Purchase! – Eric’s Auto Buying Adventure Pt 6

Eric finalizes the purchase of a new car.
Eric buys a car!

And then there were two…Just two vehicles that I am deciding between, one of which will become “The Chosen One.” After my Beltline accident that got me into this situation, I have had weeks of planning, researching, getting my auto loan pre-approval, test driving and negotiating, I’m finally ready to pull the trigger. It’s been a harrowing journey; very informative, but at the same time one I’m ready to finish. When you’re down to just two options, you have to lay all the options out, side-by-side. Every factor counts and you have to be sure to end up happy.

I’ve decided I really want to own a Hyundai Elantra Touring hatchback. It has great gas mileage, a smooth ride, and plenty of cargo space for a car that size. The hatch itself is the best feature because rather than cutting inward, the whole back end opens out to allow for maximum space when loading. So I found 2 vehicles that fit my bill. In some ways it’s nice to have options, but again this extends the process because I now have some serious deliberation to do.

First, wouldn’t you know it but the original hatchback I was looking at, the one I had to walk away from, is now back in the mix! The dealership actually called me back and said they hate to lose a sale due to price, and that could knock some money off their original asking price! (Negotiation, am I right?!) All I had to do was be willing to walk away, and that alone let them know how serious I really was.

So, let’s take a look at this car first: 2011 model with 49,000 miles, black interior and exterior for $12,000 (with the adjusted price.) The other vehicle I’m considering is a 2012 model with 66,000 miles and a gray interior and exterior for $10,999. I have to ask myself: How important is the color? I decide it’s not, unless the car was like lime green or something wild like that.

Both vehicles ride really well, have very comfortable interiors, and all the amenities that I need, and none that I don’t like standard power locks and windows, air conditioning, storage, auxiliary hookups, the works. In addition, the 2012 model comes with heated seats and moon roof. And let’s face it, I live in Wisconsin. Heated seats would actually be something I would use AND enjoy. Anything that helps me get through a bitter winters is going to pay off. And a moon roof? Well now that’s just cool! I’ve never had one before, but again I ask the question, how important are those extras?

Overall, the bigger factors will probably be the most important ones as far the decision goes. It will be crucial to weigh them out. Older car, but less miles? Newer car, more but mileage? When does price truly become a turning point? What would you do?

Well, here’s what I did: I bought the 2011 model! In the end what it came down to was the mileage. For as much as I’m on the go, it will be nice to start without with an extra 17,000 miles on the vehicle. The moon roof and heated seats would’ve be nice, but they’re not essential for me. I could have gone either way on the color, but I have to admit, I love the black it’s really sleek!

Of course finalizing my auto loan at Dane County Credit Union was a snap and I can’t believe that after putting down close to $5000 my payments are only around $160 per month. I set up automatic payments to come out of my account each time I get paid so I hardly miss the $80 withdrawal every two weeks. Even though I went with the car that cost more, over 5 years, the payments came out to be super reasonable.

Thanks for following my car-buying adventure. It’s been an “exciting ride” (haha) and I hope you’ve picked up a few pointers you can use when you purchase your next, or first car. Although tedious at times, it was a very good experience. Next time, (hopefully not for many, many years) I’ll use this journey to point me in the right direction so I can tackle the process head-on and with confidence.

Happy car hunting! And if you missed any of my car buying adventure, start here.


Published by

Eric E.

Eric was an asset to DCCU until 2019, when he moved away and on to another career opportunity.