By on December 2, 2016

2013 Toyota Avalon Limited, Exterior, Avalon badge, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

“Well, I bought that car last night.” Craig has this unnerving habit of simply appearing at my cubicle while I’m trying to do something productive, like texting people or reading random articles from the Last Psychiatrist archive on my phone. He’s a soft-spoken fellow, entering late middle age the same way that I am but not showing nearly as much evidence of blunt trauma, well-compensated in his engineering job but modest in appearance and disinclined to spend money.

Regarding my life and temperament, I like to follow the example of Robert Bly in quoting Cesar Vallejo: “Well, / On the day that I was born / God was sick / gravely.” I suspect that on the day that Craig was born, by contrast, God was in perfect health and settling down with the newest issue of Consumer Reports. About a month ago, Craig started seriously thinking about replacing his 150,000-mile Honda CR-V. It’s been a faithful companion for a freeway commute that takes about an hour in each direction, but even the most prosaic of Hondas eventually reaches a point where the cost of maintenance starts to become a factor. Not in money, necessarily, but in time.

Knowing that I dabble a bit in things automotive, Craig had asked what I thought about the new CR-V. This was a subject on which I was glad to speak, because I absolutely despise the “cute-utes” and will take every opportunity to rooster-block the purchase of one.

After a conversation in which Craig made it absolutely plain that he was not going to even consider buying anything besides a Honda or a Toyota (“Nissans don’t seem very reliable. Kind of risky.”) I decided to forego any suggestions of Hellcats or Huracans in favor of the simplest and most sensible CR-V alternative. “Why not get the new Civic instead?” I suggested. “It’s pretty big, almost Accord size, and you’d have lower costs both at the time of purchase and while you’re operating it.”

“I kind of want the cargo space,” he replied. At the time, dear readers, I did not realize that Craig also owned a Venza and a pickup truck. Had I been aware of that, I’d have moved in for the Civic-sedan kill. But since I didn’t have all the information, I made a fatal error. “The Civic hatchback is coming,” I told him. “You’ll have to wait a bit, but it should fulfill all of your requirements.” Keep in mind that I am no longer in the car sales business, and have not been in the car sales business since the Clinton Administration. (The Bill Clinton administration, in case you’re reading this on the wall of a cave after the 2017 recount, the civil uprising, the food riots, the mass murders, and the “Nineteen Years Of Blood.”)

Had I still been in the car-sales business, I would have never suggested that he wait for anything. I’ll tell you why. “Car people” are perfectly happy to wait for a particular model, trim level, or equipment package to become available. An example of this would be Brother Bark hanging fire on his next purchase until the Focus RS became an option, or my decision back in 2003 to order a 2004 SRT-4 and wait four months so I could get the limited-slip diff.

On the other hand, when Danger Girl decided that she was sick of sleeping on my worn-out Original Mattress Factory tempur-foam-thing from 2009, approximately 36 hours passed before I was at the Tempur-Pedic store spending the approximate price of a Ducati Scrambler on a mattress to replace a mattress that seemed perfectly fine to me. Maybe it did need to be replaced. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being sentimental, as that mattress had more names on it than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Just kidding, sort of. The point is that most of us don’t sit around waiting for the newest Tempur-Pedic or Thermador or Sub-Zero to “drop on the market,” because we don’t have anything like the kind of available mental bandwidth that would be required to make an educated decision on the merits of future products versus those currently available.

Had I thought about it, I would have realized that Craig was no more interested in waiting a few months for a Civic Hatchback than I would be interested in waiting three months for a new model of water heater, and for the same reasons. Most people buy a car on the first day that they go shopping. A significant percentage of buyers never even visit a second dealership. If you think about the last time you bought a washer/dryer combo, chances are that you will not recall visiting a second appliance store. This is in marked contrast to the behavior of, say, a prospective Subaru STi buyer, who will go to four dealers and call ten more even though he’s long-ago decided what color of STi he wants. (It’s blue, by the way.)

About three days after our first conversation, Craig stopped by to tell me that he had some concerns about the longevity of the 1.5-liter turbo in the Civic Hatchback. Even though Craig is a thoroughly reasonable fellow and quite intellectual, I immediately recognized these “concerns” as what Scott Adams calls a “fake because.” Here’s the situation. Craig had already decided to buy a car in the near term. But the Civic Hatchback, which came closest to meeting all of his stated criteria, would not be immediately available. Now, Craig is a sensible, rational person, and therefore he knows at an intellectual level that it makes sense to wait a few months and get the right car. But Craig’s emotional side has already decided to get a car now. In this internal battle of reason versus emotion, reason will lose Every. Single. Time. Because Craig is a human being, and that’s how humans operate.

Thus, the “fake because.” It doesn’t hold up to scrutiny: not only has every major Honda powertrain in the company’s history been reliable, on the occasions when there were problems, as with the “glass transmissions” in the six-cylinder automatics a while back, Honda made extraordinary efforts to correct the situation at its own expense far, far outside warranty. There is no reason to think that any Honda engine will be unreliable in the long run. But this “fake because” was all Craig needed to refocus his purchase quest back to the present moment.

“Well, go check out the Accord,” I said. “It’s available right now, and it’s a good car.”

But a dark horse had appeared suddenly in Craig’s car-purchase plans: the Toyota Avalon. Somehow, he had heard that there were serious deals to be had on Avalons. “Thirty-one grand for a loaded Touring,” he said. “That’s a lot of car for the money. And it’s almost a Lexus.” The sheer irrationality of these statements beggared belief. We had just gotten done talking about how he was anxious to minimize his costs, minimize his fuel spend, minimize his maintenance, to the point that he was concerned about whether the Civic Hatchback’s turbo might require replacement before the 150,000-mile mark — and now we’re discussing a car that weighs a half-ton more, that offers half again the power, with massive (and massively expensive) tires, and perhaps two-thirds the effective fuel mileage? And the bit about it being “almost a Lexus.” Craig could afford a Lexus. Everybody I work with can afford a Lexus. Some of them have a Lexus already. This would be like me going to McDonald’s and buying the Double Cheeseburger because it’s “almost a Big Mac.” At that price, who cares?

“Well, go drive the Accord, and drive the Avalon … and drive the Camry, too.”

“The Camry doesn’t seem like much car next to the Avalon.” My glib response — … and the Avalon ain’t much car next to a LS460, which makes exactly as much sense in regards to your original goals — went unsaid, because Craig is a cool dude and if he wants an Avalon there’s actually no harm in it. He can afford an Avalon, he can afford to put gas in it, and when it needs six sparkplugs instead of four at the 100,000-mile mark, I am certain that he will have room on his credit card for the additional cost.

