Our revised search criteria for an SUV rather than a truck leads us to take a drive and hour and a half north, where a BMW dealer has a used Nissan Amada for sale which is in good condition and, crucially, is in our budget. We feel hopeful about this as it gets good ratings for towing, hits everything on the new list, and, as there is nothing more locally, we decide it’s worth the drive.
We pull up at the dealership, which is comforting in its familiarity as we like the BMW brand. This comfort fades quickly as we are led past the gleaming German designs, surrounded by salesmen in branded polo shirts, and to the desk of our contact. He is 80 if he’s a day, dressed in a suit that is hanging off him and black leather tassled loafers that were once black but are faded to grey. My hopes that he might be an experienced and knowledgeable part of the BMW team fade as soon as we get out to the Nissan, where he tries to tell me that the cracks in the front headlamps are meant to be there. We climb into the huge red truck, and commence the most uncomfortable test drive imaginable, by the end of which my legs and hips are aching from the vibrations. I hope against hope that John does not declare this the perfect truck for us.
He doesn’t, and we head off for lunch. Under the glaring lights of Subway, we feel despondent as this search is proving harder than we thought. Ever the optimist, John quickly gets us back on track by finding a used GMC Yukon for sale at a Chevy dealer in Maryland, which is the next state and normally out of our search range, but from where we are is half an hour away.
After a quick call, we head off to the dealership for another test drive, this time just the two of us. We like the big blue Yukon, which meets all our criteria other than leather seats (a compromise we thought might be in the offing); it is really comfortable and quiet to ride in and we have a good feeling. We decide to sleep on it and return the next day if we agree it’s the one for us.
Having discussed it with Steve that evening, we are confident it will do what we need and that it sounds like a fair price, so we resolve to return for another drive and then try and seal the deal. Unfortunately the American banking system conspires against us, so after a very rainy second journey to Maryland, we are frustrated at the last moment by the dealership not being able to carry out the transaction in the way our bank requires. We are therefore left with no option but to return for a third time, and will need to go home to make a wire transfer. I could do a whole post on how frustrating banking has been (John may mention this alongside some ale commentary another time) – suffice to say that it took John hours on the phone to even get this transfer done and that it then did not turn up with the dealership for 24 hours. It was therefore another day before we could pick up the SUV and return to base to park it alongside Steve’s bigger version.
Driving back, in the sunshine this time, we felt pleased with our purchase and like we’d made a big step forward in reaching independence. We also own the biggest car we have ever seen and look much more local than in our little Ford Focus rental!