Alright, so some of you may remember the COAL that I did early on in the series about the 2015 Subaru Crosstrek that I married into. A lot of readers were a little disgruntled about the fact that I traded in a 5 year old car when there was nothing wrong with it. There were also a lot of comments saying I made my wife trade her car in. Let’s set that one straight. I absolutely cannot make my wife do anything. She controls the purse strings in our house, and truth be told she was getting a little tired of the Crosstrek as well. If anyone does, however, find out how to make their wife trade cars, let me know (joking)! I was a bit surprised by some of the comments, because who cares? If people have the means to do so without piling on the debt, let them funnel cars into the used market!
Anyway, this is what replaced it. My wife absolutely loved the Outbacks that I had before we got married. She liked the size of it, the slight luxurious upgrades, and the car-like nature. So when we started to look for another car, she went straight to the Subaru dealer.
I, on the other hand, was ready to get something different than a Outback. I loved my 2017, but I really wanted to add a Volvo into the garage. Knowing full well that it was her car, and it would be mostly driven by her, I let her have the final say. I was there just to guide the process, and throw out options that I thought were safe. At the time Anna was still commuting right before we moved to our new house. So I wanted something with safety, and that was all I really cared about.
We looked at the used section of Adventure Subaru, as we could not afford a brand new one. She immediately spotted a lightly used Ascent, but was shocked by the price tag. I don’t think she really cared about the color, or options, but just that it was an Outback. She went to a black one at first, but it had sadly been smoked in, and the dealer didn’t try very hard to get the smell out. Anna’s next concern was price, it had to be financially doable to her, so that left only a handful of Outbacks on the lot (at the time they had over 30 used Outbacks!). I gravitated toward a green one naturally because that was the color I used to have. Once she saw the interior color she was sold. I wanted to still shop around though, and show her a few more brand options.
We shopped at Toyota, and she loved the new RAV4, but we both agreed that we would not gain much size going up from the Crosstrek. We looked at the Highlander, but it was just a bit more than we wanted to spend.
Our next stop was Mazda. The CX-9 was the one we aimed at, and really liked. The dealer though was very limited on inventory, and most were fully loaded. Anna also felt that it was a bit bigger than she wanted, and we did not need something that size right then.
Next, was a Buick dealer where they had a 2018 Volvo XC60. I was very excited to show her this. She had never seen or been in the new SPA platform, as our closest dealer was 2 hours away. It was Pine Grey with black interior. It also came well equipped, but not top of the line, so it had just about everything she would need. The car had been on their lot for several months, and had been discounted considerably. Anna was quickly distracted by a Buick Regal TourX. It was white with tan interior, and was $25,000 brand new. It was the last one on their lot, and they were wanting it gone. We drove it two times, and each time we both really liked it. It was a base model and lacked a lot of the driver assist features I would have liked Anna to have. I also had a hard time getting behind GM again after my parents’ Tahoe experience. I told her that we could look at the TourX, but just not this one, because of the lack of safety technology. A quick internet search showed this was the only TourX within 200 miles. That search ended quick.
Back to the Volvo. Anna drove it several times, and really liked it. She liked the seats, and how much quieter it rode than the Outback. She agreed that it was the one she wanted. Elated, we sat down with the salesman. Online they didn’t have the Carfax posted, which I found strange, so I asked to see it. He was a young guy, and said sure. After several times when he “forgot” to print it off, I told him we weren’t going further until I see it. When he came back with it, it showed it was a rental owned by Enterprise. I was immediately turned off. Before I could say anything about the Carfax, the young salesman came back with our payment numbers. Now, my wife broke the cardinal rule of car buying. She told the salesmen while I was looking at the car what she wanted our payment number to be. So when he came back to show us, he said “look I got you where you wanted to be on monthly payment.” I started running the numbers at the table, and saw that they had us at a 10.5% interest rate. Confused, I asked “what is the interest rate on this loan?” The salesman AND finance manager came out, and said “we can’t tell you what your interest rate is.” Right there I stood up, and started to walk out. They had already run our credit, and showed we had zero debt at the time, and excellent credit (we hadn’t bought our house, and luckily had no student loans. Both our parents helped us early to establish credit for us), so there should be no reason they cannot tell us our interest rate. As we were getting in the car, the salesman shouted “we have a couple coming from Tulsa to look at it, you need to buy it now or they will.” I simply replied “let them!”
Defeated, we left, and ate some lunch. As we talked over lunch, not saying much about the car, Anna piped up and said “why don’t we just get the Subaru?” I looked at her and asked her if that was what she really wanted. I did not want her to get really bummed out about losing this Volvo if she really wanted one. She told me she was just trying to make me happy by getting a Volvo. I really did not want to go for the Subaru, but it was her car, and I really wanted her to get something she wanted.
