My son’s, that is. Over the weekend, M’hijito drove up to Wickenburg, a small tourist trap about 55 miles from town, and bought himself a Ford Escape. And yesh, I was amazed that he went for an American car, since his tribe has been burned enough times by the things to make us all leery.
However, it’s a beautiful car, and he got an incredible deal, making it possible to afford a passel of bells and whistles, including leather upholstery(!). And I have to admit that Ford and Chevrolet are getting much better reviews than they used to — Edmunds and the other big reviewers do like the Escape.
Amazingly, he managed to wangle a 0%, no-money-down loan on the thing!
The beauty of this is that he’s been setting aside the equivalent of a car payment for the past few years, hoping to accrue enough to buy a vehicle in cash before his clunk craps out. Said kitty is invested in a Vanguard fund. What this means is that he’ll be able to withdraw just enough to pay the tab each month, while the balance of his car savings continues to earn interest.
This will allow him to continue investing that amount out of his cash flow. By the time the car is paid for, he’ll have at least as much in hand and probably more.
Probably more, because this is type of guy who’s likely to use whatever windfalls that come along to prepay principal, thereby accelerating the loan payoff.
Okay, that’s good, eh?
Well, it gets even more amazing.
With a printout of the Kelly Blue Book valuation, he actually managed to make money on the clunk!
Said clunk was falling apart and needed $1700 worth of repairs just to keep it running. Its previous owner wrecked it not once, but twice; owner’s dad and insurance company had it repaired, but still… 🙄
Its paint was pocked in the hailstorm we had a couple years ago and never repaired. M’hijito collected from the insurance company and pocketed the money…or, more likely, stashed the money in the car purchase fund.
It had something else happen to it — can’t remember what — for which M’hijito pocketed another insurance payment.
The car came to him through one of his dad’s law partners, whose son drove it through high school and then left it behind when he went off to college. Dad’s Partner wanted the unsightly thing gone from his driveway and so practically gave it away.
The dealer, of course, tried to lowball him on the trade-in. But when M’hijito waved the Kelly Blue Book printout in the air, voilà! To get him to drive that Escape off the lot, they offered him top dollar for the clunk!
So he figures that, in balance, he made about $2000 on the thing over the altogether too many years he’s been driving it.
And what about my own schemes to buy a new car?
Oh…I don’t know…and of course, when in doubt, don’t.
The Dog Chariot is still running well. Chuck the Wonder-Mechanic thinks it will go at least another 30,000 to 80,000 miles, relatively trouble-free. It’s so old, the registration gouge is now practically nil, and insurance premiums are also very low. It has a six-banger under the hood that goes a long way toward keeping me marginally safe on the homicidal streets of Phoenix, and the mileage said six-banger gets is not significantly worse than any other cross-over’s, even the now ubiquitous four-bangers.
All of these factoids make my craving for a new crossover or pickup look a lot more like a want than a need.
But given that I can afford a “want” — and if I could wangle a 0% loan myself, I could more than afford it — that Escape is pretty attractive.
The Honda CR-V, whose interior is even nicer and which really is a very pleasant vehicle, comes only with a four-banger. No upgrade is available, and a little four-cylinder engine…well. Not around here, thanks. KJG’s daughter and son-in-law, both of whom are engineers, bought one of the things and then thought better of it. They both have to commute on the freeways, and they found the CR-V underpowered for the purpose. They traded it in on a vehicle that would give them a fighting chance in the traffic.
I’m a fairly assertive driver, even in my old age, and I do not like being shoved around by the SOBs who populate the local roads. A car has gotta have enough power to give me some action when I need it.
The Escape also comes equipped with a four-cylinder engine. However, Ford has two turbo-charged versions that, according to Edmunds, provide acceptable power — one will crank out 240 hp — with little damage to the mileage ratings. Price is comparable to the fancified versions of the Honda.
So that makes the vehicle a lot more attractive.
The only thing, really, that takes away from it are the letters F-O-R-D: