So. My car is getting old. 2017 - 2008 wants to be nine years, but given the reality of the car market, it's closer to ten years. I've only owned it half that time, but I have to say that I've used it a lot. So much so that it's gone over 200,000 kilometres. 140,000 of those were mine, give or take.
With my new job, I am putting a lot of kilometres on the car, and I thought it might be nice to get something new, that is a little easier on the gas tank, than my 5 cylinder, 2.5L car. It's good, but I thought something new would be more appropriate, and would be less likely to run into the problems that a senior citizen of a car would have. So, I took a look at the Nissan dealership and found out about the Nissan Micra. Holy crap. A car that is less than $10,000, brand new? Where do I sign?
I went out for a test drive today, and, despite being underwhelmed by the power, and less than enthusiastic about the handling (honestly, my Rabbit is the best driving experience I've ever had), I was convinced. It is the less-than-impressive-but-good-on-gas car I thought it might be, and it's starting at kilometre 1. Throw in a warranty, and a tank of gas, and I'm sold.
Really, senior citizens get no respect. Despite a clean record, smooth running, and reliably conducting me from the country to the city every day for four and a half years, the people at the Nissan dealership were not even willing to give me a thousand dollars on a trade-in. Not that I would have accepted that, but that's what it was.
Now, I expect that kind of thing from car dealerships. When they're selling super-cheap brand new, low-level cars, their profit margin has got to be super-tight, so their ability to negotiate is minimal. I do accept that, and if the Rabbit were on the verge of falling apart, as the trade-in value would have you believe, then I would be willing to accept their deal. But it didn't feel right. I didn't like the idea that the Rabbit was done, that there was no value in it for me. And yes, I accept that I could go down the road of kijiji, and I could use that money as a down payment for a Micra, but that's not good enough.
I know that giving up the Rabbit for a Micra would be a step down. It was a step down that I was willing to take in order to save money on gas and nip old-age problems in the bud before they happen, not to mention avoiding the work that needs to be done to fix a fuel pump problem. But if the trade-in value of the Rabbit is essentially nothing, then that gives me some freedom. The car is essentially paid off, nothing that I do is going to lower the resale value, and let's face it, a few hundred dollars here and there to deal with decrepitude is NOTHING compared to the price of a new car, even one as cheap as the Micra. So, this is what I'm going to do:
I'm going to keep driving the Rabbit. I've scheduled some maintenance time at my local mechanic, and we're going to see to the fuel pump thing, get an oil change, and maybe clean up some nagging problems, then we're going to see if we can't get the old girl up to 300,000 kilometres. At my current rate, I figure that's about 4 years. But I'm not done yet.
If I pretend like I have a car payment coming out every month and set it aside, then in 4 years (assuming the Rabbit is up to it), I'll have something like $12,000 in the bank, which would either be enough to get something like the Micra or a reasonable down payment on something else. What is that something else? I don't know. Maybe something akin to the Chevrolet Volt.
Regardless, this is the plan. Unless the cost to keep the Rabbit on the road is too big, right off the bat. Then I'll go in and get the stupid Micra.