new car dating

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My new car arrives today. I’ve been shopping for a car for a while now, and thanks to many of your suggestions, dear readers, I’ve finally come to my decision. It only took me 18 days! 18 days and 3 months. In that time, we’ve sold the Mercedes convertible and the 2004 Lexus RX330 without having to trade either in (you get a lower price for a trade-in than you can selling it on your own).

FYI, this post is massively long and unedited. Given this, I’ll try to categorize and chunk it under someone suspect titles to help break it up for you.

I’ve seen the Honda Pilot, the Nissan Pathfinder (I couldn’t see out the back window), the Infiniti JX35, Acura MDX, Subaru (no power lift gate in a 2013!), the Buick Enclave (Phil was not diggin’ it once he saw that it had an analog clock in the dash). In the Enclave, I loved the second row bucket seats, that allowed for very easy access to the third row, but I wasn’t a fan of the… such a dumb reason to nix a car… the locks. I now must include a photo… see that big Frankenstein Thumb? Talk about picky. If I were like this whilst I was dating, I’d be childless today… or, uh, unwed.
2013 Buick Enclave Interior

I loved the luxury of the Infiniti, but Phil preferred the Acura (I think it likely has much better pickup, better safety ratings – though I don’t love the exterior of the car, it looks tight and angry or robotic). Next, we checked out the GMC Acadia Denali. I loved loved loved that it projected your mph right into the glass of the dashboard, because I, well, suck at reading analog clocks or meters. I still have a hard time telling time quickly on a non-digital clock. Seriously, I get a little panicked when someone asks me for the time, like being asked to read aloud in class when I haven’t had an opportunity to pre-read and stumble over the long words. But the GM Northeast people just dropped the ball, didn’t seem to care if they had our business, so perhaps it was my ego that was turned off to their service, or lackthereof. Mind you, our experiences with GM in Texas were wholly different; they treated everyone like a rockstar, particularly Donna McLallen.

I think I prefer the second row bucket seats to a bench in terms of easy access. I couldn’t quite bring myself to look at a minivan, not when I only have two kids. This comment from Melissa, a reader, really got me excited about the Infiniti JX35:

“We just bought the Infiniti JX for our family of four. Part of the attraction is that you can access the third row even with car seats installed in the second; with other cars that have a bench second row, you have to climb over the second row or in through the back window (the Pilot is like that). Highlander and Enclave have bucket seat second rows that help with this. It definitely has a lot of the bells and whistles, like you said you like — a 360 degree camera, which is awesome for parking, remote start, warning lights if someone is in your blind spot, automatically stops if you’re about to back into something, same thing with front crashes (nice for highway driving if someone steps on the brakes in front of you). If you read the reviews, most of the dings are for performance, and a few note that they basically sacrificed performance for fuel economy. I also thought it wasn’t too monstrous looking (the Pilot was that).”

Odd how the Infiniti is basically a luxed-up version of the Pathfinder, and I was so quick to write off the Pathfinder because of rear view visibility. I think the difference was that during the Pathfinder test drive all the headrests were up, even in the third row. But when I test drove the JX35, they probably weren’t. So visibility didn’t seem like an issue. Also, let’s face it, I’m just a sucker for a nice interior and fancy technology. The Infiniti JX35 was it. I’m driving it most, not Phil. He had nothing negative to say (shocking actually), so good. Done. Kinda.

I’m wholly impractical; I simply had to get the Wheat (pale beige) leather interior (as opposed to the Java or Graphite), despite being warned by the salesman that dye from darker jeans will rub off onto the seats! Yikes. That’s terrible given that I live in jeans. And, hi, last I checked I have kids who wear sneakers and sometimes like to kick the seat in front of them. So, I climbed into a Java-clad car and tried to love it just as much. But I couldn’t. I’d always be wishing for the Wheat. So I looked up how to remove dye from Wheat seats, etc., and I’m going to order up some leather cleaner, what can I say? I just love what I love, even if it means more work.

