So I bought a Sonata. Brand new. And surprisingly I don’t regret it. And boy did it drain me. Mentally and physically. Its a tale that involves cars I was coming in on being sold, the frustration and trade in of the Sonic, a rival Hyundai dealer trying to trick me into signing the car to keep me from leaving, missing nearly 2 days of work, etc. But it all ended with me having a car that made sense.
It all started with the Sonic. I was done with it. Not even 2 months after replacing the ecm and a coolant hose for nearly $600 bucks, the car started leaking coolant on my way to work. I took it down to my local Chevy dealer and they told me that it would be about $350 to replace a coolant hose and 2 collapsed heater hoses. I raised the question frustratingly of why weren’t these hoses seen before when they replaced the one they did with the ecm not even 2 months ago? I got a bullshit answer of something about leaks not being seen in a hose until another leak is patched blah blah. It made sense because of course it did. It had to so they could try and get more money out of me. But suffice to say I didn’t do it. So I talked to the service adviser that was helping me out and they agreed to let my car sit there for 3 days until I sorted things out.
So I got a rental to get to work. On every single night I got home, on every break I was looking for a car online. Emailing internet manages, taking calls. I had to get a car. There was no question about it now. I wasn’t putting anymore money into the Sonic. I had already made that decision to myself abundantly clear. And for it to be a small car, the fixes on it with high miles wear and tear weren’t cheap and I couldn’t understand why. I drove a Sonic. Not a Traverse or Impala. It was a small commuter car.
I eventually settled on 3 different cars. 2 were sold the day previous to when I was going in to get them, one came out to be way too much for what it was and the last one was actually 2 separate dealers for the same car: my Sonata.
The first car was one I had been wanting for awhile, this Equus. A one owner 2011 that had just under 60 thousand miles on it for $17 grand. It was a fantastic deal. And for it to be 7 years old with just under 60k on it meant that it was babied and the owner didn’t drive it at all. I had everything set to go pick it up. But being in the business before I called the morning before I went to the dealer. I was told the car was sold the previous afternoon. I was pissed. But moved on to my backup.
The second car was the 2014 CTS I had posted here a few weeks back. I thought the car had sold because it wasn’t on the dealer’s site for a week or so. But then all of a sudden it had popped back up. It was a ‘14 with 66 thousand miles. It was so cheap because it had been involved in a minor rear end accident. The damage was repaired so well I couldn’t even tell. The dealer took my info and I was set to come back the following morning. Called the next morning and the car had been sold. The sales guy that was helping me hadn’t even been aware that it was. Whatever. I moved on.
After doing some numbers on my Sonic it became apparent to me that I was looking for the wrong cars. I needed to be looking at new cars, not used. My realization came a couple must haves:
- I needed rebates. Good ones to make up for the negative equity that my Sonic was bringing over.
- It had to be reliable for my commute, good on gas,roomy(for my son) and have a least some tech (Bluetooth, USB ports etc)
So I started looking at family sedans. The Fusion and Malibu were already out because, well I just never liked them. The Passat was out because VW. Charger/300 were too big and too rental grade for the price that I wanted and Chrysler’s affinity for 72,84 and 96 month loan terms. I don’t really like the Mazda 6 so that was out as well. That left the Optima,Sonata,Accord and Camry.
The Camry was too new for rebates and the ones that I did find that had rebates were on the LE. I wanted an SE. The LE was too...Camry. The Optima was out because shitty Kia dealers. Honestly, I visited and contacted about 3 different Kia dealers to compare pricing and there was this buy here pay here feel to them. It was a turn off. That left the Sonata and Accord.
Now the Accord didn’t have rebates. Honda is notorious for not really doing them, rather going the lease deal route than cash on the hood. But sales of the Accord are down right now and I thought that the Socal helpful Honda dealers would want to move some metal. I was wrong. Many didn’t wanna budge on price with a glaring price overlap between Civic hatchbacks and Accords. And there was a weird difference in pricing here locally as well. I noticed that most dealers in the inland valleys had base model Accords for just under 25 grand. But out west in the LA and coastal areas, many had pricing for just over 22 grand. So I worked with Long Beach Honda. But they severely lowballed me on my trade: $650. KBB had my car sitting at $1600-$2300 Blue Book value. So I tried a Sonata with the local Hyundai/Mazda/VW dealer group near me.
It got kind of better. They were willing to go to $2 grand on my trade and take 8% off my current apr. But we weren’t agreeing on the payment. So I walked. As I was in the process of leaving to go to In N Out, I hear the sales girl calling after me. They wanted me to come back so we can try and get closer on the payment. So I did. Here’s where the bullshit began. As I was sitting there waiting for numbers and watching James Comey on the View, I saw out the corner of my eye that the sales girl pull a black Sonata around, one like I told her I wanted. But I didn’t ask her to pull the car around nor was I aware I was about to take a car home. But I had an inkling of what was up. So I just waited. Keep in mind I had already been here 3 hours and I called my job telling them I would be coming in later so I was ready to go. But I indulged them because of the need.
I spotted the sales girl and asked her what I was waiting for. She says “oh it’s just some papers they wanted you to sign.” “Excuse me, but what am I signing?” I asked. It tripped her up. They were trying to get me to sign for the car already. I hadn’t even agreed to it. I was going to come back because, like I told them in the beginning I was shopping around. At that point they had the sales manager come out and politely say just come back when you are ready. We shook hands and I never went back. That whole ordeal emphasized why I hate the car sales business.
From there I went to a dealer that had been trying to get me in since November. They gave my $2500 on my trade, cut my interest rate in half and I was done in less than 2 hours. I settled on an ‘18 Sonata SE and it’s pretty great. I’m not just saying that either.
Hyundai piles in the value. This is a base model mind you, but it doesn’t have base model features. Some of the standout features it comes standard with are blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, backup camera, a 7 inch touchscreen and both Apple Car Play and Android Auto. A base leatherette seated 3 Series requires either of those to be added as a $300 dollar option.
So far the car has been fantastic. It easily returns 30 mpg and the ride is comfortable and quiet. All in all I think I made a good decision. Not to mention you can’t beat that warranty.