January 18, 2005

Carolyn's New Saturn Ion

Carolyn's new car

Here is a brief snapshot of my wife's new car. She's been bothering me for well over a year to get her a new car, which I find rather amusing since she's always been able to afford a new car. We had finally decided we'd try to get a car in February '05 and just get by with her Hoopti until then. Unfortunately the POS car, a 1990 Dodge Shadow, didn't want to keep with the game plan. In November one of the freeze plugs went and that set back the down-payment account a good $450. Ever since then we've had a slow anti-freeze leak and its has also been leaking about a quart of oil every two-three weeks. The oil wasn't a suprise since the rat bastards at Dodge engineered a crappy car. The vavle cover on top of the engine is a wierd shape and if you ever work on a real car, you have to replace the gasket suurounding the cover. Seems like normal stuff. With the Shadow, however, they expect you to buy a whole new cover AND some gaskets. Instead of making a gasket that surround the whole thing, or even a couple of gaskets to do the job, they expect you to shell out over $200 for a new cover. The authorized "fix" that the dealerships do is to simply use the old cover and wall up a bunch of liquid gasket to plug up the missing gasket part. Problem is that they know damn well that the "fix" might last 3 to 6 months.

I started going off there again, as I am want to do when discusiing car issues. Don't even get me started on my Cavalier. The issues with that are bordering (if not clearly) fraud and I'm going to have to sue (which is against my upbringing) to get that resolved.

Anyway the Shadow belw a head gasket. We could probably fix it over the weekend, but I'm willing to bet that the head would have to be milled and custom gaskets used. Too much of a headache for a car we were to get rid of in a month anyway.

With the drive to get a new car (pardon the pun) firmly established, we set off to find our new ride. Actually Carolyn's new ride as I've resolved to never buy a new car again. Lucky for us we had already done some sluething on paper so we had a short list of 3 cars to check out: Saturn Ion, Ford Focus, and the Mazda 3. In the end we only looked at the Focus and the Ion. The base price for the Mazda was more than we wanted and it was the first year for the car and I'm set against buying the first model year of a car (been there, done that). I thought we were going to be sold on the Focus by what we've read in Consumer Reports. The Saturn dealer was closer to home so we stopped in there. Jim helped us out and the whole test drive was extremely no-pressure. It was more like a family friend showing off his new car. We had to deal with two salespeople at the Ford dealer and they called us too many times, once after I had informed one that we went with the Saturn and they still called me at the dealership when we were picking up the car!

I don't want to trash the Ford dealership or their cars, but when we did a side by side comparison of a similiarly equipped Ion and Focus, the Ion was roomier, quiter, better designed, and cheaper. There was no haggling with the dealership on the price (WYSIWYG) while the Ford salespeople made it clear we were going to have to negotiate.

We ended up getting a great price on the car and unless our time with Carolyn's car proves otherwise, I'm sold on Saturn. When the time comes, I may actually consider a new car from them.

1 comment:

Illuminati Rob said...

Awesome. Nice car guys. Glad to see you got it. I think you have been needing one since I noticed the Valdeaz had crashed in your driveway. I heard those are quite nice, especially on the roomy part of it. Well, when you come up, you will have to take me for the spin.