Hi guys! So exciting news because we finally got a new car! If you’d been following along on IG, you probably know that towards the end of last year we starting playing around with the idea of getting a new car. It wasn’t something that we necessarily planned on, but we knew that in December a lot of dealerships had 0% or 1.9% APR and Stephen’s car could definitely use a refresh (he had a 2011 Honda Accord). So taking all that into consideration we decided to look at some cars we had in mind and if it felt right to buy then we would but if not then we would just hold off. We weren’t in any immediate rush…I mean, it’s not as if we’re driving a lot of places these days LOL. But okay, onto the blog post! And strap in because this may be a long one, but I want to give y’all all the details that went into our decision because these may be some things that will help you if you’re car shopping now or in the future!
First little bit of a backstory of everything that went into our ultimate decision. For the last several years, my dream car has been a Lexus RX350. I feel like they are the epitome of just everyday, classic luxury but also super reliable. It’s like the best of both worlds. I’ll just say I’ve never been a “car” person in that I have wanted to drive a luxury car. IMO, I feel like a lot of luxury brands just aren’t worth the price tag and you end up paying more so for the brand vs. the actual quality of the car. However, Lexus has always been voted as one of the most reliable brands (I mean people drive their Lexus until they have 250K-400K miles). They also retain their value incredibly well. I mean, if you’re car shopping and looking to buy a used Lexus you will see that even with a considerable amount of miles they are still $$. So taking into account all these factors, Lexus is the one luxury brand I was considering/wanted.
Initially, we went to go see the Lexus RX350 (we looked at the 2021 premium and luxury models) and really loved them, which I wasn’t surprised by. When we left the dealership though, we started debating if we should get another 5-seater SUV (which would be the Lexus; I currently have a Mazda CX5 and we would be keeping this car), or if we should get something bigger (ie. with a 3rd row). While we didn’t necessarily need the extra space now we were trying to think about in the future if we have kids, etc. We decided that if we were going to spend that much on a car (ie. the Lexus) we needed to be 100% sure it’s what we wanted (well, we knew we wanted it, but needed is probably a better word lol). So we started to look at other options.
Our friends had just gotten a Kia Telluride and they had also test drove the Palisade (by Hyundai) and they were like you have to check out these cars. They are super nice, and have so many upgrades (especially for the price point), and both have a third row. So we test drove both, and while the Telluride was really nice it was a little too “utilitarian” for us. Like it was very sleek but also very minimal in its aesthetic which just wasn’t what Stephen and I personally loved in a car. Then we test-drove the 2021 Palisade (Limited edition) and we really liked it. It was super boujee feeling, had a ton of features, and had really great reviews. So then we were stuck with the dilemma– the Lexus was the car I had always wanted but the Premium models didn’t have has many features as the Palisade but was still about ~10k more, and so to get comparable features to the Palisade I’d have to compare it the Lexus Luxury model which was about ~15K more (which is obviously a big price difference).
SO we went and actually test drove the Lexus and I was like maybe I won’t love it *as much* and I’ll be convinced it’s not worth the extra money. Wellll, we test drove both the premium and the luxury and afterwards I was obsessed especially with the luxury model. Stephen and I then went home and both came to the conclusion that even though the Lexus was significantly more, we were just really excited about it. We did objectively really like the Palisade and it was a better deal for all the features and extra space but we still didn’t want to spend upwards of 50K on something that you aren’t obsessed with. Yes, the Palisade was less expensive but it’s not like it was a cheap car lol.
So after discussing it for a few more hours lol we were like clearly we are obsessed with the Lexus and we should get the car that we truly want if we’re talking about spending this much money. So we told Lexus we wanted the luxury RX350 and we would pick it up on Monday. Well, we ended up being notified a few hours later that someone else had apparently already reserved the car but the system just wasn’t updated yet, and that if the sale didn’t go through obviously we were next on the list but if it did they would find another one for us at another dealership.
During this time that we were waiting to find out, we ended up having a change of heart. We felt like yes, we could afford the Lexus and it’s what we wanted but if we have kids in the next year or two, they are expensive! And we would also need to hire help since we both work full-time. So we stared thinking even though we could afford it now, was it the most responsible thing to do when in the next couple years we could potentially have more expenses that we do now. With the Lexus, the 50% that we were going to put down could outright pay for another car (still a super nice one that would have that extra row) and we wouldn’t have a car payment.
The more and more we talked about it, we just felt like it was financially not getting the Lexus was the right thing to do. Just because you can do something in the moment, doesn’t mean you always should. And trust me, I am definitely someone who feels like when you work hard, you should reward yourself with things that make all the hard work worth it! But at the same time, we live in a world of instant gratification and so I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of: if I can have it now and I want it now, then I should get it now.
We decided to then look at the inventory that Carmax had to see what other 3 row SUVs we would be interested in. Again, we decided not to do the Palisade because we still didn’t want to pay that much for something we weren’t super excited about. We pretty quickly decided on the 2019 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring edition because it checked pretty much all of our boxes for what we wanted in a car with a third row, it ranked well on consumer reports, and the price was right. We found one with the interior and exterior we wanted and we had it shipped from Louisiana that day!
Honestly I think everything happens for a reason, and there was a reason why the Lexus ended up not being available that day. After all the debating and going back and forth, I feel 100% happy and confident with our decision to go with the Mazda CX-9. I did a reel that highlighted some of the car features here!
Also, if you’re looking at buying a new or used car, I definitely recommend looking at consumer reports. It’s a really great website with objective car ratings that cover every individual category as well as giving a car an overall rating. You can also compare cars so you can see where one car might really outshine the other. If you are getting a used car, Stephen and I have bought our past 2 used cars from Carmax. We have found them to be the most reliable when it comes to used cars, and they have an awesome selection. If they don’t have what you want on their lot, they can transfer a car to you up to 250 miles away for free, and if it’s more than than there is a fee but it’s not terrible (we paid around $400 to get ours transferred from Louisiana). Also, Carmax doesn’t haggle with their prices and everyone gets the same commission regardless of what car they sell, so you don’t ever feel like you are being taken advantange of.
ANYWAY. I know this post was a LONG one. I apologize for all the details but buying a car is a big decision and even though it can be fun and exciting, I also feel like it can be stressful. Hopefully in me sharing some of the thoughts that went through our mind regarding our future finances, potentially needing a car with extra room in the future, etc. will help you think about somethings that are important to you when buying your next car. I’ll also just say, don’t ever feel like you have to over extend yourself to have a nice car. I know it’s not realistic to not necessarily have a car payment, but being stressed over whether you can make your monthly payment is NOT worth it!! Plus, if you can’t afford what you want now, it just gives you something to work towards 😉
Alright guys, that wraps up this blog! Feel free to leave any questions below. I’m an open book!!