You guys, I’m in love. She’s cool and gorgeous, and unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s a bright blue 2017 Hyundai Elantra. I called her “Electra”.
It is not an electric car; I just thought “Electra the Elantra” would be catchy. It’s a used car, but with only 46,000 miles, making it the most recent car anyone in my family has ever bought. I bought it from Saco and had a great shopping experience. They didn’t try to sell me or charge me fees and surprise charges, and they let me do most of my communication by texting, which was vital to me as a millennial.
I swore I would never buy a car other than a Subaru, and yet when my last Subaru bit the dust – I stuck it into the ground, then accidentally into a little ditch filled with sharp rocks, which sounded the death knell – I couldn’t find a good replacement in my price range. It took me a while to move emotionally from my first love, a black Subaru Outback sedan with leather seats that got totaled in an accident which I got out of unscathed because the car took the damage for me. First loves have a way of defining models. But then I thought – well, maybe trying something a little different for once would be good for me.
I try not to be materialistic, as a rule, and I think I’m generally pretty good at it but – I can’t help myself. This car is just like that pleasant. It has a push button to start, a reversing camera and functional air conditioning. Totally functional!
Of course, I’m a liberal with a bleeding heart, so I feel guilty for buying a car that, you know, spews carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I would have preferred a hybrid, but these are still a bit out of my price range. And anyway, the Elantra gets around 35 miles per gallon, which isn’t that bad – at least I’m telling myself, as I drive my daily nearly 100 mile round trip (Buxton to Brunswick and back, five days a week. My life is exciting and glamorous). Good mileage was pretty much my only qualification when I started looking for new wheels. (My mom was getting fed up with me taking her car to work. Not that she had nowhere to go, because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s the principle of it.)
And it’s fun to drive. I used to think I hated driving – it turns out I just hated driving dirty cars. It took a while to get used to an engine that doesn’t make weird noises, screeches, or loud sounds, really. It also deceptively accelerates smoothly.
In my last car, if you were over 50 you would feel the engine strain, and the faster you went the louder the screams got (I guess it was howls of protest). But in Electra, anything over 60 mph feels the same. Which almost got me in trouble the first week I was driving it and I’m still getting used to it. (Sorry, officer.) And the audio system is so powerful that if I lean my left knee against the driver’s side door while the radio is on, I can feel the vibrations in my kneecap.
The car cost $ 12,000 which makes it the most expensive item I have ever bought, unless you count my college degrees. I paid half in cash and took out a loan for the other half, and got a 2% APR from the Casco Federal Credit Union.
Getting good credit scores on things makes me feel like a real adult. And I’m proud of it. I don’t have a lot of money, but I manage what I have quite well, and it’s good to reap a little reward for it. But at the same time, it makes me a little uncomfortable – I could have bought a cheaper vehicle.
But I did not do it. I wanted something nice and saw something nice and bought it because I wanted it. But don’t I deserve nice things? Well sure, but usually when I decide to treat myself to something nice and use it as a justification, it’s a scented candle.
It’s times like this that I miss Grammy. As well as being a financial genius, whose echoing advice guided me every step of the way in the car buying process, Grammy was an eminently sane woman with enough life experience to have anything to do with it. wise to say on any occasion. She would have something to say for everything to make sense. And one thing I know for sure: she would be very proud of this APR.
Victoria Hugo-Vidal is a millennial from Maine. She can be contacted at:
Twitter: main millennium
Bill Nemitz: They needed a place to live. They have so much more.