“Worst car ever” can mean many things, from a car that’s unreliable or just plain ugly to the situation surrounding the car purchase. In my case the dealer was the biggest problem, though the car itself had a fatal flaw. Four years ago I bought a brand-new 2006 Mazda Mazda6 and regretted the purchase from then on. This bad experience taught me some good (read: expensive) lessons about buying cars that have helped me in the years since.
My Mazda6 was a beautiful car. As an Aggie I loved the maroon exterior. It had leather, a Bose audio system, a moonroof, and just about every other option you could think of. But my experience with the dealer and the car forced me to get rid of it only one year later, taking a big loss in the process.
I should have waited. I’d been married less than 6 months and there were no problems with our existing vehicles (a 2003 Ford Escape and a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport). But I thought having two SUVs was silly so I took my new wife car-shopping.
The tale of my buying experience reads like one of those car dealer horror stories. I originally test-drove a Mazda3, but the dealer suggested I could get a better deal on a Mazda6. Then he offered a ridiculous $1700 for the Explorer Sport. I should have left right then, but at least I had the sense to reject that offer. (CarMax later gave us $4600.) I got $1000 “off” by using Mazda financing, but that only bought me a terrible interest rate. Looking at the monthly payment (over $600) should have sent me running, but I dutifully signed on the dotted line.
Then the car started having problems. The driver’s lumbar support broke, and the service rep (at the same dealership) suggested it was my fault. The next summer I found that the A/C wouldn’t cool the car. In Texas a good A/C is the first requirement of any car, especially since my wife and I were getting ready to start a family. The A/C had to be fixed.
So I took the car back to the dealership. They did some checks and replaced some components, but it wasn’t much better. I took the car in again; this time they said there was nothing wrong. The service rep then told us that Mazda had strengthened the cooling system for the 2007 model year, which didn’t do us any good. We went to another dealer and discovered that there was a recall on our A/C system. That improved things some more, but it still wasn’t enough.
After a year of frustration and disappointment I went to CarMax and traded the Mazda in on a 2007 Honda Accord. Buying (slightly) used saved me some money, and I’ve been very impressed with the Honda. The buying experience was excellent, too.
Fortunately I learned from this experience. When my wife needed a vehicle upgrade a year later we bought used once again, getting a good deal from a good dealer (Bob Tomes Ford in McKinney, TX). I will think long and hard before buying a new car again, and I’ll do my homework on dealers before buying next time.
That’s my tale of woe, the story of my worst car ever. It taught me a lot about car buying, but I sure wish I’d never laid eyes on that car.