An Uncomplicated Life Blog: What It's Like To Buy A New Car

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What It's Like To Buy A New Car

Thoughts on the new car buying experience when you have two young children

I'm one of the most decisive people I know. I know what I want and I make it happen. I don't have to weigh decisions for weeks because my mind is made up about something within about three seconds. So when it took me months to pick out my next car (the lease on my old one was up), it was the most confusing thing! I didn't recognize myself. I was so indecisive. Nothing was just quite right, and when you're spending that much money, it better be right. I thought I'd tell y'all the tale of my car buying experience, and what it was like being do dang indecisive for over a month.

We knew we were going to get me something larger than I previously had. We're on the fence about adding a third kid to the mix (although as I write this, Otto is throwing a fit and I'm ready to call it a day on having anymore kids...), and even if we don't have more kids, the Volvo XC60 I had was just too small for a {very tall} family of four. Henry constantly kicked my seat and Otto's rear facing seat made any passengers ride with their knees in their ears - or in the dash, passengers choice!

Volvo XC90. Cute, right?
Logically, since I had a Volvo, I started my search at Volvo. They just re-did the XC90, and it was a really pretty car. I thought I'd walk in, love it and lease it. Except... I didn't. Everything on the car is electric and operated from basically an iPad in the center dash. If you want to change the radio station, you have to scroll over to that screen. If you want to change the climate, you have to scroll to that screen. There were literally no buttons in that car! Let me tell you about one of my most annoying qualities: I LOVE to change the radio about 30 times a minute when I'm driving. I nearly never listen to a song in full. Like, ever.

I also change the climate constantly. In the morning, I have my seat warmer on and by 10am the AC is blasting. I've been this way since I started driving; I'm not really sure what my problem is. Anyway, with no buttons to push in the Volvo, I could see myself crashing. Can you imagine, having to operate an iPad every time you want to change the radio or up the AC? No. While I liked the drive of the car, I just had a feeling I'd go crazy with it. The search continued.

Infiniti QX80. A tank.
My husband has driven Infiniti's for a while and made me an appointment to check out their largest SUV, the QX80. That thing was a beast! While I drove it, the dash told me I was getting 7 miles to the gallon. Now, while I did want a larger car, I didn't feel the need to totally crush the environment just so Henry wouldn't kick my seat while I drove. We don't have anything to tow or haul, so the large engine was a waste. I didn't love it. Next.

We headed over to GMC to check out the Yukon Denali. I loved the captains chairs and how easy that made accessing the third row. But when the salesman showed me the trunk space, I shuddered! I'm not exaggerating when I say that maybe four bags of groceries would fit back there. I couldn't believe that a car of that size had literally no trunk space! I didn't even drive the Yukon - I ended the salesman's pitch immediately upon seeing that nonexistent trunk. Can you imagine spending nearly $80k on a car without any room in the back?!

Buick Enclave. The ugly stepsister to the others.

Desperate not to lose a potential client, he showed me the Buick Enclave. From the inside, this one had everything I was looking for. Captains chairs, buttons for the climate and the radio, heated and air conditioned seats (which is totally necessary in Texas, btw), trunk space. I said, sure, let's test drive this one instead! He pulled one around and handed me a key. A key. Not a keyfab, not a remote, a legit key to start the engine. I haven't seen that in about 10 years! In fact, my last car with a key was a 1998 Mazda Protege that I drove in high school and college. I wasn't even sure I remembered how to start a real ignition! I mean, how dumb am I?

The car drove fine. But when we got back to the dealership, there were two old men waiting in the lobby. They had fedoras and canes, and the salesman knew both of them by name. Call me crazy, call me vain, call me stupid, but I just couldn't get into the Buick with the old men in fedoras and the key ignition! I'm 32 not 72. While I liked the inside of the Enclave, something just didn't sit right with me about it. 

I thought about my options for a month, polling people on Instagram, asking friends what they drove and what they liked about their cars. I wanted to create my own Frankenstein SUV, taking the style of one with the safety of another with the functionality of a third. Nothing was quite right with any of my options! One night after a few glasses of wine, I turn to my husband and say, "I think I'm just going to get the Infiniti because I'm vain!" He was pulling for the Buick, but said, "Honey, as long as you stay in budget, you can get whatever you want. It's your car." What a champ, that man.

Infiniti QX60. Hashtag winning.
One of my good yoga friends kept advocating for what she drove, an Infiniti QX60. I didn't think I'd be big enough and I thought the third row would be too hard to access should we need it in the future, but I made an appointment to test drive it. I also made an appointment to check out the Enclave again. I mean, Reese Witherspoon drove the Enclave in Big Little Lies so if it's nice enough for her, it's probably nice enough for me, right? Yes, that was literally a contributing factor for me making that second Buick appointment. Judge if you will. 

I didn't end up making it to that Buick appointment because I loved the QX60! It had a touchscreen but also buttons and dials for vital controls. It had a ton of space, but got far better gas mileage than the larger Infiniti I drove earlier. While there weren't captains chairs, it has a feature that enables third row access even when a car seat is in the second row. Winner winner chicken dinner!

I didn't think I'd buy a car that day, since I still had some time left on my lease, but I loved it so much I walked away with it the same day. It took all damn day (why does buying/leasing a car take SO LONG?) but at about 5:30 I pulled into the drive with my new car that had almost everything I wanted. Remember how I said I was decisive? Well I just had to find the right fit. Turns out when you're buying a new car and you have kids, there's a lot to consider. An annoying amount to consider, in fact. But I have it, I came in way under budget, and I don't need to buy a new car for another 39 months, when this lease is up.


  1. You crack me up. I was still rooting for the Buick. Although, I like 72 year old men...

  2. I just bought nice shoes for walking! I'm pretty decisive too and I think that's why we get along. Like I know what I want to drink before I walk into a pub.

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