I don’t let the kids watch any TV during the week (weekends only), so we wanted to avoid the theater package (a dvd player built into each headrest, like on Jet Blue). Besides, I think now with iPads, DVD players are becoming dated. But we wanted all the bigger bells and whistles, like blindside assist, keyless entry, remote start, Destination Assistance (via a real person who inputs the destination into the navigation system for you), and that auto-stop function when you’re driving bumper to bumper and you get too close without realizing it. Also, like the Lexus we had, the JX35 has the telescoping steering wheel, but what’s more, when I cut the engine, the steering wheel retracts and my seat position moves back, to make exiting the car easier, especially with a hobo bag. Also, I love the Intelligent Key, that the car knows it’s MY key vs. PHIL’s key, so as soon as the car automatically unlocks (without having to rummage through my bag to find the damn key, especially in the rain!), all the mirrors and seat position are set to my preferences AND all the radio settings are set to MY presets. Such a sucker for that.

To find what I wanted wasn’t easy. Most people want the Java, or want the theater package, etc. So, eventually Phil came back saying he got the car with everything we wanted in MIDNIGHT GARNET. Mmmkay. Wait. Ew. That’s so old lady. I don’t want a garnet colored car! There must be something else? How about the Granite? “You are killing me,” Phil said, and he was right. I was being slightly picky, especially after saying that I didn’t really care which exterior color it was, so long as it was Wheat inside with all the features we cared about.

I texted my sister, who agreed. “Don’t settle on a new car. You should love everything about it.” No way was I getting a garnet car. “Let’s just go to another dealership and see the colors in person,” I urged, realizing that it wasn’t about the dealership, that they all check the same database, that they know what’s available within a certain radius. They trade cars with other dealerships, etc.

“They have one in Glacial Silver and Liquid Platinum.” Oh, God, what’s worse? Silver or Garnet?

“Just get the effin’ Diamond Slate,” Lea said without saying “effin.” “It’s gray. It’s nice. My friend has it. It reads a little blue in the sun.” Yeah, I want the gray. I tell Phil. He tells the dealership. They find a Diamond Slate, gray, car with Wheat interior, only the car doesn’t have the maple accents. Instead the accents are a marbled gray blackish color. Gray blackish on warm wheat? Truly, I am a nightmare.

In the dealership parking lot I turn to Phil and say, “Oh, snap. I’m in love. The search is over. Call off the dogs. I want this sex fiend of a kitten.” My hand brushing the hood tenderly.
“You’re screwing with me right?”
I begin to sing, as if all boozed up. Patsy Cline. “I go out walking, after midnight. Out in the moonlight. Just like we used to do. I’m always walking, after midnight. Searching for you.”

It isn’t glacial, silver, white, nor gray. I want, more than any other, the car in Midnight Garnet, with Wheat interior and Maple accents. I’m surprised, but it’s true. People sometimes name their cars. This baby might be Patsy… Klein.


Infiniti JX35 2013

We’re out of focus but happy!



  1. I only read through about half of this and my only comment is HONESTLY??? So much thought and time on such a trivia matter? I am sure it is important to you in your decision, but really?

    1. Seriously. While watching the news about the Boston bombing, all I could think of was “what overpriced, suburban suv will stephanie buy?” What is next, a post about which Vitamix to buy?

      It shows ( yet again) how utterly shallow Stephanie is, and will always be. Good luck with that.

      (And haters, save it. She posts these comments to get her white knights to defend her and generate more comments.)

      1. Anon,

        Not a hater at all, not a white knight – just a person who enjoys reading about someone’s life that includes the good, the bad and the ugly. I do not find Stephanie shallow at all and enjoy her writing. If you haven’t figured it out yet Anon life goes on for 95% of the population when something tragic occurs and they occur everday somewhere.

        You on the otherhand have caustic personality. Perhaps you need to focus your negative energy and attitude somewhere else.

        Stephanie enjoy your new car.

        1. “Caustic personality” – is that your expert diagnosis? Yeah, you are not a hater at all. Thanks for the laugh. You commenters always take the bait and Stepanie never does. That is one behaviour of hers that IS worth copying.

          1. Happy to entertain you! Hmmm seems like you only focused on my comment about you. Guess you are more than just a little egocentric.

