Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nov 26 2011 Update - AWD sedans

No fancy names for my update this week.  If you haven't already checked it out, you should go to, they had some good articles this week on upcoming vehicles including the Chevy Orlando (looks like a squished caravan), Mazda CX-5 (looks like a Rav-4, CRV mix) and Kia Optima SX (cool looking car). 

Subaru's new generation of Impreza's are out, touting the best fuel economy for an AWD in existence with 7.5 L/100 city and 5.5 L/100 km Highway.  That's roughly twice as good as my Honda Pilot, actually probably  a bit better than twice as good, and its an AWD.  I actually like the look of the hatchback model, but the sedan looks boring in my opinion.  As with all newly released vehicles the rates are up to 5.9% for 5 year purchase and 4 year leases.  Last going off the 2011's were down to 0.9 % I think, so this would not be a good time to buy one, just wait until the spring.  They are getting the increased fuel economy (30% better than the outgoing model) by lowering engine output to 148HP, adding a CVT transmission and making the vehicle a bit more aerodynamic and lighter.  They are saying it actually gets a better 0-60 times than the outgoing model even with the significant loss of engine power.  In any event you wouldn't buy one of these for the zoom-zoom factor but the fuel economy is fantastic for a AWD vehicle and it looks pretty good.

I don't understand why more companies don't make AWD sedan type vehicles or at least provide it as an option.  If you want an affordable AWD vehicle you can either buy a  Subaru anything or a Ford Fusion AWD.  Nothing from Honda, Toyota (well a Matrix is AWD but not a sedan), GM, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia  etc...  All the luxury sedans come with this option and they sell far less vehicles than the mainstream would. 

It might be due to the fact that the luxury automobiles are generally designed in climates where it actually snows, which I don't think it does much in Korea, Japan or the southern US.  I asked on an auto forum websites why people would drive an AWD somewhere that it doesn't snow and they said it helps with traction in the rain..... how fast are they driving in the rain anyways??

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NEW 2012 BMW 3 series

Finally, do you see it.................

Its a functional cup holder............ in a BMW!  Check out this article on the new 2012 BMW 3 Series,

You can actually find quite a few good articles out there now on the new BMW.  Besides for cup holders, there will be a turbo 4 cylinder available with more HP and more torque than the current model, more leg room, more head room and a standard display screen.  So you get more HP, more torque and 20% better fuel economy.  You can bet BMW dealers will be pushing hard to get the 2011's off their lots because they will NOT sell any once the 2012's arrive.

There is no radical departure from classic BMW styling but the changes made are nice in my opinion.  My new dream is to get one of these suckers in the spring of 2013.  At that point the Pilot will need new summer and winter tires, I will have gotten some good use out of my new brakes and my oldest son will be 17 and possibly have his own vehicle, something cheap I am thinking. 

But will you just look at that beautiful cup holder.....

Another good article:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Online Car Buying

I was reading a Globe and Mail article today about a new online car buying site for Canadians  Its, you pay a fee of $47 for them to send your car request to dealers in your area, the dealers submit offers and you get to choose if you want to accept one of their offers.  You pay a $250 deposit to hold the deal and the dealers do all the paperwork and whatever else needs to be done to get you into the car for your agreed upon deal.  This is the best thing I have ever heard of in car buying.  Of course it is basically useless for us here in NL, one bacause I don't think any dealers have signed up for the service yet, I tried using my postal code and two because there really is just not much competition here for most dealerships.

I used the old Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2M9 postal code I remember from watching Circle Square 35 years ago and found 10 BMW Dealerships within a 50 KM radius, meaning you would have 10 dealers offering you the best deal on a BMW.  You would have to save thousands of dollars in a situation like that, for a cost of $47.  The service also provides you with dealer invoice costs so you can figure out how much the dealership is still making off you if you accept their offer.  Maybe next time around I will give it a try just to see what I can save for $47 bucks.  If nothing else you can probably take those offers to the local BMW (or whatever type of car you are buying)  dealership to see if they will cut you a better deal.  I am guessing they won't but it might put a scare into them at least.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New 2012 Honda CRV and 2013 Ford Escape

The new CRV and Escape were revealed at the LA auto show today and you can find all kinds of articles and pictures online now, for instance the Globe and Mail had an article on the CRV today  and here is a random on on the Escape

