For various reasons I ended up in a position of not having a car. I take the train to work and live within walking distance of the station, so for the most part I didn't need a car. I did have access to a car if I really did need it for something, say picking up larger items and such. I wanted to wait a month or so, or at least until winter decided to release us from it's vice like grip (it's the worst winter I remember in Canada since I arrived 11 years ago). I started looking around at what was out there. I had been driving a 2010 Santa Fe, so I started looking there, but thought that I would not need something that size. So I started smaller, ie; the smallest cars various companies did (Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, etc...), too small I thought, thus I went up a level or two and got to the Forte and equiv level (Elantra GT, Mazda 3 hb, Golf, Forte, etc...). I didn't want a sedan, the practicality of a hatchback really appealed.
Golf was, as to be expected, stupidly expensive for what it was. Mazda 3 seemed like a good deal, as did the Forte5 and Elantra GT.
As I got a bit more serious, I started looking into pricing and saw the 15yr deals going for Kia, this appealed and the pricing seemed very good. What trim level? Ah, well, I started looking at the LX and then EX, and found I could likely go for an LX. A fortunate turn of events led me to be able to start considering the SX, and from there, the SX Premium / Luxury. The thought being, if you're going to get it, why not get the top spec model if you can.
At this point I'd got it in my mind that an SX was what I wanted. I did not know it was a turbo either, until I looked at the specs when trying to work out why LX and EX had a 2.0 and the top line model had only a 1.6. Then I saw the mention of the T word, ah, explained it perfectly.
I still had not test driven any of my selections, but the SX was still my top choice, I'd even decided what colours to go for; Corsa Blue or Aurora Black. I used canadacarcost.ca and unhaggle.com to get model reports, so I could see the wholesale price of the car. I'm not really good at haggling, but going in with paperwork showing the dealer you know what they get the car for and what they are selling it for does seem to make it easier. Plus they had sent the dealer a message about me getting a report and within about 10 minutes I'd had a call from the local dealer who had a copy of my request, so that's where my relationship with the dealer started.
I finally got my lazy arse down to a dealership and they had an EX in Corsa Blue, well, that sold me on the colour if nothing else. One box ticked. I reminded myself I'd not driven ANY model of the 5, so it might be crappy. I was also concerned about fitting in it, I'm 6ft 4in and so getting comfortable in a smaller car might be tricky. Seemed not to be a problem, had to pull seat forward from it's most rearward position, and did not need to drop the height of the seat, but did so and got very comfortable.
Test drive went well, ok it wasn't an SX, but the EX responded well, felt very solid indeed and I was happy. So much so that when we got back the dealer and I sat down to talk figures. He looked up the info Unhaggle had given me and simply said that it would give me a percentage off (I think it was around 2 - 2.2%), which equated to about CAD$900, which I think is pretty good for using a free quote from the internet. I could likely have pushed things further, but the rest of the pricing / financing fitted well with what I'd budgeted, was actually about 15 - 20 bucks under what I had worked out, so I was happy and we placed an order for a 2014 Forte5 SX AT Premium in Corsa Blue.
I got a message a day later to say that the car should be ready for me by the end of the month, so next week in other words. I'm somewhat excited about it.
I know it's a bit of a leap of faith, having not test driven the exact model of car I'm getting, but I cannot see how it'd be any worse than a lesser specified model, I would expect the reverse to be true if anything.
I'll say one thing, Kia has come a long way. My mum had a Kia Pride (rebadged Mazda 121) in the UK back in the mid to late 90's. I was ok, but back then Kia was seen very much as a cheap brand, not so now, they have seriously upped their game (hyundai too - even the 2010 Santa Fe I had was great) and can really take on GM and Ford (sorry, have to snigger when saying that, brands not exactly known for quality) let alone taking on VW, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda.