We had discussed getting a 12-passenger van to have more room on trips and to be able to have more cargo room in the back for luggage and trips to the hardware store and those times I get larger furniture or appliances off of craigslist or if we just had friends who wanted to ride with us to certain places. I liked the pluses of something larger like that, but the downsides never quite set well with me. The gas mileage would be waaay less than our current van costing lots more in gas each month and the larger vehicle would mean parking at the grocery store or anywhere for that matter would be a constant irritation for me. Plus, I would be the main driver and I just didn't want to have to take out the big mammer-jammer any time we had to go somewhere during the week.
Conversion Vans were our next possibility. We liked the extra room inside because, let's face it, we've got growing kids and our boys especially will be needing more leg room in the coming years. They are very comfortable to travel in and the bed that folds down in the back was just a fun added novelty for possible naps or lounging around. We also wanted a tv and dvd system in whatever we got next and these vans pretty much come standard with that. Again, the gas mileage is pretty low on those and the ones we were seeing online in our price-range were very high mileage and I really didn't have a peace about it.
I really kept coming back to Honda Odysseys. They hold their value well, they are good on gas mileage for a vehicle that size. They last a long time and I really appreciate the attention to detail that Honda puts into their vehicles. Even the most basic models have nice gadets. :)
We knew we wanted leather seats. They are just easier to keep clean and that is necessary in this family! I wanted a gray interior because it just hides stuff pretty well until you can get to it, but that was just a plus, not a must-have. We wanted a dvd player already installed. We've been using two travel dvd players and while we have been very grateful for them, we have had our share of difficulties and hiccups using them in our van. We also wanted it to be under a certain amount total and monthly. I called our bank and had our financing all taken care of before we actually found anything because I wanted to bypass all of the frustrations we have experienced with dealerships in the past. I was also able to include gap insurance and an extended warranty that our bank offered so that we wouldn't even have to mess with it at the dealership.
After talking about it with God and each other off and on we agreed that another Odyssey was the way to go for sure and that evening, I found an Odyssey in Austin at a the First Texas Honda dealership that has a no-haggle price policy. That was another of my hopes. We bought our van from Carmax and really liked that we didn't have to haggle to get a good price. It was what it was, take it or leave it. I really appreciate that. So, I was really glad to find a place that was similar. They also do a 100 point inspection with a guarantee on it, which is also like Carmax. Another point of appreciation. They had posted the van to their website, but there wasn't a picture. Just a description with all the details. It had leather seats, gray interior, dvd player and it was an 07. I wanted to find something with all that with under a 100,000 miles, but we would have had to fly to a different state to go pick it up. Since that was totally not happening, I was okay with it having 114,000 miles on it. :) I contacted them via a chat feature on their website, then set up an appointment the next day to look at it.
When we got there, we met one of two of the Product Specialists also know as Salesmen who would be helping us through our van buying experience. These guys were fabulous! We seriously had such a great experience because of them. If you need a Honda and are in the Austin Area, I highly recommend First Texas Honda and ask for DJ or Christian or both. :) There was a bit of a hiccup at the beginning because the van had not been completely inspected or detailed out. They were backed up in that department so when we test drove it, it wasn't in its best condition. We didn't really care though, because we could see that it was a good van in good shape. The engine sounded good, it drove really well, very smooth and it was exactly as described, except the color isn't a real gray, though depending on the light it can look like that. Not a problem, though. :) So, we weren't able to take it home that day, which was a bummer because that meant we would have to make another trip back down there in the air conditionerless Jeep. :/
That was what we spent our Wednesday day long date doing. We did go out to eat at BJ's restaurant, which has excellent food and we went and took a really good look at the Domain. HOITY-TOITY! Whew! We've been there several times to go to the Apple Store, but never really got to look around. I'm convinced those people really like their stuff and really don't want me to buy it. Hahahaha! The coolest thing we got to do was go into the Tesla shop. That is a very neat car. Fully electric and completely fantastic. We enjoyed speaking with the representative in there. They sell t-shirts and I may just have to sport one in the near future. :)
We were hoping that they would have the van ready the next day because our original plans were to go back to East Texas on Friday. It wasn't ready until Friday, so our plans got scooched back a day. Not ideal. But, when we went back to pick it up, we were introduced to the free snack bar including free frappuccinos and baked goods while they last and they had a kids play room as well as a stage with instruments where several of the staff have made up a band and play often. Not your average dealership, I must say. The paperwork process took a bit, but because I had made all the previous arrangements it went much more quickly than it would have normally. We did end up staying there for 3 hours, but it was really because we ended up talking, laughing and joking around with DJ and Christian and the time just kinda flew by. Fun times...
We finally left and drove both our vehicles back home and I really enjoyed driving the van in lovely a/c. :)