Monday, March 06, 2006

AutoQuest IV - Next Test Drive

So, it's still Saturday. I'm driving home from Norco and I'm revising my thinking. My one car in my mind has been scratched. So, it's looking more like a small SUV is where I'm going. The other car I briefly considered was a Ford Mustang. I decided against it when I sat in one and thought the interior was made of cheap plastic that would be only suitable for young men under 25.

My next appointment is at Puente Hills Mazda. I'm going to try out a Tribute. Puente Hills is right near me so it was a quick scoot over there. Again, I had an appointment. This time it would be with Anthony. Michelle had to work so I'm alone this time. Anthony tells me he had no appointments today. I'm thinking to myself that that's a real odd tactic to pretend he didn't know I was coming or if he really didn't know, it didn't seem like a good idea to tell me. So it wasn't a good start. Anthony had me sit at his cubicle. It soon became apparent to me that his plan was to just sit and wheel and deal. When I told him I wanted to actually look at a vehicle, he sighed as if it was a meaningless formality. When I told him there was absolutely no chance I was purchasing a vehicle today, he really lost interest. Suddenly, he had "important" matters to tend to that he had "completely forgotten" about. So he assigned a lackey to assist me. At this point, I've already decided against doing any business with this dealership but I might as well see if I even like the Mazda.

They let me drive a fully loaded Tribute. This one had leather, airbags galore, a rearview mirror with about 88 different functions, and everything was black. Before I drove it, I sat in back and I was really surprised at the lack of headroom. This was an SUV with no sloping roof like a car. So why was the headroom so limited? Now, the front was pretty nice. I knew I wouldn't get the all black interior, it just wasn't for me. I did the two mile drive. It was okay but I noticed two things. I always do an abrupt turn in a test drive. While the Jeep, earlier had handled the turn nicely, I felt a slight sway in the Tribute. Neither handled like my car but it was obvious that the Tribute's limits were shorter than the Liberty's. The other thing was that when accelerating uphill on a freeway onramp, I realized I was flooring it and I wasn't getting much oomph. I don't think the 3.0 liter V6 lacked power, it just didn't downshift so I was trying to accelerate in 4th gear. Overall, it was competent, but not too exciting.

So the Tribute didn't thrill me. That doesn't look good for the Ford Escape or Mercury Mariner either. What I really hated though, is the snotty way I was treated. I just refuse to put up with salespeople who don't know anything about their product. I want someone passionate about the vehicles they sell. Anthony didn't know a Mazda from a Ferrari, it was all interest rates and financing options to him. Christina at Southwest Chrysler/Jeep claimed she owned a Grand Cherokee and was a major Jeep fan. So far, the Jeep Liberty and Southwest Chrysler/Jeep were in the lead.

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