Saturday afternoon, we cleaned out ye olde Ford Contour, gave its battery one last jump, and caravaned up to Taylor Kia to trade up for a Kia Forte.
Long story short, we are now the owners of a 2010 Kia Forte SX with
all most of the trimmings, plus six years of car payments.
Read on for the longer version…
We’d been contemplating a new car for some time — since the Cash for Clunkers program, in fact, when we discovered that the Contour didn’t qualify as a “clunker”. I’d been doing a good deal of research online, and really had my heart set on a Kia Forte, but we decided to wait until the Contour was truly well and done before we got another car.
Two weekends ago, this was the scene:
The battery was completely dead when Aaron had tried to start it earlier that week, so he went out and bought some jumper cables, along with a much-needed emergency kit for the car. We rolled the Contour out of the garage and down the driveway, jumped it*, let it run to charge the battery, and thought maybe that would be it for a while.
Try less than a week. We’re guessing it was the alternator, but we’re neither of us “car people.”
Luckily, Aaron had the presence of mind to have backed the Contour into the garage after jumping it the first time, so jumping it the following weekend to drive it to Taylor Kia for a trade-in wasn’t nearly as much of a show as before.
And in we drove to Taylor Kia, Aaron and I pulling in together and choosing parking spots relatively close to one another, with the Contour strategically parked in prime jumper-cable-connecting position, just in case.
A salesperson approached us practically before we’d finished closing our car doors — being the day of the Ohio State / Michigan game, the dealership was pretty dead, and all the guys were hanging out in front, enjoying the weather. Joe “the Jeweler” Logan turned out to be a great guy to deal with — if anyone reads this and decides to go to Taylor Kia, ask for Joe. Tell him I sent you.
We’d been planning to play it cool, not act too gung-ho about buying right off the bat. As it was, I tipped my hand pretty early on when Joe didn’t know whether any of the Forte models came with a windshield de-icer (I knew from my online research that it was included in the leather package, and I told him so). So, I think Joe knew pretty early on that we were planning to leave with a new car, one way or another.
We wouldn’t have test-driven a Soul (the car that wishes it were an SUV) if Joe hadn’t pointed it out. We knew we weren’t going to buy one, but figured, what the hey. We’re at the dealership; let’s take one out! So we did. Lots of headroom, surprisingly spacious interior, plus it was our first exposure to the audio system that comes standard from Kia these days. We knew we weren’t going to buy one, but it was fun to take it out, anyway.
When we came back from our Soul test-drive, Joe had a mid-level Forte ready for us to take out. It drove like a new car should, with healthy pick-up and sensitive, brand-new brakes. We played with the radio some more, fussed with the standard gadgetry, and decided that the Forte is much more than just a replacement for the Spectra model (which has been discontinued).
Joe had been kind enough to give us a heads-up before our test-drives that, if we were serious about buying a car that day, we should probably get the financing started, as it’s the longest part of the process. Even with the head-start that they got on things, we still had a bit of a wait after we made our decision to splurge on the SX with the leather package (they had no EX with the leather package in stock).
All told, we got a whopping $200 in trade-in for the Contour. (Joe’s quotable: “That car has some safety issues!”) Aaron certainly got his Dad’s money out of that car, though — it was a ’96, and he got it used back in 1999. And so it goes.
Our payment is a little more than we’d been hoping for… but, then again, we have a lot more car than we’d originally gone in expecting. For those car aficionados in the hizzy, the SX comes with a 2.4L engine. To me, that just means that it goes when I tell it to go, and that I have to be careful not to get a damned speeding ticket. Other goodies it came with include a moonroof, iPod controls, three months of Sirius satellite radio, heated leather seats, chrome accents — and, of course, my windshield de-icer.
I just got to drive it to work today for the first time — Aaron drove us around over the weekend, and he had to take it in on Monday to get our license plates swapped off of the Contour. I hesitate to get attached to material things, but damn. Now I understand what people mean by an enjoyment of driving. It’s not just about getting from Point A to Point B anymore; it’s about looking forward to the journey itself.
* My “blonde moment” while jumping the car:
Aaron: OK, clip on the red one.
Me: [prepares to clip one of the clips — the black one — to the red battery terminal]
Aaron: THAT’S NOT THE RED ONE. The red one.
Me (realizing what he’d meant): Oh, that red one. I thought you meant the other red one.
Aaron: [remains silent, but REALLY wants to laugh]