A couple of weeks ago I asked you to help me buy a car (or two). In it, I mentioned that we were really shopping for my wife's new car. She was looking for something in the luxury department with a budget of around $35,000, with the main focus being on a slightly used Audi Q5 (new they are in the $50,000 range).
From my financial perspective, I really don't like spending that much on a depreciating investment, especially when there are options that get you from point A to point B that cost much less money. However, I realize that I'm not like most people. In some ways, I've got a little Sheldon Cooper in me. I'm a numbers guy. When I shop for my car, I look for things like miles per gallon, turning radius, price, heated seats (I'm going to stretch "numbers" to include booleans), etc. While I can appreciate style to some degree, I'm mostly about functionality.
So when my wife wanted a $35,000 used car, I admit that I wasn't particularly excited about it. However, I realize that few people are as analytical as me. Also, my wife is very successful and we've been pretty frugal. We can afford the splurge and she deserves it. She finally test drove a Audi Q5 and decided that she did indeed love it as much as she thought she would. A 2010 Q5 was in our future.
When we were debating about buying the Subaru Forester (which we eventually bought), I came up with the idea that maybe she test drive the Subaru Impreza. It was the only car in my search that had all wheel drive (good for New England snow) and 30+ estimated miles per gallon. It was smaller than the Q5, but by that time she had considered an A3 and an A4 since we had the family SUV with the Forester. I needed a little extra equipment put in my Forester (a back-up camera that they didn't have in stock), so we had some time around the dealership anyway.
We took their best Impreza as a loaner to Wahlburgers (Marky Mark's brother's restaurant. It was great, definitely go if you are in the area.) It was good, but I could tell it was essentially the same as the Forester I had in a car. It was an okay car, but I didn't see my wife come back saying, "I love that car!" like the Q5. However, I could tell she was considering it because it was significantly cheaper (around $25K for new) and the great gas mileage would reduce a number of her pet peeves, getting gas.
When we got back, we still had a few minutes to wait and the saleswoman said, "I have a Crosstrek already pulled out front if you want to give that a try." I had looked into the Subaru Crosstrek and dismissed it outright. It is essentially an Impreza that has more ground clearance and some extra plastic molding. It comes in funny colors like Obnoxious Orange (they probably call it something different) and it gets 3 mpg less than the Impreza. Almost every review of the car is incredibly clear on one thing: If you aren't going to be using it in an off-road capacity, you'd be better off with the Impreza. However, since we had nothing else to do, my wife took the car for a spin while I played with Little Man (he's grabbing toys and playing with them now, which is exciting).
My wife came back with, "I Love That Car! Will you please take it for a drive." So I did. My feeling was that it was essentially a car that you sit higher in. It gives you a commanding feel of height without the bulk of an SUV. Not only is the height nice, but the extra ground clearance would come in handy with the snow. After all, my wife is used to saying "Kablam!" as she charges through a pile of snow with her Liberty. I could see why she loved it. The Crosstrek is a nice mix of an SUV with a car, with the safety of almost laughing at whatever nature throws at it.
We weren't looking to buy that day and I certainly wanted to do a little more research. Later on that night as I was reading reviews, my wife said, "Isn't it funny how possessions pick you sometimes? It was like that wedding dress." If she loves a Crosstrek as much as the Audi Q5, I'm going call that a big financial win, especially with the extra savings at the pump (getting better gas mileage and not being required to get premium fuel). We've got some planned home improvements to do in a couple of months, so the savings will be put to good use.
I can't remember a time when I've thought such a thing (maybe with my beloved Palm webOS smartphones.) So I'm going to toss the question to you? Have you had a material object pick you? If so, what was it?
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