My 1995 Mazda 626 is horked. And I mean completely a goner.

I was in an accident 6 weeks ago that damaged the bumpers and screwed up the trunk. I finally took the car into the shop to have it looked at last week only to find out that it was deemed a total loss by the company. Great, huh?

Anyway, this isn’t necessarily as bad as it sounds since it really means that the car isn’t worth enough money to justify repairing. I’ve been driving it for 6 weeks, and I didn’t have any truly major problems with it. Well, except for the trunk rattling and the thing acting like it was going to overheat on me. Oh yeah, and the funky transmission too (word of advice: avoid the AAMCO transmission on 132nd and Bel-Red Road in Bellevue WA).

Long story short: I’m sick and tired of dumping money into my car. I really don’t feel like it’s worth dumping any more money into it. The thermostat problem may very well be indicative of an issue with the radiator (front-end collision == radiator damage, potentially). The shocks are funky. The trunk needs to be fixed. The tranny probably needs to be looked at again. The wheels will need to be replaced in two to three months. The rear brakes need replacing in another month or two. Blah blah blah. There’s a ton of stuff that should be done to it, and I simply don’t want to continue sinking money into a car I was hoping to dump before the end of the year anyway.

I’ve been looking at replacement cars for a while now. Most of my interest has been in the more expensive brands: Acuras, Volvos, Saabs, BMWs, the Subaru Impreza WRX (rally race!)… Well, you get the idea. I hadn’t spent much time looking at Toyotas, Hondas, and Hyundais due to the not-so-cool factor. Of course, there’s always an exception.

I test drove the 2005 Scion tC today, and I have to say that I really liked it. It’s cheap (sixteen-five well equipped), pretty sporty, possesses good acceleration, good handling, and it’s a Toyota. I was shying away from Toyotas and Hondas before since they fall into the category of dull but reliable. The Scion tC definitely breaks this mold.

I think the coolest part about the Scion experience, though, has nothing to do with the car itself. The dealerships will not haggle with you about the price. You pay sticker price, or you don’t get a car. This is far more palatable to me as it removes the whole awful process of actually negotiating for the purchase of an automobile. You see, I’m the kind of person who greatly prefers researching the hell out of a topic and then just slapping down my debit card and buying (I tend not to use credit cards right now as I dig myself out of college debt).

I don’t like the process of negotiating a purchase, it just feels sort of wrong to me. Starting with a fair price just seems more reasonable to me. Jeez, it’s not like I could go into the Apple Store and talk them down $150 on a Powerbook or something.

(tangent) Speaking of Powerbooks, another one of my Program Management cronies, James, bough a Powerbook this weekend. He spent several minutes this morning griping about the lack of a maximize button in the OS. I commiserated, saying that it was a really lackluster, silly design oversight. The green jellybeen just doesn’t cut it (more on this topic some other time, though).