We got a new RAV4 last Friday

Our lease on our previous car, a 2007 Toyota RAV4, ended a couple of weeks ago. We did a bunch of research and decided to get a new one 😉 So it’s a 2010 Toyota RAV4, which is 99% the same car.

Note: picture from NewCars.com, and it’s just a stock photo, not our actual car.
Same engine, transmission, color, powertrain, etc. There are a few small improvements and upgrades: backup camera, Bluetooth, heated mirrors, smart keyless entry, push-button start, etc. Nothing earth-shattering, but collectively fun.
We didn’t set out to get the same car. In fact, although we were very happy with the previous RAV4, we wanted to try something different. But neither our requirements nor the market offerings had changed much during this 3-year lease.
We still want a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to help with Boston’s winter snow. We need room for 4 people and their ski / snowboarding gear, for those winter ski trips. That rules out most sedans.
We wanted the dealership nearby, near our house, so it’s convenient for service when needed. Ideally, we also wanted the dealership located on some public transportation axis, for the same reason.
We really like bold, fun colors, like our previous Barcelona metallic red. We like the native iPod hookup. And we didn’t want to spend much more than we had spent previously.
These requirements rule out a whole bunch of otherwise good cars, both SUVs and smaller. But they are what they are 😉
We had a very good experience at Herb Chambers Toyota, on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. Specifically, our sales guy, Michael Lydon, was nice. He was patient, friendly, not pushy, and easy to work with. And the business director / finance manager who handled all the paperwork and such, Nathan Piasta, was also great.
Both of them provided excellent professional service. I highly recommend them as well as the dealership in general.
Toyota should also be commended for taking back our previous car without asking any questions or charging for anything. None of the nickel-and-diming that often goes on at the end of leases, with wear and tear. Very nicely done. And you even get a lease loyalty bonus worth several hundred dollars on your next lease.
Thanks to the good interest rates at the moment, and to Alli‘s negotiation training at Harvard, we were able to negotiate a great deal.
We used TrueCar.com extensively for research, and we practiced negotiating at another area dealership. We also used my previous company, CarGurus, for reading car reviews and opinions via their blog. Thanks, guys 😉