After an extremely smooth transaction (it always is) at Adventure Subaru, we walked out with 0% for 72 months on a CPO Outback. They had given us top dollar for our trade, and were really great to deal with, so I was happy.
In 2018 Subaru came out with the Touring model, which basically adds a different color leather, and eliminates the integrated crossbars. The roofline is more wagon like, and cleaner. You also get some plastic chrome accents on the outside, and a heated steering wheel. We also got the added active headlights, which is nice when it’s dark on a curvy road. Ours is the 2.5 4-cylinder, and it’s nice for around town, but coupled with the CVT it lacks for sure. I added a trailer hitch to the car right after we bought it to tow our garden trailer around, and even with a small trailer it struggles.
We still have this car, and Anna is very happy. At first she HATED the driver assist features after it emergency braked on her a few times (don’t get me started), but now she has gotten used to it. The only issue we have had, was and still is the Apply CarPlay. For some reason it keeps cutting out at random times. We have taken it into the dealer to have it updated, but still nothing works. I need to take it back in, but COVID has limited the ability to go in.
It is the car we drive most often when we go out together, and I find it just fine to drive. The seats get a little uncomfortable after a long trip, but we are fortunate to have a nice car. We both plan to keep this car until either the wheels fall off or we need something bigger. In the end, Anna was happy, and the Subaru fits nicely into the garage.
Key to making your wife accept a trade in: look up catastrophic and incredibly expensive fixes others have had and point out that it’s a time bomb that will cost you half the value of the car. (Ford’s internal water pump V6 is a good example as well as the aft timing chain guides on the Audi’s, engine out turbos etc.). If she’s in charge at least partially of the finances and knows you don’t have a lift or a prayer of fixing something like that she will likely agree.
“Ford’s internal water pump V6.” That was the PRIMARY reason I just sold my ‘16 F-150 with the base, non-turbo 3.5L V6. It had been an essentially trouble-free truck for he two years I owned it, and I planned on keeping it a long, long time. However, it mysteriously was losing a trace amount of coolant as the overflow tank kept draining below the “add” mark. No drips, no smells, no overheating (and I regularly leave it idling n the Florida sun for extended periods). My used car manager (I’m the lot manager at a large Chevy dealership) and a reconditioning mechanic told me about the internal water pump “time bomb” and I got scared. Sold it for more than I paid for it and got an ‘08 Chevy with a 4.8L V8. I’m now waiting on the infamous intake manifold gasket to go, but maybe it was already replaced. I had a ‘00 Chevy with the 4.3L V6 that had a slight coolant loss issue; one day it turned into a major leak, thus learning about the Vortec intake manifold issue.
Are you sure you had an internal water pump on your truck? It was my understanding that the F-150 3.7L and 3.5L NA has a belt driven external water pump. The only ones that had internal pumps were the FWD applications to save space. Ford lists the Motorcraft PW575 as the correct pump for that application which is definitely belt driven.
You need to get a new used car manager and/or reconditioning mechanic, the only Fords with the water pump in the timing cover are the FWD models which were put there to reduce the length to fit in a transverse application.
Even if it was in the timing cover it wouldn’t be a labor intensive job since you can remove the timing cover with the engine in the vehicle on the RWD applications.
Connor, I recently bought a new vehicle (not a Subaru) with Airplay and it was very erratic. Lots of folks on the forums had taken theirs in for SW updates and even head replacements. However, a credible number of people said the problem was solved by carefully cleaning out the Lightning connector on their iPhone. Most of us just use that connector for charging and those power/ground pins/pads seem pretty robust. But the additional data lines used by Airplay (I assume yours isn’t wireless) seem sensitive to dirt. After cleaning my phone, it’s worked flawlessly. Quite a bit of pocket lint in there … but a toothpick and a blast from a compressed air can got it clean.
Absolutely this. I even ended up trying a number of different USB cables in the car to no success, but pulled a big chunk of jean pocket lint out of the connector and it’s been flawless since.
Another quick iPhone maintenance trick: you know that blue putty stuff they sell at stationery stores to hang posters on walls? Take a blob of that and shove it in the tiny speaker holes on either side of the Lightning connector. It won’t get stuck in the holes but it will pull out any lint, and your phone’s speaker will be like 216% louder.
(Poor design on Apple’s part they keep repeating with every generation, but it’s the only way I’ve figured out to get around it.)
Congratulations on your new car. When my wife was ready for a new car in 2017, she wanted a crossover so we did what you did. It felt like we looked at every crossover out there. We started smaller and looked at the Ford Escape and Honda CRV and thena CPO Lexus RX 350 and a new Volvo XC60 as the new model was coming out. All were nice but neither of us were sold on them. On our way to look at the Acura RDX, we stopped at the Subaru dealer on a whim. We took an Outback on a test drive and we both came back we loving it. It drove like a car while still giving you the height people like in CUVs. The salesman was excellent–actually better informed than the salesmen at the Lexus and Volvo dealers when it came to product knowledge. He explained every feature, answered every question, and made the buying process easy. He had a leftover 2017 Subaru Touring in the green with the brown leather interior with the six cylinder engine that we both fell in love with. Bought it in September 2017at 0% for 63 months and have been very happy with it.
