New Car Shopping

Well we did it.We took the plunge.
Our Mazda 5 was a great “mini-mini van”.  It held four of us very comfortably and when there were five of us it still did the job!  (It can hold up to six but with the back row not stowed there is NO trunk space.)  The thought of fitting six of us (with BabyBoy on the way next month) just kind of made us chuckle and cringe in the same moment so we knew we needed to find something a bit bigger then our mini-mini van.

I did some research.  Figured out exactly what I wanted and we headed to the dealership.  I drove it.  I loved it.  I would have been happy to get it.  But Hubs and I differ in the car-shopping aspect.  He insisted we needed to drive at least two or three other makes of mini-vans.  Sigh… I hate car shopping.  I hate pushy sales-people.  I hate spending a day (or three or four, five or six in Hub’s best case scenario) doing something I feel should only take a few hours at the most.

The next van we tried was SO plastic inside.  I hated it.  Then we headed to the Toyota Dealership.  The sales-gal was very nice and offered to pull up a van so that we could test-drive.  We got in … and I noticed the leather, the wood-grain, the DVD, the sunroof, the heated seats … and I realized she was showing us a HIGH END Sienna.  THIS is why I hate car-shopping.  I was perfectly content with the first van.  It was not high-end.  I did NOT know what I was missing.  (Including the nearly 40k price tag)  But now I had driven luxury in the mini-van world.  Now I was going to be discontent.  Even telling myself there was NO WAY we were investing 40k into a minivan, it just did not make financial sense, did not seem to help.

So we headed home after driving it.  Ready to pull my hair out and say “screw-it; we’ll just cram ourselves in the Mazda 5 for another few years”, I started over that night.  I jumped on to compare all the mini-vans we had driven.  What made this 40k-van so desirable compared to the 24 – 28k van I was originally in love with.  USAA has a great car-research center.  It presented new-van specs.  But then there was a Used Vehicle section that caught my eye.

Then there it was.  Right on USAA.  MY VAN.  That 2010 Toyota Sienna I loved … three years older.  Hubs and I had only really talked about buying / leasing a new van.  Buying used hadn’t really crossed our minds.  We had already been to this particular dealership once, so the next day we drove back over and let them know we wanted to look at their used vans.  Sure enough.  There was MY VAN sitting in the parking lot.

We drove it.  It had just come off of a lease.  It had around 40,000 miles on it and the warranty was still in effect.  It had leather seats, DVD player, three-zone temperature control.  Yep.  This was the van.  They had all of the service-records at the dealership since it was brought into that dealership for all of the service.  We were content.

That night (at 9pm) from the comfort of our home I called USAA and got the loan.  It was kind of a long call, but painless.  (I filled out the online application but apparently it needed manual-approval in our case.)  The next morning we drove back to the dealership, check in hand printed from our computer, and called the van ours!

Do your research!  If you are in the market for a new vehicle (even a new-to-you vehicle) I would highly recommend logging onto USAA and checking out their car-buying section.  We didn’t use their “Car Buying service” but certainly appreciated all of the research tools they put at our finger tips!

So after a MONTH of car-shopping I am SO happy to close this chapter of our lives.  We hope to have this “new-to-us van” until *E*, 7 years old, is an early teen.  THAT feels strange… and YET not having to do that whole car-shopping process again for MANY years is priceless! 🙂

– Leanne from

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