You will notice a couple of things, or at least I did.  The new CRV looks a little but more rugged, I mean honestly I think the current CRV is the most womanly looking vehicle there is, not that there is anything wrong with that if you are a soccer mom or are married to a soccer mom.  There is one friend of mine that I probably just insulted but he will get over it I am sure.  The 2012 still looks a lot like the old model but it comes loaded with all kinds of good options which you can read about in the article.  I wonder if they have fog lights included now, I could never figure out why they never had them.... oh yeah the CRVs are womanly and it is not a womanly option.  Heated seats for some reason don't come standard, now if there ever was a womanly option it is heated seats, my wife totally agrees with me on that, but you need the middle trim to get heated seats.  I guess it is just a good reason to get people to upgrade to the middle trim.  Also, you should note that the 2011 models are going at an excellent bargain now, very low rates for leasing if you are so inclined.  The local Honda dealership is absolutely loaded down with them.

Now the 2013 Ford Escape is just the opposite, it looks a lot less rugged.  I fact, the Escape which was the opposite of the CRV has now become a CRV.  Just look at it, its like the Ford guys looked at a CRV 4 years ago and decided they wanted to copy it.  Ford sells more Escapes than Honda does CRV's...... why would they turn the Escape into a CRV???  Like the CRV's, the current Escapes have great deals on them now, its your last chance to get one before they turn into CRV's.  Personally I am not a big Escape fan either and if you drove a Pilot for 5 years and then drove an Escape you would know why.  Escape's are good economical  4WD vehicles, just not really comfortable in my opinion... and they have poor fuel economy, not Honda Pilot bad but very bad for a small SUV.

So to summarize.... both the new CRV and Ford Escape look like CRVs.  Maybe everyone should drive a CRV, actually on most parking lots it seems like everyone does drive a CRV, just go to Costco and count the CRVs on the lot at any given time.  There is a new RAV4 coming out soon........ they are giving up on the side opening door and going with a CRV type door, it will be interesting to see what it ends up looking like.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Update Nov 12 2011

Unfortunately I am putting my car buying on hold..... I have gotten new brakes ($800), new bushings ($100)new radiator ($600), new air conditioning parts ($750) and now I am told the air conditioning compressor needs to be replaced because is has a slow leak.  Honda says it will eventually run out of coolant charge but still seems to be working fine.  I don't feel right selling it like it although no one would know the difference.  I took my ads down, never got any calls for the day or so it was up so I probably wasn't going to get what I wanted for it anyway.    Replacing the compressor will run me over $1,000...... no thanks.

In other news, if you google "nl car buying" my blog actually shows up in the top ten!  I can't imagine a lot of people are actually googling nl car buying so in retrospect calling my blog "new car buying in NL" may have been a better title.    But one person did find my site today with that search!

I am rotted with all of a sudden having these problems with the pilot, a radiator and air conditioning unit should not die after 4 1/2 years.  The brakes are understandable although this is the second time I have had them replaced.  I was hoping to get a few good stories from my car selling so I am going to have to give some thought to some new material..... I am open to suggestions.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Selling the Pilot

I am already having second doubts about selling the Pilot.... I just sunk $2,000 into it to get AC, radiator and brakes done which I will never recover ... I think the fact that I am already having doubts means I should not sell it.  I think it broke itself so that I wouldn't sell it.  Maybe I put way too much thought into these things.  The fact that I actually have a blog about all this is a good indication I do indeed put too much thought into it.  I would appreciate anyone leaving a comment to let me know what they think!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

She's going up!

The Pilot is going up for sale.... not sure if it is a good idea or not but I like the 17 month lease takeover on the bmw 328.  The BMW X1 looks cool too and has great gas mileage.  Check out Nl Classifieds and Autotrader tomorrow..... or !!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

BMW lease take over

Another potential BMW option has become available.  One of the local used car sites has a BMW lease takeover advertised, it is the  2009 328 i X Drive in black with black interior, same model I was considering leasing from bmw.  There are only 17 payments remaining, the owner needs to up size due to small children issues.  Payments are $695 (a bit more than the $657 I can lease a new one for) but includes winter tires and an extra set of all seasons.  Seller will also throw in $500 and of course pay all the lease transfer fees.  So you only have to commit for 17 months and then can either bring it back or ..... buy it out for $20,000.  Right now BMW are selling 4 year old models for $30,000 so there may be opportunity to make a couple of bucks on the buyout.  Of course there will be brand new models out next year which will make the older models a bit harder to sell but I would think I could definitely get more than $20,000 for it.

