Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Looked at the Honda and Chevy Today

It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, and we got there about 30 minutes before they closed. The Honda dealer had NO sales staff there, just some frightened looking little receptionist wearing a mask, and behind a big clear plastic shield. They had one outside, all locked up, that looked like it just came off the tuck, and one inside that we crawled all over, doing the tire-kicking and door-slamming thing all by ourselves. VERY nice interior ("soft touch" surfaces everywhere), paint looked pretty good, all the panel fits were excellent, the doors and tailgate closed with a solid feel, and the seats seemed very comfortable. SLW could easily get in and out of it even though it didn't have the steps she wants on it, and she thought she could see out of it adequately well, but she wouldn't know until she drove one. She was quite impressed with the rear seat that folds up to free a lot of cargo space, and the "Two Way" tailgate that drops down like a proper tailgate, but also swings out like a door.

She agreed a beige leather interior would get filthy beyond belief in six months, so she backed off on wanting a red one as that's the only color interior available with red. If we buy a Honda, we'll get a blue one, as it has a slate grey/black interior.

The we went up the street to the Chevy dealer. They had Colorados (Coloradoes?) galore, but all the ones on the lot were either strippers, or fully-loaded Z71 and ZR2 off-road specialists. A nice young guy came out (one of the owning family's sons), and after talking a bit, he said he had a car with a deposit on it like we wanted, but he'd go get it so we could look at it. Except for the color, black, and the "RST" package at $2995, it was exactly what we wanted as far as trim level and interior. We crawled in and around that one, but he couldn't let us drive it as it was too close to closing, but he said if we came back during the day, we could drive one with the same config (4WD, mostly) that we were looking for. The Chevy had beautiful paint, good panel fit, nice interior, REAL KNOBS for the radio and climate control instead of touch-screen everything, and SLW could easily get in and out of it even though it, too, lacked the side steps she wants. She could see out of it OK ("Not As Good As The Honda"), and she liked the flip-flop-fold-em-up rear seats, but again, she proclaimed them "Not As Good As The Honda", which has tons of very cleaver storage cubbies, and a lockable trunk in the cargo bed. I noticed lots of hard plastic on the doors and dash of the Chevy, but it seemed to be screwed together pretty well.

So we kind of shot ourselves in the foot by going out so late, but at least we got to look at two of our choices.

And as expected, she's got doe-eyes for the Honda even though she hasn't driven it.

As of this time, the original five contestants have been winnowed down to three, the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma having not made the cut. Don't get me wrong, the Toyota is about as reliable as an anvil, and WSF has friends that say the same thing about the Nissan, but they're 10-year old designs, due for a redesign, somewhat loud and crude, and the interiors have a strong "Work Truck" look to them. I'm sure *I* could live with one, but I don't think she'd be happy with it unless she got several more orders of magnitude "countrified".

And although she's agreed to test drive the Gladiator, I don't think she'll care for it. It's a stretched Wrangler, pretty much has a Wrangler interior (gussied up right nice, though), has coil sprung suspension with straight axles front-and-rear, and looks pretty utilitarian.

I think she'll want to go with the Honda. I'd be stunned if she found the Jeep "acceptable". I just hope we drive the Jeep over some reeeeally nice roads on the test drive so it doesn't shake her fillings out.....


  1. Had a Honda Pilot for 175,000 miles and loved it . Traded it in for a CRV for better fuel efficiency ( and we didn't need the third seat anymore ) .

    Love both of them . Honda makes a great product .

    1. yes, they do. I've always liked Honda products. They're very well engineered, well built, and last a very long time if taken care of. The only Honda product I own is one of their generators, and it's a first-class product. The road tests I've read praise the Ridgeline, as do the J.D. Powers report. My Sweet Little Wife was quite impressed with the quality of the interior (It's a "RTL-E" model), and all the thoughtful touches. It's been described as a being 99.9% of all the truck you'll ever need.

      It's not a Jeep Gladiator, but I guess I'd better reconcile myself to that.....

  2. Happy you and SLW were able to see much of what you wanted to see. The "retired" sales manager in me is appaled by the staffing you found. That would never fly on my watch.

    1. I have one of "those" feelings we'll be getting a Honda, even though she's agreed to drive the Jeep, and wants to drive the Chevy.

