Right before I left for the conference we bought a sweet 2004 Honda Civic from a dealer in Seattle. It's so pretty!!
This is the first car we've bought together and the newest car either of us has ever owned (only by 2 yrs though). The car we traded in for this one, the '95 Geo, was bought in '99 by my Studly Hubby who owned it for 7 yrs. We traded it in for $400. The car dealer was embarrassed to even have the Geo on their lot and immediately moved it to their "back lot" as soon as we signed it over. They kept trying to convince us to keep the Geo and have two cars ('wouldn't it be nice to be a two-car family??'). We were not tempted. We were also not tempted to try to sell it ourselves, since it is a stick-shift covered with midwest rust it is pretty worthless here in Seattle.
Yesterday we washed the new Honda and waxed it and put new plate-covers on it and cleaned the windows and the dash and took it out for a joy-ride around Green Lake. We got awesome new plate-covers that look like a monster is eating our license plates.
We also bought some touch-up paint from the Honda dealer and tried to cover up some of the dings and scratches on it. It was a Flexcar rental car so has quite a few scratches and dings but I consider that good for the nerves because now I won't be so paranoid about running it into a bush or a street sign. And it's a bonus that it was a rental car because the engine was meticulously taken care of as confirmed by our mechanic.
The car-buying experience was interesting. First we decided whether to buy a car and what price range would be appropriate, then we narrowed down what we wanted to four cars (Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Mazda Protege and Hyundai Elantra) by studying the Consumer Reports and every car in our neighborhood. Then we systematically drove to dealers around the city to test drive the cars. We never got around to the Mazda but tried the others and liked the Honda the best by far (Corolla was second best). We checked that the car insurance wouldn't be too insane, went home to look for a better deal (the one we test drove was the best deal), looked up the CarFax report, and then went back the next day and bought it.
The only big pain in the neck was dealing with the car dealer. We walked in at 10 am on Saturday wanting to buy the car. By 5 pm that same day we were finally sitting down with their accountant going over all our warranty and loan options. The whole time in between we were sitting around waiting. Considering we were planning on spending a big heapload of money there I was pretty miffed at their inefficiency. I hate it when people waste my time like that, but it's hard to find a way out of it other than to throw a fit (which I was on the verge of). They knew we wanted their car so they knew we would wait. We probably won't go back to that dealer again (although they did have the best deal).
But we sure love our new Honda!!