Yesterday, Craig surprised me yet again at my desk. I think I was looking at “Reddit Gone Wild” or something like that. “I drove the Accord EX-L last night, but it seemed pretty basic. Got the Avalon Touring for thirty-one grand,” he said.

“Well done,” I replied, and I meant it. We discussed how sensible the Avalon is in the context of cars like a mutual co-workers’s Dodge Durango R/T, because Craig is the kind of fellow who would respond to an allegation, however lighthearted, of extravagance on his part the same aggrieved way in which I would respond to a suggestion that I made up all the crazy stories about single mothers I tell on this site. We agreed that the Avalon was the right car for him.

I had no trouble agreeing that the Avalon is the right car for Craig, because it is. He has a long commute. He makes a lot of money, at least from a Midwestern perspective. And he’s no longer a spring chicken. It makes sense to have a comfortable car. I applied the same justifications to my purchase of a Town Car back in 2010. I should have bought an Avalon instead; I’d be about nine broken bones below my current count. Truth be told, I kind of like the Avalon. I wouldn’t mind having one now. And as far as I’m concerned, the only car that would have made more sense for Craig than an Avalon would have been a Lexus ES350, extra cost be damned.

Yet notice that at no point in this tale did we see Craig following any of the traditional car-buying processes as the industry understands them. I’m sure Toyota never considered marketing an Avalon to Craig. I’m certain that very few CR-V owners go directly to Avalons; there’s probably a Highlander or something in the middle.

A Honda salesman with a talent for reading minds probably could have sold Craig on a loaded Accord Touring, if he’d known that Craig was an Avalon intender as well as a potential Civic or Accord buyer. Instead, he put Craig in a four-cylinder CVT-equipped Accord, which seems a little tinny compared to the Avalon. I think the Accord Touring makes an outstanding case for itself against the long-wheelbase Toyota; Craig doesn’t need the extra rear-seat room, and an experienced salesman could probably make a subtle pitch for the Accord being a more sophisticated, more interesting, younger car. But that pitch never got made.

There was nothing logical about Craig’s purchase journey, even though Craig himself is one of the most reasonable, rational men you will ever meet. There’s a lesson in there, for those who care to learn it. And it explains why we’re not all driving Civic Hatchbacks, even if we should be.

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120 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Give The Customer What He (Doesn’t Know He) Wants...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Craig sounds like the kind of guy to slow down for lights that have been green for too long.

    I had a quasi similar experience with a fellow engineer. His wife’s Prius got totaled by an inattentive rear-ender. His heart was set on a 3 row belly dragger. I tried to talk him into a minivan but he wasn’t having it. She got a Pilot. He did wind up just getting an Accord Sport though.

  • avatar
    Ihateusernames

    All

  • avatar
    jeanbaptiste

    Is this one of the fiction pieces?

  • avatar
    ant

    I’m surprised that no hybrid drive-trains were discussed.

    Rav4, accord, avalon, camry, ES, RS, highlander….

    All of them would have been a lower long term cost, and more reliable option for someone with a long commute to work.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Depends on the type of long commute. The buyer sounds like an “optimizer” and a hybrid will make its best mpg in city and stop-and-go traffic (regenerative braking). Also, he was looking for a nicer, quieter (not just engine noise, but wind and road noise too), more comfortable car, and hybrids have diminishing returns the higher level car you go.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

    This is how most people I know show, especially those with multiple vehicles. They go shopping for one type of vehicle, and end up buying something entirely different. I always chuckle when I see on comments here and elsewhere: “Well if someone is looking at X vehicle, they aren’t cross shopping for Y vehicle”. Hogwash. Take myself for example. My 2010 Mazda 6 is getting long in the tooth. I’m considering a 2016 Accord, Impala, Avalon, and Azera. Could I end up buying an Outback or a Jetta instead? Sure.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Wait ’til one of those guys decide to celebrate middle age by picking up riding, and asks you whether to go for an Ultra Classic Electra Glide, or a top-of-the-line Ducati superbike……

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I think we’re a different breed here. I haven’t bought a car in more than a decade that wasn’t the car I left my place intending to buy. Even still, that particular one was still kind of a comparable to my original intent.

      I’m coming up on a purchase in the next two years though and I think it’s my widest swath of choices yet; I’m debating going from 2 cars (Mazda3 and S2000) to one (BMW or Mustang GT), but I could also stay with two and get a more efficient boring sedan with more rear seat space like an Accord or Passat to commute in, or possibly an SUV like a GC so I can tow the S2k to track days instead of driving it.

      All that said, I will have my mind made up before I get to the dealership part of shopping, and I’m not going to be cross-sold to a different style of vehicle once I’ve started the actual buying process. Truth be told, I’ll probably end up with a GC, gas mileage be damned. I’d like something that has some towing capacity.

    • 0 avatar

      I remember reading somewhere – it may have been on this blog – that the vehicle most often cross-shopped with the Ford Mustang is the Jeep Wrangler. Buyers are looking for a fun car, even though the type of fun that each of those vehicles gives is considerably different.

      On the other hand, when I’ve bought my last couple vehicles from dealers, I’ve gone in knowing not only what I wanted, but the exact one on their lot that I wanted. In one case, it involved a transfer from a location 800 miles away.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        That Mustang-Wrangler concept rings true to me.

        I was driving a 3 series. The two cars I wanted: a GS350 or a 4Runner. I ended up with a CX5 in an extreme compromise. I drove over 20 different vehicles in my search.

        So this story makes sense. All cars are compromises. Either they are very good at some things and terrible at others, or they are pretty mediocre at everything. Either way, there is a war between emotion and logic in the process.

      • 0 avatar
        NotFast

        A long time ago, I had a girlfriend who went from a leased Mustang GT to a Wrangler (both with manuals).

        We broke up, but I heard from her later that she got rid of the Wrangler pretty quickly because it was just too rough to drive (especially on the highway) – which is exactly what I told her before she bought it…

      • 0 avatar
        Steve65

        I never cross shipped a Mustang and a Wrangler, but I cross shopped a Miata and a soft top Suzuki Sidekick. I opted for the Sidekick. Plenty of fun bashing around the off-road park, and in twelve years as my daily driver I never got a speeding ticket.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    And Honda is still making things correct on their 2016 models today which continual to have transmission failures. From an aquaintance’s TLX V6 to Motor Trend’s Pilot, Honda shouldn’t expect paying owners to be their beta testers!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yeah, stupid Honda! I mean nobody has any trouble out of that same 9 speed in other cars! Its rock solid. Honda probably did something to it for fun, just to screw with people!
      Just like they designed and built all those airbags to kill people instead of save them, right? Evil, evil Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Craig is functionally retarded for not buying a 100% Chinese-made-in-China-out-of-100%-Chinese-parts-and-then’exported-to-the-United States Buick Envision* with an aftermarket Trifecta (and Triad) Tune.

