What’s Going On – April 2011

Last Friday, I became a first-time homeowner! Woo Hoo! That’s been the biggest reason why I’ve been completely out-of-it in the past month. Unfortunately, I am in fixing-n-packing mode this month, so I have to continue keeping my comments short. I will continue to do what I can and drop a few lines here and there to help out. Lease rates should also be coming in the next couple days. I have already sent out request for some numbers and will focus in finding some numbers for you all in the coming weeks. Your patience is appreciated.

Working with the house this past weekend has opened my eyes to how inconvenient having a coupe really is. Hauling things from Home Depot or Lowe’s has been next to impossible (unless its just a few paint cans and brushes) so it has really been causing a lot of confusion as to what I want to be driving next. Clearly, the visits to home improvement stores won’t be stopping any time soon, therefore, I feel the need to get into something more practical this time around.

To recap, (Replacing the G – Party 2) I have been”casually” shopping for my next ride since November. I test drove a handful of cars/suvs and got a good feel for what I wanted next. However, this home ownership business has really thrown a curve ball at me recently. Not only do I have a strict budget to adhere to, but I also have to factor in operational costs ( gas has been creeping up into the $4+ territory. Yickes!). Just last night, I was at Costco and it cost me $67 to fill up 16 gallons on the G. CRAZY. Doing that 3-4 times a week has me feeling like my wallet has lost some of that plumpness!

In any case, due to these circumstances, I decided to trim down my list even further by narrowing it down to the following cars.

  1. Hyundai Sonata Turbo SE
  2. Hyundai Sonata Turbo Limited
  3. Subaru Forester X
  4. Subaru Forester XT
  5. Acura TSX
  6. Audi A3 Premium
  7. VW GTI
  8. VW Tiguan S
  9. Honda Pilot LX 4WD

At the moment, I find myself leaning towards leasing the Sonata Turbo SE with the Nav/Sunroof package. It provides me with the best equipped vehicle and the lowest payment. It lacks the practicality of having that “5th door”, but it’s easy on the pocketbook. I’m also toying with the idea of getting a GTI or going all out and getting the Pilot. Tough decisions to be made in the coming months! I have about 4 months and three payments left on my G37, so the hunt for my next ride will be shifting into high gear really soon!

So which car did you think I will be driving in a few months? Care to guess?

28 thoughts on “What’s Going On – April 2011

    • I think the TDI might be beyond my price range. The 2.0T shows promise though. Then again, it seems a better equipped GTI might be going for about the same plus it has free maintenance for 3 years. Tough choice…

  1. I don’t know the rates but you better off getting the Kia Optima SX (turbo version) instead of the Sonata T. Much more options…..Panoramic sunroof, cooled frontseats, heated rear seats, HID headlights, LED tail lights,cooled glove box, a better sport feel overall. I haven’t tested the 2011 Sonata’s so maybe they added those features now but test out the Optima for yourself.

    • I actually like the looks of the Optima better, but a quick glance at it’s lease rates reveals a much lower residual 51% for 12k miles per year (from Edmund’s forums). The MF is pretty low, but the discounts aren’t as big as the Sonata. Probably still worth at least a test drive though.

    • Yeah, I do like how the GTI looks and drives. I will probably need a 4-door though. One of my friends has one at work, which is one of the reasons why I’m somewhat shying away from it. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like having the same exact car as someone else at work for some reason. Haahaa. It’s psychological.

  2. I second the A3TDI or the GTI. Still get all the sport and fun to drive stuff, good gas sipper, and the functionality of a hatch.
    Did a home depot round trip in the Mini the other weekend with 5 bags of sand and 4 bags of mulch. Still was able to keep one seat up! (too lazy to take out baby seat)

    • That’s +2 for the A3 and GTI. Sonata and the rest getting absolutely no love! Haahaa. To be honest, I think it’s really a battle between the GTI and the Sonata for me. I was eyeballing a G37 sedan the other day since my local dealer has been bugging me about the pull-ahead program plus $500 wear and tear + $1000 loyalty credit. It could be a pretty good deal, but the insurance, registration and gas…yickes…not sure I can stomach it with a mortgage payment now…

  3. Just wanted to share my recent lease aquisition. I tried local dealers AND BestBuy Leasing, and BBL could not locate the car I requested. I found another Lease company, Legend Leasing out of NY. I worked with Morris and he was great, located the car I wanted and got a price without hassles that was $33 a month cheaper than any local dealers could do EVEN AFTER I told them I got this deal. Heres the details:

    2011 Infiniti G37x Sport, Nav, Premium, Accent package
    MSRP $43,650
    39 mo lease
    20,000 miles annually
    TIER 2 credit
    $486/mo with only $1450 up front for the usual

    • Matt,

      Congrats. I also wanted to briefly share that with the help of G’s website, I also acquired a G37x from Legend Leasing. This was the most easy going experience in leasing a car that I have been part of. Steve was quick and prompt with emails and my (79) questions. I acquired at G37x with premium package and splash guards MSRP 40390 with 10k miles for 387/month with 640 due at start.

