Why I purchased a NEW automotive

I’m 53 years outdated. Never in my life have I allowed myself to purchase a automotive I actually love…till now. This is the story of how I allowed myself to make an enormous buy only for the enjoyment of it. And it wasn’t even a purchase order I’d supposed to make. Let me clarify.

During the height 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 automotive, however I regretted shopping for it virtually instantly. I’d supposed to exchange 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 two years, I drove the Maxi Cooper and tolerated it. It wasn’t a foul automotive by any means, however it was a foul automotive for me. I’m not an SUV man. I’m a small-car man.

Last month, I took the Maxi Cooper for an oil change. While I used to be ready, the vendor supplied 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. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, costs on used autos are up 55% since July 2020. Prices for brand spanking new autos have additionally elevated throughout that point, however by solely 18%.

Because I write about cash, I’m conscious that used-car costs are excessive, however I hadn’t thought-about that I’d promote the automotive I bought solely two years in the past. I’m the form of one who buys a automotive and retains it for a decade or extra. But when the Mini vendor instructed me they’d pay $33,000 for a automotive I’d purchased 26 months earlier, I used to be intrigued.

I contacted one among my buddies, a former automotive salesman. “What am I missing here, Jeremy?” I requested. “This seems like a pretty good deal.”

“It’s not just a good deal,” Jeremy stated. “It’s a miracle. It’s as if you leased that car for $115 per month. You should take the offer. Now. Before they change their mind.”

Before you learn my story, you may need to learn this comparable story from Liz at Frugalwoods: Why we purchased a NEW automotive. Here’s a related excerpt:

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

“Used cars, on the other hand, had a much more gradual depreciation curve, which meant you could buy a used car for a reasonable price and then, if needed, re-sell that used car at a reasonable loss. Currently, thanks to supply chain issues, a shortage of computer chips and inflation, used cars are no longer a deal.”

Unprepared to Purchase

After the Mini vendor supplied to purchase my automobile, I immersed myself in automotive 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 wished with out making compromises.

You see, each automotive I’ve ever owned has concerned some form of sacrifice. When I used to be younger, the chief compromise was value. I could not afford dearer autos, so my choices had been restricted. In more moderen years, I’ve compromised by shopping for used. Then by buying a compact SUV as a substitute of a sports activities automotive. And so on.

This time, I did not need to compromise. I wished to purchase precisely the automotive I wished. But which automotive would that be?

Because I hadn’t supposed to eliminate my Maxi Cooper, I’d executed zero serious about what sort of automotive I’d purchase to exchange it. Normally, folks determine what sort of automotive 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 automotive!

For a time, I thought-about not changing the automotive in any respect. I nonetheless personal a 1993 Toyota pickup. It’s 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 time, I’ve been biking for longer errands too. Going car-free was actually an possibility I thought-about, as was shopping for one other 2004 Mini Cooper. Ultimately, although, I made a decision to make use of this chance to improve to a some form of new automotive.

Before we go any farther, it is necessary to notice a couple of issues about my relationship with cars.

  • I’m not a automotive man. I’m not a motorhead. I do not obsess over vehicles and I by no means have. I do like sure vehicles, however I’m not usually someone who buys automotive magazines or watches automotive movies.
  • I imagine that used vehicles are virtually all the time the good monetary alternative.
  • I’m in favor of electrical vehicles however suppose the expertise is younger, so I’m reluctant to purchase in wholly. That stated, I made my automotive search electric-first.
  • I like sports activities vehicles. I’m not a velocity demon, and I do not want a automotive to have a excessive prime velocity. But I just like the styling of sports activities vehicles, and I like that they are “zippy” — they’ve good acceleration and good dealing with.
  • My #1 supply for automotive information — by far — is Consumer Reports journal.
  • Most of all, I imagine in small vehicles. I all the time have. I don’t undertand the American obsession with giant autos. It makes zero sense to me. When I hire vehicles in Europe, I’m all the time happy with what number of small vehicles are on the highway. They’re virtually all small vehicles.

My splendid automotive stays a 2004 Mini Cooper — however with fashionable expertise updates to convey it into the world of 2022. Unfortunately, that automotive would not exist. Modern 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 out there within the U.S.)

A Very Short Search

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

  • First, the automotive needed to be small. This restricted me to compacts, subcompacts, and sports activities vehicles.
  • Second, the automotive needed to be gasoline environment friendly. Electric can be good, however it wasn’t a requirement.
  • Third, the automotive needed to be enjoyable. It did not must be quick, however it needed to be zippy. It needed to deal with properly.
  • Fourth, Consumer Reports needed to like it. The automotive needed to get a excessive reliability ranking from the group, in addition to a excessive highway rating and a excessive total rating.
  • Fifth, it needed to be a automotive that clients beloved. I made the error as soon as of buying a Ford Focus. Consumer Reports beloved the Focus however homeowners hated it. So did I. It was probably the most un-fun automotive 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 Consumer Reports automotive finder software. This three-question quiz (which is barely out there to subscribers) proved useful.

