I Really Hate Shopping For Cars

Let me bring you up to date on our latest problem with our Toyota Matrix that has led us to begin the process of at least looking for a new vehicle to replace it. In my last entry, we had deleted the Lexus NX200t from our list of contenders and added the Acura RDX. That led to me going to a local Acura dealer in west end Toronto with the purpose of seeing one in the flesh and having a quick look at one while picking up some additional info. When I walked into the dealership and was approached by a salesperson, I told him what my intentions were right up front.

Too bad he didn’t listen.

He then really turned on the pressure by asking me if I’d like to test drive an RDX (which I ended up doing after three times saying that I was just looking for info at this point), and if I was interested in assessing a trade on my Toyota Matrix and checking out financing options. That was extremely frustrating. But I did get a chance to look at an RDX and drive one on city and highway streets alone. One thing that I noted is that as I pulled out of the parking lot to go on my test drive, he was copying down the vehicle identification number of my Toyota Matrix onto a piece of paper. That’s a very slimy way for the dealer to try and figure out how much my car is worth, if any money is owed from a financing perspective, and if it has been in any accidents. I was not impressed.

Back to the RDX for a moment. The one that I drove had some things that I really liked. There was a lot of room. Headroom and legroom in the back were great, plus because there was only a minimal hump for the transmission tunnel in the center of the vehicle, you can actually get three people in back and they can be comfortable. The cargo area was really roomy which allows you to carry a lot of people (up to five) and stuff. From a driving perspective, it was a bit floaty but did have enough road feel and feedback from the steering where to allow me to figure out what the crossover was doing. Power from the 3.5L V6 was direct and linear. The only thing that kind of bothered me was the all-wheel-drive system. The system that Acura uses in the RDX is not the outstanding “Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive” system that uses torque vectoring to make their vehicles fun to drive by sending torque from side to side during turns and any other time the system feels that it is necessary. Instead they use an all-wheel-drive system with what they call an “intelligent control system” which can spit the torque 60/40 with the 40 being at the rear. That’s a bit of a #fail when compared to a competitor such as the Volvo XC60 that I reviewed a while ago which can send up to 100% of the torque rearward as well as having torque vectoring. That made the XC60 have more of a fun to drive factor than the RDX. I will admit that the Volvo is more expensive. But it shows how the level of competition that the RDX has to deal with. Though I will also admit that Acura sells a fair amount of them.

Once I returned to the dealership, the salesperson “magically” had a trade in value for my Toyota Matrix and wanted to discuss financing, and if I wanted to bring my wife in to see the RDX to seal the deal. I reiterated what my intentions were but he didn’t let up. I was eventually able to leave the dealership, but I really felt that I needed a shower because of the slime factor. The bottom line is this. I am still “sort of” interested in the RDX, but the fact that I experienced such a hard sell makes me want to try another dealership if I decide to go ahead with purchasing the RDX. This one was the classic example of what is wrong with the process of buying a car. The fact is, if he had decided to be much more low key with his desire to meet his sales target, I might have brought my wife in for a second look after we had an answer about the oil consumption test on our Toyota Matrix. Now, there’s no chance of that happening. At least not at that dealership. What’s our next step? We’re planning to see the 2016 Hyundai Tucson as they are starting to appear at dealerships.

I have a suggestion to any car dealerships that may read this. The process of buying a car sucks. You shouldn’t make your customers feel like they need a shower after they visit a dealership. Nor should you force a potential customer to do more than they want simply to hit your numbers. You should help the customer to make an informed decision about the car that they want and how to pay for it with no pressure being applied to them. This is why my wife and I hate buying a car and avoid it unless absolutely required. At the moment, it’s required and we hate it. This really needs to change.

Stay tuned for my next update.

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