After nine good years, it was time to say goodbye to my trusty Chevy Impala. After 123,000 miles and a blown transmission, we’ve reached the end of the road.
It was biggest car I’ve ever driven, and just like Dinah Shore I saw the USA in my Chevrolet. I wanted another boat—a Chrysler 200 maybe, or Buick Lacrosse. Just like Jack Reacher, I wanted to keep on stretching out my legs in a big American sedan.
But let’s get serious. I needed a smaller car. As loyal readers know, I ripped the side mirror off that Chevy three times. Twice pulling out of the garage, and once I hit a recycle bin. If someone hit your mailbox, it was probably me. I ripped the trim off when I drove too close to a fence. I backed into a huge decorative rock and had to replace the bumper. She’s all scratched to hell on the driver’s side from the bush next to my driveway.
I was a lot harder on that Chevy than she was on me.
So after nearly a decade out of the car buying game, I re-entered the arena, and found out they don’t make cars anymore.
They make computers with wheels.
I test drove a brand new Honda Fit. The thing scolds you more than a Catholic school nun. When I backed up too close to something, it beeped. When I tried to tailgate the car in front of me, it braked without my permission. It got all bent out of shape when I cut in front of a car in my blind spot. It has something called “adaptive cruise control” which basically tells you to get the hell out of the way and let the car do the driving.
All this while a bright TV in the dashboard alternately told me where to turn, criticized my driving, played the music on my phone, and read my text messages aloud.
The thing might as well show movies. It’s not like the car needs me to drive it.
This was not going to work. Especially when I realized there was no CD player in the car.
“You’ll get used to it,” the salesman told me.
But I didn’t want to get used to it. I wanted to drive my car without comment from the electronic peanut gallery, and I wanted to play my CDs.
I mean, do you think Maren Morris has Adaptive Cruise Control and Blue Tooth in her 80s Mercedes? She’s cool as all get-out and her car has a tape deck.
So new cars were out. I needed something used, and no newer than 2015, before the tech insanity kicked into high gear.
So I decided to try CarSense. For those of you not familiar, CarSense sells low mileage used cars of all stripes. They have strictly no-haggle pricing. They’ve got all the details on their website. You research the car you want, then you test drive and buy.
I wasn’t sure how this would go—I mean, isn’t haggling a natural part of buying cars?
But I’m a terrible negotiator. The problem is once I decide I want something, I want it. It’s all over my face. The ability for me to walk away is zero, and everybody knows it, especially a car salesman.
Short answer—I loved CarSense. I could research everything beforehand and know if I was getting a good price. Their prices are fair—you’re going to pay what the car is worth. You’re never going to get some spectacular rock bottom deal, but they’re never going to take you to the cleaners either.
I can live with that.
In the end, I settled on a 2015 Subaru Impreza, with no navigation, sensing features, blind spot detectors, blah, blah, blah.
And it has a CD player, on which I played Ms. Morris the whole drive home.
I did however, relent to progress and get a backup camera.
It’s the least I can do for my neighbors.
After all, their mailboxes have suffered enough.