The Traveling Steve's

Driving home in my new Audi!

I’ve been wanting to get a new car for some time, although I haven’t been in a huge rush for one due to my work and leisure travel schedules.  I had a 2001 Isuzu Rodeo Sport with only 59,108 miles on it, as I’ve traveled most weeks for work the last 15 years I’ve had it, and relied on rental cars wherever I went.  I used to just drive it to the airport, but the last few years I’ve been dropped off at the airport by Steve (DOS) as he heads back to Sarasota for the week, and then picks me up again on Friday as he heads to Orlando for the weekend.

My old Isuzu, while completely drivable and structurally in great shape lacks many of the modern gadgets and safety features, and I’ve had issues with the gas gauge light, rusty windshield wipers, tinted glass pealing etc, as well as an antiquated cassette player!  (I told DOS on my next car I want at least an eight-track player – LOL!) I’m really not that fussy with cars as I’m normally in a rental car for work, but since we got back from Chile, I’ve had a couple weeks at home and used my Isuzu around town.  Here’s a photo of DOS by my Isuzu just prior to Memorial Day weekend, when the roof was getting replaced.

 I could live with the above issues, but could not live with a broken speedometer!  It just went out all the sudden when I was resetting the trip-odometer after filling up the tank.  The speedometer would work a bit and then quit working completely. Apparently after a search online, that was a common problem with aging Isuzu’s and was a mechanical issue back in its day.  While it could be fixed, I really didn’t want to put any more money into it as I wanted a new car anyway.  

I had been researching cars on line for weeks if not months, and narrowed it down to an Acura MDX, Volvo X60, BMW X3 or X5, and Audi Q5.  I think I knew I would get the Q5 from the start, but like everything I do, travel or otherwise, I like to research alternatives.  The Audi Q5 had a major overhaul in features from the 2017 year, so I definitely wanted a new Audi, having originally considered a certified used one, which would have lacked the new features and technology the 2018 model has.

I must say (and give a HUGE plug and Shout Out) to the dealership of Audi North Orlando for their outstanding service, friendliness, understanding my needs, and generally making it easy to buy a car without all of the drama one might imagine.

Last weekend, DOS and I stayed down at the Hyatt Regency Orlando for a quick staycation so we could go to the Capital Grille’s annual “Generous Pour event.”  That makes for a post in itself, but so we don’t look like a bunch of winos just coming back from Chile, here are just a couple quick picks from last weekend.

I mention this only because we stopped by the Audi dealer on the way to the hotel for a quick first time look at the Audi Q5 up close and personal, as opposed to online.  I figured we couldn’t stay too long as we needed to get to the hotel, check-in, shower, change etc for dinner, but it was a quick way to verify if I indeed liked the car after seeing it vs as online.  Once in the showroom, however, I was even more impressed after I saw the car, as well as the Audi North Orlando dealership and staff overall.  I met our salesman, Fred, who showed me a few models and answered some of my many questions.  While he offered me a test drive, we were on our way to the Hyatt and wanted to be there by 4pm checkin time, so I declined the test drive on the first visit, however I did ask Fred to turn the ignition on so I could see the infotainment system and virtual cockpit features, which sealed the deal for me, at least in my mind.  I took Fred’s card knowing I would follow-up soon, and DOS and I then headed to the Hyatt for our mini staycation.

On Wednesday I scheduled a test drive of the Audi Q5, and even though I wasn’t certain what color I wanted, I did know I wanted the Premium Plus package with navigation and the warm weather package  (which had ventilated seats – perfect for the the hotel Florida summers).  I was tossed up between a metallic red, blue, and even possibly white to help reflect some of the hot summer rays from the vehicle.  There were multiple shades of blue, and even the silver and black looked beautiful, but I wanted something with a nice color to it.

There was even a green car (only one) that was pretty cool looking, but it had only the basic trim model, so that wasn’t an option.  As it turns out, the metallic vehicle I picked out to test drive was the one I ended up buying today (Friday).

I had emailed Fred and spoken on the phone a couple times to confirm times to meet, and what documents I would need, payment/financing etc, and he was so efficient in getting everything done.  When DOS and I went to pay and pick up the car today, everything was written up as agreed, and the car had already been detailed.  I could not have asked for a better car buying experience!  Audi North Orlando has a no haggle best price, which after thoroughly researching online via True Car and several other sites, was about as good as it gets.  The entire sales and support staff and Audi North were true professionals and made this a 100% wonderful car buying experience.

It’s Friday night as I write this, but here I am at the dealer earlier in the day with Fred handing me the keys to my new Audi Q5.  Now if I can only learn to use all those fancy gadgets he showed me!  Thanks Fred and Audi North Orlando!

As for my old Isuzu Rodeo, I’m giving it to my next door neighbor Harry.  Harry loves to work on cars, and he asked me a couple times if I got a new car he would like to buy it from me to send to some of his family back in Haiti where he’s originally from.  I was only to happy to give it to Harry, knowing he will fix the couple quirks I had with it, and send it on a boat from Miami to Haiti.  I love a story with a happy ending!

Thanks Fred and North Orlando Audi – you made the car buying experience so easy!

Now, if I can just clear out the garage to make room for my new Audi! LOL!





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