Man, I am just so sick and tired of taking test-drives and wracking my brain over what car I want to buy. Seems like that's all I've been doing for the last 4-5 weeks, so today I finally came to a decision and bought a car.
It came down to one vehicle, which I'll tell you about in a minute. I didn't want a standard (large) sized SUV or Crossover. I just don't need that much room. I'm mostly alone when driving, and I sure as hell won't be towing anything. My three candidates were the Lexus RX 350, the Honda CR-V, and the Toyota Highlander.
The Lexus was a great car; I just decided it was silly to spend that much money on a vehicle. The number one goal in my life is to have my mortgage paid off within 10 years of buying my house, and spending the extra dough on the Lexus would be contradictory to that goal. Mind you, it was a damn nice ride, but two things about it kinda bugged me. First, it was kinda "Soccer Mom-ish" and second, you can't upgrade the stock stereo UNLESS you get the DVD/Navigation system. Which ain't cheap, believe me. I've been driving for over 32 years and really don't want or need a Nav system.
The Honda CR-V just didn't feel right. I love Honda quality, and I've been driving a 1990 Civic LX for the last 10 years – I bought it from my sister 10 years ago next month and it's been solid. I don't drive that much due to being on the road, averaging about 6500 miles per year. The Civic now has 179,000 miles on it, and I have no idea how much farther it can go, but hell, it might make it another 25k or better.
Anyway, something about the CR-V just didn't work for me. And there's that Soccer Mom feeling again…
The Toyota Highlander seemed to be my best choice. I've rented them a couple of times and really liked them. They also had a JBL-based stereo upgrade that stomped ass. But again, the Soccer Mom thing. Also, I wasn't happy with the price, or the gas mileage, so I put the whole thing off for a few days while I considered whether or not I really needed a new car.
After taking yet another test-drive today, I decided on the Toyota RAV4, a vehicle which wasn't even on my list. Smaller than the Highlander, but I don't get the Soccer Mom vibe from it. AND, I could get the JBL stereo upgrade. AND, it was about $8,000 cheaper than the Highlander. You know what a cheap bastard I can be.
Signed off on it, and I'll go pick it up in the morning…