Friday, November 19, 2010

Meet the New Member of the Family...

Since I recently paid tribute to my trusty ol' Mazda MX3, the first car I purchased with my own money back in 1993, I thought it was only fitting to show off the vehicle that I replaced it with—a 2010 Mazda 6!

So far, it's been great fun to drive, as evidenced by the fact that any excuse to run an errand in it is fine with me. It helps that we got a higher trim that's fairly loaded, with standard moonroof, iPod connector, and Bluetooth. My wife had initially encouraged me to purchase something that was sporty and zippy that would be fun for me to drive. Though that was a consideration, I actually wanted a sedan that was a practical alternative on long trips to our current primary family vehicle, a 2002 Subaru Forester. The 6 is definitely a more grown up car—I call it a "middle-age mobile"—but it's still sporty and more distinctive than what I thought was the more pedestrian and popular choices of the Camry/Accord/Altima lines that are in the same vehicle class of mid-size family sedans.

It's a long story, but I ended up purchasing the vehicle through CarsDirect, doing a lot of my initial research at that site as well as at Edmunds. I highly recommend the convenience and relative low stress of purchasing through CarsDirect—it required no negotiation, no fees or deposit, and I purchased the vehicle exactly at the price my extensive research had found was a fair deal, taking into account factory-to-dealer incentives and other rebates at the time of purchase. After entering the vehicle's make, model, trim and options online, the site automatically generates the price CarsDirect can get it for—my CarsDirect rep founded it within 30 minutes of our conversation at the price that had been promised online. (Taking into account that this is a vehicle that there was plenty of good inventory on.) In fact, it was these incentives that brought the higher trim into my price range—I got the car about $4500 below MSRP (and $3000 below what the dealer had offered). The dealier even delivered it for free from about an hour's drive away across L.A. freeway traffic.

I must admit, it's taken awhile to get used to driving so much car, going from my MX3 and a stick-shift Miata convertible, which is our third vehicle (the Subaru has always been easy to drive from day one). The 6 is roomy and a cushy ride—it feels like a luxury vehicle but certainly didn't cost as much as one!

Contrary to what some people have assumed, I didn't purposely set out to get another Mazda, but the 6 turned out to be my top choice (along with the popular but slightly smaller Mazda 3) after my research and test drives. Also on my short list were the 2010 VW Jetta and the 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Let's hope it lasts as long as my MX3! Though it's been nice having no car payments for the past 6 years, this was way overdue and it's nice to have a car with 21st century amenities!

Below: Old car and new.

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