My wife and I went to the Honda dealer yesterday to check out both the HR-V and CR-V as potential replacements for her Impreza. We didn’t quite finish the process yesterday but there may well be a CR-V in our future.

FLIP THE BEAT YO.

To recap that previous post about why were’ replacing her Impreza, there are two main reasons:

  1. It’s a lease, and that lease ends in April 2019. We moved from Wisconsin to Maryland recently and when registering a car from another state in Maryland, if that other state’s sales tax rate is lower than Maryland’s, Maryland makes you pay the difference in sales tax from when you originally bought the car. MD sales tax is 6% vs. 5% in WI, so we’d have to pay 1% sales tax on the original purchase price of her Impreza now to register it, and then next spring we’d have another big chunk of sales tax, whether we buy out her Impreza at the end of the lease, or buy/lease something else. We have 60 days from when we got our MD licenses to register our cars here before there’s an even bigger tax penalty. I registered my car already because my WI tags were expiring and I wasn’t going to flip it anyway, but her WI tags are good through December, so we were waiting til closer to the end of the 60 days to get her MD tags so we could spread out the spending. Then she came up with the idea of flipping the Impreza now to avoid the double dip sales tax. Honestly the thought never would’ve occurred to me. She’s a smart lady.
  2. She’s started to feel like her Impreza is too small and low to the ground. It has nice big windows with great visibility, but it’s too open and airy for her and she feels exposed. Even though Subarus are extremely safe, she’s been wanting something higher up off the ground where she feels more ensconced on the car.

The Forester was at the top of her list, except she really wants Android Auto, and the 2018 Forester is still on the old Impreza platform and doesn’t have the new dash with Android Auto. The 2019 will be on the new platform but it’s not going to be out in time for us to flip the Impreza before the additional MD tax penalty kicks in.

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I suggested to her that we go to the Subaru dealer to see about a Crosstrek, because Subaru has extra tricks available to keep you in the brand on your next car. While the new Crosstrek is only a couple inches bigger than her 2016 Impreza, but it’s higher off the ground, has a bit smaller windows, Android Auto, etc. But out in our travels, I pointed out a new Crosstrek to her, and she hated all the tacked-on black plastic cladding. Which is exactly the same reason we got an Impreza instead of the Crosstrek the last time. So off the list it went.

From there, we were trying to decide between going to Nissan or Honda. I discovered that in addition to the Rogue and CR-V having the options mixes she wanted (Android Auto, active safety gizmos, auto-dim mirror and non-leather seats), the same applied to the HR-V and Rogue Sport. I figured the Hondas are nicer but Nissan has COME ON DOWN SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY FOR SCREAMING DEALS lease programs. We went to Honda first.

She looked at both the HR-V and CR-V in the showroom, and felt much more comfortable with the size of the HR-V. So we took one out on a test drive. But then we discovered that the Android Auto and safety gizmos are only on the 2019 HR-V, not the 2018. They checked their upcoming inventory, and their first 2019 HR-V shipment arrives mid-September, after our window for doing this car flip closes. My wife was still tempted to try and go for the 2018, but after we talked about it some more, we decided that no, those features are important to her and we shouldn’t give them up to get an HR-V right now.

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On the plus side, we had them look at the trade value, and their opening offer was higher than the lease payoff, so we know that we can in fact flip her car for something else and make financial sense of this idea of hers. Nice.

Both I and the sales guy suggested she check out the CR-V next. I told her even though it felt a little bigger than she wanted, it’s a lot more quick and powerful than the HR-V while returning similar mileage. She has been saying she’s looking for something quicker than her Impreza. Nothing crazy fast but more acceleration would be good. The CR-V also has real climate control knobs and buttons, and a volume knob, unlike the blasted capacitive touch controls in the HR-V.

The sales guy mentioned the money factors on CR-V leases are better than HR-V right now so we may actually close the gap on payments anyway. But she was done with car shopping for the day and wanted to get the hell out of there, so we agreed to come back tomorrow (i.e. today).

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The Nissan dealer was just a couple blocks away, so on our way home, I got her to agree to at least go in the lot and peek at the size of the Rogue and Rogue Sport to see what she thought. Of course, she liked the size of the Rogue Sport better.

Interestingly enough, the sticker price on a Rogue Sport SV with the tech package (to get active cruise, among other options) is actually higher than a CR-V EX. The lease deal might come out better thanks to Nissan’s wild-n-crazy incentives, but the Rouge Sport back seat and trunk are less roomy than the HR-V, apparently. Maybe even worse than the Impreza. We can easily ferry around another couple in the back of the Impreza and we’d like to keep that capability. The Rogue Sport is also just as slow as the Impreza and HR-V.

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When we got home, my wife saw our neighbor’s current-gen CR-V in the exact color she likes, and said, “out here it doesn’t look so big, it was just in the showroom jammed up with all those other cars it seemed bigger.” So she got excited about the idea and pored over the brochure last night.

We’re going back to the Honda dealer today at noon, and hopefully working out a deal. We may not actually take the car home today however, because the auto-dim mirror is a dealer accessory they’d have to install, and this particular Honda dealer puts goddamn pinstripes on EVERY FUCKING CAR ON THEIR LOT. Needless to say, pinstripe and dealer badge removal will be conditions of the purchase. Maybe they can get all that off the car and the mirror on the car today, but we’ll see.

UPDATE: 

We checked out the CR-V today. My wife liked the extra power, the handling, and the interior. She felt like the dash and hood were taller than ideal but she could live with it. We tried to work out a deal, but no such luck.

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When we got her Subaru, the way they run their lease specials, the special applies to the whole range for that model. You have to get the base model to get the $199/month or whatever they’re advertising, but if you get more options, the same terms apply, the payment just goes up relative to the purchase price.

Honda is running a $269/month deal on the CR-V LX, but that’s only for the LX. All other trims there’s no special at all. We’d be paying over $100/month more than on her Impreza even though the sticker price on the CR-V EX is only like a grand more than her Impreza was. Oh well.

Next stop: another car dealer that is also not Nissan.