June 8, 2014
The past winter was enough for me to get a new vehicle. Over the past couple of years, I sat on the fence, hoping to squeeze another year out of my beloved Jeep. My 2000 Jeep Cherokee aka the silver bullet was nothing more than a rust bucket. The Ohio Department of Transportation used a record amount of salt on the roads last winter and it took a toll on the local beaters. The salt basically eat the rocker panels and floor. The older Cherokees always had issues with rust, but this was ridiculous. Under the doors were huge gaping holes, the passenger door was a missing a hunk of metal. I could see numerous paint blisters on all of the doors and around the windows. The odometer had just rolled over 175,000 miles and I could smell the oil burning. The ball joints were wearing out and I was embarrassed to be seen driving it. It had become a huge piece of shit and it was something a meat hunting hillbilly would ride. I bought it five years ago when my credit was shot after my divorce. I started haggling with the idiot salesmen at some low end lot. He pissed and moaned that he was being taken to the cleaners. We agreed to $3800 and I paid in cash. I was lucky to get to five years with minimal problems. But it was time to upgrade - big time.
Instead of buying, I decided to give leasing a try. It made sense for me as my work is only 4 miles away. Other than work and fishing, I'm lucky to put on a 1000 miles a month. I was the perfect candidate for it. The old Jeep consumed fuel like an alcoholic consumes booze. It was costing me a fortune going out east every time. The ride was stiff and uncomfortable. The power locks didn't work, the back hatch had to held up with a screwdriver, the front speakers were shot and so on. It was always in the back of my mind that one day it would finally die. I wanted fuel efficiency, comfort and no worries.
I narrowed my choices down to the new Jeep Cherokee and the Chevy Equinox. I never considered Ford because everyday I'm reminded how awful they are. My work truck is a Ford and nearly every month somebody's truck is in the shop for repairs. I stopped at Pat O'Brien Chevrolet and took one for a test drive. The Equinox was very quiet, had a peppy 4 cylinder, seats were super comfy and it's built in Canada! The salesman Dave was great, answering all of my questions and never pressured me. I informed him that I still wanted to test drive the Cherokee and he was fine with that. I drove over the Jeep dealership and looked at the Cherokees. The new Cherokee are a far cry from the bare bones Cherokee of old. It had a more futuristic appearance. When I first saw one, I thought it looked ugly. But over time I gradually liked it.
I watched one salesmen back one up and what struck me was how cheap the engine sound. I asked the salesmen if I could take one for test drive and told me he would get somebody. He left and I stood outside for over 20 minutes. I walked into the dealership and I couldn't find the guy. I asked for test drive and they called the used car salesmen. I started to get the impression that this place was disorganized. We finally get in the car and I noticed the cheap interior that Chrysler's are famous for. It had the same plastic as my old Jeep. The engine was slightly louder and seats weren't as comfortable. The salesmen wasn't well versed in the Cherokee as he didn't know much about it since he was the "used car" guy. Halfway through the test drive, I made up my mind. After the test drive, the salesmen gave me his business card. I left and tossed the card in the garbage. I called Dave the next day and told him the good news. We crunched some numbers and came to a price that I was comfortable paying.
A week later I picked up my 2014 red Equinox. I put down $3000 and got a 39 month lease paying about $250 a month with 12,000 miles a year. No more worries about shelling out money for repairs as everything is covered under warranty. I'll save a lot of money in fuel as Dave told me I could get over 400 miles on a tank of gas. I got in my car and breathed in that new car smell "aaaahhhhh" that I haven't done in ten year. The silver bullet will be donated to a worthy cause as the Lady of the Wayside picked it up yesterday to be sold on their lot for people who can't get financing or need a cheap car quick.
Looking forward to the first road trip and the upcoming season.