Why I bought a NEW car

I’m 53 years outdated. By no means in my life have I allowed myself to purchase a automobile I actually love…till now. That is the story of how I allowed myself to make a enormous buy only for the enjoyment of it. And it wasn’t even a purchase order I might meant to make. Let me clarify.

In the course of the peak of the pandemic (early July 2020), I paid $35,990 for a used 2019 Mini Countryman SE All4. The Countryman — which I name a “Maxi Cooper” — is not a foul automobile, however I regretted shopping for it nearly instantly. I might meant to switch my 2004 Mini Cooper with a more moderen model of the identical mannequin, however allowed myself to be talked right into a compact SUV.

For 2 years, I drove the Maxi Cooper and tolerated it. It wasn’t a foul automobile by any means, however it was a foul automobile for me. I am not an SUV man. I am a small-car man.

Final month, I took the Maxi Cooper for an oil change. Whereas I used to be ready, the supplier provided to purchase it again from me. I wasn’t anticipating that.

As you in all probability know, the used-car market within the U.S. has been loopy for a few years. In keeping with the U.S. Federal Reserve, costs on used autos are up 55% since July 2020. Costs for brand spanking new autos have additionally elevated throughout that point, however by solely 18%.

As a result of I write about cash, I am conscious that used-car costs are excessive, however I hadn’t thought-about that I would possibly promote the automobile I bought solely two years in the past. I am the type of one who buys a automobile and retains it for a decade or extra. However when the Mini supplier instructed me they’d pay $33,000 for a automobile I might purchased 26 months earlier, I used to be intrigued.

I contacted one in all my buddies, a former automobile salesman. “What am I lacking right here, Jeremy?” I requested. “This looks as if a fairly whole lot.”

“It isn’t only a whole lot,” Jeremy mentioned. “It is a miracle. It is as in case you leased that automobile for $115 per 30 days. It’s best to take the provide. Now. Earlier than they modify their thoughts.”

Earlier than you learn my story, you would possibly wish to learn this related story from Liz at Frugalwoods: Why we purchased a NEW automobile. This is a related excerpt:

“In regular financial instances – or reasonably, in previous financial instances – used automobiles had been remarkably cheaper than new automobiles, which made the depreciation on new automobiles astronomical. In different phrases, new automobiles would lose an amazing quantity of their worth as quickly as they had been not new.

“Used automobiles, then again, had a way more gradual depreciation curve, which meant you may purchase a used automobile for an affordable worth after which, if wanted, re-sell that used automobile at an affordable loss. At the moment, thanks to produce chain points, a scarcity of pc chips and inflation, used automobiles are not a deal.”

Unprepared to Buy

After the Mini supplier provided to purchase my automobile, I immersed myself in automobile info. As I did, I made myself a promise: For the primary (and maybe solely) time in my life, I used to be going to purchase a mannequin I needed with out making compromises.

You see, each automobile I’ve ever owned has concerned some type of sacrifice. After I was younger, the chief compromise was price. I could not afford dearer autos, so my choices had been restricted. In newer years, I’ve compromised by shopping for used. Then by buying a compact SUV as an alternative of a sports activities automobile. And so forth.

This time, I did not wish to compromise. I needed to purchase precisely the automobile I needed. However which automobile would that be?

As a result of I hadn’t meant to eliminate my Maxi Cooper, I might executed zero fascinated by what sort of automobile I would purchase to switch it. Usually, folks determine what sort of automobile they need earlier than promoting their outdated one. I used to be doing issues in reverse. I used to be making use of my self-centered purchasing technique to purchasing a automobile!

For a time, I thought-about not changing the automobile in any respect. I nonetheless personal a 1993 Toyota pickup. It is ugly, however it works. Plus, Corvallis is a small metropolis with wonderful infrastructure for different transportation. I stroll 20+ miles per week via city and would fortunately stroll extra. This summer season, I have been biking for longer errands too. Going car-free was definitely an choice I thought-about, as was shopping for one other 2004 Mini Cooper. In the end, although, I made a decision to make use of this chance to improve to a some type of new automobile.

Earlier than we go any farther, it is vital to notice just a few issues about my relationship with cars.

