the vehicle was a little too squashed, I think would be the better way of putting it. A co-worker has a Rogue, and he raves about it, but I don’t think it’s going to fit our requirements.

The dealerships we went to didn’t have several of the other vehicle brands I’d made a list of, so we shelved the shopping trip in view of both of us being hungry. A trip to Red Lobster assuaged that, and after being filled up on seafood we headed home. We have some more research to do online before we make any decisions, and on Sunday we’re going to a dealership near us, that has Chevy vehicles as I want to look and measure an Equinox and Traverse, to see how they measure up to what we currently have. We still have time for narrowing down our possibles, so by the middle of next month we’ll be better assured of what we eventually are going to be driving for the next 3 years.

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