We were looking for something to do this afternoon away from home. You see, we locked Wizard out of the house this morning when he refused to attend Sabbath services and threw a tantrum. He was unrepentant when we returned from services, lunch, and haircuts, so WineGuy offered to visit car dealers with me. Will wonders never cease? You see, WG is not a big fan of cars, car shopping, or anything else automotive.
Our first stop was the local Ford dealer (whom I have visited three times looking at the new Ford Flex). We encountered a genial, seemingly honest, no-pressure salesman, Fordman. We made it clear to Fordman that we were not buying a car today, that we wanted to compare some features of the Flexes on the lot. Fordman graciously gave us the keys to the Limited and pulled an SE (base model) alongside for us to view. This was extremely helpful: WG and I both sat in the driver’s and front passenger’s seats in both vehicles. We compared second rows — with and without consoles and automatic folding — and debated the merits of waiting an extra 6+ months for the model with the telescoping and tilting (TNT) steering wheel. WG was pretty comfortable everywhere he sat. Fordman was honest in revealing what he did and did not know about the 2010 models and invited us back into the dealership to view his upcoming inventory. Fordman didn’t ask us about our trade, was frank about how long the CARS rebates were likely to last (not long). Interestingly, Fordman asked us whether we had access to any Ford employee discounts, like X-Plan and A-Plan; I do, through my cousin, Angel’s, husband. On one vehicle order form, Fordman showed us the MSRP, showed us what his cost was, what the X-Plan discount would be, and reminded us that we would still be entitled to any incentives offered at the time of delivery. A very satisfying and informative visit.
Then, we drove down the street to the local Mercedes Benz dealer. As luck would or would not have it, the original salesman I spoke with was on duty today. He was elegantly dressed and of equally slick demeanor. WG didn’t like him at all. Once again, we were clear that we were looking only — just wanted to sit in the vehicle and compare how we fit. Long story short, WG felt squished in the front seat of the GL320. Its seat and center console were not positioned correctly for him, no matter how he adjusted the seat. WG also felt that, as a family, we still need second row captain’s chairs to allow free access to the third row. The GL has only a bench seat, which must be folded manually to access the third row. I should also mention that I’ve had more than a few sleepless nights over the cost of the vehicle; even using Costco’s auto-buying program, I couldn’t get the price of the car down to a comfortable figure for me. (Parenthetically, I must add that we’re facing $$$$$ to re-do the pool and paint the house this year.)
After long discussions this evening, WG and I agreed that the GL320 is out of consideration. We’ll go for the 2010 Ford Flex. We need to look at the e-brochure to decide what color and what options. Then we will likely special-order the vehicle for fall 2009 delivery. Even if I order every bell and whistle on the Flex Limited, the car will come out tens of thousands less than the Benz.
I’m a bit disappointed over forgoing the Benz, but compromising on the Flex is better for family harmony and marital bliss. … And if it turns out to be a piece of crap like my minivan, I will shout “I TOLD YOU SO” at WG, and then I will buy a Benz then. Nyah.