car talk

as i was attempting to open my front door yesterday evening (in the rain, with multiple bags and an umbrella) my phone rang.  with my hands full, i wasn’t able to answer it, and the message that was left was less than stellar.

the estimator dude from the insurance company said that he hadn’t yet completed the estimate, that it would be done sometime today, but that we were looking at a possible total loss.  without the estimate actually done, he could be wrong.  he could also be talking about the other driver’s car, which to me suffered more damage.

the thought of having to go out and buy a new car makes me want to cry and throw stuff.  even though we bought our matrix used, we still paid almost full blue book value for it (it was the highest trim model, complete with jbl sound system).  we’ve still got five years worth of monthly payments to make on the damn thing.  i don’t know how it works if the insurance company opts to just pay you rather than actually have the car repaired, but i highly doubt we’ll get anything close to the current blue book value (which is almost $14k).

it took us two months to pick out that car.  we were pretty damn picky: since aaron’s a musician, he wanted a hatchback.  they’re easier to load.  he wanted a manual transmission.  and it needed to work for both of us, even though i don’t drive all that much.  this was much harder than you’d think; aaron’s a full foot taller than i am.  buying a car that works for a short person AND a tall person?  yeah.  many many discussions ensued.

when we first started looking, neither of us knew how to drive a stick shift, so all of the cars we tested were automatics.  we had a list of manufacturers and the models, and we quickly crossed off two of them-the honda fit (which was in such high demand that no dealer in the area had any in stock) and the ford focus (which discontinued the hatchback model).  for some reason, we opted to not try any volkswagons, and subarus don’t get great mileage.  so we were left with the toyota matrix, mazda 3, nissan versa, and the pontiac vibe.

the 2009 model year for the matrix was the year they redesigned it.  i did not like it at all.  aaron liked it.  that car felt way too big for me, and the sightlines were awful.

in contrast, i really liked the mazda 3.  aaron wasn’t so pleased with it-there was something about the auto transmission he didn’t like.  but it just felt so zippy!

the nissan versa was, initially, the only car we agreed on, and the thought that we could buy it new, fully loaded, weighed heavily in its favor.  the CVT transmission was interesting, and despite it being a tall car, it cornered amazingly well, and you don’t feel like you’ll tip over.

the pontiac vibe is essentially the toyota matrix.  the 2009 redesign for that car was better than the previous models, which all looked clunky.  still, it felt too big (just like the matrix) and the sales guy was super pushy.

of course, we’re still hoping that the car will be fixable.  but if it’s not, we’ll be going back over these cars again.  joy.

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