      I hope everybody at this website gives Legend Leasing a chance if you live in the North East. Going into the dealer to get pressured is not a thing of the past. If you have all the information regarding numbers, rates, moneyfactors and incentives from the internet, you are being a better consumer and preventing dealers from taking advanatage of you.

      Thanks Steve and Legend Leasing and G.

  4. New jetta gli coming out this year might be something to consider too. I like the vw cc, but the gli may be more fun to drive.

  5. G, sale price was $38,731 from the MSRP of $43,650. Yes teir 2 they use 5% on the MF. Even when BestBuy gave me a quote, it was $472/month BEFORE adding another 16,250 miles to the lease, so this was def the lowest quote from many many dealers for me.

  6. It depends if you choose using your heart or head. How else could you consider both the Sonata and the Pilot?

    I like the Forester but the Subaru’s didn’t lease well in March so I ended up with the Honda CR-V. However, that wouldn’t have enough get up and go for you. Neither would the Jetta TDI, but it should have most of the other things you want: low fuel cost, crisp handling and room for a new bathroom vanity.

    I think you said you’re in SoCal so do not need AWD like I do in the northeast, so you have a lot more options. I think gas will hit $5.00 this summer so I would consider the Prius and if you can wait the new Prius V that is supposed to be a wagon/crossover version of the current Prius.

    One more to consider with a high RWG is the Honda Crosstour. Not great fuel economy, but can go off road, and carries more than most hatchbacks. It has and under floor container to make it easy to bring home the plantings from the garden center.

    My favorite of our cars in the “can do everything” category was our Audi Allroad (after putting decent tires on it). It was quiet, rode like the A6, had a 250 HP (I think) 2.7L turbo, got 25 mpg on the highway (when using the lowered highway ride height) AND could go off-road with 8.7″ of ground clearance and one of the better AWD systems out there. Good Luck.

    • Haha indeed. I would love the room of a Pilot, but I want the drive and fuel economy of the Sonata (and the payments too!).

      You are right about the Forester and I think I could get by with the non-turbo. But I would be “getting by”, which could get old quick. A Jetta TDI wagon could probably do the trick I am guessing.

      I’m not fond of Toyota at the moment. I find the interiors cheap and generally uninspiring/unattractive. MPG is great, but that in itself wont do it for me. Toyota has bumped the price on the Prius since gas prices are going up, so that makes it that much more of a reason not to overpay in the name of gas preservation.

      Funny you mention the CrossTour. I was crunching the numbers for it last week, right before I posted this entry and I was surprised to see how “affordable” it was. $300s and change with just 1st month due for a car that’s in the mid 30s is pretty good. Its one hideous beast, but like the folks at Edmunds IL said, “You don’t choose cars like this, you succumb to them. They creep up on you like thin hair and thick ankles.” It is practical, I will give it that.

      I do like the Audi Allroad and the Avant. Those two are probably my two most favorite wagons. I also liked the old Volvo 850 GLT wagon from what back in the day.

      As of now, I am going to try to see what kind of deal I can swing by mid-May (right before my dmv registration is due) on my G. I don’t want to pay upwards of $300 on car registration just to drive the car three months. Remember folks, 39-month leases are a BAD idea if you pay yearly registration. They sucker you in with a lower payment, but you end up getting screwed if your yearly registration is expensive.

  7. “I find myself leaning towards leasing the Sonata Turbo SE with the Nav/Sunroof package. It provides me with the best equipped vehicle and the lowest payment.”

    I totally agree with you!The most important thing is having the lowest payment with the best package and now Hyundai’s Sonata Turbo SE got it all. Sonata is a promising 2.0T fuel economic car so it would be a best buy for families.


  8. What about the TSX Sportswagon? I just got one and love it! I am also in the SoCal area and while it was tough to find, it was worth it. It leases great too….65% residual on 36 mo/10k.

    • wow 65% residual is really good. By the way, what MF did you get on it? I should probably give my Acura dealer a call to see what he can come up with. Speaking of which, what dealer did you lease it from?

      • I am not sure on the MF – 2-3% I think. I went with the lease special they had – 0 down, 0 first month payment, 360 month before tax. The dealers really aren’t negotiating on the price of the wagon since there are so few. I used Thomas Acura in Covina. I had a really hard time finding a wagon w/out Tech. The dealer made it a smooth process. They even got me out of my lease 6 months early for $375 out of pocket (I had a $350 disposition fee anyways). All in all I am very happy with the car!