      That’s IS a Bruick!

      *But a 365 horsepower Trifecta Tuned Buick Encore, able to achieve a sub 11 second 1/4 time, and get 47mpg, with a 25 year/500,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is always the right answer.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    As someone who’s never driven an Avalon or Lexus, how different is an Avalon to a Lexus?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Depends on the generation.

      The primary difference now is in the quality of interior touch surfaces and the sound insulation. You can also get the Lexus with a brilliant stereo.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        My old boss had a 2005ish Avalon. It was a nice old man Japanese Buick.

        • 0 avatar
          soberD

          My dad had a ’96 (forest green of course) then an ’01 Avalon. Best Buicks ever made.

          • 0 avatar
            Bangernomist

            My ’00 Avalon was purchased from my grandmother when she decided that 92 was a reasonable age to hang up her keys. I hope I’m lucid enough at that age to decide rationally. Anyway, I helped her shop for it new and the only serious cross shopping we did was, wait for it, the Buick LeSabre. Pissed off my GM-partisan old man no end that the Toyota got the nod. One of the best things about it IMHO. :)

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        The funny thing is both JBL and Mark Levinson are from Harman.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      A very minor difference is that a Lexus can get you free parking at the U.S. Open in NYC. Lexus is a sponsor and this is one of the rare instances a badge can net you a tangible benefit.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      In addition to the things Jack mentioned, which are correct, the current ES also has a bit softer suspension tuning than the current Avalon. That’s the reverse of how it used to be.

      Personally, if I wanted that sort of car (and I might if I had a megacommute), I’d spend the extra for the ES to get the stereo, the nicer materials, and a few other little goodies available only from Lexus.

    • 0 avatar
      CaptainObvious

      Plus – I’m sure the dealership experience is better at Lexus than Toyota.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    This is the problem with car salesmen, they try and stereotype and pigeon hole buyers.

    I’ve swayed between so many different types of cars, replacing big comfortable sedans with sport suspension’d (read: back breaking) coupes, then back again, via hatchbacks.
    Currently looking to replace a Saab, every dealer I’ve went to has tried to get me into things like crossover SUVs, Golfs, even a nice Chrysler 300 that was out of my price bracket. Sitting in a C class Merc on a dealer lot was underwhelming – it didn’t feel ‘special’ in a way that a Merc should.
    What am I looking at? A Fusion hatchback looks tempting for practicality, though I’m not seeing any particularly good deals.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Sounds like Craig got a perfectly nice car, and that is a pretty darn good deal IMO. There’s definitely a noticeable bump in interior quality from the Camry, and just a bit more of an interesting dash to look at. As rational as the Hybrid variants of the Avalon and ES Lexus are, I’d pick the 2GR V6 every single time. Much smoother, more “wafting” ability that fits the character of the cars IMO. Fuel economy be damned. Unless you’re in a city-heavy commute, I don’t even think the MPG gap is that big. I think Craig will be blown away by the smoothness and drop in NVH compared to the CRV.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      Love my 2015 Avalon for the reasons discussed: plenty of power, proven drive train, comfortable, an overall known, reliable entity. It checked off every box I was looking for in a car. Plus I’m a whore for proven drive trains.

      For MPG, it gets around 23/24 city and will do an honest 30 highway at 80 MPH. Great car. Maybe not for everyone, but it sure suits me.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think sometimes (oftentimes?) a “fake because” is just “socially-acceptable because”.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “There was nothing logical about Craig’s purchase journey, even though Craig himself is one of the most reasonable, rational men you will ever meet.”

    I think for many car purchases are mostly an emotional decision. Sometimes you just have to “Have It”! At least he was smart enough to get the only vehicle Toy motors makes worth buying IMO.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think the Avalon is the only Toyota worth buying. I’d give my left nut for a Land Cruiser.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “I don’t think the Avalon is the only Toyota worth buying. I’d give my left nut for a Land Cruiser.”

        Your correct. I don’t care for the styling of most Toyota’s and I still have a bad after taste left in mouth from that mutt ’01 Highlander I owned. I know they are good vehicles. I’m sure the Landcruiser is a fine vehicle and has it’s merits but the emotion in me says I’d much rather have my Chevy Tahoe. I rented a Avalon in Seattle a few years back and really liked it. Big(not too big), quiet, smooth and more than enough power to effortlessly eat up interstate miles. And you know it’s gonna be reliable. Worth the money over a Camry any day of the week IMHO.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          that mutt ’01 Highlander I owned.

          How was it a “mutt”? That first generation Highlander is still revered with Toyota-philes.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “How was it a “mutt”? That first generation Highlander is still revered with Toyota-philes.”

            The oil sledging V6 that $hit the bed at 70K. After sticking almost 2K into it to supposedly fix the motor the first trip out of town revealed it was still using almost 2 quarts of oil between fills. Another $1K repair bill to remove the defectively engineered parts off the motor and replace them with the updated parts finally fixed it. Our fault for not changing oil enough. There was a class action lawsuit filed against Toyota for this issue

            You couldn’t stop it on snowy roads. Only vehicle I’ve ever driven that I could not stop on snowy roads. Slid through an intersection into a ditch with it once. Tires must have been pretty good because somehow that little road disaster managed to pull itself back out onto the roadway.

            Speaking of tires It went through them like no tomorrow. I’ve never owned anything so hard on tires.

            Poor fuel economy. It was AWD, but for what it was( A Camry) 18 MPG was terrible. Our Tahoe average’d 16 MPG over the same driving.

            Rattletrap

            Nothing fit in it when packing for a trip

            Seat belts in rear seat constancy jammed.

            I started referring to it as the Craplander and it will be a long time if ever that Toy motors ever gets any of my money again. I’ll stick with my GM vehicles for now. They’re better.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Have you driven a Cruiser? It honestly does absolutely every single thing the Tahoe does better. It’s absolutely the finest of Toyota engineering. The problem is that it’s back-breakingly expensive either new or used. For $30,000 less (either new or used) a Tahoe is probably a better value.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Have you driven a Cruiser? It honestly does absolutely every single thing the Tahoe does better. It’s absolutely the finest of Toyota engineering.”

            I like the exterior and interior styling of my ‘Hoe much better than a Landcruiser. I also prefer the engine under the hood. I think it is a superior tow vehicle. Just like(emotion) the ‘Hoe better. Would never be happy with a ‘Cruiser. When I wanted a compact truck, I went with the Toy, even though it’s V6 was dog compared to the other trucks. Again I liked it best(emotion) and like most I buy what I like.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Except tow.

