Last weekend, we said goodbye to an old friend. We traded in my husband's 2002 Pontiac Bonneville. It was time, but sad. This was the car that we'd brought both kids home from the hospital in, the one that Charlotte threw up in every day for two weeks with one illness, the one we'd driven to Myrtle Beach with my family before we had kids. This was also the car that sparked one of our big fights--in 2002, I thought we were saving money to start a family, and hubby started negotiations before I realized he wanted a new car. Luckily, everything worked out well in the end.
It is also sad that, even as we planned this spring to buy a new car, it was announced that the Pontiac line was being shut down. Of course, with the variety of problems that my husband's Bonneville has had over the past several years, I'm not sure I'm surprised. Electrical problems, airbags that needed to be replaced, tires that are constantly out of balance or low on air, a "Service Stability System" warning that we'd been ignoring for months, and puddles of axle grease on the driveway. It was time to go.
Last Thursday, we closed on a re-finance of our mortgage. The new 5% interest rate drops our payment by a couple of hundred bucks a month, and the total interest on the new loan works out to almost exactly the remaining interest on the old loan. We just added a few years until the payoff date. For about 36 hours, we had lowered our monthly expenses.
Saturday morning, hubby drove to a Toyota dealer to buy a new car. He initially was thinking a Prius, to save both the environment and our wallet (the gas mileage is roughly double his old car, and the old car required expensive premium gas). But after borrowing friend's vans and SUV's several times in a couple of months, we started thinking big. Neither of us wanted a gas guzzler, though.
We are now the proud owners of a blizzard white 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The gas mileage (25-27ish) is actually a tad better than the old Bonneville got. And it has space! Lots of space!! It can seat 7, or 4 plus a ton of cargo room, or 2 plus two tons of cargo room. At low speeds, it runs very quietly, relying mostly on the battery instead of the gasoline engine. Quite the change from the old super-charger on the Bonneville. And it fits just the same in the garage. (Have I ever mentioned that the Bonneville was roughly the size of a luxury yacht?)
We put the new car through its paces last weekend. It took us to the Ren Faire, and the Science Center, and to Shiloh, IL and back to visit family. It will likely make its open-road debut in the next few weeks with a trip to Indy to visit my family. So far, so good.
The payments are going to suck, though :(