Last year we bought a VW Passat. It was $1400. It ran OK but was a bit rattly. We drove it for about 4 months until, over Christmas break when my parents were borrowing it, it got rear ended. It too was totalled. Gratefully the driver at fault did have insurance so with minimal difficulty we again got our money back. I was very sad to see it go though.
Off and on over the last 6 months we have checked out replacement vehicles. I knew I wanted something with good gas mileage-at least 24 MPG, comfortable to drive, room for everything we might need in town shopping, and a rack for surfboards. I wanted a wagon. At first we looked exclusively at Passats and Jetta wagons but we ended up extending our search to Volvos, Audis, Fords, Mazdas, Toyotas, eventually settling on a little Suzuki Esteem.
Last week Dave popped on me that he would be taking the truck to scout camp this week, I would have to find a ride to the beach to get my surfing in. I knew Jenny would have family in town and with my other good surfing friends all on vacation, I hated the thought of dragging someone new into my business. I was determined that I would find a car.
To my disappointment when I entered Wagon into the Craigslist search box I only got 7 cars returned. Two were vintage cars, two were junkers and the other three were all Suzuki Esteems. Suzuki Esteem? I had never heard of that and it wasn't one of the cars we'd been shooting for. I did some quick research on Edmunds.com and found out that it had good gas mileage and the satisfaction ratings were high.
Two of the Esteems were in town and one was down by Kahana. I decided to test drive the closer one and determined that if it was OK I would drive into town to test out the nicer models there. I had $3000 set aside for a vehicle and the Kahana esteem was listed for $1900.
We went to test it out looking for problems and expecting deficiencies. These cars don't have good resale value and we figured it was because they were like the suzuki's we had been in as teenagers: tin can flimsy. We were surprised that all the seats were comfortable, seat belts and door handles were solid and working. Electrical components were all working. It drove well too and was zippy and fun to drive. In fact it was better than any of the other, more expensive cars we'd been looking at. This car was worth every bit of $1900 except the AC was broken.
The owner said the air conditioning hadn't worked the whole 6 months she had owned the car. We were worried it might be the compressor, an expensive fix. We offered her $1500 for it and she said, "How about we settle at $1600." SOLD!
I am loving my new car. The turning radius is so little. It doesn't hurt my shoulder to turn the steering wheel. It is little and kinda cute. The kids love it. Kirkham did a test drive in the BYU parking lot and approved it (no permit yet); he especially likes the sound of the horn. And best of all I can easily load up the surfboards on top and hit the waves whenever I please. Welcome to the family little Suzuki Esteem!