            I’ve pulled my race car a few thousand miles with Cruisers. They suck.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Why, exactly? Too tall with too little wheelbase?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “It honestly does absolutely every single thing the Tahoe does better. It’s absolutely the finest of Toyota engineering.”

            It goddamn well better be at that asking price.

            And yes, I’ve driven a Land Cruiser Prado. Nice, but you’re on crack if you think I’d pay that much money for one.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Sometimes it’s emotional and sometimes it’s that we participate in our own idiocy. I tried to haggle out a SHO on the last day of the month and they would not drop it more than $500. I went home empty handed and then talked to the wife who said “why don’t you just get the Challenger you actually want”, full well knowing that it’s selling for $39k (the ford was 21k). So I’ve gone from spending less money on the non-discounted Taurus to spending damn near double that on a lime green Challenger 392. Logic, sense nor rational thought need apply. Hopefully it’s still there when I pick up a new job and a signing bonus in the next week or two.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Per Google: The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 is 50K MSRP, not 39K

        The MY15 is trading mid 30s, but its an oddball car with only a few entries nationwide. If you could slip into an MY15 for say 37, assuming extra clean and <25K, it should be somewhat of a buy. The MY15 V6 has a steep dropoff, but this one should still hold high teens in the next few years (MY12 R/T V8s trade high teens, even high miles trade mid teens).

        MY15 Dodge Challenger SRT 392

        11/10/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $37,000 7,985 Above Black 8G A Yes
        11/16/16 Manheim Dallas Lease $35,750 10,325 Avg White 8G A Yes
        12/01/16 Manheim Phoenix Regular $33,700 14,568 Avg Gray 8G A Yes
        11/16/16 Manheim San Antonio Lease $30,000 21,271 Avg Red 8G A Yes
        11/23/16 Manheim Seattle Regular $33,600 21,605 Avg White 8G 6 Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $28,000 23,551 Below Black 8G A No
        11/22/16 Manheim Nevada Regular $30,000 38,223 Avg Green 8G 6 Yes

        MY15 Dodge Challenger SXT V6

        1/07/16 Manheim Orlando $19,200 63 Above Gray 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth Lease $19,900 3,372 Above White 6G A Yes
        11/29/16 Manheim Georgia Lease $19,000 5,069 Above Gray 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Louisville Lease $19,000 5,669 Above Red 6G A Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim Lakeland Lease $18,100 7,359 Above Black 6G A Yes
        11/16/16 Manheim Kansas City Lease $18,500 7,593 Above Black 6G A Yes
        11/30/16 Manheim Dallas Lease $18,600 9,754 Above Black 6G A Yes
        11/23/16 Manheim Tampa Lease $18,900 10,433 Above Red 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Regular $15,000 12,131 Below White 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Tampa Regular $17,800 13,976 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Atlanta Regular $19,100 15,976 Above Gray 6G A Yes
        11/21/16 Manheim Orlando $15,600 16,261 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Detroit Lease $12,600 17,287 Below Blue 6G A No
        11/18/16 Manheim Nevada Lease $17,500 18,031 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/30/16 Manheim Central Florida Lease $18,500 18,794 Above White 6G A Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim Nashville Lease $16,400 19,536 Avg Red 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $17,250 20,630 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim Dallas Lease $15,400 21,230 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/02/16 Manheim New Orleans Lease $17,500 22,332 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/08/16 Manheim Houston Lease $17,500 23,083 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/08/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Regular $9,500 23,548 Below White 6G A No
        11/09/16 Manheim San Antonio Lease $16,750 25,119 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $16,800 25,192 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Central California Lease $16,750 25,263 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim San Diego Lease $16,200 25,818 Avg Black 6G Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim Nashville Regular $17,800 25,883 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
        11/03/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $17,100 25,979 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/22/16 Manheim Denver Lease $15,700 27,009 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim San Antonio Lease $16,250 27,168 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $17,000 28,495 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/08/16 Manheim Dallas $17,000 28,684 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $17,000 29,025 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/04/16 Manheim Pennsylvania Regular $16,500 29,147 Avg Blue 6G A Yes
        11/03/16 Manheim Tampa Lease $16,000 29,571 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/29/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $16,700 29,645 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/15/16 Manheim Houston Lease $17,000 29,653 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/08/16 Manheim Dallas $17,400 29,996 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
        11/03/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $15,750 30,047 Avg Red 6G A Yes
        11/15/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $17,100 30,301 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/22/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $16,600 30,654 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/16/16 Manheim Dallas $13,000 30,669 Below Gray 6G A Yes
        11/23/16 Manheim Houston Lease $16,800 30,786 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Regular $15,800 30,787 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/22/16 Manheim Dallas-Fort Worth Lease $16,600 30,846 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/08/16 Manheim Dallas $17,100 31,239 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/15/16 Manheim Georgia Regular $16,200 31,571 Avg Silver 6G A Yes
        11/02/16 Manheim Dallas Lease $17,300 32,255 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/03/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $12,600 32,571 Below Black 6G A No
        11/29/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $16,900 32,866 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/03/16 Manheim Phoenix Lease $10,000 32,909 Below Gray 6G A No
        11/08/16 Manheim Orlando Regular $18,300 33,028 Above Black 6G A Yes
        11/15/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $16,700 33,150 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $16,500 33,516 Avg Red 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $17,250 33,746 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/16/16 Manheim Dallas Regular $17,500 33,765 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/03/16 Manheim Mississippi Lease $17,100 34,009 Avg Red 6G A Yes
        11/22/16 Manheim Statesville Lease $16,500 34,407 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/11/16 Manheim Fort Lauderdale Lease $16,200 35,062 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        12/01/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $16,500 35,531 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/22/16 Manheim Riverside Lease $16,400 35,693 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/15/16 Manheim Statesville Lease $16,300 35,823 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/23/16 Manheim Seattle Lease $15,900 35,956 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Atlanta Lease $13,300 36,403 Below Silver 6G A Yes
        11/23/16 Manheim New Mexico Lease $12,700 36,453 Below Silver 6G A Yes
        11/18/16 Manheim Nevada Lease $16,200 37,288 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/02/16 Manheim Milwaukee Lease $15,750 37,967 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        12/01/16 Manheim Southern California Lease $16,000 38,635 Avg Gray 6G A Yes
        11/17/16 Manheim Chicago Lease $15,300 40,012 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/08/16 Manheim Statesville Regular $16,400 40,699 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        12/01/16 Manheim Chicago Lease $15,800 41,450 Avg White 6G A Yes
        11/10/16 Manheim Texas Hobby Lease $10,300 41,746 Below Black 6G A No
        11/11/16 Manheim Nevada Lease $15,300 47,408 Avg Black 6G A Yes
        11/22/16 Manheim Detroit Lease $14,700 47,634 Below Black 6G A Yes
        12/01/16 Manheim Omaha Lease $14,600 55,921 Below Silver 6G A Yes
        11/29/16 Manheim Dallas Lease $13,400 58,678 Below Silver 6G A Yes
        11/09/16 Manheim San Antonio Lease $11,750 67,839 Below Red 6G A Yes

        • 0 avatar
          zamoti

          Thanks for all that data! Here’s the basics:
          Used 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT
          18,525 miles
          AT Car ID AT-1A62EBC0
          I’m targeting a ’15 since the interior of the prior model was pretty low-rent and you’re not getting a huge price break for it.

