Our New Vehicle
16 April 2009
For the sake of keeping the posts to a reasonable size, thought I'd recount our vehicle acquisition as it's own post. Even if we spend half our year on the water we feel we still need two (three if you count my motorcycle) vehicles when we're on land. Our intention had been to sell Judy's 1997 van before we left for our cruise but keep my little yellow Celica. By a strange twist of fate, Judy's van had been stolen by Nick and the insurance company settled with us.
So now we need a new vehicle which we plan to buy in Florida and pack it up with gear and return home. I think I want a small truck and decide I want a yellow Ford Ranger, standard transmission. This will be mainly Judy's vehicle and while she doesn't mind a truck, she wants an automatic and does not really want a second bright yellow vehicle. We start looking on car lots here in Stuart and its environs. Quickly we decide that the Ford Ranger is probably not commodious enough for the three of us and the pile of gear we'll need to transport and we start looking for a SUV. An irony is that while we're buying this vehicle to return to Canada, given that we'll only use it in the summer, we really don't need a 4X4. We go to various car lots and are hounded by salespersons, obviously hurting badly because of the flailing economy and most anxious to make a sale.
After a few days of searching we begin to settle on a Kia Sportage or a Sorrento. We tried to find a suitable van but they're really hard to find. We had three salespeople chasing us and kept the prices racketing down. To add to this adventure, the procedure for importing a vehicle to Canada, while much easier that before, is still onerous and complex. I make a couple of calls to Andy MacNeil, former colleague at SNB and a really smart guy, who had imported a vehicle himself. He helps me through the maze of requirements. One consideration is that if I buy a foreign vehicle (Kia in our case) we'll have to pay the 6% duty as they are not covered by NAFTA.
We back and forth a fair bit and are on our way to settle on the 2006 Kia Sportage. We stop by one last lot and drive a couple of SUV's which we don't like. The salesperson, an affable Italian from Argentina tells us they have a Jeep Grand Cherokee he wants us to see. I dismiss it as I don't particularly like domestic vehicles and it's older (2002) than I'd like. Judy sees it and she loves it. So I guess I'm overruled!
This, dark blue vehicle is in great shape and is a two wheel drive. While it's marketability back home will be lower, a 4X4 is not a boon to us (we don't intend to spend winters north) and we expect better fuel mileage. We work our way through the maze of paperwork involved and soon we take possession. Chopin approves as there is lots of room for him.
One major chore down. Now we turn our attention to marinas for Sea Sharp.