  • I am not a automobile man. I am not a motorhead. I do not obsess over automobiles and I by no means have. I do like sure automobiles, however I am not usually anyone who buys automobile magazines or watches automobile movies.
  • I consider that used automobiles are nearly all the time the good monetary alternative.
  • I am in favor of electrical automobiles however assume the expertise is younger, so I am reluctant to purchase in wholly. That mentioned, I made my automobile search electric-first.
  • I like sports activities automobiles. I am not a pace demon, and I do not want a automobile to have a excessive prime pace. However I just like the styling of sports activities automobiles, and I like that they are “zippy” — they’ve good acceleration and good dealing with.
  • My #1 supply for automobile information — by far — is Shopper Experiences journal.
  • Most of all, I consider in small automobiles. I all the time have. I don’t undertand the American obsession with massive autos. It makes zero sense to me. After I lease automobiles in Europe, I am all the time happy with what number of small automobiles are on the street. They’re nearly all small automobiles.

My ideally suited automobile stays a 2004 Mini Cooper — however with fashionable expertise updates to carry it into the world of 2022. Sadly, that automobile would not exist. Fashionable Minis are bigger than they had been twenty years in the past. Worse, their buyer satisfaction scores have eroded. (I additionally just like the Audi A1, however it’s not accessible within the U.S.)

A Very Quick Search

I spent an intense 24 hours researching my choices. As I examine automobiles, I created a listing of necessities for my subsequent automobile. I had a handful of standards, most of which you’ll be able to in all probability guess based mostly on my feedback above.

  • First, the automobile needed to be small. This restricted me to compacts, subcompacts, and sports activities automobiles.
  • Second, the automobile needed to be gasoline environment friendly. Electrical can be good, however it wasn’t a requirement.
  • Third, the automobile needed to be enjoyable. It did not must be quick, however it needed to be zippy. It needed to deal with effectively.
  • Fourth, Shopper Experiences needed to adore it. The automobile needed to get a excessive reliability score from the group, in addition to a excessive street rating and a excessive general rating.
  • Fifth, it needed to be a automobile that prospects cherished. I made the error as soon as of buying a Ford Focus. Shopper Experiences cherished the Focus however house owners hated it. So did I. It was essentially the most un-fun automobile I’ve ever owned — like a storage container on wheels.
  • Sixth, it needed to have a guide transmission. I do not like driving automatics.

Early in my analysis, I found the Shopper Experiences automobile finder software. This three-question quiz (which is simply accessible to subscribers) proved useful.

In keeping with this software, the 5 automobiles greatest suited to my wants had been the Kia Niro Electrical, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Mazda Miata, the Tesla Mannequin 3, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Though I used to be tempted, I dominated out the Tesla as a result of (a) it is too costly and (b) it has mediocre reliability. I eradicated the Kia and Hyundai as a result of they did not earn prime proprietor satisfaction marks. And the electrical Mustang is not truly a sedan; like my Maxi Cooper, it is an SUV. (I am undecided why Shopper Experiences really useful SUVs to me after I intentionally left them out of my search parameters.) That left one automobile: the Mazda Miata.

This is the factor: I’ve all the time been drawn to Miatas. I like how they give the impression of being. They’re constantly highly-rated by each prospects {and professional} reviewers alike. They usually examine all the identical bins for me that the Mini Cooper does.

The Miata shortly soared to the highest of my very quick listing. Additionally on that listing had been the Mini Cooper (which I nonetheless love regardless of its drawbacks) and the more-practical Subaru Outback (which is the unofficial state automobile of Oregon).

Listed below are comparability pages from Shopper Experiences and Kelly Blue E-book:

[Consumer Reports car comparisons] title=

[Kelly Blue Book car comparison]

Taking a look at these stats, I feel you’ll be able to see why the Miata shortly turned the one automobile I used to be severely contemplating. The automobile’s solely main draw back was a middling street rating. Studying the Shopper Experiences evaluate, I acknowledged that the causes for this low street rating — street noise and lack of house — did not hassle me.

The MX-5’s glowing mixture of nimble enjoyable and thriftiness has made it a favourite at our check monitor — and the present mannequin holds to the usual.

The Miata is a totally impractical automobile. It seats two (tightly), it can barely haul a load of groceries, and it is loud inside. But we’re smitten with this plucky ragtop.

There is not a greater fun-per-dollar efficiency automobile available on the market that delivers the Miata’s magic. After a protracted winter’s nap, the MX-5 will revive your senses the primary spring day you drop the highest and hit the curvy roads.

This Mazda is likely one of the final intimate driving experiences; you are feeling like a part of the machine that is melding with the street. The Miata’s steering provides quick turn-in response, and the automobile stays playful and predictable even when urgent the boundaries of the tires.

I finished different fashions and commenced looking for causes not to purchase a Miata. I could not discover any.

The Miata critiques on YouTube all bolstered what the written articles had mentioned. But it surely was this evaluate from a car-care channel that made me determine finally that the Miata was the automobile I needed: “It will carry pleasure to your coronary heart each time you drive it.”

