Why I went new car shopping, and what I found when I got there

By Janice R. Edwards

The Bulletin


I hope you don’t need to buy a new car these days because it’s not like any experience you have ever had in the past.


You don’t get slammed with salesmen when you walk into the showroom, and there aren’t a zillion makes and models in the parking lot in a half-million colors. With any luck, you might have only one in the color and the model you want, and you can take it or leave it.


There’s no real haggling on prices because of the low supply, so you better hope you can get a good price on your trade-in, and you just might because there are very few used cars on the lot.


With computer chip scarcity and other issues in the supply chain, car manufacturers are scaling back. But I digress. Let me tell you the sad tale of why I needed a new car. After all, the new car I bought a week before Harvey hit five years ago in August was supposed to be my last new car.


I wanted a dependable new car. My 4-Runner had lasted over 300,000 miles and 10 years, and I just literally wore it out. A new 4-Runner was out of our price range. I selected a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, which had the best warranty.


My friend, Gloria, has had three of them, and all have been wonderful for her - but not the one we got. It seems like this car’s manufacturer was more interested in “technology” and how many gadgets they could cram in a car and still have room for passengers.


Thirteen out of the 15 onboard computers had to be replaced under warranty. The Santa Fe’s warranty was about to expire when I heard on the national news that there was a recall on it. Strange - I had not gotten a recall letter.


I called the dealership. No recall letter was sent because Hunyadi did not know how to fix the problem and did not know when they would know, or if they could even get the part IF they knew. And they didn’t want everyone trying to get the problem fixed – or get rid of the car.


I could keep driving the car until they could find a solution. I just had to stop driving it if the ABS lights came on (they already had once) and park it away from the house. Why? Because it could catch fire.


But If you stay with them until they find a solution, they’d give you another five-year warranty. What good is that if you are already a crispy critter?


I tried to sell it back to them, but their rules said it had to be less than three years old for that to happen.


It turns out that the best I could do was trade it in for a new car. Yeah, they kept sending me e-mails saying they would give me an outrageous amount for a trade-in. But that was just a come-on.


Roy and I decided to do business with a dealership that carries one of the three brands we have had good luck with: Nissan, Honda, or Toyota.


The Honda dealership was nearest to us.


Boy, buying a new car is a different experience these days. I had decided on a Honda HR-V and They had ONE, in Milano red with black trim instead of chrome. And it was senior-friendly. (Google it. It was a new term to me too, meaning not all the technology in the world is crammed into it, and it’s easy to operate.)


Goodbye old, fire-risk car.


Luckily, except for the color – which I can live with – I love my new car. It has a driver’s seat that adjusts well for both Roy’s long legs and my short ones, and it’s comfortable. The back-up camera is wonderful. The seats are comfy.


I’ll miss my CD player, but a car that isn’t going to catch on fire is worth the trade. It gets great gas mileage, and the back seats fold all the way down with lots of cargo space. After the previous perennial technical glitch, it took me a week before I had the courage to drive this car. But now, after I have driven it over 100 miles, it needs a name:


I’m torn between Race Car or Pizza Box – both because of the color. And did I tell you it has the most wonderful “new car” aroma? Hmmm… maybe New Car Pizza.


(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: john.bulletin@gmail.com. )Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)