          Maybe this place will deal a little given that winter in Ohio isn’t really musclecar weather. Guess I’ll need to roll a set of snows into the deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Carlson Fan – we are emotionally driven beings. We use the logical part of our brain to make up convincing excuses for where our emotions take us. I had read that when it comes to vehicles, men are much more emotionally driven buyers than women.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Called all the Hyundai dealers in our geographic area. Found a Hyundai Elantra Touring, (an i30cw for those outside of North America) demo with a manual (5 speed). Lots of decent to good reviews, decent safety ratings (except for pedestrians), room for 5 and 65 cubic feet (1,800 litres) of cargo space. A ‘small’ wagon that in Europe is considered a direct competitor with the VW Golf wagon.

    After 6+ hours of negotiation, walked out as the owner of a brand new Hyundai Sonata with a manual transmission.

    What the he#^?

    Well after getting a trade-in price for my Caravan, driving the Elantra Touring, Tuscon and Sonata, crunching numbers, discovering that there was indeed a manual Sonata in the province, and realizing that the Elantra did not have some of the ‘active’ safety features that came standard in the Sonata made a decision that I am still not sure was totally logical.

    After all we are only human.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “After all we are only human.”

      You’re such a humanist against us cyborgs.

    • 0 avatar
      sarcheer

      This is somewhat similar to how I ended up with a loaded sonata hybrid back in May. I had a 2014 Honda Civic EX-L I’d bought new and had intended on keeping for quite awhile. The lane watch camera started to glitch and while waiting for it to be replaced, I test drove the 2016 Civic. The dealership tried to hard-sell/pressure the cr&p out of me and, even through the deal was pretty good, I wasn’t comfortable making the purchase on the simple fact that I was worried that I might be missing some detail in my impulsive decision to buy a car I hadn’t woken up that morning intending to buy.

      But, now I had the idea of having a new vehicle, a bigger vehicle with better tech and better fuel mileage. I did my cross-shopping research and saw the new Sonata Hybrid, tons more tech, much better fuel mileage, wayyyy longer warranty. Oh, and nearly 9k on the hood.

      Same time the following week (after a similar 6+ hours in the dealership on the day I purchased), I had a brand new car.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I bought a new car two weeks ago.

    Now, I don’t buy cars very often. For the most part, that’s been due to my finances, which were usually in a state of Aleppo-style disarray due to my sociopathic (and now convicted felon) ex-wife.

    But part of it is my own nature. I’m analytical. It took me years to commit to leaving my ex, and I only did it after I analyzed how I could get it done.

    So, ever the analyst, I drove pretty much everything. I even drove everything at multiple dealerships, and then drove them back to back against each other.

    In the end, my choice had nothing to do with CR ratings, buff book comparison tests, or what the folks on this site would recommend. In the end, I bought my car because I fell in love with driving it.

    Car purchases only have to make sense to the purchaser. That’s the lesson.

    And, yeah, I’d drive an Avalon too.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Focus? Corolla?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The rules is you have to tell us what you got.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @28, ajla…

        If Mark’s OK with it, there’s a whole story to be told. Watch this space.

        A Focus and a Corolla were definitely part of the process.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Just type it up here and if its good, Mark can do as he sees fit. I never got a byline for my stories but I posted them anyway and fans enjoyed them.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            It was a dark and stormy night…

            Dear Penthouse Forum, er TTAC….

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’ve never written to a forum before but here goes. So my wife wouldn’t drive a minivan, but we’re a Ford family (esp since I am secretly on the Board of Directors). The Navi was out of our price range and I wanted a Flex but my wife didn’t like the styling. So I did my research and I did something very naughty – I bought her a Lincoln Flex with the EcoBoost tow package, and although it is against my religion, voodoo AWD. I felt so dirty paying thousands less than the equivalent Ford and getting more value, its something I think about every time I enter her, I mean the car. I liked it so much I went and got another one, but my wife objected when I tried to have them both at the same time (the MKTs that is) so we traded the old one in when the new one arrived. I know most guys would kill for what we have but we like to keep it our little secret, even though I know the other guys on the street are checking us out as we drive by.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Hahahahaha

            Excellent

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          FreedMike- You bought an F450. Makes perfect sense after ditching a sociopath ;)

          @28 – too funny

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        Based on his avatar, I wouldn’t rule out the Delta Flyer. :)

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      I wish I weren’t so analytical. At some level, I have been shopping for my next car for at least a year, and won’t buy anything for another 6-12 months.

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        I’m the same way @LeMansteve, but if I do that next time my wife will kill me and sink me in the harbor.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        What you call “analytical” the rest of us call “can’t make a decision to save your life.”

        I don’t get people who will (or claim to) drive every single car on the market. I’ve never cross-shopped any vehicle I’ve bought. I just went for the one I wanted at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Der_Kommissar

      Look in the decision making literature on the research on Maximizers and Satisficers (Schwartz et al. 2002). Maximizers take a long time to make their decisions in order to get the alternative with the highest utility but are often less satisfied with them. Much of that comes down to decision regret, which maximizers have and satisficers do not. If you keep evaluating your decisions long after you have made them, you will eventually regret everything.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        I’m a huge fan of satisficing at work…a good solution is good enough, don’t waste time on the “perfect” solution, there’s no payoff to it. I preach that all the time.

        On the subject ot the Avalon, I am going to be 50 in 3 weeks, which probably makes me within Toyota’s expected demographics for the Avalon…I’d love to have one but the $42k sticker scared me a smidge. I think a Camry SE with sunroof for around $22k is more my speed, just because I’m a cheapskate.

        The pics of the upcoming ’18 Camry are scary though…nothing wrong with boring sedans, I LIKE boring cars, I want to fly under the radar, I don’t want scoops and flares and whatnot…

        • 0 avatar
          sarcheer

          Your age demographic was the target of the previous generation Avalon, which one reviewer called “A love letter to the AARP.” This latest generation has a much more ‘sporty’ suspension, with a firmness that I appreciated through turns when I test drove one in 2013.

