My lease on my Subaru Forrester ended in September and I needed to buy or lease a new car to replace it. I loved my Subaru but I wanted to lower my monthly payment by at least $100 and did not want to put any money down.
I did not want to go to dealers and spend hours in a small sales office even with a mask, so I started out doing research on Edmunds and other car review sites. I also called my current car leasing company to get a payoff quote so I could check Kelly Blue Book to see if I had any equity in my Subaru. This is an awesome thing to do because if you do owe less than your car is worth that money can be used in your negotiations. You also need to find out your FICO score, then you can start researching your possible new car and the leasing/cashback deals available.
I eventually got my list of possibles down to the Kia Soul, Honda CR-V or HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Chevrolet Trailblazer and a Hyundai Kona. This took me forever but was well worth it since I would not be test driving a car.
I looked at top SUV’s and then took each one vs. the other, i.e. Kia Soul versus Jeep Renegade, etc. I kept an open Word document and copied and pasted information that I found so I wouldn’t forget what I read.
Then I researched the leasing and current cash back offers and posted those into my Word document.
From there I narrowed it further to the Hondas, the Kia and the Hyundai. I made the decision based on reviews, lease offers and cashback offers available. Then I started filling out inquiries on specific vehicles on https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/ and https://www.truecar.com/ which immediately made my phone start blowing up with calls, which I ignored until I started finding places I could text and email. I did not want to negotiate by phone. My plan was to handle all the details of leasing my new car via email and have the dealer deliver my new car and pick up my Subaru for trade.
Then began an interesting tug of war between doing things my way and doing things the way the dealers wanted. I honestly thought I would end up with a Honda since the dealer I contacted at https://www.oceanhondanoho.com/ advertised their willingness to do exactly what I wanted. I sent information to them about my Subaru and the two cars I was interested in and received a very cordial response but then the salesperson was off the next day and the person who picked up the ball didn’t do a very good job getting back to me.
Two Kia dealers tried contacting me by phone but when I tried to switch them over to text and email, they just lacked any coherence in their communications.
Then I got a phone call from Adam Hijazi from Downey Hyundai https://www.downeyhyundai.com/. I let the call go to voicemail and then texted Adam to let him know what I wanted to do and to get an email address from him. What followed was a perfect example of what I had been looking for.
I told him what car I was interested in (2020 Hyundai Kona in Surf Blue), that I wanted my payment to be as close to $200 a month as possible with no money out of my pocket. I gave him the details about my Subaru and the payoff on it as well as my FICO score and he came back with a deal that sounded great to me.
He sent me a link to fill out an application for a lease and when I was approved told me that he was sending Eddie over to deliver my new car with the paperwork for me to sign. About an hour and a half later, I was signing the paperwork for my new car and then getting a tour of all the tricks that went along with it like keyless entry and a start button ignition.
The pre-process was a pain in the butt and had me pulling out my hair, but the process from Adam on was smooth as silk. Very impressive, and I never felt disrespected, rushed or pressured.
If you are picky, picky about your car you will probably want to try and drive your pick before you start this process although that puts you back in their driver’s seat. For me, I was a little discombobulated by the no-key start and had a little bit of a challenge getting my walker in the back (partly my fault, I should have asked Eddie to show me how to do it), but once I had those down, I enjoyed tooling around in Lil’ Blue and even got a very nice compliment on her as I sat at a park eating my lunch.