Shopping for My Miata

Shopping for a automobile is a giant resolution, and I am not accustomed to leaping into issues like this. I take my time. I ruminate. I think about each angle. That is not what I did this time. On the final Thursday in August, I drove to Salem to go to the closest Mazda supplier.

I might referred to as the salesperson upfront, so he had a Miata able to drive. Earlier than we left the car parking zone (after driving solely fifty toes), I knew that I used to be going to purchase a Miata — if I might get $33,000 for my Maxi Cooper. For the sake of present, I drove 5 miles round Salem streets whereas making nice dialog with the salesperson. I defined that I hadn’t meant to purchase a brand new automobile, however that the Mini supplier had made me a suggestion I could not refuse. Would he be prepared to match the provide? “Perhaps,” he mentioned.

After we returned to the dealership, I gave the salesperson the file of paperwork for my Maxi Cooper — together with the written provide the Mini supplier had made me the day earlier than. He took the information to his boss. Ten minutes later, he got here again with some excellent news. “We’ll match their provide,” he mentioned.

“Nice,” I mentioned. I pulled out one other piece of paper, a printout from the dealership’s web site. “That is the automobile I would like. It is a grey hardtop. However your web site says the automobile is in transit.”

[listing for the Miata I wanted] title=

This was the one time throughout the complete course of that the salesperson balked. “What can I do to ship you residence with a automobile at this time?” he mentioned. He pulled out a chunk of paper and began with the four-square.

“Nicely, I am not going residence with a automobile at this time,” I mentioned. “You do not have a automobile that I would like. That is the automobile I would like,” I mentioned as I pointed to my printout. The dealership had 5 Miatas on the lot, however none within the exact configuration I needed. They had been purple or automated transmission or soft-top — or all the above. I needed grey, guide transmission, and hard-top. (All Miatas are convertible.)

The salesperson nodded. “No drawback,” he mentioned. We talked briefly about worth however the dealership was unwilling to budge from the $39,245 listed on the web site (together with a compulsory $1995 markup because of the present automobile market). I used to be high-quality with that. We shook palms and reached a tentative settlement however signed no paperwork. He’d name me when my automobile got here in.

My Miata

As I drove residence, I believed concerning the numbers. To an outdated man like me, $40,000 looks as if a lot to pay for a automobile. Even $20,000 looks as if quite a bit to pay for a automobile. I requested myself if I may not be simply as completely happy in, say, a Chevy Spark? However I knew that would not be the case. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve compromised on automobiles my total life. This as soon as, I needed to indulge myself.

I noticed that the basic query I wanted to reply was this: Would I reasonably have (a) the 2019 Maxi Cooper and $7000 -or- (b) a brand-new 2022 Mazda Miata? Excited about it from this attitude, the reply was straightforward. I might select the Miata each single time!

However possibly I used to be pondering loopy? Perhaps I used to be being too emotional? (I am beneath no delusion that this resolution was logical. It was emotional. I am okay with that. I simply did not wish to decide that was so emotional that it crossed over to silly.)

To double-check, I sought the counsel of two folks I belief. First, I requested my buddy Jeff (The Glad Thinker) what he thought. “Do it!” he mentioned. Then I requested my girlfriend, Kim. I used to be apprehensive that she’d object. She did not object it. “It’s best to completely do it,” she mentioned. And so I did it. I purchased the Miata.

The Mazda salesman referred to as me on the final day of the August. “Your Miata arrived this morning,” he mentioned. “If you would like, we will do the deal at this time.” I finished what I used to be doing, drove to Salem, and purchased a brand new automobile.

[Standing next to my new Miata]

My new Miata was so new that it had solely 5 miles on the odometer. “I have been doing this for thirty years,” the finance man instructed me as I used to be signing papers. “I feel that is the lowest quantity I’ve ever seen on an odometer.”

I took the good distance residence, driving from Salem to Corvallis on winding riverside roads, then via rolling hills and farmland. The highest was down. The solar warmed my pores and skin because the wind blew via my hair. Taylor Swift crooned “Welcome to New York” on the stereo. I smiled, in and out. The Miata certainly introduced pleasure to my coronary heart.

In June, I wrote that rising up poor messed with my thoughts, nonetheless makes me really feel responsible for purchasing Good Issues. The Miata is certainly a Good Factor. I do not really feel responsible about shopping for the Miata.

After I consider the selection I made, I am reminded of Ramit Sethi’s admonition that cash ought to be used to construct a wealthy life. This automobile is part of my wealthy life.