My Next Ride – Part 1

Today I began my test drives. As you saw on my previous post, I have been looking at the following:

2014 Chevy Volt (quoted)
2014 Ford Fusion Titanium
2013 Infiniti G37 Journey Sedan (quoted)
2014 VW Passat TDI
2014 Honda Accord EXL V6
2014 Volvo S60 T5 Premium
2013 Lexus CT200h (quoted)
2013 VW GTI Wolfsburg
2014 VW Golf TDI

UPDATE: Shooting for the Volt. My first American car. Second one I’ve driven since my sister got a Pontiac Grand Prix back in 1992.

After driving the CT200h, I have decided to drop it off my list along with the GTI and the Golf. They are a tad too snug, making it tough to love. It’s not a bad car and it gets great gas mileage, but I am simply not convinced it’s worth $35k.

I will start out with my impression on the G37 and Q50 (yes, I check it out too). The G37 just felt natural to me. I felt so comfortable in it. Love the exhaust note, fit and finish. the console display does look a bit more “aged”, but to be honest, not a bit deal. Love the “rawness” of the G37. It really a well balanced sports sedan. Inventories seem to be VERY high in some dealerships so may not be tough to get what you want. I feel confident  that I can get a Journey for about 1st month + $350s with tax for 36-mo/12k per year.  The Q50 is great, it’s a more refined and roomier G. Quieter, so the “rawness and power” feel isn’t as noticeable. Still a very nice car, but I feel the infotainment console is a bit sluggish. Kind of like how MyTouch was when it was first introduced. In contrast, the Volt’s console is a bit simpler and responsive (more on that later). Overall, the G37 is my “nostagic” choice that could potentially be a keeper in the long run. I’m keeping this car as my “safe choice”.

Now, let’s talk about the Volt, shall we? There’s been a lot of confusing information floating around. I’m not saying it’s wrong. But I think that there are just a lot of assumptions being thrown around and it’s really rough to get a “skinny” on how things are truly done.

First off, the Volt’s numbers for Dec 2013 are: residual value 39% for 36mo/15k per year and MF .00057 via US Bank. Don’t bother with Ally. US Bank rates are better.

Second, $7500 federal credit  is applied to boost the residual value, making your lease more affordable. Whatever that 39% is, boost the residual dollars by $7500 and that’s the new residual value for the lease. I have been quoted 0.00091 as the MF. However, a friend of mine decided to pull the trigger on a Volt today and he got quoted .00057 thru US Bank. I’m thinking his is the base rate and mine is the “padded” one.

Third, state rebates. In the state of California, we get a $1500 rebate on the Volt. This is given via a check, which arrives about 6-8 weeks after you lease the vehicle. As of today, there is about $27 million dollars left in the program or about 48% of the entire pot.

Fourth, Costco Rebate. $500 Costco Cash after you lease a GM vehicle between now and Jan 2nd 2014. You need to have a “code” which you get via the Costco Auto program website. This is only for participating dealers. Check with Costco before you get the car from whichever dealer you are working with. Get the car, do a questionnaire and a rebate will be mailed to you afterwards.

Last, my target goal. I’m looking at a $37k MSRP model, 1st payment due. Approx $340-$350 a month with tax. 36mo/12k a year. Then I would get the $500 from Costco and $1500 state rebate, or an additional $55 per month in savings, making my effective cost around $285-$295 per month after all is said and done. Is this possible? I don’t see why not, my friend’s offer is $1550 at signing, $323 a month for a 36mo/15k lease.

As far as the car itself. I think it’s acceptable. It’s got plenty of torque. It’s smooth and being able to run 40 miles with out gas is great. In terms of interior quality and design, I think that it’s a bit “all over the place”. It’s not very cohesive and the infotainment system is kind of “all over the place” as well. There is such thing as too many options. I am computer guy and I use an Android phone. With that said, I found the Chevy’s computer system a bit too “feature rich”. The good news is that it wasn’t as sluggish as the MyTouch or the Q50s.

Overall, the Volt is really a tough deal to pass up due to the sheer amount of rebates available. It’s tough for me to give up $2000 on the table just like that, so unless something unexpected happens, you all should see some Volt pics on the Wall by month end.

14 thoughts on “My Next Ride – Part 1

  1. I agree with you information console. The controls are not very intuitive. They should hire me as their UX designer (ha!).

    Test driving the Volt, it felt nice and solid with good, firm suspension. The driver position was good, but I felt that visibility wasn’t so great because of the huge a-pillars. The back seats are a really tight fit for anyone of average height and build.

    Overall, I liked the car and it felt like a quality vehicle. One thing I appreciate about the Volt is that it was designed from the ground up as a plug-in electric. Most other plug-ins were gasoline cars that they repurposed into a plug-in.

    That being said, I am loving my lease deal (thanks for looking over my numbers, G).