According to this software, the 5 vehicles greatest suited to my wants had been the Kia Niro Electric, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Mazda Miata, the Tesla Model 3, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Although 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 really a sedan; like my Maxi Cooper, it is an SUV. (I’m unsure why Consumer Reports advisable SUVs to me once I intentionally left them out of my search parameters.) That left one automotive: the Mazda Miata.

Here’s the factor: I’ve all the time been drawn to Miatas. I like how they appear. They’re persistently highly-rated by each clients {and professional} reviewers alike. And they verify the entire identical packing containers for me that the Mini Cooper does.

The Miata rapidly soared to the highest of my very quick listing. Also 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 automotive of Oregon).

Here are comparability pages from Consumer Reports and Kelly Blue Book:

[Consumer Reports car comparisons] title=

[Kelly Blue Book car comparison]

Looking at these stats, I believe you may see why the Miata rapidly grew to become the one automotive I used to be critically contemplating. The automotive’s solely main draw back was a middling highway rating. Reading the Consumer Reports assessment, I acknowledged that the explanations for this low highway rating — highway noise and lack of area — did not hassle me.

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

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

There is not a greater fun-per-dollar efficiency automotive in the marketplace 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 highway. The Miata’s steering provides fast turn-in response, and the automotive stays playful and predictable even when urgent the boundaries of the tires.

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

The Miata opinions on YouTube all bolstered what the written articles had stated. But it was this assessment from a car-care channel that made me resolve eventually that the Miata was the automotive I wished: “It’ll bring joy to your heart every time you drive it.”

Buying My Miata

Buying a automotive is an enormous determination, and I’m not accustomed to leaping into issues like this. I take my time. I ruminate. I take into account each angle. That’s not what I did this time. On the final Thursday in August, I drove to Salem to go to the closest Mazda vendor.

I’d known as the salesperson prematurely, so he had a Miata able to drive. Before 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 may 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 supposed to purchase a brand new automotive, however that the Mini vendor had made me a proposal I could not refuse. Would he be keen to match the provide? “Maybe,” he stated.

When we returned to the dealership, I gave the salesperson the file of paperwork for my Maxi Cooper — together with the written provide the Mini vendor 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 offer,” he stated.

“Great,” I stated. I pulled out one other piece of paper, a printout from the dealership’s web site. “This is the car I want. It’s a gray hardtop. But your website says the vehicle is in transit.”

[listing for the Miata I wanted] title=

This was the one time throughout the whole course of that the salesperson balked. “What can I do to send you home with a car today?” he stated. He pulled out a chunk of paper and began with the four-square.

“Well, I’m not going home with a car today,” I stated. “You don’t have a car that I want. This is the car I want,” I stated as I pointed to my printout. The dealership had 5 Miatas on the lot, however none within the exact configuration I wished. They had been pink or computerized transmission or soft-top — or the entire above. I wished grey, guide transmission, and hard-top. (All Miatas are convertible.)

The salesman nodded. “No problem,” he stated. We talked briefly about value 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 automotive market). I used to be effective with that. We shook arms and reached a tentative settlement however signed no paperwork. He’d name me when my automotive got here in.

My Miata

As I drove residence, I assumed in regards to the numbers. To an outdated man like me, $40,000 looks as if so much to pay for a automotive. Even $20,000 looks as if so much to pay for a automotive. I requested myself if I won’t be simply as comfortable in, say, a Chevy Spark? But I knew that would not be the case. As I stated earlier, I’ve compromised on vehicles my complete life. This as soon as, I wished to indulge myself.

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

But possibly I used to be pondering loopy? Maybe I used to be being too emotional? (I’m below no delusion that this determination was logical. It was emotional. I’m okay with that. I simply did not need 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 Happy Philosopher) what he thought. “Do it!” he stated. Then I requested my girlfriend, Kim. I used to be anxious that she’d object. She did not object it. “You should absolutely do it,” she stated. And so I did it. I purchased the Miata.

The Mazda salesman known as me on the final day of the August. “Your Miata arrived this morning,” he stated. “If you’d like, we can do the deal today.” I finished what I used to be doing, drove to Salem, and purchased a brand new automotive.

[Standing next to my new Miata]

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

I took the great distance residence, driving from Salem to Corvallis on winding riverside roads, then via rolling hills and farmland. The prime 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, inside and outside. 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 getting Nice Things. The Miata is definitely a Nice Thing. I do not really feel responsible about shopping for the Miata.

When I consider the selection I made, I’m reminded of Ramit Sethi’s admonition that cash must be used to construct a wealthy life. This automotive is part of my wealthy life.