Hunting Down a Car


I recently wrote that my Explorer needs to be replaced. I came up with a few requirements of what I wanted and needed in a replacement, and decided that a crossover-style vehicle was a good choice. So, we looked at a few.

Thinking about my Explorer, there were two things I identified immediately that I wanted from a new car: a moonroof and a colored body. When buying the Explorer, two were found for me: one in the autumnal orange color I wanted and with a moonroof, and a black one without moonroof. The price difference was about $2,000, so I took the black one. That's been a minor regret that I wanted to correct this time around.

My least favorite cars were the Nissan Rogue and Murano. They're nice vehicles, don't get me wrong, but not for me. The Rogue left me bumping my head against the ceiling while sitting in the driver's seat, which obviously excluded it immediately. The Murano had more space and was certainly a nicer vehicle, but I just wasn't comfortable in it.

Based on a lot of positive reviews and feedback, I was most interested in the GMC Acadia. It was my favorite until trying to drive it, where two significant deal-breakers popped-up:

  • The steering wheel doesn't tilt high enough for me to easily see the instrument cluster. I adjusted the seat a bit to try and find a comfortable spot for the seat that would also let me see the instruments easily, but there just isn't a spot.
  • The headrests are angled in such a way that they push my head forward. I felt like I was sticking my head forward in an awkward position through the test drive. The headrests don't tilt, and only lock in positions that don't improve the situation.

These both seem like significant and obvious flaws to me. I'm not sure if I'm that weird or if GMC didn't ask anyone to sit in the seats before going into production, but it was very disappointing. Also, there is a grooved track on the floor to allow the second row seats to slide forward--these big grooves must surely collect a lot of dirt and other junk, right?

The Dodge Journey was quite comfortable despite being noticeably smaller than the others we looked at. I really liked the "secret compartments" found throughout (cooler above the glove box, storage bins between the first and second row, specifically). The car was a bit less refined than the others, but was also a little less expensive, too. The thing I didn't like about the Journey is that when the seat was positioned where I want it, the center console was just out of reach--I would have to lean forward to hit any of the buttons and knobs. I liked this one quite a bit.

Lastly, we also looked at the Ford Edge. I actually test drove two of these: first an SE model, which was comfortable and a nice ride, but I wasn't ecstastic about it. We also drove a Limited with more comfortable seats and overall a much nicer interior, as well as a number of additional features. The Panoramic Vista moonroof was fantastic at roughly 3-foot by 3-foot, and with another smaller moonroof behind it. This was it!

I immediately identified "copper" as the color I wanted as there was one on the lot, and the camel-colored seats with charcoal-colored trim looked great, along with the giant Panoramic Vista moonroof, of course. Unfortunately, when finally getting ready to buy, we (for the billionth time) went back to the dealer's website and saw that it was gone! It was sold!

We spent the rest of Sunday afternoon searching Connecticut, Massachussets, Rhode Island, and New York dealerships to discover that color combination was available at exactly zero others. We needed the car so decided to move quick and I went with my second color choice: metallic dark ink blue.

We picked it up Tuesday night!

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