I still have to commit to selling the Pilot of course, I am currently waiting on a part to get the air conditioning fixed which will be done on Thursday.

Anyway just another option to consider.

I went back to Acura to show better half the car on Saturday, they were not busy at all as usual but still not willing to go out of their way for a deal.  I told them the deal bmw was offering on the 2011 328i and they said it was lower because it is a 2011 and the acura is a 2012 so I wasn't comparing apples to apples (I hate that saying).  I pointed out that the msrp on the bmw was actually higher than the Acura and the difference was that the bmw rates were much better.  Anyway they mentioned something about doing a bit better but I couldn't get to the $657 payment bmw were offering.  I think I am almost commited to the bmw if I am going to get anything.  That 17 month lease is really looking good.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Acura TL AWD Test Drive

I heard back from the Volvo guy but he said “he didn’t think there was much he could do on price”, which I interpret as he can do something on price.  Anyway I was back on
Topsail Road
today for a visit to Acura.  Acura’s are basically upscale Honda’s; they are made by Honda and use Honda Financing etc.  The bottom two model levels are like really nice Civics and Accords but I was interested in the TL-AWD, which has 305 hp, and is not like a civic or accord.  The first thing strikes you about the local Acura Dealership is what a crappy dealership they have.  Seriously it is leftover from 1985, cramped, dark, two cars barely squeezed into the showroom.  This tells me there are deals to be had, these guys have to be hungry.  They have a surprisingly nice variety of vehicles for such a horrible dealership set up.  So anyway the sales guy was one of the nicest yet, older gentleman but very easy to talk to, no flash and dash, no shiny forehead, no fake smile, just a nice guy.

Anyway he was more than happy to get me in for a test drive and I accommodated as usual.  I love driving nice cars, so free drives of new nice cars are right up my alley.  Anyway I got into a TL-AWD with Technology Package which includes navigation and upscale stereo for an extra $3,500 (not for me).  It was black, which I like, and it had this super nice umber leather interior, I’d call it dark brown.  Whatever color it was, it was very nice and the seats were very comfortable.  So the interior was well laid out, the controls were kind of complicated but not overly.  Center console had a little storage and a couple of hidden cup holders.  Overall I really liked it but for some reason there are no folding rear seats which you think would be automatic.  There is a small pass through in back but it has a smallish truck so cargo space is very limited.

Anyway who cares about boring stuff like storage space, off I went and this machine could move.  There was a slight delay before the engine kick in but it’s only very slight.  The only vehicle I didn’t get this hesitation in was the Volvo, it had instant response.  Anyway this vehicle drives really smooth and of course it’s quick.  Handles really good and the seats really hold you in well.  I would say it was on par with the Volvo and acceleration was better than the bmw 328 but not the 335.  It is prices closer to the 328, the 335 BMW is about $5,000 more expensive so dollar for dollar, the Acura is a good value.  So I wrapped up my test drive and headed back to talk dollars and cents.

Acura has a 25 year anniversary thing on where they have 0.25% financing for 25 month leases with 25 months free maintenance.  The lease payment works out to around $800 for the 25 month deal which is not bad for such a short term lease.  The 48 month lease was $692, but here are a couple of irritating things I found at Acura.  They charge $299 for some strange rim insurance that the sales guy could hardly explain and $199 for nitrogen in the tires….. what is all that about, gimme some free regular air please, and $100 for admin fees.  I think they were actually charging $399 for admin with that hokey rim insurance but they just call it something different.  So I guess that means I have to get winter tires on rims because I wouldn’t want to let the $200 air out of my tires.  That’s $400 at least I have to get back from them.  They have a 3.9% four year lease rate or $3,000 off with 5.9% lease rate, the $3,000 off route works out to about $15 less a month or $750 in total. 

So $692 is my starting point for the base TL-AWD on a four year lease.  Salesguy indicated they will do a bit better when it comes to deal time, I’d be expecting them to come down to $650.  I am not sure how it works if I showed up with cash from the sale of my beautiful Pilot to put down on a lease but I will send an email and see how it all works.  If I can get the $3,000 off plus extra off and not have to pay the 5.9% rate it might be worth it.

