It was actually quite a long process for us to finally buy our CR-V. We started looking at cars at the beginning of July and finally bought one at the end of July, but it really didn't have to take that long. There were a few key strategies we used to negotiate to get a great price for our car. Most of our tips came from edmunds.com and carbuyingtips.com . We started our search on edmunds.com to see what others were paying for the CR-V in our area, the true market value (TMV) and the deals other people got on the car at carbuyingtips.com. Edmunds.com also list any dealer or manufacturer incentives and/or dealer to manufacturer incentives and we were able to ask for quotes from multiple dealers right off the website. After we received the dealer quotes, we sent a reply to each dealer seeing if they can beat our lowest quote and asked for a list of their dealer fees and their out the door price. One thing we had to be wary of is that dealers would use their sales tax in their calculation of their out the door price. Most places in the suburbs have sales taxes well below Cook County's 9.25%. Now armed with printed out emails and such, we headed out to the dealerships with the three lowest quotes. One dealer had a very low quote, but he would only sell us the car with dealer add ons that were nice but priced way too high. We found all the same Honda OEM accessories cheaper on eBay and online Honda warehouse stores. So we took their quote for the vehicle and headed to the second dealership who matched the quote, but would not beat the quote. We really considered buying from this dealership, but we took the extra step to go to the last dealership and we're glad we did. The third dealership went another $200 below the other two dealerships' bottom line. We made sure that all the dealer fees were legit and we were on our way to owning a new car. Now onto financing. Before we went off to the dealerships, we also got quotes from different sources including Bankrate about financing, so we went to the dealerships with financing already in line. Our dealer was kind enough to beat our lowest auto rate, but tried to sell us a bunch of stuff in the process such as undercoating, extended warranty, and tire guard. The dealer even tried to entice us with a lower interest rate in exchange for one of the products. Basically, he was trying to sell us a $500 product, but would cost us the same in monthly payments because of the lower rate. This would not be beneficial if we decided to pay the car off early, because we would lose the $500 or so we would have saved on interest. So avoid buying any dealer products that will lower your rate, unless you don't plan to pay the car off early. After a whole month of searching, we got a great deal on our car, and it didn't hurt that we bought our car on the last day of the month during a dead week (the last week of July ended on a Friday).
Now onto the Honda CR-V, this car is practical when you have two large dogs. The rear has three seats, so we can buckle up both Mr. B and Ms. M with their harness and still have room for another person or animal. We had a coupe before, so now the dogs have their own windows for a breeze and scenic viewing. I really like the sunglass holder/conversation mirror, because now we can keep an eye on the dogs or rear passengers for any mischievous acts. The dual-deck cargo space allows room for plenty of cargo and the dual glove compartments give us ample space to hold all of our random items. There are plenty of cupholders, I believe four in the front and two in the middle of the passenger seats. The 60/40 split rear seat allows us to transport the dogs and haul some major cargo. The car does not get the best gas mileage, 20/27, but for its size and price the fuel economy is pretty good. Since I'm used to driving a manual sports car, I can't really comment too much on handling. It seems to corner well and have decent acceleration, so merging onto the highway is seamless. The navigation system is very helpful, especially with the backup camera, because backing into our garage can be a bit tricky. Plus there is a pc card slot behind the navigation, so we can play our music straight off of a SD card as mp3s, with the help of a pcmcia adapter. Finally the voice command system means that we never have to take our hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. We can control almost everything, including navigation, climate control, seat warmers and radio with simple voice commands. Only if this was true about the pooches. One annoying thing is the daytime running lights, but apparently they have been shown to decrease the probability of a head on crash. We are quite happy with our choice and with all the Honda OEM accessories it really is a dog friendly car.