My folks were out driving our van last week when a deer decided to dash out in front of it. Mom and dad weren’t hurt, but the deer was and so was the van. The radiator was crunched into the engine and the grill and headlight assembly on one side were history. Our insurance company totaled it.
So, Howie and I began car shopping. Our wonderful 1992 Buick Park Avenue that was totaled in my accident of 2007 was our second Park Avenue in a row. The 1997 VW Jetta III GLS we bought after the wreck just wasn’t for us – cramped, devoid of a glove compartment or any decent storage spots in which to stow our electronics’ adapters and such, and….it had tiny cupholders, both crammed beneath the ashtray so only small to-go coffee cups would fit in them. It’s not a bad car, just a bad car for us.
We missed having a big, comfy car. So, when we started shopping for a used car, we gravitated right toward the luxury cars again. We always buy used, and when you get a luxury car that’s almost ten years old, you can get a great ride with all the bells and whistles for a reasonable price. We test drove some large sedans from Buick and Mercury, but just didn’t find any we really loved.
Well, one of the dealers had a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser on the lot. Howie and I always liked the looks of them, but when he was told they were built on the same frame as the Dodge Neon, he assumed they would be cramped like the Jetta. Still, we thought we’d get in the car and see what it felt like. Amazingly, it was comfortable for us, with plenty of leg room. It had a center organizer between the seats, generous cup holders (!) plus a glove compartment. We took it for a brief test drive.
That sold us. They are fun to drive! We didn’t get that particular car, but we decided that was the car for us. After we began researching them, we realized we wanted to get a 2006 or newer because of the changes that year brought to the cars.
I read up on the great PT Cruizer website and learned what was new with each model year, the various trim and options available, etc. Fortunately for us, the base models sold for under $19K new, so models several years old were within our price range.
We checked out a few dealerships and had decided we’d wait and get our car from CarMax come time. I won’t go into why we decided on them; you can read up on them at their site and see why we think they’re a good place to go. We thought we’d wait a while since we thought we wanted a 2008, but didn’t want to get into high car payments right now.
Life threw us a curve.
Howie saw a car advertised that we just had to check out. Today we went to Lash Chevrolet to test drive a 2006 PT Cruiser GT we saw advertised online. It was a 1-owner car, a traded in from a man who bought a new crossover vehicle from them. The CarFax report shows the original owner took the car to the dealership where he bought it for all its scheduled maintenance and servicing.
This car is like brand new! It has leather interior, heated driver and passenger seats, chrome trim option, a satellite radio ready stereo with a 6-CD changer and the premium Boston Acoustics sound system. Something we didn’t know about, but love is it even bluetooth connectivity that works through the car speakers.
It has a little over 72,000 miles on it, but from what some mechanic friends have told us, that is nothing for these new engines. The salesman said the gentleman who traded it in liked to travel a lot, so the miles were likely mostly highway miles. We took the car for a good, long test drive of 90 minutes and it drives like a dream.
Yep, we got it. 🙂 The dealership was asking about $1000 less than Kelley Blue Book on it. Thanks to the settlement money from the totaled van, we didn’t have to finance much. Win-win!
Here are some photos of our new (to us) 2006 PT Cruiser GT.
The color’s called Inferno Red Crystal Pearl, so I thought I’d call the car Dante. You know…Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy? Nerdy name, but hey — consider the source. I need to read that again since it’s been a good 25 years since my eyes saw that book.
But I digress! We’ve given my folks the Jetta since their vehicle is probably on its last legs (tires?). We are so thrilled with this car — such a departure from our usual cars. Yet, it’s funny, because it’s kind of an “old person’s car” like most of our previous cars have been. Hey, that’s okay with us. We like that it’s quirky and retro. We don’t need to be cool with the younger crowd. What matters is WE love it!