Friday, March 14, 2008

Vehicles Vehicles Vehicles...

That's what our week has been about.

The Durango is fixed. $400 later. *SCREAM*!!!

It was the starter, which was half that cost. And then Ryan had some kind of chip fixed for the cruise control. I don't remember if it wasn't working or what not... but it also caused the ABS and brake lights to stay on constantly (although there was nothing wrong with those things). So, he had the chip fixed so all that works and we can sell it without it looking like a POS.

And then we've been on the hunt for something to replace the Santa Fe. We've been waiting to see if it dies again so we can have it fixed (our mechanic never found anything wrong with it as it MIRACULOUSLY started working fine while he had it... psycho car!)... the two places we've been looking are through people we (we have two friends who work for dealerships) and I would not want to trade it in and then have it die on them. Anyhow, our friend Don has his buyer looking for an Envoy or Trailblazer for me.

And then yesterday I started to freak out about gas mileage and if it'd be a good choice etc. It gets a few more mpg than the Durango but a few less than the Santa Fe... so right in the middle. Well, I called Don to ask about the Buick Rendezvous (a lady at work has a Trailblazer and said she LOVED her Rendezvous the best, and then the Trailblazer was second..) so I though... ehh lets check it out. The only reason I never considered it is b/c a friend of mine has it and it has a 3rd row that is pretty small and nearly backs up to the back of the vehicle (no storage room).. and when its folded down it doesn't fold fully flat so your cargo area is uneven. So, regardless... I'd get it without the 3rd Row. I'd actually prefer the Trailblazer and Envoy without the third row as well as I really won't have a use for it and I would rather have more storage in the back.

Anyhow, Don said he had an '06 Chrysler Pacifica on the lot I could take overnight so I did... its similar in size to the Fe/Rendezvous... a tad bigger. I like how it drives and I LOVE the amount of space in the back seat. Porter's feet aren't anywhere near touchign the back of the driver's seat- even when Ryan is driving! Ry was adament that NO we are sticking to our oringial plan (I was just mad at him the other day for trying to change up our plan for HIS vehicle, so he has a point... I was changing the plan). He didn't care for the look of the Pacifica... says it looks like a station wagon. Yeah, it kind of does. But it is nice and roomy!

We went to the Chevy dealership to get a close up look of the insides of the Trailblazer and I'm not impressed at all. The back seat is SO much smaller than the Pacificia. I'm positive Porter's feet will be kicking the back of my seat like it does in the Santa Fe. The butt/legs part of the second row seat is not as deep (does that make sense?) as in the Pacifica. Why get a larger vehicle that has LESS room inside??

Ry is totally against a Rendezvous. Says he hates how they look. I think I like how they look more than the Pacifica, so we obviously don't agree on that. I think we may end up just agreeing on the Envoy (even though the inside is identical to the Trailblazer... we both like the look/trim of the Envoy over the Trailblazer) as thats the only vehicle we both really agree on.

So... that's what's been going on with my vehicle... still looking. Still debating on gas mileage, vehicle type, options etc..

For RYAN... our replacement for the Durango. Don't laugh. I think we're getting a 1991 (yep.. you heard it) Honda Accord or something like that. Its just a beater car Don has on the lot and we figure we'll drive it for a few months until we find something newer (late 90's early '00's) for Ryan and in the meantime try to sell the Durango private party. Once we find a newer car for Ryan my mom will probalby take the Honda as she loves her a good beater car and drives quite a ways to work.

We have been slightly looking for cars for Ryan but can't really do anything until the Durango is sold... I think we'll have that up for sale by this weekend if he's able to buy the Honda today. Oh lord... that car will be sitting in my driveway! GAH!

Well, as far as "newer" cars for Ryan... I need your opinion on this. We have found a few cars- one is a 2002 Taurus that our friend Simon has on his lot. Anyone have good/bad experiences with Tauruses?

We've also looked at Toyotas, Hondas and Nissans... but to get it in the same price range as teh Taurus (the price range we need to be in)... we can only afford a 1996 to 1998ish. I found quite a few Nissan Altimas that I like a lot (we rented one in Key West a few years ago and loved it..), but I'm wondering if for the same amount of money we should get a 4 year newer car? Its just that foreign/american car deal... not sure which is a better choice. Any ideas?

WOW! Why don't I write the worlds most boring post today! Sorry about that. I just needed to jot down my ideas and all these things running through my/our heads. I hate big changes like this. I'm excited about the prospect of getting new vehicles (we've had the Fe for 5 years and the Durango for 3- which isn't a ton) but I hate trying to make decisions on what would be the best choices!! Stress... stresss!!


  1. Okay, my two cents if you want it or not...
    -The family I nannied for had a Rendezvous that I drove a lot and I hated it. Lots of blind spots, and I didn't feel like there was much room for the size of it. You've basically only got the two captains seats in the back. With the third row seat you have NO storage room at all and the seats are super uncomfortable. And like you said, even with them folded down, you don't have good "trunk" space. I've never seen one without the third row. Didn't know that was an option.

    -I like the looks of the Pacifica much better than the Rendezvous, and even the Envoy or Trailblazer. I think it looks like a nice squattier SUV than a station wagon...
    and the all wheel drive is a plus as it's better gas milage that an actual SUV (I think)?

    -I personally shy away from the Trailblazers as I had a ton of friends in/after high school who had them (must have been the "in" car for young adults in the mid-late nineties) and they ALL had tons of problems with them. Our neighbors have one now and I hear nothing but complaints about it.

