No. of Recommendations: 30
I've been wanting to replace my Honda Civic for years now, but never did it. First we replaced my husband's truck with and Xterra right before our son arrived on the scene. Then when that was paid off we started saving for a new vehicle, but we didn't have enough to buy it outright. My Civic ran great, I kept on top of maintenance and while I had things I didn't like about it, I couldn't convince myself a new car was a "want" and not a "need".

My husband finally got on my case and told me we had a great downpayment saved ($8,000), that we could definitely afford the payments, and the things that annoyed me about my Civic was only going to get worse, and with an hour commute each way, I deserved a comfy vehicle. The clear coat was also starting to go, so it would be harder to sell/trade-in.

Those "negative things:
1. On bad winter days in Colorado having front wheel drive, no back wiper blade, and normal side mirrors, etc can be less than fun. I've had instances where my car has gotten stuck and lost traction on inclines (and we live at the bottom of a hill). I've also had to pull over on the highway a few times in bad snow storms to clear off my side mirrors, windows, and wiper blades.
2. Road noise was really bad and the stereo system was completely shot (bad speakers).
3. I had no way of hauling both our son and our German Shepher/Rottweiler mix.
4. My husband hated driving it and didn't really like being a passenger either. (He's a good foot taller than me.) That means we took the Xterra everywhere and not the vehicle with the best gas mileage.

So now I'm the proud owner of a 2013 Subaru Outback (Premium with the Weather Package). So I have all wheel drive, heated seats, heated side mirrors, de-icers on the wiper blades, and all weather mats. It's also much quieter, roomier, has a great sound system with steering wheel controls. I also have it paired to my iPhone for hands free talking and can also play my music over the Bluetooth. The back is plenty of space for our dog. My husband can drive it comfortably (the driver seat has electronic controls including raising and lowering the seat). I'm losing a little bit on gas mileage, but not much. My husband looked at my keys and went "yes a remote unlock on the trunk! I don't have to wait for you to catch up so I can load the car".

The buying experience was great. I did it all by email. I had the financing approved, the car selected, the price fixed, and a range to expect on my trade-in (answered a bunch of questions and gave my VIN so they could pull the carfax) before I even visited. I walked in and they were very friendly, no attempts to put an add ons on the invoice, didn't try to change my mind about extended warranties (I told them in advance i wasn't interested so they had a waiver ready), let me take a test drive solo, and found out my 1.9% wasn't restricted to 36 months, I could go to 60. They were just so nice and upfront there. I found it funny they don't put any dealership markings on your vehicle other than a license plate frame. The reasoning? "We don't want to damage your paint." They did give me a very pretty little keychain with their info engraved on the back.

So the plan is to pay it off as fast as possible, but we took the longer term as a "just in case". I emailed Costco to tell them what I didn't like about their program (not letting me pick the vendor and sending me to someone that I think wasn't abiding by the rules of the program). I did get Costco pricing at the new dealership, but that was only $30 different from the internet pricing I already had gotten from the dealer. It would have been better if Costco had sent me a list of all the Subaru vendors within 100 miles of me and let me pick who to go visit instead of sending my contact info to the one closest one that I refused to use.

It was great that I got up this morning, cleared the snow off my new car, got that seat warmer going, and climbed in.

Lara Amber
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