          In fact the only reason I didn’t get one as my first vehicle in college (parents paying), was that Toyota offered us a 15% INTEREST RATE. My mother, who was the principal applicant, makes well in excess of 500k/year and got a rate lower than 1/3 of that when she bought her Jaguar XK two months later. We ended up getting a ’14 Honda Civic with a 4% interest rate a month later. Toyota finance was crazy on that deal.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Needs and wants aren’t static. I’ve had the same car for the last 7 years and still really enjoy driving it. It’s also a bit small in the back seat for us now and I’ve got growing kids. The front passenger area is small for a wife who likes to stretch out on even short commutes. I’d also like to get a car with a bit more compliant ride.

        Even though I still love driving the car, it’s not as good of a fit for me as it was when I bought it.

        Went to the car show last weekend and here’s what I’m going to drive (all used when possible): a Jaguar XJ, VW Touareg, Chevy SS, E class wagon, RL sport hybrid, GS450h, a bangle butt 7 series, ’11 or ’12 Cayenne. I’m also going to look into leasing a Clarity and CX-9 as I did the short drives available at the car show and liked both of them.

        I used to approach car buying knowing exactly what I want. My needs/wants have changed and I’m looking for the best car that hits the sweet spot on as many of my criteria as possible. Fun to drive isn’t the only thing on my list anymore, but it’s part of my top 3.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “If you keep evaluating your decisions long after you have made them, you will eventually regret everything.”

        Marriage…… maybe.

        Trucks…….. nope.

        Motorcycles….. never.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    Gosh! I sure hope it lasts 150,000 miles! Oh. Whew, its a Yoytota, at least he won’t be stranded and walking in the rain everyday! Every car breaks down except Toyotas. They’re perfect.

    Its really a shame that only two carmakers are capable of building a car that will last 150k miles. All the others self-destruct after 1.4 miles out of warranty. All of them!

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I am kind of wondering how you can argue a 150k Cr-V is used up and needs to go? I think Craig just wanted a new car. His Honda more than likely would have given him another 100k of service with minimal brain damage. I am certain the next owner will get the same. Of course, I am looking at this through the rose colored glasses of a person who lives in a no salt state, so we can drive domestic or imports to 200k with no issue of rot underneath.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Ehh I get it. I’m hitting 80k in my Mazda 3, and while it’s not breaking down in any sense of the word, the service intervals (brakes, tires, coolant, etc.) for routine stuff are starting to add up in time cost. I can only imagine the increased frequency you might end up like this on a car with double the mileage.

        I don’t have any problem affording them, but scheduling them into my life is becoming an annoyance. I prefer not having a car payment and will stick it out another 40-50k (2.5 years with my commute), but I can see how the inconvenience could make someone want to get into something new.

    • 0 avatar
      Silent Ricochet

      COTD. This kind of attitude really bugs me and it leads people into buying cars that they don’t want because they don’t know any better. Everyone at work said Toyotas are good. Brb, let me drop my life savings on a mundane, beige pillow with wheels.

      Where did the “Only Honda and Toyota make reliable cars” mindset come from? The 90s? I’m 25, so I don’t really know what cars were like in the 90s (reliability-wise), but c’mon.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Honda and Toyotas earned their reputation in the 80’s, when American cars were still pretty bad following the Malaise Era of the 70’s, when they were truly awful. The Japanese picked up their reliability reputation at that time, but tended to rust away to nothing before anything could break. That problem was solved in the 80’s.

        Hondas and Toyotas were a step above other marks like Nissan and Mazda. Although those cars may have caught up, they weren’t quite at the level of the first two when their reputations were made.

        I started driving in the 90’s. That’s when the options for a Malaise car vs a Japanese car were in stark contrast. New American cars were catching up by that point, but those weren’t an option for people still on a used car budget.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Were you the guy with shot struts on a ’14 Focus with 60k miles or was that someone else? :P

        I don’t disagree, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that people buying Toyotas “dont’ want them.” When we car shopped for my fiance (gf at the time, her dad was buying) back in 2012, the Camry came out on top on its own merits (roomy, quiet, good mpg, good engine/transmission pairing, good real-world price and predicted resale) against the likes of the 2.5 Passat, pre-“aston” Fusion, Accord, etc. The Toyota reputation for reliability and low running costs just helped seal the deal.

        • 0 avatar
          Silent Ricochet

          Nope! Haha, at 48k and the car rides great. I’d hope for a little more than 60k out of my factory struts.

          Didn’t mean to come across as describing ALL Toyota buyers as such. The situation you described is the perfect reason why buying a Toyota is the correct choice. You shopped around, test drove, researched, etc. Toyota’s reputation for reliability was a factor in your decision, a selling point. Not the ONLY selling point like it probably is for a large chunk of owners out there.

          I guess my point is, and I’m sure you’d agree, once there’s a stigma or reputation associated with a brand, no matter how good or bad, it’s very hard for a brand to become associated with anything else. Example: Buick. I’d argue that Toyota and Honda have been resting on their laurels since the early 2000s. People will always look at them first when considering a new commuter vehicle and it’s because they associate them with reliability.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            To be fair the reputation that Toyota earned to become the “default” or “safe” choice is well deserved. Back in the 60s-70s perhaps it used to be that if you wanted a nice comfortable straightforward and reliable car you bought a Chevy Impala, that was the reputation that the model had earned from a track record of delivering those qualities to the masses that bought them. Sure perhaps there was a Mopar or Ford that wiped the floor with the Impala in some characteristics, and maybe they were in fact every bit as reliable. But to the layman, there has always been a “known good” brand/model of car. That happens to be a Toyota Camry for the past two decades. Given enough time perhaps perceptions will change and some other car will be crowned the people’s car of choice.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        if all they want is basic transportation, who cares if they buy a beige pillow on wheels? most people drive because they have to, not because they want to, and a comfortable hassle-free car/CUV is right up their alley.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Well what else was he supposed to buy?

    Oldsmobile doesn’t exist anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Old Oldsmobile and refurbish.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        But seriously, given the description of “Craig” – doesn’t he sound like a prototypical Oldsmobile customer circa 1983?

        Maybe a nicely optioned 88, not too flashy, quiet.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          An astute observation, Bishop Dan. This isn’t a Ninety Eight buyer, but he would option up an Eighty Eight Royale Brougham, perhaps even a Holiday 88 coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’d argue upper level trim Toyotas and certain Lexi (ES, RX) are basically the modern day Buick/Olds in the automotive hierarchy. Oftentimes bought by people who can easily afford even more (Mercedes/BMW/etc) but consider than flashy or not practical enough. They do appreciate comfort and are willing to pony up for the model with heated leather seats and a bit of gingerbread on the outside. Like Buicks and Oldsmobile of yore, they have a reputation for solid build quality and reliability.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’ve been trying to figure out what to replace my Sportwagen with since the leaks about a potential buyback made the news, much to my wife’s dismay. She says I should just get rid of it and get a new car.