Anyway I liked the Acura, I like the look of the Volvo a bit more but it is a bit more costly and they don’t have the free maintenance thing going.  The BMW is still right there though………

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Volvo S60 Test Drive

Volvo S60

Had some free time on my lunch and decided to check out Volvo having no idea what to expect there.  Well they have this really nice looking S60 AWD sedan with 300 hp turbocharged engine.  So in I went and set myself up with a test drive.  They also have 1.9% lease rates and free AWD ($2,200 rebate) I quickly found out.  So sales guy was more than accommodating, never even took a copy of my license just told me to go have fun and show the car to whoever wanted to see it…. Now this guy knows how to sell cars.  So it has the standard upscale sedan keyless entry and push button start…. which is a cool feature.  I really liked the leather seats, they were very comfortable, on par with the bmw seats.  Nice interior layout, had a few more buttons and gadgets than the bmw, which can be good and bad.  The BMW is for driving, not for button pressing.  I actually had a hard time figuring out how to change the radio station on the Volvo, seriously, it is not intuitive at all.  There is a nice little video screen for all the audio but I could see someone really struggling to get their favorite channel on.  Imagine trapped in a Volvo with nothing but country music to keep you company…..

So once I figured all the buttons out and set the heat up to nice and toasty I promptly opened the sunroof, put the window down and set out down
Topsail Road
to the highway.  You can feel the 300 hp, it is not primarily rear wheel drive like the bmw so you don’t get the huge push from behind but this thing is really quick, definitely quick enough for going to Costco and back.  It does feel a bit heavier (and it is a couple hundred pounds heavier) than the bmw so it’s not as nimble but it handles great all the same.  I really liked the interior, lots of great features and a couple of decent cup holders to boot. 

So the test drive was a success and I asked sales guy to email me some 4 year lease quotes and a purchase quote for a 2011 they had leftover, he said they were discounting it $5,000.  He said they couldn’t lease the 2011…. Go figure.  So sure enough later on today the quote showed up, and it was a bit high at $740 a month to lease the 2012 over 4 years, the 6 year purchase on the 2011 was $800 at 3.5%.  I checked into the lease and part of the reason it is at $740 is because there are $2,700 in useless (to me anyway) options included such as active headlights ($1,200), blind spot info system ($750), nav prep ($125) and rear park assist ($600).  I have 300hp, if someone is in my blind spot I will hit the gas pedal and get rid of them, no big deal.  Anyways I haven’t gone back to ask for a better deal yet but I will of course.

I was more inclined towards the 6 year purchase, he discounted the vehicle $6000 but of course they already have $2,200 discounts on the 2012s and lower rates so really he is not giving me that much of a deal…. Yet.  Overall I really liked the Volvo, right up there with the bmw but it is $80 more a month to lease so that’s not going to work.  So I am going to go back and see if he can do a better deal on either.

In the meanwhile I posted an online poll on to see what type of car people would buy if given the option, check it out and vote:,76236.20.html

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Audi test drive and BMW Rates

So the first of the month is always an exciting day for car nerds like myself.  Its the day of new rates and promotions.  I checked out a few sites and found a couple of interesting items.  I will check out the other sites during the week to see if any new deals are out there.

1. Mercedes has lowered their 4 year lease rates to 3.9% from 5.9% or 6.9%, I am not sure if they still have the deal where they make the first three lease payments up to $450 per month for you or not.

2. BMW put the 5 year certified used car rate up to 2.9% from 1.9%, the sales guy told me the rates would go up so I was expecting it but it still sucks.  So dollar and cents wise this means most of the certified used just went up about $15-$20 a month.  This means I will now have to get about $1,000 off the price to make up for the rise in rates.  These rates will be in effect for the full month so November will this will probably be deal or no deal time for me until April.

So Audi had a 2008 A4 up for $27,900, a bit less expensive than the bmw but it had 80,000km on it so about even all things considered.  I arranged for a test drive and was not impressed at all.  It was a nice vehicle with a very smooth ride but just no fun to drive.  It has 200 hp but our Mazda 3 is just as peppy in my opinion.  The engine was also loud and rough when idling.  The back seat seemed very tight as well, the bmw is not cavernous but it did seem a bit larger.

I just dropped the keys back and let the sales guy know I wasn't interested.  Funny enough they don't have a single 2011 A4 left in stock and it isn't until spring they get 2012's in, I just don't think they sell very many of them.  The dealership just kind of sells them off the side of the VW dealership, no big shiny building like BMW.  Even though BMW has the huge building they only have 2 salespeople..... go figure.