Mid-life crisis? Maybe. About a week ago we started the quest to replace a car. We don’t have a single vehicle in our fleet that doesn’t have at least 180k miles on it. Including our 2000 Ford Excursion, 1999 Chrysler Cirrus, and our 2003 Montana Mini-van.
My first gut reaction was to replace the current mini-van because I hate it. It’s been the biggest money pit of any of the vehicles we’ve ever owned. From head gaskets, to broken seats to all kinds of minor electrical glitches. No more GM products for me, ever.
But it works, and Claudine suggested it was time for me to get something small to get back and forth to work with. Driving a ~10 MPG Excursion 60 miles a day (actually up to 100 miles a day with recent developments) transporting just me back and forth to work just no longer made sense.
Since we’ve owned it (and we’ll continue to own it), every time we looked at other vehicles, given current prices of stuff, it just didn’t make sense. The Excursion just works. It’s huge, it’s safe, you never have to worry about where you’re going or what you might need to haul. When looking at vehicles, $10,000 or more, well that buys a lot of fuel. So we’ve just kept driving it.
Anyway, it was time for a change. The short list of vehicles included Mazda 6’s, Mazda 3’, Mini-Coopers, Chrysler Crossfires and even Miata’s. We drove at least one of each. Well we never really got to drive a Mini but we looked at a couple and called on a bunch. Cars in our price range ($10k) with under 100k miles were going fast. We called on one Mazda 6 less than 15 mins after it was posted on craigslist at 11:30. Set an appointment to see it at 3pm. Left the house at 2pm. Guy called us at 2:10 and said it was SOLD. Well poop.
We test drove a bunch of trash. Over priced high mileage cars. It’s crazy out there. Everything less than $5k is pretty bad. Good stuff at $8k-10k goes fast, real fast.
We continued to scour craigslist, dealers and what not and had pretty decided we’d wait for the right Mini or Miata, but we really kinda wanted a back seat. Then Claudine found our new car. Truth be told, the guy who listed it didn’t list it right. RX8’s are listed as RX8 or RX-8. He listed it as “RX 8”, no mention of Mazda, and so she just stumbed on it and it was still there. So we took the trip to northern KY to take a look with a Miata in Dry Ridge as back up.
I have always wanted an RX-8. I love the look, I love the rotary engine. But one was never in the cards. They weren’t cheap. I was shocked when Claudine suggested it. But it met the criteria. Small, (reasonable gas mileage), sporty, and has a back seat. WIN.
Once we saw it and test drove it it was all over.
It’s like new inside and out. 2004 Grand Touring 6-speed with 61k miles. We’re told, it was literally owned by a little old lady who drove it for the first 50k miles. She got a ‘check engine light’ and parked it. Scared it had blown up, because these do blow up. They consume oil by design and people don’t read. So they drive them, don’t check the oil and well, they are done. It sat for a year. When Tim went to see it, it wouldn’t start (dead battery). So he stole it. Towed it home, bought an ODB-2 reader. Put a battery in it, replaced a coil, started it right up, and then drove it for 10k miles.
He replaced the broken sun visors ( a very common issue) and even had a replacement tail light gasket since it was fogging up (also very common). I don’t think it’s ever been flashed or updated but will check with Mazda.
So we stole it from him. He didn’t have a lot of calls, it was advertised wrong. But we both agreed on a fair price.
So far we’ve put ~400 miles on it. Not babying it and it runs awesome, and 18 MPG is 2x the Excursion. I think it can do better.
More as it develops.