      I was a bit surprised, too. My out-of-date experience with dealerships is you can usually find a salesman right up to when they turn the lights off and lock the doors. I've seen them stay open past normal closing times when a deal was being worked, or a car was being delivered.

      Customer service, don't 'cha know??

      But things are different these days because.....COVID-19!

      The young man at the Chevy dealership who came out within a couple of hundred microseconds of our getting out and walking around the cars on the lot immediately told us they were closing shortly (looking now at their published closing time, they actually were closed), but he'd be more than happy to talk to us about what we wanted, and even went out back and drove a car out for us to crawl all over.

      The Honda dealer had a frightened looking little girl wearing a mask and sitting behind a plastic sneeze-guard, and the only other sign of life in the store was the voice of somebody in a back office discussing title issues with someone on the phone. And according to their published hours, they were still open another 45 minutes.

      Same with the Jeep dealer we drove though last week. They were "almost closed", but somebody popped right up, and asked if he could help.

      We'll give the Honda dealer "another chance" because....."COVID-19 May Affect Normal Business Hours!", but I was a bit surprised the store was empty, too.

    2. You can always go to a different Honda dealer, don'tchaknow.

    3. Yes, Beans we could.

      We've chosen to go with a Chevy dealer!

  3. I'm watching vicariously. I'm driving an '09 Ford Explorer that I bought in January of '12. It was high mileage when I bought it and now it's really low mileage for its age, but all the plastic parts are breaking. Which is to say everything except the drive train and most of the body. In the last year, I've dropped a couple of k-bucks on it for an alternator and air conditioning. I've glued broken plastic parts back on and some I'm just living with.

    So in my mind I dump the Exploder and get something more reliable. Something where trim pieces aren't falling off when I close the door.

    My previous two cars, a Toyota Mini-SUV called the Matrix and before that a Jeep Cherokee, were both far more reliable than this Ford. The Cherokee was a '90 and I had that until 2005, never having to do anything as major as the alternator and air conditioner I replaced on the Ford. The Toyota never needed anything, but I only had it seven years.

    1. We were going to go out today, but I had to get the oil changed in my Jeep, so nothing to report.

      Yeah, when the interior starts to disintegrate, it's probably time for a replacement unless you're planning on driving the wheels off it. With your reliability comments about it, I'll take a SWAG and say you're not planning on that.

      What class vehicle are you looking for, SiG? We'd buy a little mini-truck like an S10 in a heartbeat if they still sold them. One of our "problems" is she wants 4WD/AWD. When you get a pick-up like that, it goes up in the air and they put bigger tires on it assuming you'll be going off-road with it. They can get a bit unwieldly in traffic like that, so we have that to consider.

    2. I haven't even looked closely enough to know but I don't see 4/A WD being worth it. I'd need to study what Toyota, Honda and probably Jeep have out now. My '90 Cherokee was great: I had 150,000 miles on it when I bought the Toyota, with nothing major ever done to it. That was the year Chrysler bought Jeep and the only change to mine was that they changed the key blanks to have the Chrysler logo. I don't know if they're any good now.

    3. AWD/4WD comes in pretty handy when you have 24" of snow on the ground, and the roads aren't plowed. Or when you're driving on "unimproved" roads. We really enjoy, and almost need, one vehicle that can "go almost anywhere".

      If we have to Get Outta Dodge, the "retreat" is up in the hills, off some poor roads. My Jeep can do it easily, but her Hyundai would take three days to do it, if it even could.

  4. Just a thought about the "soft touch" surfaces. They tend to turn to sticky goo after some number of years, no matter what you do, and then crumble to dust. The controls for my cruise control did it once, and the NOS replacements are starting to get sticky.

    Some cleaners will REALLY exacerbate the failure.

    I've sworn off soft plastic on anything I expect to last.


  5. Yes, I've had some items with coatings like that. It's usually like a satin black "velvety" feeling coating that gets all weird, and can be accidentally removed with an amazing variet of "safe" cleaners.

    I hate the stuff, too.

    What I meant by "Soft Touch" surfaces as related to automobiles, are those that are lightly padded, and not just a coating.

  6. Watching vicariously too. :-)

    1. New post in progress about the test drives....


Keep it civil, please....