        • Checked into the TSX wagon…my dealer did not have one in stock! There is another dealer near me, but I didn’t check with them because I refuse to do business with them. In any case, 360+tax with nothing due is pretty good for a car at the price range, even if the sale price was not negotiable. Congrats! I might have to look elsewhere tho 🙁

  9. I say go for the Forester, or at least an SUV. Thinking that a sedan will solve your space-hauling issues vis a vis a coupe is like quitting smoking to take up dipping — even moreso since you are a new homeowner and will be hauling more product. Think of it as a period in your life where you placed need over speed — Even the most interesting man in the world had to get a minivan at some point (to haul around the MIMITW, Jr. and his XX)

    Then again, the Forester is more function than flash and you might have a neighbor/brother/friend with a truck for the large purchases.

    Either way, know that you are in an enviable position as being in the lease market…33 more months for me :-/

    • Haahaa. I think the most interesting man in the world would probably be able to force all that cargo into a Bugatti Veyron…with his mind. LOL.
      Looking at Subaru’s leases right now, they don’t look very attractive. Hopefully they pick it up a bit next month and lower the MF and throw some cash at it. Right now I’m just pretty torn about it. But all of you have given me very good recommendations and reasons to choose one over the other. I will be looking at ways to unload my G37 in the coming weeks (before my annual registration is due next month). Hoping CarMax will give me enough for it so that I can at least break even.

  10. The Forester was included in my comparison. The seats were very comfortable but it was lower in cargo space, the automatic transmission is outdated hurting gas mileage, and was the lease was still too high. It did offer an integrated TomTom GPS that was a good feature.

    Note, if you (or anyone) thinks they might buy the car after the lease is over, the RWG is not as important. However, if you plan on turning it in, the higher the RWG, the better.

    • I’m totally on the fence with the Forester right now. Part of me likes it. Part of me isn’t quite sure for the exact reasons you mentioned.

      As for the RWG rating not as important on a buyout, that depends. It matters if you are leasing a car with low residual value. The key is to make sure your payments got towards the depreciation part of the loan, not the interest. So a car with low residual and low money factor is probably the car you want to buyout at lease end. If you get a low RWG rating (low 80s or less) and your residual is high, you should not buy or lease that car.

  11. Here’s some new development in my search for my next car.
    The Accord CrossTour EX-L AWD is in the mix. Ugly car, but the price is attractive.
    $383 a month with 9.75% CA sales tax. $0 due at signing is tough to complain about.

    As for the Sonata SE Turbo (sunroof/nav) it’s $355 with tax with $0 due at signing. This is fair considering my nearest Hyundai dealer wanted sticker because they said there were only 6 cars equipped like that in the entire state of CA. RIIIGGHHT.

    Got numbers for a GTI with Sunroof and they wanted $437 with tax and $850. That was down right insulting. Basically charging me sticker price. If he calls or emails me, I will tell him I was too insulted to email him back. I did a best-case scenario estimate and the payments came out higher than a base model A3.

    Also looked into the Jetta TDI. Its not a bad car. Drives pretty well. Great gas mileage. The interior was Audi-esque. But you can totally see where they skimped out. Definitely not a bargain. As a matter of fact, the lease is down right horrible. Gets a 70s RWG rating. I was quoted $428 with tax and $850 at signing. Again, insulting.

    Will be inquiring about a Frontrak A3 Premium. I know you guys recommended a TDI, but I’m not willing to pay that kind of money right now.

    I’m also going to shoot another email to another VW dealer about a Tiguan S to see if they can come close to a $330-$340 a month with tax and $0 driveoff.

    • Well, so far, we agree about everything. You are correct about what I said about the RWG if you plan to purchase in that a lower RWG might be OK if it is due to a low residual, not high interest. I forgot to include that.

      In the end our #1 choice was the Subaru Outback but its lease is even worse than the Forester. The Outback had an MSRP only $1,000 more than the Honda CR-V but leased more than $100 per month higher. The Outback has more room than the Forester, CVT for better mileage, and a combination of its lower overall height and integral roof rack that, together, allowed me to install a Thule Box carrier and still drive into our garage, were some of the reasons it came out ahead of the Forester.

      Something to consider: Depending on how often you need to carry stuff, a box carrier can add a lot of capacity to an A3.

      When comparing the A3, you will find many many features that Audi includes that are options from other manufacturers or just not available. For example, I just do not like paying extra for power seats and not get seat memory because just when you’ve tweaked the perfect position, someone changes that position and you can’t get back to where you were. My 20020 A4 3.0 Quattro has 6 seat memories along with outside mirror position memory for each position. Oh, and when Audi said “Power Mirror” for my car, it meant power folding. Just a long list of small touches that help you concentrate on driving.

      If you do look at the A3, also check the A4. Last I looked; the prices were pretty close if you include options in the A3 that are standard on the A4.

      The Tiguan was in my comparison too. A smallish cargo area, high base price along with “not so special” leases, knocked it out.

      I hate to say it, but the CrossTour still looks attractive on paper. And it also meets my Thule Box into the garage requirement. My new CR-V probably doesn’t. Only if the CrossTour weren’t so unattractive to look at. Maybe it will grow on you?

      Make a list of all the features that are important to you along with the lease price. I probably still have mine. Is there a way to post files on your site?

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