    -I think that age and make even out... for instance I think buying a certain year in a reliable make like Toyota or Honda pretty much evens out to buying a 3-5 year newer car like a chevy or chrysler. I guess that is why it makes sense that the prices are the same... you're going to get the same mileage (or more from my experience) out of a four year older toyota than out of a newer ford. I don't think comparing the year across different makes is very applicable.
    Case in point: Ryan's 1997 Chevy Malibu died horribly more than four years ago while my 1997 Jetta and the 1997 4Runner we bought to replace the Malibu are still running strong with almost and over 200,000 miles and no problems.

    Ugh. New cars. So fun and so frustrating at the same time!!

  2. Another sidenote I was thinking about is the correlation of your area and the cars you're looking at/recommended to. Did I ever mention how strange it was for us to move up there and have it be such a drastic difference that we actually noticed that "foreign" cars are a rarity in that area? We were used to seeing a good assortment of cars in Portland; everywhere you looked you not only saw dodge and chevy, but all kinds of toyotas and hondas and volkswagons and volvos and mazdas and subarus of all ages. When we left MI and drove down to STL last spring, we were amazed to realize how many of those we hadn't seen on the roads on a regular basis up in MI. You can obviously tell where the american cars come from, as that is the overwhelming majority of what is on your roads.
    Which kind of explains why most people there have had some good along with some not so good experiences with makes like that... because that is all they've bought. Where in other parts of the country people have bought Toyotas as well as the Fords, or Chevys as well as Volkswagons and have a wider range of comparison. You'll probably find a lot more people who've sworn off Fords or Chevys as "crap" on the west coast, just because there are more options, more experiences and easier access to what they've dubbed the "more reliable" vehicles.
    We just always thought it was interesting that it was so rare to find for instance, our 4Runner up there, but if we wanted a Tahoe or Trailblazer or Rendezvous... they were everywhere you looked!!

  3. Sorry for the rambling comments...
    I shall now go find something more productive to do with my time.
    Like a Target visit :)

  4. I have to tell you.. my first car (HAHA that I bought when I was student teaching) was a 1990 Honda Civic... and for $1100, and as TERRIBLE as it looked, it was an awesome car. It got me where I needed to go, no problems at all. I sold it to a girl who really needed it after we bought our new car, but I do miss it terribly... We got a new Honda because we were so impressed with the last one, and love this one too. It's roomy, the trunk folds down if you need to move big things, and it gets 40mpg hwy/30 city. It took us not even $100 in gas to drive home from NC. The safety ratings are wonderful on it too... we got it with kids in mind. So I think him getting an old beater and then getting a newer one later is a great way to go.. Hondas run forever!

  5. My opinion - do NOT buy any Ford car. Everyone I know that has owned one (with the exception of recent models 2006-now) has had nothing but problems with them. We have always owned a Honda car of some sort (Accord, Civic, etc..) and have had GREAT luck with them. They are dependable and you can drive them forever. Not to mention they have great resell value. Good luck with your decision!

  6. My MIL has had three Taurus's now and loves them. I HATE them. She tends to ignore all the problems she's had with the cars because she has a friend who is a mechanic and does the work at cost.

    I have two friends that have Trailblazers and both like them. But, but are brand new lease vehicles.

    Try doing some Google searches for message boards to see what current/past owners have to say about a make/model of a vehicle before you buy. That's how I found out that EVERYBODY has the power windows break on 1998 Olds Aleros, 2000 Ford F250's end up needing to have the heads rebuilt, and other helpful information about models we considered.

  7. I am a honda person completely, DH's first car was a Civic that was great to us, even through tons of traveling. So, when we bought a new one about a year ago, we got a new Accord and I love it.

    I actually had a Taurus in high school and will never buy another Ford because of it. It constantly had BIG problems, like the transmission needing to be replaced multiple times. My experience was definately not a good one.

  8. We are a Ford family, but our Explorer is similar to the Trailblazer . Would Ryan like to borrow an Explorer & a larger version of Porter who likes(loves) to kick the seat & pi$$ off the driver/passenger? It may open his options to other vehicles like the Pacifica where the kids are 100 miles away-I know I wish my kids were further away! Nothing like doing 70 mph & having the monsters have a tantrum & kick the crap out of the seat down while driving down I-94!
    Just an offer :)

  9. i wouldn't recommend a Rendezvous.. everyone i know who has one HATES it!! Different things breaking down, especially the windows.
    have you looked at a chevy equinox or pontiac torrent? i have an equinox and absolutely LOVE it. it is very roomy which i love (being
    6'3).. even i can sit in the backseat with ample leg room, and there is tons of room in the back.. it is pretty good on gas.. i can get about 400km per tank of gas. (not sure what that equates to in miles)

    as for smaller cars.. i did have a 1994 taurus and it was great.. i was very sad when my bf crashed it. my best friend's family had an altima and it was a great car as well.. lasted them many many years. civcs are also quite reliable.

  10. i would also not buy a ford car. every one i've had had problems, including a taurus for a brief time. my best friend has been driving a pacifica for almost a year, has a 3 y.o. and a 1 1/2 y.o. and LOVES it. not sure if any of that helps. good luck with your decisions! lots to make.

  11. You don't know me but I have a Taurus and I love it! It's a good car to drive around town and it gets fairly good mileage. I've had my car for almost 6 years and haven't had any trouble with it. Good Luck on your decision!!!

  12. We also had a Taurus and it gave us a lot of problems. It got to where it was constantly in the shop and we traded it in after driving it for 3 years. I have heard nothing but good things about Hondas.