After negotiating and looking, I have found a car that suits all my needs. In a much earlier post on this blog, I posted how I had hoped to be able to buy a new to me car/SUV (or the Ford Escape in blue!) I have now done that. Due to the demise of my 8 year old car, I jumped back into the credit market and got a new to me used car. It's a couple years old and has things I would normally not get in a car (power drivers seat, cruise control, 6 CD changer~but maybe some of this stuff is now standard?). It has a sunroof, which is something I've always wanted in a car :). It has 37,000 miles on it. I had actually been looking at Toyota Highlander, but the dealer was not moving on the price, it had much higher mileage and my mechanic thought he "knew" the truck from a previous client and was not 100% about this particular vehicle. In general, he's not had an issue with a Toyota, but he was fairly certain this was an exception to the rule. Since the salesman was also looking a little uncomfortable when my mechanic was looking at the car, I have this feeling the Highlander was a trade in from my mechanics client.
My mechanic looked at the Escape and said it was in excellent shape, and the car comes with a 2 month 6,000 mile limited warranty. The dealership also threw in three free oil changes (no expiration date). I paid $16,500 once the dust was settled (taxes, dealer prep fee). The private sale value for this particular car was about $14, 500 and the dealer cost $17,900 and I got the car closed to the private sale value. I talked to my insurance company and my premium is only increasing about $8.50 a month. Not bad at all for an SUV.
I get to pick up the car tonight and I'll post a picture of it later this week. While I am not 100% thrilled with a car payment, I am very relieved to have a reliable vehicle once more and so are my family and friends.