    I thought about doing that, but I’m a cheap ba$tard so that doesn’t make financial sense since VW is letting me drive it for “free” until 2018.

    I’ve decided to hold on to it until the end of the buyback window in 2018 because I am cheap as discussed above, and because I have the luxury of waiting for cars that don’t yet exist on the market like the Niro, the Tour-X, the Ecosport, etc.

    There are so many potential replacements on the market now and upcoming that it doesn’t help my already indecisive nature. I kind of jumped into the Sportwagen and while it’s a decent car, I don’t want to get into a car that I can’t keep for 10 years without really enjoying it.

    I like to analyse and plan things, so unlike Craig, I will wait for as long as I can before getting rid of my car.

    My wife wishes I would STFU and be done with it, but she doesn’t realize what goes on in an aspie car guy’s head.

    • 0 avatar
      BlueEr03

      Just remember that the buyback amount declines for every 5K mile marker you pass. So it isn’t technically driving for free if you put a lot of miles on your car.

    • 0 avatar
      sarcheer

      You’re also boned if it gets totaled.

      Honestly, I think the Niro might be your best bet. I checked one of the few demo models out and its pretty nice. Decent interior space, nicely appointed, latest tech, and that unbeatable warranty. Only thing holding me (my girlfriend) back is that we have yet to actually drive it, so for all I know (and fear) the car is heinously loud and jerky.

  • avatar
    Pantherlove

    After losing a car to a newly minted driver who was deeply invested into his phone at the time I started planning to buy a new car. I’m 35, getting ready to start a family, and had decided on looking at used entry level luxury (genesis, 3-series, etc). Of course I ended up with a brand new Fiesta ST. Logic is a difficult animal to listen to when you have an emotional attachment to cars. As contrary as this guys purchasing decision seemed to be, something about that car connected with him on a level different from reason.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    I disagree about there being nothing rational about his purchasing decision. He wanted a nice car that was comfortable and that he could be proud of when he pulled up at a friend’s house. He was probably feeling like the CR-V was a bit beneath his station in life. That’s rational. The irrational part was just him working through all his frugality hangups to rationalize something he didn’t really need to rationalize. It’s not like he’s working at McDonalds and trying to justify a $700 payment on a loaded F-150. He was a successful guy who wanted to spend an extra $6000 on a nice sedan. And that’s the truth about human nature in general and car buying in particular. People end up doing what they want to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Absolutely. The guy’s spending two hours a day commuting, the Avalon’s a perfectly rational choice. At highway speeds a V6 sedan will get equal or better MPG than a 4-banger CUV thanks to aerodynamics, and run quieter. It’s actually the more practical option, unless you need that CUV cargo room…which Craig does not.

      • 0 avatar
        sarcheer

        I’m curious, which sedans offered with either an I-4 or a V-6 get better mileage with the V-6 than the I-4?

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          The EPA numbers will alway favor the i4 turbo, but real wold driving sometimes contradicts this. When you are in boost, you car will have the power of V6 and your mpg will drop. The V6, in turn, can employ cylinder deactivation on the highway and thus emulate the efficiency of an i4.

          I prefer the less complex, naturally sounding, naturally aspirated V6 over a turbo and associated lag.

  • avatar
    raisingAnarchy

    “This is in marked contrast to the behavior of, say, a prospective Subaru STi buyer, who will go to four dealers and call ten more even though he’s long-ago decided what color of STi he wants. (It’s blue, by the way.)”

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. This isn’t always true.

    I wanted gray, but I ended up with a black STi after visiting my 3rd dealership.

    To be fair, most Subaru dealers give prospective buyers a very hard time about test drives and who buys a car without a test drive?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      What is it with Subaru dealers? I wanted to drive a BRZ, but couldn’t get a response from anyone. I bought a Mustang. Why didn’t Subaru want my money?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Oh you want a snooze inducing Legacy? Here are the keys, take a test drive.

        Oh that car that exciting car over there? Deposit please, blood sample, three forms of identification…

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “In this internal battle of reason versus emotion, reason will lose Every. Single. Time. Because Craig is a human being, and that’s how humans operate.”

    Not every time. Otherwise I’d be driving an Optima SX Turbo with 270hp, every option, and a panoramic sunroof instead of a Sonata with 185hp, worse audio, and no sunroof at all. I had every emotional reason to go with the Optima (smoking deal, better looking, lots of toys, better audio, waaaay more power) but the Sonata saved me 100 bucks a month and did just as good a job at the litmus test items (heated seats, tolerable audio, carries kids safely). So after I saw the Optima and found out I could afford it, I kept looking – and ended up with a car that met my goals precisely.

    I also spent at least a month poring over specs, going to different dealers, finding out what sets of options and rebates really existed on the ground, and didn’t make any decisions without taking at least a day to consider my options.

    Maybe I’m a robot?

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    Craig knew from the beginning that he wanted and deserved an upgrade. Spending 80 hours every month in a car … if you can afford it, you go for something nice and comfy which subtly tells everyone that your new car is a hair pricier than your peer group can afford.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    I did the same mental move in 2015 (“OMG you can get a smokin’ deal on an Avalon!!”) so I test drove a few and read whatever forum that car has.

    Verdict: the front seat sucked. I don’t want a Lazyboy, but it was uncomfortable. I know they made some changes in 2016 to the ride quality but don’t think they fixed the seat. There were people on the Avalon forum complaining about the seats and their homemade fixes, which included pulling the seat apart and adding more padding.

    No thank you, not with a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      They make the ES. I like the seat, not the lack of fun combo of soft, fwd, and good torque. 95% of the time the ES is just right for me, but the 5% of the time when I get to goof a bit need to be fun.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    “We had just gotten done talking about how he was anxious to minimize his costs, minimize his fuel spend, minimize his maintenance, to the point that he was concerned about whether the Civic Hatchback’s turbo might require replacement before the 150,000-mile mark — and now we’re discussing a car that weighs a half-ton more, that offers half again the power, with massive (and massively expensive) tires, and perhaps two-thirds the effective fuel mileage?”

    _______________

    I would wager if you looked at back-to-back ownerships costs, the difference would be pretty menial between a Civic and and a Avalon (outside purchase cost). If anything, my money would be on the Avalon for less repair costs outside of warranty.

    Sure the Civic gets better mileage and has smaller tires that will cost when you replace them every several years, but you really have to stretch to say it’s going to make much difference for most people’s budget.

    I know I wouldn’t make a car purchase decision on any ownership cost savings between the two, and I’m generally pretty thrifty.

