Driving is a privilege, sure, but less so when your goal is simply to secure wheels that will get you from Point A to Point B.
I didn’t want to write a column about buying a car for the same reason that I don’t post ballerific selfies on the rare occasions that I’m lucky enough to skip town for a weekend—there are a lot of people who don’t really get to enjoy stuff like that, and I’m guessing that the last thing any of them need is hyperbolic imagery of me bending my biceps on a beach flanked by a small army of swimwear models oiling my bronze Mediterranean rind.
But then I gave my stupid guilty liberal grill a slap and rationalized: After all, I’m not exactly talking about luxury automobiles here. Driving is a privilege, sure, but less so when your goal is simply to secure wheels that will get you from Point A to Point B and perhaps even back without breaking down, the bank, or your legs, neck, and nose in a crash. Plus, I learned a few things in my transaction that could potentially help other people in their own acquisitions.
For 12 years of my adult life, I have unconsciously leased Toyotas, basically for no specific reason. Many of my relatives have had them, I guess, but whatever the case, I recently woke up and realized that there is no reason to pay for a middle-tier brand, since the likes of a Hyundai and Kia are the same thing but cheaper. Also, why have I been leasing new cars? Used whips are obviously just as slick and do the trick. These were monumental realizations and wound up saving me a bundle down the road.
Before finding a replacement, I had to return a leased car that I managed to drive 10,000 miles over my limit. At 15 cents a mile, I was looking at a $1,500 return fee on top of whatever the unscrupulous bastards billed me for scratches and dings. But while I have admittedly been ripped off in every prior exchange with a car dealer, this time I walked onto the showroom floor like Mad Max in the dome, determined to at least not get completely screwed. As it turns out, they wanted my leased ride so they could turn around and finance it to some other sucker; thanks to that stroke of fortune and my ’tude, in the end, I exited my agreement two months early without having to pay for extra mileage.
Why am I telling you this? As much as I hate to encourage aggressive behavior, I nevertheless advise anyone shopping for wheels to be their worst possible self in the process. I used to think that it’s enough to do your homework, but when it comes to cars, you’re best off following the example set every day by President Trump, and treating everybody in your path like worthless trash until you get your Goddamn way.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF