|2014 Ford Fiesta SE|
I bought my 1998 Honda Civic brand new in April of that same year. It didn’t have air conditioning but it was such a bargain at $9995 that I figured I could live without the A/C since at that time, I was working 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and didn’t have to drive during the day in the heat of summer. All that changed about 10 or so years ago when I started working 12 hour shifts from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. Not only that, I’m quite sure global warming is real despite its deniers who probably have always had A/C in their cars.
I called an auto shop about 3 years ago and asked if it’s possible to install air conditioning in my car. They checked around for parts and called me back saying parts and labor would cost about $3000. At that time, the resale value of my car didn’t even cost that much. So I suffered a few more years thinking the fan would be enough to make it comfortable, which of course it didn’t in mid-day heat. I was hoping to make the Honda last until I couldn’t drive anymore, since I never had a problem with it. The engine was so good that every time I went to a mechanic to have it checked out, they always offered to buy it. It helped that it only had 76,500 miles in it. The only parts I’ve had to replace were the tires, brakes and the windshield because one day on the freeway, a pebble kicked up by a truck created a crack on it. Everything else were original parts. The upholstery had nary a single tear on them. There were a couple of dents and scratches, one being a former coworker running late for work bumped the passenger side door and created a dent while she was trying to park beside my car. She promised to pay for the repairs but unfortunately she got fired a week later and I never heard from her again. Another dent was created when my neighbor’s motorcycle fell on the same door. He was jobless and didn’t have insurance, so what can I do?
The last three summers have been unbearable. I didn’t put on
my scrubs until I got to work because it had been so hot. It was time to look
around for an affordable car with A/C. One of my rationalizations was that
since I decided not to buy a condo in the Philippines two years ago, maybe I
could use the money to buy a car instead. I checked out prices in various
dealerships for used cars because I knew that I couldn’t afford a new one due
to the sales tax, license, registration, and insurance. The canvassing went on
for about a month and the choices were: 2012 Kia Rio, 2014 Nissan Versa, and
2014 Ford Fiesta from Norm Reeves Cerritos, a Hyundai Accent from Hertz in
Norwalk, and a Nissan Cube from Carson Nissan. The Kia had a 2 year gap in its
Carfax, the Nissan Versa was ok but had 70k miles and very basic, the Hyundai
used to be a rental although it only had 39k miles. I almost went to see the
Nissan Cube until I saw the Carfax and the specs of the Ford Fiesta.
|1998 Honda Civic CX|
My basic preference for my next car was that it had A/C of course, automatic transmission, and had four doors (since all these years since 1981, I’ve only had two door coupes). The Ford Fiesta was advertised as an automatic but when the salesman showed me the car, I was disappointed to see that it had a manual transmission. Well, I guess I could live with that since all my previous cars (Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible, and Honda Civic CX) had manual transmission. Besides I didn’t have to alter my muscle memory on how not to use my left foot in a clutchless automatic transmission. For a three year old car, the Fiesta only had 17600 miles on it, and it originally came from Palm Springs. Maybe it was owned by an older person who found it too small, or maybe it was repossessed. But the Carfax said the previous owner followed the maintenance schedule very well.
So the salesman and I went for a test drive which consisted of all left turns (why do they have to make it so hard?). I liked the pick up and the peppiness of such a small car, although at first it felt a little snug, and whenever I shifted gears, I would bump my right elbow against a storage well right behind the stick shift. After the test drive, I asked the salesman to write up the sale. The sticker price was $8601, there was a special agreement with AAA which brought the price down to $8101, and for my car trade in, they only gave me $500, which I didn’t mind because the Kelly Blue Book value was only $800. This brought the price down to $7601. Since my credit cards gave a rebate of 1.5%, I wanted to purchase the car fully with my credit cards, however the dealership had a limit of only $5000. Still, that knocked off another $75 from the price. So the car “only” cost me $7526 plus tax, license, registration, and increased insurance coverage.
I didn’t get all I wanted because it was advertised as automatic transmission but was manual instead, but at least I got my other two choices: air conditioning and 4 doors, plus lots of bells and whistles included (see photo of the specs). And I’m able to pay it off in full right away. If this Ford Fiesta lasts me as long as the Honda Civic did (19.5 years), then I’m all set for life.