Today was a test-driving, attempted car buying sort of day. I say attempted because at the end of the day, I do not have a new car.
I test drove the Mazda 3 first. Sadly, it wasn't that different from driving my Saturn. (And, as TJ pointed out, it would be about $20,000 cheaper just to keep driving the Saturn.) It felt like driving a rental car - fine, but not particularly interesting or fun. And it was super loud and somewhat plasticky inside the car.
As I expected, I loved the Audi A3. We test drove the "Premium" package, and it was very nice, right down to the heated seats and individual climate control. You can barely tell when it shifts gears and the gauges are just so cool looking. Very plushy.
However, I want the navigation system, and that's pretty hard to find. The dealer had *one* in stock, but it also had a sunroof, and a cold weather package, which we definitely don't need here in Seattle.
So given that, and all the research we did, TJ and I made them an offer of what the MSRP would have been for the car we wanted. After the usual haggling and "let me go ask my manager" idiocy, we came out with no deal. (And one very confusing bargaining round where the guy came back and asked if we were willing to pay more than the last price he offered us...) So we left and promised to return tomorrow because we still need to test drive the Sport version. I guess he was ok letting us go since we were planning to come back.
Somewhat disappointing, but not a big deal. We'll test drive the Sport version tomorrow and possibly offer a little more $ for the one on the lot. If that doesn't work out, we'll order one. The only issue I have is that we'll likely end up paying pretty close to MSRP that way. And that makes me feel like I'm getting ripped off. But at least then, it'll be exactly the car I want.
In the meantime, I'll check with other local dealers about what they have in stock. Fortunately there are 7 Audi dealers within 200 miles of where we live, so it might be a productive search.
Wish me luck!