Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So I bought a car

My old C320 met the end of the road this week, took it in to trade.

CarFax showed that the previous owner got into an accident, which would explain a lot.

I had been looking to replace if for quite some time now, but didn't realize it would be so soon. I had been searching around for a BMW 335i or something in that class range, but somehow got led to a Lexus dealership by my father, who is a loyal Lexus driver.

After looking around the pre-owned lot, we called one of the salesmen over and asked him to point us to the cheapest IS350 they had, which was the newspaper special of the week(it was also only one of two 350s on the lot, all the others were 250s). My dad offered to match whatever I put down on a new car, so long as it was a Lexus, and I figured my wish for a BMW wasn't worth the additional cost when I could get a pretty good Lexus at 2/3's the cost of what was already a hefty discount.

I traded in the C320 for $3k, wrote out another $5.5 in check, and my dad matched both trade and check, and I ended up taking on $13k in loans at 2.9% for 4 years, monthly payment about $400. This is much better than the Tacoma loan I had, some $10k at 6.69%, which I just paid off.

I am now the new owner of a pre-owned '09 IS350, in Black Sapphire Pearl. (The color is so dark I actually thought it was black. I do like it.)

I've only driven it for about 4 hours, but my initial impressions are thus:

The engine is powerful, about 70hp more than my old C320, and it certainly feels that way. Good.

The steering feel is poor. The steering wheel is also much lighter than what I am used to, but that is just personal preference. Huh.

The transmission lags for a second during upshift in the steptronic mode. Bad.

The Navi is annoying, as it basically shuts all controls off while the car is moving for safety. Bad.

The Bluetooth interface does not play well with iPhones. I hear they corrected this the next model year, but this does not help me. Bad.

Keyless entry is awesome. The gauges look awesome. Fit and finish are about what I'd expect in a luxury sport-sedan. Good.

The back seat is small compared to my old C320, especially when you consider that this car is more than 3in longer than the old car. When I sit in the back, I just about hit my head so not much head room back there. This is OK, though, as I rarely have people in the back, and if I do, they tend to be female and short. Acceptable.

The car is pretty sexy looking, in and out, but some design choices limit functionality, most noticeably, the single front in console cup holder prevents me from grasping the shifter knob as I am used to when I drive. Also, the second front cupholder, hidden in the armrest compartment, is placed in a strategically inconvenient area. If that cupholder is being used, where the hell do I put my arm? Bad.

Some distortion in AUX input, but may be an iPhone issue. Will comment later after I install an aftermarket iPhone integration and docking kit into the car. Uh...

The gas tank is either really small, or the car eats too much gas, more testing required, but I estimate the range to be about 340-360 miles. Uh...


The majority of complaints I have against the car are probably because I'm used to a German sports car. The Germans and the Japanese have inherently different ideas of how sports cars should drive, and this results in some friction in drivers switching between the two, methinks. As time goes on, I think I will settle into this new car, and most of my complaints will go away.

This really is a sexy looking car, and I do want to like it, but it will need to grow on me.

In order to speed this "liking" process along, I've named the car "Belle," derived from the "blue bell" flower, in reference to the blue color hidden in the paint.

But no matter what, I still think the cupholders are stupid. They are ill-positioned, and there aren't nearly enough of them.

Pictures eventually.

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