Getting a new car like a 2016 Subaru WRX should be exciting, especially when you’re a young and blossoming automotive enthusiast like myself. Unfortunately for me, there’s an emotion that overpowers all of the thrills.
I’ve been begging my parents to get me a new car for probably my whole life. The response has always been, “once you graduate,” or something along those lines. I would shrug and continue on with my life.
To fill the void, I would use my small amount of bank savings to purchase cheap project cars. These were cars that I knew would help me grow as an enthusiast, I would be able to run at local grassroots motorsport events, and most importantly, keep me entertained until I could afford a new car for myself, or one of my parents would throw in the towel and send a new car my way.
Between the likes of a 2002 Subaru WRX with over a quarter-million miles racked up and a pair of Porsche 944s, I had kept myself busy. Being carless after the sale of my last 944, I had prepared myself mentally and financially to dive deeper into the ever-so-relentless world of project cars by purchasing another sub-$3,000 Subaru for the 2016 winter season. That is, until my mother threw a wrench into my plans.
My parents finally caved
I’d been half-heartedly asking my parents to buy me a car for years, and now they cave in? Was it because of my recently achieved personal-record 2.97 GPA? My continued drive for success with a career in the writing world? I didn’t know. All I knew was that when my mother heard I was about to buy another beat up, not-so-roadworthy heap of metal as my next car, she told me she was putting an end to it and getting me a car.
Two thoughts were going through my head, “did my parents secretly win the Mega Millions lottery recently and not tell me?” and “I guess I better take advantage of this opportunity while I can.”
In no time, I was looking at various vehicle options and price lists. The only criteria requests given by my mother were it had to be new with monthly payments around $300 a month or less. I could work with this.
With these restrictions set, two cars immediately came to mind. The Subaru WRX and the Ford Fiesta ST. Two cars that I was already very well-versed with.
Choosing the perfect car
I chose the WRX.
As I’ve previously argued, the Subaru WRX is one of the best cars a car enthusiast can buy. If you need a car that you can autocross or bring to the track every other weekend, commute long distances, and when the time comes, navigate through crazy nor’easters, the WRX is the car.
With 268 horsepower, it doesn’t have a dangerous amount of power. But it still feels quick and spritely when you put your foot down.
Basically, it’s a car I’m comfortable with, a car that doesn’t have enough power to let me accidentally kill myself in. But if I happen to come close, it’s built to be safe enough so that a tragedy like that probably wouldn’t happen.
Also, it’s a four-door sedan. As a former WRX-owning friend of mine once said, “It’s perfect because you can carry around all your stupid teenage friends in it.”
Indeed it is.
To buy or to lease?
Financing a WRX was my primary choice, though I wasn’t sure if it’d be a possibility. My mother and I would be working with putting just $3,000 down, on top of the preferred $300 a month rate. Monthly terms weren’t really a concern for my mother, surprisingly.
Before heading out to dealers, I found that even with the best rate possible, it would cost nearly $400 a month to finance a new WRX for a lengthy 60-month term. I held this information back until my mother and I got a chance to sit down with a salesperson and get the actual, solid numbers.
In one day, we visited three different Subaru dealers, stretched across the glorious state of New Jersey. We ended up at Ramsey Subaru in North Jersey. The same dealer where my father had purchased his WRX a year and a half prior, and even dealing with the same salesman, Clayton. Only now, he’d been promoted to a manager position.
Knowing my enthusiast background and remembering the history from our last transaction, Clayton was eager to help my mother and I out. Having clocked in thousands of miles in my father’s 2015 WRX, I declined a quick test drive and we got directly to the numbers.
Clayton started off by telling us that lease rates were alarmingly low for the WRX. For a 36-month term with $2,000 down, base WRXs were being offered at $295 a month. Off the bat he had my mother hooked. We walked out of there with a $500 deposit set and a vehicle order filed.
Fast forward a month and a couple nervous order update request emails later, I was contacted by the dealer and notified that my ordered WRX would be inbound shortly. Between the time that the car was ordered and the time that I was notified of the car’s arrival, I tried to keep my emotions reserved. I didn’t want to get too excited, in case the boat that the car was on sank in the middle of the Pacific or I angered my mother and she decided that the deal was off. For some reason in my mind, these were two very real possibilities. There was anticipation, excitement, and embarrassment, but I kept it all down.
Other people are just going to have to deal with it
What’s so embarrassing about driving a new Subaru? Nothing. It’s not the driving part of the equation, it’s how I got the car. In today’s world of car enthusiasts, there are two things that can bring immediate shame to you. People finding out that your parents paid for your car and people finding out that the car’s being leased.
There’s definitely a level of pride that’s earned if you’re able to buy a car outright and by yourself, but shaming the others that can’t or don’t.
If you’re offered one of your dream cars for nothing, there’s no saying no. No matter how much embarrassment might come.
I guess when people ask me if “that’s my car?” or “how did you get that?” I’ll be telling the honest truth, just with a bit of cringing involved.
Or I could tell them to mind their own business.
That could work too.