Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Why we didn't get an Acadia

When Ken first presented to me a list of cars that he thought might "be a good thing to replace the Pilot with", (which, at the time was like saying "Hey, I think we've got too many sons, and I thought we could maybe replace one of them with a daughter"), one of the potential candidates was an SUV called "The Acadia".

Oh, the critics seemed to give it a lukewarm review, almost damning with faint praise, as it were, but a million years ago, when I'd been a MUSH denizen, I'd had a dashing character, a foreign prince, who sailed into the Mush-land on the 'Good Ship Acadia'. [ed: Er, I just realized that it wasn't the "Acadia", it was the ARCADIA. A lot of difference when one drops the R.] As a result, I'd already decided that I loved the vehicle, based on the name alone.

Yeah. I also am entranced by 'sparkly things'. Sue me.

So Saturday rolls around, and we're on Round Two of the 'search for a new car' quest. (note: Not on a "search for a nissan Quest". The Nissan Quest didn't make it onto the short list. It looked like a breeching whale, and the back end looked like it had been pinched. Not good. Yes. I also judge cars based on what their rear end looks like. Years back, I rejected the Audi AllRoad straight off the block because it had a 'fat butt'.)

Anyways, Round Two. And the first thing I want to see is the GM Acadia.

We head up to the Big Auto Strip, and pull up in front of a sparkly-shiny GM dealer. Ooh. Aah. And there on the podium, light shining down from the heavens, is The Car. Oh. Deluxe! It had it all. Oversized dual skyscape sunroof, the best fuel economy of 8-passenger SUVs, 5-star crash rating, front coil-over-shock suspension, heads-up display... oh!

As I'm walking up to the car that Will Be Mine, I am spotted by Brian, the Sweaty Eager Sales Dude. He aims to head us off at the pass. But that's OK, I just need him to introduce himself and then point me to where I need to sign on the contract. The Acadia, it is calling my name...



What's this? Brian isn't looking at me.

He's looking PAST me. At Ken. And he walks right past me with his hand out. "Good morning! I'm Brian. How can I help you?"

Ken looks at me, and grins a little evil grin. He holds out his hand "I'm Ken."

I hold out my hand. It's hard to miss. I'm waiting to meet Brian the SESD, and let him know that I'm ready to drive that Glorious Acadia off the lot today.

But Brian has other plans. "So.. Ken... what is it that you're interested in today?"

I can't resist. I step in front of him, my hand held out (still). "...and I'm Kemma. Ken's not really interested in anything, so you probably want to talk to me, as I'm interested in the Acadia."

I have obviously stopped him right in the middle of his schpiel. He grinds to a halt, and looks stunned. He looks at my hand. What is it? Oh, it's a hand. What should I do with it? Oh, maybe she wants me to shake it...

He shakes my hand. It's a pretty limp shake. This is not part of his routine, I guess, because what does he do next?

"So... Ken... your wife seems to like the Acadia. What do you think? Do you see it working for your family?"

Seriously, I thought Ken was going to dissolve into a fit of giggles right there before my eyes. It was all I could do to not pull out the laptop right then and there and start blogging about Brian the SESD's behaviour. But Ken, he is made of sterner stuff, and he pulled it together to say that really, he just wanted to see if our 3 kids would fit in the Acadia, and if the back row would have enough room for Skip, child whose legs grow an inch a month.

No sooner had we gotten the kids into the Acadia, than we were graced with the presence of Brian the SESD's manager. He could smell The Sale in the air, and wanted a piece of the action. Actually, he was probably there to try to bail Brian out of the hole he'd just dug himself into.

Me: We like to take 2 or 3 excursions per year into the back country. What sort of ground clearance does this creature have?

Brian (looking around a bit, as if perhaps he might find a little 'Ground Clearance: x-inches' note stuck to one of the door's surfaces): Oh, you won't find a better ground clearance...

Me: Yes, I'm sure. But what is it?

Brian: Um... Well, it looks like it has probably close to three feet...

Ken desperately tries to turn his explosive guffaw into a coughing fit at this point.

Me: Brian, *I* don't have three feet of ground clearance. Here... a minivan has about five or six inches of clearance. I think our Pilot had close to 9. THAT is a good number.

Brian: Oh, sorry. I think it's somewhere around eighteen, then.

Brian's boss: Oh, you mean GROUND clearance... the Acadia has 8.5.
(note: Actually, it has 7.4)

Brian's boss, continuing: But from listening to you folks, I think you're looking at the wrong vehicle. What you *REALLY* want to be driving is a Hummer....

Did y'all hear that screech on Saturday morning? That was the sound of the earth as it stopped turning on its axis.

Me: No. I do not REALLY want to be driving a Hummer. I am not IN the Hummer demographic, I do not live in a Hummer-friendly neighborhood, and I am not made out of money.

Brian's boss: Oh, you think it's out of your league, but it really isn't.

Me: No, I didn't say that. I am saying that I care more for frugality and conservation.

Brian's boss: Conservation? Well, I can show you studies that PROVE that the Hummer is more environmentally sound than the Toyota Prius.

(um, WHEN did I say I was looking at comparing a Toyota Prius in my short list? I wasn't.)

Ken (who'd been REMARKABLY quiet up until this point): I can show you three thousand Google employees who would disagree with you.

Brian's boss: Surveys don't lie.

Ken: Surveys can be made to say anything you like. I've read the report that you're referring to.

Brian: But Kemma... look at this wonderful feature here. Do you know what a Heads Up display is? Let me explain it to you...

Me: Oh, where it's projected onto the windshield? Nice feature. I don't need it explained.

It was at this point that I finally got a glimpse of the sticker on the Acadia.

Yes. I knew it was at the top end of what they had available.

I just didn't realize HOW top end. Nearly FOURTY-NINE THOUSAND dollars? Um. Not gonna happen, folks. Not even if the sales guy had been Nice and Knowledgeable.

Egads! It was enough to put Skip through AT LEAST a full year of college.

We couldn't get out of there fast enough.

And THAT is why we didn't buy the Acadia. I think there are enough reasons here to last a lifetime.

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