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Dale and I looked over people’s advice, both here and in other fora, about the car decision–keep Grover, or get AWD. And, while a lot of people were pretty convinced we could make do with a front-wheel drive vehicle, we ended up listening to the people who told us to play it safe, even though there were fewer of them. Here’s why: I’m a nervous winter driver, and the day Grover nearly failed to make it up Forbes (between Murray and Shady, which those who are familiar with Pittsburgh will recognize as “a bit of a hill,” but nothing particularly severe–still, though, I nearly backslid into a cop car) was the last day I drove in wintry conditions–thinking back, I’m pretty sure Dale’s done all the winter driving since then, because that hurt my confidence in myself and my vehicle. And I’ve been quietly freaked out when he was on the road in either car, in winter weather. Frankly, we’ve gotten by with Grover and the Honda here because we just don’t go out in bad weather, outside of Dale’s drive and my bus ride to work. (Which has its own hazards–I still have this tremendous bump on my right calf, from slipping on the bus floor one wet winter day when it was overfull.) I would rather not feel so trapped for so much of the year, you know?

So Dale and I test drove cars last night. We have a quote we can live with for a pre-owned 2009 Pontiac Vibe. It’s a good car, and we could be happy with it. We don’t have a quote for it yet, but we think we prefer the Subaru Forester. Same gas mileage (but bigger tank), one more star of safety rating, slightly higher customer satisfaction numbers, a little more comfortable, and the reflection in the rear-view mirror does not remind one of a tunnel. :D It’s possible that the incentives for buying the Subaru new will make its price more competitive with the Vibe, once we get the interest rates for both. Anyway, one way or the other, I do think we’re doing this car upgrade thing.

I scrubbed Grover down really well yesterday, and I think it was worth it, because they’re willing to give us what we owe on the loan for the trade-in value. Edit: The dealer… a nice person would say “mis-calculated,” and a less-nice person would say “misrepresented” the value of Grover. They’re giving us what I expected, which is still good, but seems disappointing after thinking they were giving us the whole loan’s worth, particularly since the Subaru dealer uses the same appraiser. I think he felt bad about it–or knew we would be upset–so he cut down the price of the Pontiac pretty hard, making the total loan lower than he quoted last night, even with the difference in Grover’s worth. But the interest rate is more than I’m prepared to accept, meaning we’re extra double plus interested in a Subaru, which has a 2.9% interest rate promotion going on. Now that I have a number for the monthly payment, I can compare better.

It feels good to have some progress on one of the many decisions we have to make before I leave at the end of the month! (I should really get moving on this packing thing, though. :))

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August 2009