The Latest In Our Long Line Of Rescues

Since this may pretty much be the first I’ve mentioned anything about us wanting a new car, you might think of our purchase yesterday of the above-pictured Ford Escape Hybrid was something of an impulse buy. To the contrary, this is the end result of a process that began about two years ago with me telling Susan that while my trusty 1997 Nissan truck and her trusty 1994 Honda Civic hatchback would last us pretty much forever, it would be pretty nice: A) not having to rent a vehicle whenever we wanted to go for a road trip, and B) having a vehicle capable of carrying more than the two of us… you know, for those rare instances about once a decade when we’re sociable and want to take someone out — but not need them to pick us up because while technically our vehicles can each seat four, we don’t hate anyone enough to make them have to struggle getting in and out of the backs of either ride. And I do mean struggle.

But two years ago we were in no hurry, what with hopes of refinancing and renovating the upstairs. Neither were we much more in that hurry a year ago when that monumental task was finally completed.

But then came last December when we went to Yosemite and back with my mom in a Ford Escape rental and we really liked the car. And while we remained pretty laid back over the idea of  a new addition at that point, we recently got the ball rolling on another refi that shaved a couple hundred off the monthly mortgage payment, and we were thinking that with year-end clearances coming up, now might finally be the best time for a vehicular upgrade.

So Susan put on her research cap and started comparing models and prices and options and narrowed it down to what she wanted in a 2010. About the only thing our opinions differed on was the color. I preferred the dark gray, she the silver.

As luck would have it, Vermont Ford is basically down the street from us, and it just so happened to have a 2010 that most closely matched what we wanted. Susan signaled her interested to the dealership via the internet and yesterday we went over there first with something of an unusual request. We told the first salesman to intercept us that we didn’t need to test drive it so much as test park it in our tight 1916-built, two- jalopy river rock-walled garage — not so nuch to make sure it would fit (we measured that out already), but to make physically certain it would fit comfortably.

We were a bit disheartened to learn that the one Susan wanted (and pretty much the only one in the greater Los Angeles area that had the package she wanted) had sold. So instead we took a base model they had and sure enough it fit in the garage beautifully.

As we were driving back the salesman mentioned they had a new 2009 practically identical to the 2010 we wanted that they saddled themselves with in a dealer trade and had unsuccessfully been trying to get off the lot for months. So when we got back to the lot we looked at it and not only did it have all that we wanted (and only 200 test-drive miles on the odometer), but it was in Susan’s color and at a remarkable deal not just several thousand below the sticker price, but a couple hundred more below the invoice.

But it wasn’t quite enough below invoice for hardball-playing Susan who wouldn’t budge from the price she wanted and neither would the salesman from what he begged was the lowest he could go. So we left, and literally a minute after we walked in the door the phone rang and it was him willing to move down $500 of the $700 Susan wanted.

Good enough for us. So we went right back and bought it and brought home the poor 2009 Ford Escape XLT  Hybrid that no one else wanted.

Welcome to the family, Silver — which is what we named her. As in “Hi ho, Silver. Away!” And by “away,”our first trip with her is next month to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.

But first, who wants to go to dinner? We’ll drive!