“slight luxurious upgrades” Subarus are nice enough cars, but I would hardly consider them even slightly luxurious.
Touring model Subarus are slightly luxurious. All the other models are not slightly luxurious.
Number one rule of buying a car with a loan is shop for you loan before you shop for the car. Then when they ask about financing you tell them I’ve got a loan at x% and if you can beat that (by more than just .01%) I’ll let you do the deal. That quickly stops the interest rate bump games.
The last time I did this I went to my credit union and got their rate and told the dealer who is a Credit Union Direct Lender participant, who could have wrote the loan. They came back quickly with a .25% lower rate. Not only that I made $5 on the deal since you need to have an account to get a loan, I’m not sure if it was the credit union or the dealer who kicked in that $5.
As far as getting the wife to trade the way I did it was back when we were younger and not as well off. I did the same thing you do and fix and sell cars. So I’d find what I thought I could make money on and once it was sorted it became her driver until I found another project. So she got used to driving a different car every 6 months-1 year.
At this point her last 3 cars were picked out by me and the wife has been happy and will give me her “but I like my car” line when I suggest looking for something different. However she does like what I get and some of that is due to living with her for over 30 years and knowing what she likes, doesn’t like and most importantly what she likes but doesn’t “need”.
The return to me just buying her cars was prompted by her car getting totaled. She wasn’t wanting to shop, but still complained about having to drive the gas guzzling SUV as her daily driver. So after a couple of months of this and my busy season approaching I found a deal that checked her requirements, but not the things she likes but proclaims she doesn’t need. First time she saw it was when I pulled into the driveway with it and said we need to go pickup my car.
When that one was wrecked I got online and 3 days later it was once again, here is your car we need to go get mine. Again a basic no options car. After about a year with that one and her mother needing a new daily driver, I took my time and found the car she currently has. This time she did get to see it before the paper work was signed since I called her and said bring the check book I found your new car.
I wish someone had told me that the first time I shopped for a car from a dealer. I wound up buying a 2-year-old Ford Contour from a Ford dealer, and paid a ridiculous interest rate because they offered to get me a loan, and I said “OK.” At the time, I had no experience in car-shopping at dealers, as my previous cars had been bought from individuals or family members for (small amounts of) cash. Oh well, live and learn. But I did feel awfully foolish afterwards.
Regarding cars and wife, I’m very fortunate because my wife and I like similar vehicles. I lucked out there.
Oh, so *that’s* what CUDL stands for. I’d heard of the CUDL system (and actually used it with my most recent car purchase, since I called my credit union ahead of time) but didn’t know the exact definition of the acronym.
I once had a wife who controlled my purse strings.
Funny thing is I don’t have the wife anymore.
But were you able to keep the purse?
“We can’t tell you what your rate is”. Is that even legal? Time to run, not walk. Very shaky. You both make a good choice
They did, he got the numbers with the paperwork. The A Hole attitude was beyond outrageous, however. One should ask why he didn’t ask the finance rate he qualified for prior to running a payment plan on that specific car… Yeah, she caused the problem for sure with a number as a jumping off point, but it’s also what was specified. Not length of term, then quote.
I think the dealer is trashy as all hell here, so don’t get me wrong. They found a $400 per month payment that worked for them first. I worked with credit check years ago and most people don’t realize you can’t do multiple credit checks in a short time without a fairly significant score hit.
“most people don’t realize you can’t do multiple credit checks in a short time without a fairly significant score hit”
which is so bogus since a smart shopper is trying to get the best interest rate which means getting rate quotes from different banks and perhaps different dealers. Poor shoppers with bad credit are more likely to take the first (i.e.bad) offer which costs them money over the life of the loan because further investigation only hurts them.
We should be able to find the best rate without being penalized for it.
Great color on that “green bean”. I love my ‘13 Outback. It has the appearance package, which was a 2 year only option where you got the brown seats and some other special trim pieces like darker wheels, headlights from the Legacy, dark “wood” inside. Pretty sharp looking.
I’m starting to put my arms around a new car in 2 years (I usually retire my cars to less-active duty at 10 years and 200k miles). This is the first time I’ve seriously considered buying the new version of the same model. My only hope is that by 2023 the Outback has some sort of hybrid model, thanks to their tie-in with Toyota. I’m amazed the new Highlander Hybrid easily breaks 30 mpgs. Will probably look at one of those if the Outback isn’t hybridized by then.
