Going Topless: My New Car is Exposed


All the hard work has paid off, as Amy Tokic picks a replacement for her 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier and brings home a Volkswagen Eos. To catch up on the Going Topless series, check out the full archive of Going Topless stories.

I had a weekend to make up my mind about the 2008 Eos. Yes, it’s “used” but “Certified Pre Owned” doesn’t sound so bad. And by all accounts it looked and felt new.

I knew my stuff – what similar cars were out there, what features they had and how much they were going for. If the Eos was a category on “Jeopardy,” I would dominate the board and dazzle Mr. Trebek with my mad VW skills. So what was it going to be?

Hells, yes – this was my car. I could wait to see what else was going to pop up on the market, but that was a gamble. And considering what I had seen, nothing was going to come close. I mean 44,000 kms (27,000 miles) and fully loaded? I wasn’t going to take any chances.

Crunching the Numbers

So let’s talk numbers, shall we? The dealership was asking $23,000 CDN – I got it for $22,000. Compare that to the $53,000 (with taxes) price tag for the brand new model with the same trim line. I also got the extended Assurance Premium two-year warranty (with two-year Roadside Assistance) on top of it, no extra charge. And because it was certified pre-owned, my Eos would be delivered to me in as-new condition. It went through a 112-point inspection. The interior was detailed. They threw in new tires, rims, wheel bearings and brakes. The bumper had a small scratch on it so it was repainted. It looked and smelled brand new. On top of all that, I got a sweet T-shirt and a chew toy for Oscar.

With my Volkswagen purchase, I received a slew of cool freebees. As a Platinum Plus member, I get some pretty sweet perks too. My first visit to the service department is on the house. I can also earn up to 10% toward the purchase of my next VW vehicle and I can present my Platinum Plus card to various stores around town to take advantage of discounts (I’m going to pass on the 20 percent discount on unlimited tanning, but I will check out the super-yummy gluten-free bakery).

Putting the Past Behind Me

I was nervous when it came to actually picking up my new car. I felt bad trading in my old Cavalier – it got me through a lot of miles over the past 12 years and I knew she was going to be put down. But I did get to keep a little souvenir of our past together – her licence plates. They were chipped and flaking, so I want to go with fresh plates for the new car. Maybe i’ll build a little shrine in my extra parking spot.

Dotting the I’s, Crossing the T’s

The process took longer than I thought — there were a lot of papers to sign and details to go over. A mechanic went over the changes and repairs as well as the maintenance schedule. He showed me under the hood – even that looked clean and organized. I then went over the financing information. I was putting down a sizable down payment and the rest was borrowed through Volkswagen’s financing program. Because of the amount I was borrowing, it was cheaper to go through VW than my own bank (3.99% vs. 5.14%). I also liked that I could pay down any amount over and above my monthly payment penalty-free. If I won the lottery tomorrow (very unlikely considering I never buy a ticket), I could pay off my loan without an extra charge – and I really want to pay it off before the end of my three-year term.

Features A-Plenty

Every feature on my Eos is new to me. Power windows, locks and mirrors, an alarm system, heated seats – I’ve never had them before. One of the features I like the most, which surprises me, is the satellite radio. It has SiriusXM and I have no idea why it’s activated in my car. I haven’t paid for it and I don’t want to ask any questions in case someone turns it off. I’m addicted to it already. I’ve only programed a few stations, including the Pearl Jam and Lithium stations, but I have no idea what other ones are out there. It looks like that will be my next weekend project. And, of course, you’re more than welcome to offer recommendations – just leave them in the comments section below.

Extra Perks

Since I run a freelance business on the side, I can write off the purchase of my Eos. I’ve kept all the papers in one folder, so I know where everything is and can pull them out at a moment’s notice. Whether it’s income tax time or I need to replace something, it’s nice to know that I won’t have hours of panicked searches in my future.

What surprised me the most was the change to my car insurance. I spoke to my insurance agent, he made the changes to the policy and the huge difference to my yearly amount was… $14. Less than my 2000 Chevy Cavalier! I asked him if he knew that the Eos was a convertible. He said he knew that. And that it was a 2008 model. Yep, he got that too. I couldn’t believe that my old rust-busted ride’s insurance was more than the shiny new convertible. But who am I to argue – I’ll take that $14 savings and spend it on air fresheners and fuzzy dice.

Driving my new Eos home was an unbelievable moment – it didn’t feel real until that moment (Note: it also felt pretty real the first time my car payment came out of my bank account.) I love how it stops automatically when I use the brakes. In the old ride, I had to plan ahead at least 10 feet in advance to ensure I eventually stopped. And although I’ve only driven with the top down twice (November is pretty cold here, even with heated seats), I take the top off to impress friends and curious onlookers. Every time it comes down, I sing the theme to The Transformers cartoon. I’m pretty sure that’s going to stick until the novelty wears off (which may be never). I can’t wait to show it off in the spring – I’ve already started thinking ahead with a play list of tunes worthy of convertible cruising… and once again, suggestions are always welcome.

Things Learned:

The next time around, I’m going to look for a car on my own again. It was an awesome feeling to realize that I don’t need anyone with me for such a huge purpose. And since there weren’t a dozen other car opinions coming at me from all directions, I am confident that I chose the car I truly wanted. It’s so amazing when someone admires my car and says “well done.” I can now respond with “I know, thanks!”

Have reputable resources available to help answer questions. I was lucky enough to have Anne Fleming of and LeeAnn Shattuck from Women’s Automotive Solutions in my corner. They were a wealth of information and always had great ideas to get me through the tough parts. And you can feel free to use them too – both sites have car-buying articles, advice and female-friendly dealerships.

If I hadn’t written this series of articles, I would have bought the first car I test drove. I realize that you may not have the luxury of being able to write for AutoGuide, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hold yourself accountable in other ways. Social media and blogging are both fantastic ways to share your experiences with the rest of the world. The possibilities are endless – just make sure you stick to them so you can achieve your desired outcome.

Next Up:

I’ll check back with you in the summer to fill you in on how my Eos handled winter driving and how much fun it is to cruise with the top down once it warms up.

In the mean time, start your own new car shopping experience in the new car shopping section.