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Considering buying a new car, now that Little Bits has made his entry into this world - 11/10/03, kicking and screaming for all he is worth.

The Volvo S70 meets most of our criteria:

color and interior we like
good looking car (minivans need not apply)
excellent safety rating
good reliability rating
doesn't pull a GM on resale value (see below)
some others that elude me right now

Volvo stopped making the S70 in 2000, so we would buy a used one, preferably a '99 or '00. Would run about $18-$22K

The other option is to use the X-plan I get through work and buy a brand new 850 for 4% over net dealer invoice. The 850 retails for about $35K, the X-plan would knock it down to around $30K. This is a "no-haggle, take it or leave it" plan, so no negoitating involved.

We currently have the following:

'01 Saturn SC2. Has been a good car for us, however we have been paying on it for almost 3 years (at 3.9%) and are about even on loan-to-value, even with only 16,000 miles on it. Will be paid off April '05.

'01 Mercury Cougar. Purchased through the X-plan in a rushed Sunday afternoon on August 26,2001. My old '91 Legacy was having electrical problems that never really went away (even after 5 trips to 3 different mechanics), needed a new starter, AC didn't work well (Miami in august without cold AC anyone?), tires and battery. Loan was at 8%. DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH DOH Had my old clunker made it three more weeks ...
We paid the loan off in July, to save on the interest charges, but I will not recommend Fix Or Repair Dailies to anyone (the Cougar already feels like it).

Someone familiar with cars will realize that these are both 2-door coupes; the easiest vehicle in the world to get a car seat in and out of -

it's NOT that difficult, at least while he's only 10 lbs.

What about when he is 25 lbs.? Should we start lifting weights to prepare? Buy prepaid hernia insurance? Just put him in the trunk?

For the worried people out there, I am only kidding (just don't tell his mother that thought ever crossed my mind ....)

Anyway, would like something more suited to have a little one around; without taking it in the shorts from a scum sucking, mouth breathing, ugly plaid pants wearing, car salesman. Why is it I always feel like taking a shower after visiting a dealership? DW feel even worse after visiting, BTW.

Our latest encounter

After we get out of car, lot lizard with about a quart of motor oil holding his hair in place quickly approaches and brilliantly observes that DW is pregnant (she was 8 mos) and we are driving a 2-dr coupe. He may have actually started drooling at some point. After kicking a few tires, we see a S70 that meets most criteria, except it is not a color we want and miles are high (60K) for a '00. Car is in good shape, but the sticker price is $3K over KBB value. Somehow we are persuaded into the office, while they appraise our car (we specifically had spare keys and a cell phone to prevent shenanigans on their part)

Part of conversation when things turned sour quick:

"What will it take to get you to buy it today" - Slick Salesman
"$175 a month payment for 36 months. No trade in" - Me
(acts offended) "Come on" - Slick Salesman
"You asked what it would take to buy it today, you didn't ask what a fair offer would be" - Me
(getting irritated) " Why don't I go talk to the sales manager to see what we can do" -Slick Salesman
"Why won't you believe me when I say 'we're just looking'" -Me

They were the focus you on price or payment (didn't matter which) type of guys and they started to HATE me when I brought a calculator programmed to calculate exactly what their interest rates were (was 15% pre-calculator coming out of pocket, fell to 9% afterwards).

End result - we didn't buy the car, and the whole experience turned DW and I off so much that we haven't looked since.

I'd like to hear from those that have dealt with the full spectrum of car seats - infant to 7 years. At least that's how old they have to be here before you can sit them on their hands and buckle them in so tight they can't hit thier sibling who encroaches 1 mm on "their" side of the seat. My mother NEVER had to do that with us ... we maybe 2 or 300 times.

Should we try to make things work with 2 coupes? Or should we bite the car salesman and get the 4-door sedan?

One final plug:
for those who have never heard of it, Car Talk RULES!!

Listen on Sat mornings @ 10 am on NPR to some of the best comedy, marriage advice, puzzlers and oh, yeah they also talk a little bit about cars (usually during the third half of the show)

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