I hope to gawd that when I am ready to replace my Pacifica minivan, someone still makes a minivan and it won’t have those terrifying “safety” features. I do not want emergency braking and I do not want a lot.of irritating beepy things to distract me. What happens if a sensor fails and the car decides to emergency brake for no reason?
Even if the dealer isn’t giving you a great rate, or you take the manufacturer’s financing to get the rebate, you can refinance a car with the credit union and cut the rate significantly. I like to get the cash rebate and then refinance to get the better rate. I would have thought dealers playing games like that were pretty much dead in the modern world of high competition and internet knowledge.
If you didn’t like the crosstrek, that’s a perfect reason to trade it in. There’s no point in driving a car you dislike just to save a few dollars.
You would think, but no.
For one thing, there’s a significant population of people who are just happy to be able to get a new(er) car at all. Those are people who’ve historically not been able to afford such an extravagance, or secure a loan.
Here’s what I see most often: they walk into the dealership with no reservations whatsoever, and get paired with a salesperson. They let the salesperson run their credit. Then, rather than figuring out what they need and can afford beforehand, they let the salesperson dictate to them what they can and can’t have “off the lot” (which is often whatever makes the salesperson the most money, or needs getting rid of). They’re convinced that their salesperson is their buddy, and “got them financed”…and that their ability to get a new car is contingent on staying and buying something from that dealership’s lot. They don’t understand that, while their financing is–yes–through that dealership, they can go to some other dealership and salesperson, and get the same financing. Or…better yet…get a pre-approval.
Carvana is particularly able to prey upon people (even people with good credit) with this model, because they have a general-credit application that then applies to their whole inventory. If you’re wary of dealing with people, you might just go with their financing terms and their car, never bothering to shop elsewhere or do a price comparison.
Those people end up overpaying, but I almost feel relieved on their behalf, because at least they didn’t go to a buy-here-pay-here and finance something (which is 99% likely to be a bum deal for them).
The other one I see is one that can affect more-educated and well-heeled buyers. You see, dealerships know that to get the most attention, their listings on CarGurus, AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc…need to be at the top of the search. And most people sort from Lowest Priced to Highest Priced, within whatever radius they’re looking for a car. So these dealers go and they price their cars significantly lower than the competition. You might see, for example, new Mazda3 Turbos for $24,300 and up everywhere else. Well, here’s a dealer charging $21,000 for theirs. What you don’t know is that, once you get to that dealer and you’re well into the F&I process…they’ll tack on a bunch of fees, lowball you for your trade, or refuse to let you leave without buying stupid warranties. At the end of the day, you will pay the same $24K (in aggregate) that the other dealers’ cars cost, and will have had to play lots of games for your trouble.
To combat that second one, I usually just research what a fair price is on whatever I’m looking for, and then find the closest dealership advertising that price. No need to p*ss around with dealers trying to play games and display stupidly low prices. Then, I make sure I get an out-the-door price before I set foot in there.
There are honest dealers out there, and ones that realize they can cultivate repeat business by doing things right the first time, instead of trying to squeeze people for every dime they have. But there are also dishonest dealers. And there are dealers who have the potential to be either, depending on who’s on staff that day.
But they always have their tricks, even in the Information Age. Crucially, most non-car people aren’t as informed as you think they are about car purchases and how best to avoid being fleeced.
I always negotiate the out the door price. It isn’t that hard to figure out how much the sales tax will be and roughly how much the actual title and license fees are.
That puts a stop or at least minimizes the add-on games in the F&I dept.
I looked at some of the new ’19+ Outback Tourings, myself. Unfortunately, you can’t get the sleeker roof rails on the new-generation Outback Touring. You’re stuck with the highly functional (but dorky) ones that have integrated crossbars.
Mind you, I wasn’t around then, but I gather that it might have been possible for a husband to make his wife do this, that, and the other thing ca. 1900.
I work part time for a company that runs Outbacks. We have four that are over 200K, all run great. One is approaching 340K and is in daily use. These cars seem built to a commercial standard. The hood stays open with no prop, the engine oil filter (2.5) is on top of the engine, near the radiator, easy to work on. They are superb in snow, even with plain all season radials. I believe they are US built.
Dealer games and attitude will make me walk out the door and never come back. I’m the one with the money and they’re not the only vendor out there.
Our next car search will be interesting. Our current Mazda CX-5 was an emergency purchase and my wife doesn’t like driving it because at 5’1″ tall her head barely clears the window sills. She loves riding in our F-150 since she has much better visibility but is leery of trying to park a 20′ long truck. This leaves the question of something we can afford that she can both see out of and park. While a Kei car would be great fun a 25 year old daily driver is a bit of a challenge.
Does the CC hive mind have any suggestions for a recent car with a low belt line that’s easy to park?