For my 57th birthday earlier this month, I gave myself a new car and a trip to Orlando. The new car was somewhat of a requirement. The PT Cruiser I bought in 2005 had enough miles on it to make me nervous about driving to Florida.
I’ve known for months what kind of car I wanted to get. My PT Cruiser was the first convertible I’ve had the pleasure of owning. Driving with the top down is possible at least a few days every month here in Georgia. Wishing I’d bought another convertible seemed more likely than wishing I hadn’t.
Refusing to pay more for a car than I paid for my first house ruled out a lot of options. A car is a means of getting from place to place for me, not a statement about who I am as a person. Call me cheap if you want, but I have other priorities — like retiring from my day job ASAP.
I narrowed the field down to a Mustang, a Miata, or a Beetle. Friends informed me all three were cars parents buy daughters for graduation presents. Calling me girly stopped bothering me decades ago. The Miata was too small, and a ton of issues with my American-made Chrysler steered me away from the Mustang.
Deciding on a Beetle was easy. Working up the nerve to buy one took some doing. Car salesmen, in my humble opinion, are professional, highly-trained con artists. Getting ripped off is guaranteed — minimizing the damage is the challenge.
Experts advise against buying new because the car loses value the minute you drive off the lot. Buying used cars scares me. I’d rather take my chances with a new car than buy someone else’s problems.
The dealership here in Athens is one of the sleaziest operations I’ve ever encountered — and that’s saying something. I should have walked away, but driving to Atlanta appealed to me about as much as a root canal with no anesthetic. I’ve yet to receive the customer satisfaction survey they referred to throughout the transaction.
Beyond any doubt, I paid too much, but I don’t care. Like beauty, value is in the eye of the beholder and I love my new car. Spreading the cost over the ten or more years I’ll likely drive it eases the pain.
My new Beetle is not the stripped down, utilitarian vehicle of the sixties and seventies. The plush interior is roomy and comfortable, with heated seats (OMG! Where have you been all my life?), lots of storage compartments, and a “bottle holder” on the door that’s just perfect for my favorite coffee cup. In addition to Bluetooth, there’s a port in the glove compartment for a smartphone, with controls on the steering wheel.
Legroom in the backseat is nonexistent. As I rarely have even one passenger, no big deal. I like to have never figured out how to access the gas tank. Figuring out how to use the fancy controls on the steering wheel is a challenge too. Otherwise, I’m 100% satisfied with my new car.
Next time, I’ll tell you about my trip to Orlando.