    $1,550 due at signing (includes all fees and 1st month’s payment).
    $323.70/month including sales tax.

    I get the $1,500 CA rebate and *if* I get the $500 Costco cash card, this effectively brings my monthly payment to around $268.15.

    Since I live in San Diego, I can sign up for the EV Time-of-Use 2 rate (EV TOU 2), which should bring down my electricity bill. Overall, I think this is a great time to either buy or lease the Volt or the Leaf. They’re just so dang cheap right now!

    • I have a 2013 Chevy Volt for about 16 months now on lease. I’m at 385.00 with tax and 15,000 miles. MSRP at the time was about 43,000. Onstar at the time and may still be free for 3years which is great it provides turn by turn directions. They also provide a car phone thru Onstar for 90% off for one year. Satellite radio is a nice set up on the car. The dash takes some getting use to but it works great. I guess nothing is laid out in the usual spots so it takes time. When you do the numbers you can see the lease is hard to pass up. I did Ally because I heard they make returning the car easier, less picky. But the real point is this is a great car if it meets your needs and environment. Riding on all electric is wonderful. The gas engine gets about 38 MPG and is fine on the highway and buzzy on hills or mountains. Its great not needing a gas station as often. Hope this helps.

      • Hi Mitchell,

        You don’t have to convince me. I bit the bullet and leased a 2014 Ashen Gray Metallic Volt this past Sunday! So far I love the car! The dash is still taking me a while to get used to, but I’m starting to get a hang of it. Hopefully a software update can improve the experience!

  2. I forgot to mention that the lease rate I got above was for a base model 2014 Volt with no frills EXCEPT for the Enhanced Safety Package 1 and cargo net. I’ll probably order some all-weather floor mats on Amazon if I can’t convince them to throw those in.

    Safety Package 1 includes:
    – Auto-dimming rearview mirror
    – Rear Park Assist that alerts drivers when certain stationary objects are less than 8 feet away from the rear bumper
    – Rear Vision Camera that projects images from a rear-bumper-mounted camera within the instrument panel display

  3. Wow, I got a pretty crazy offer today. Apparently there is another $500 in lease conquest cash available to me since I’m a current lessee of a competitor brand.

  4. Hey G, any reason you won’t consider the Nissan Maxima? As a G37 driver for two consecutive leases, I’m thinking about the Maxima this go around. They are discounting the heck out of it. I’m calculating 12k/36 months for fully loaded (SV Premium with Premium Tech Pkg) for about $300 a month whereas the G37 will be about $350. The Maxima also has some nice features included like panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled seat and rear sunshade. Don’t know why the G37 doesn’t even offer them… Anyway unless you absolutely hate the car perhaps worth considering?

    • I think with the Maxima you are getting a lot of car for the money. It’s basically a G37 in Nissan clothing. With that said, my main reasons for not considering it right now is because the Volt is so dang cheap to lease and operate that I am having a tough time seeing past that.

  5. Yeah I’m going to look into the Volt as well. Unfortunately though, since my state doesn’t offer any additional rebate I know I’ll be looking at $1500 more on any deal relative to yours which ups the payment about $50 bucks and in line with the competition. Also,do you know how much the home charging stations cost? I think using a regular home circuit they take all night to charge right? I know I wouldn’t want to worry about losing juice!

    • To be honest, even without the $1500 CA rebate, it’s still an incredible deal. However, make sure you find a “volume selling” dealer. To figure that out, you gotta find one that carries a large inventory of Volts. My local dealers wouldn’t go anywhere near the $6500 off MSRP price I was quoted. The more expensive the Volt, the bigger the discount it seems.
      As for charging stations, it depends on the brand. I’ve seen as cheap as $450, but most are about $1k.

    • The standard 120V charger (level 1) that comes with the Volt takes around 10 hours on 12 amp mode and around 16 hours on 8 amp mode. If your house is relatively modern, then you will be charging at 12 amps. If your house is older and the wiring is suspect, you should use 8 amp mode.

      A lot of the EV guys are recommending Clipper Creek for the level 2 charging stations. The LCS-25 (hard-wired to your home) is on sale for $495 right now. The LSC-25P is the plug-in version if you happen to have a 240V circuit available (like an electric dryer plug).

  6. If you chose to go through US Bank over Ally, do you secure financing on your own or do you just tell the dealer that you want to use US Bank?

    • Actually, my dealer (same as Leon S) offer US Bank over Ally because it was a “better deal”. US Bank is typically available to most dealerships.

  7. G – did you look into any of the electric options BMW offers? I have seen a few on the road in NJ but not sure did they are available to the public or dealer employees that are driving them around – any thoughts?

    • I did not. I don’t think they are available in my area yet. It maybe like the Honda Fit EV, where there are doing a small “controlled” group. Plus I’m not too excited about the i3.

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