  • avatar
    BufferOverflow

    I want an Avalon too. Ever since I read Alan Dykes’ review here at TTAC years ago. I’ve been coveting the ace-of-base XLE in Parisian Blue (because no sunroof FTW).

    [I’d consider the Lexus, but they all come with sunroof, which has a negative value to me as a long term ownership proposition. Less headroom and more things to leak and break.]

    But as a single guy with three cars in the garage, including a leased FiST, I can’t justify another. Maybe when my ex’s daughter gets her license, I can hand one of them off to her… and then get the Avalon.

    And yes, I am a semiconductor engineer.

    BTW, Ford’s ST Octane Academy was a blast. Thanks TTAC for the heads up.

    • 0 avatar
      sarcheer

      Every car my family has ever owned in my 26 years of life has had a sunroof, and not a single one has ever had anything go wrong with it. I’m not sure where this idea that sunroofs are inherently failure-prone comes from. The worst I ever hear happening with any sort of regularity is the drain getting plugged.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    What does “Touring” signify? Elantra/Avalon/Accord Is this the new Brougham?

  • avatar
    Robert

    “…Danger Girl decided that she was sick of sleeping on my worn-out Original Mattress Factory tempur-foam-thing…that seemed perfectly fine to me. Maybe it did need to be replaced. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being sentimental, as that mattress had more names on it than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”

    I’d think you answered your own question as to why she is sick of sleeping on it ;-)

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Going the other way, the last time my dad (an engineer coming up on early retirement) was getting ready to replace his car, he makes an offhand comment about maybe wanting something a little nicer than his ex-rental Sonata. Maybe a Genesis, except it doesn’t fit in his garage? I start pointing out any number of nicer cars to look at off-lease (Acura TSX and Lincoln MKZ were a couple of suggestions). Of course, a couple months later, I found out my parents just went and bought another base Sonata (although they went crazy, and bought it new instead of ex-rental). At this point, I assume there’ll just be another Sonata every 8 years, and he’ll be perfectly happy with that.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My fiance’s father likewise wanted to treat himself to an automotive ‘reward’ after years of nose to the grindstone engineering/management work. Being the rational guy that he is, he had me, his future engineer son-in-law, make him a spreadsheet laying out the full spate of options (including stuff like S80 Volvos, E350 Merc, Genesis sedan, etc). He quickly narrowed things down to what I suspected he would default to anyways: choosing between an Avalon Hybrid or a ES300h. He found a clean low mile ’13 ES300h at a local luxury used car place and has been very happy with it from what I understand.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I got so tired of being indecisive that I changed my requirements to the utmost simplicity.

    “I want the cheapest manual transmission hatchback with cruise that I can find with less than 30k miles”

    I wound up with a ’13 Chevy sonic for $10k. Two unscheduled repairs for problems well-known to the forums. Otherwise, it’s acceptable and never gets less than 33mpg, despite the 26/35 rating.

    Meh. It’s a car.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    After my ’01 LS430 got totaled I looked hard to replace it with the same thing-or a year or two newer. After 30 days and with my rental period up I purchased a 2007 Avalon Touring. Leather, no sunroof, HID. I loved the extra headroom that the lack of sunroof gives. This car was an emergency purchase for $5500 with 180,000 miles that I thought I could drive for a while until the right deal came along on another LS430. Fast forward almost 2 years and 50K miles and I’m no longer looking to get back into a LS430. I have grown to love the way the Toyota drives. It handles way better is almost as comfortable, and I find that the lack of options is not a deal breaker. Wiper blades, oil and transmission fluid changes, and a new set of tires are all that it has needed.

    I know when I ride in my friends LS that I am missing the auto dim mirrors, and the auto wipers, heated seats and near silence down the highway. You can get those options in a Limited Avalon but they ALL have sunroofs and softer suspension. Still, what was to be a temporary car now will stay. Perhaps as long as our 400K Sienna. I’m cheap too.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Once you’ve gotten enough miles to feel like you’ve had your money’s worth from the Avalon, look into a used LS460. It does handle quite a bit more cleanly than the 430, and if equipped right has more goodies than you’ll know what to do with. Just watch out for disintegrating front control arm bushings in the early cars. (Full disclosure: I drive a 2008 with a full set of expensively acquired new OEM control arms.)

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I’m not buying this “emotion over reason” thing. I would be driving a BRZ now if it worked as reliably as Scott Adams claims.

  • avatar

    Heh, he said “rooster”.

  • avatar

    “Now, Craig is a sensible, rational person, and therefore he knows at an intellectual level that it makes sense to wait a few months and get the right car. But Craig’s emotional side has already decided to get a car now. In this internal battle of reason versus emotion, reason will lose Every. Single. Time. Because Craig is a human being, and that’s how humans operate.”

    I expect to get a VR camera in March or so. To process the video and then view it, I’m going to need to upgrade to at least a high end i5 CPU and a GPU that was state of the art a product cycle or two ago, and then a Razer OSVR HDK2 head mounted display for viewing the results.

    I typically buy out-of-lease computers. Right now I can get an i7 4770 for about $450 and a decent video card for $250. If I wait, though, likely even more powerful computers will show up at PlayItAgainPC, and I’ll probably be able to buy a more powerful video card for the same price. Now that’s the rational human thinking. The irrational one wants to buy the hardware and start fooling around with VR right now. Since I’m not a gamer, and getting the hardware so I can shoot VR video of cars, I really don’t need the hardware till they ship the Vuze.

    As for the HMD, it has a MSRP of $399 and most places sell it for $360. I almost pulled the trigger last weekend when someone had it for $320, but now Amazon is running it for $300 and I have Prime so shipping is free. They only started shipping the HDK2 four months ago, and it’s not likely to get obsoleted in the next four months, so I may go ahead and get that even if I won’t be able to use it till I get the upgraded computer.

    So how much of that is rational thinking and how much is rationalization?

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    Jack: “not only has every major Honda powertrain in the company’s history been reliable, on the occasions when there were problems, as with the “glass transmissions” in the six-cylinder automatics a while back, Honda made extraordinary efforts to correct the situation at its own expense far, far outside warranty. There is no reason to think that any Honda engine will be unreliable in the long run.”

    Ohmigod, you are SO wrong. Next time you’re in Columbus, ping me–have I got stories for you.

    In the meantime, look into Honda’s VCM situation. It’s a customer nightmare that they’re continuing despite having lost the class action lawsuit.

    • 0 avatar
      itsme

      THIS. $4000+ to rebuild the transmission on a TL-S after Acura’s ridiculous quote for a fix. I supposed I was lucky that the car lasted 9y and 100k before the transmission blew, but I was expecting more from a Honda.


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