  2. Classic American Picture!
    I would have been the same way about the color!

  3. You’re going to be driving it for years and, as you’re paying for it, you might as well get exactly what you want. Congratulations and enjoy it! I’m starting the hunt…but for a sedan. I think….

  4. I don’t blame you one bit for being picky. Cars are expensive and most of us spend a lot of time in them. You should love every inch of it. It looks great. Enjoy!

  5. Well, a car is a larger purchase and you keep it for a while and you use it a lot so I get taking time to make the right choice.

    It’s a different color, I love it. We always get silver or black; I wouldn’t even consider a bright color. And living in the south my husband wanted white but for some reason I hate white cars lol.

    It’s a brautiful car, enjoy! It’s exciting getting that new car smell! The kids are so tall, oh my time flies.

  6. I’m about to let go of my 2003 Infiniti I35. It was true love for the first 8 years and WTF, YOU ARE THE ANTICHRIST, CAR! for the last one. But overall, the car was excellent and I will miss it. I don’t have a family yet, so I wouldn’t need this much car, but as soon as the JX’s hit the market, I wanted one! I think they are divine and an excellent choice for a luxury SUV. I see them occasionally on the road where I am and I definitely have car jealousy. Good choice.

  7. How much time a week on average do you think you spend driving?

    I’m sort of meh about cars in general, though I’m a swooner for old cars (1960s or earlier). I can’t tell you model names, but I sigh and covet when I see them. There’s a powder blue Mercedes roadster for sale nearby right now that sets me completely atremble.

    That said I bet I’d care a lot more if I lived somewhere I spent a lot of time driving. (Everthing, literally everything, in my city is 10-15 minutes away, and there is never traffic.)

  8. I am, apparently, just as shallow as Stephanie. I hemmed & hawed before I finally settled on my Audi Q5 Meteor Grey Pearl Effect, Maple trim, black leather car. You inspire me to go with my gut and move on to the less shallow parts of my life. The part where I raise a kid, lead a team at work, and volunteer for the greater good.

  9. Hey, I’m the Melissa who posted about the JX! I’m excited you liked the car; we’ve had ours for a few months now and I still like it a lot. We also did not want the Theater package and it was harder to find one without it (the salesman told us that most people actually don’t want them, but more models are made with them).

    Here are a few (sorta tongue-in-cheek) warnings:
    1. You begin to rely on the surround sensors that beep at you when the car gets to close to something, such that you have to remind yourself when driving other cars that you will not receive such a warning. This is important to keep in mind when parallel parking in another car.
    2. If both you and Phil go out to the car with your keys, you will need to try to be the first one to the car. Otherwise, the car will register his keys, and all of the settings will be linked to his keys, not yours (particularly frustrating w/r/t the pre-set radio stations).

    Hope you enjoy!

  10. Well, ANON, I guess you can count me in for “taking the bait”. Maybe she does post your comments so everyone will rush to her defense and denounce you. That still doesn’t explain why you keep writing them. Why the need to keep sending this stuff, so she’ll keep posting it, so people will keep calling you out on it? Your goal isn’t to give constructive criticism to her, you clearly have an ax to grind and you do it in the most juvenile way possible. And you don’t even have the balls to use your real name.
    What are you? Her former mother in law?

  11. I had the Infiniti QX4 for 10 years and was forced to get rid of it due to a recall that they could not repair. I cried in the dealership when they told me. I desperately wanted the JX35 but it was out of my price range. Just want to warn you, I have beige interior on my new car and the driver’s seat is ruined from the color transferring off my jeans. I have cleaned the seat more times than I can count and it continues happening and now the dye won’t come out. My car is not even a year old and I considering getting seat covers (puke) just to not have to deal with it anymore. Enjoy the JX, I am extremely jealous!!

    1. Author

      I have been wiping down my seat with leather cleaner wipes, and it lifts off any dye transfer from my jeans. From my research, I’ve also read the following:
      To clean interior:
      – Zaino leather cleaner followed up by Zaino Leather in a Bottle to clean jean dye off pale leather
      – I allways use Gliptone GT12 Leather Cleaner and Conditioner… It can keep 20 year old white seats in perfect shape and will remove the blue color!
      – Leatherique Prestine Clean

      Hope this helps you!

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