Also pissed off a sales manager, however, in my defense, he started it. Let me explain. I drove on to the lot wanting to drive the FR-S. I have wanted to do so since it first came out. This shouldn't surprise any Jalop. I expected a sales pitch. When I approached the dealer (one whom I had never darkened the door) it was imposing, except for this little guy at the front with a big smile on his face. He had only been there 3 weeks.
3 weeks! Oh goody I might actually be able to get something accomplished today. First, he fed me a line about how I couldn't drive any of the, manual only, FR-S cars they had because they were trying to keep the miles down on them. He stated that in NC if a new car has over 50 miles on it they must sell it new. I then told him that was BS and a car can only be considered to be used if it has been titled. Obviously this car hadn't been titled. More on the dealer experience later.
Moving right along. After about 15 minutes of waiting inside the dealership I was able to take the $28,911(!) base, manual FR-S for a ride. It was everything the reviewers said and most importantly, everything I wanted it to be. It wasn't fast but it felt fast. I was able to chirp the tires in 3rd though I got the distinct impression the car wasn't all that fond of the action.
In the corners, it was flat and composed. The steering was direct and turn in was excellent. When pushed it just seemed to want me to push harder. And push harder I did. It just wanted more. I never felt like I was even close to the car's limits.
The interior reminded me of a Porsche in design though the materials used were sub-par in my opinion. At least, for a car at this price point. I'm not asking for leather trimmed everything, however, I would like to not bump into hard, thin feeling plastic everywhere. The inside felt well put together and seemed like it would last the inevitable beatings that it would receive.
The car is a true 2+2. I'm not even sure you would put your worst enemy back there. Having said that, the front seats are aggressively bolstered (win) and seemingly all day comfortable though I could not test this in the time allotted.
The FR-S transmission deserves props as well. It's clutch take up point is low and fast. There is very little travel with the clutch pedal itself. Shifts can be made rather quickly with a short-ish throw shifter. I felt like the shifter itself could have been an inch or two smaller. No need for such a tall shifter when it doesn't take that much effort to move it.
I eventually gave the sales person back the keys. He asked "would you mind if I took it out with you in it? In order to show you more things!" Sure, I said, knowing that the only reason he said this is because he just wanted to thrash it as well. It was worth it. The guy was loving every second. He said "Please don't tell my manager I did this" Your secret is safe with me fellow Jalop.
All told the car impressed me. Enough to drop $28,911 on it? Not at this dealer. And there is the rub. When we returned he asked if I minded talking to the sales manager. I said I didn't mind as long as he wasn't going to pressure me into anything. He assured me he wouldn't. Have you ever met a dealership employee (or anyone for that matter) that within 5 minutes of talking to them, you knew they were completely full of shit? That's how I felt about this guy. I simply couldn't believe most of what he was saying. Man, I know you have a job to do but don't take me for a fool.
He convinced me he would take a 'significant loss' on my car in trade as well as their car to make a deal. I was intrigued though, full well knowing that he was still likely full of shit. I gave him the keys to my car under the guise that no one drives it but me. It's a stick and not everyone can drive one without destroying it. He agreed.
I was talking to my sales guy when the sales manager walks back in. Huge smile on his face. Said my car wasn't worth as much as he thought because it had a manual (I had already informed him of this fact). I also noticed that he had moved my car in the time I was talking to my sales guy. I let it slide, thinking maybe this guy wasn't so bad after all.
We start talking numbers and out of the corner of my eye I see my car slowly rolling backwards. I asked if someone was looking at my car, he stated no. Then I realized the car was moving without anyone in it. I was instantly pissed. The car rolled back, and jumped a curb. I examined the car, no parking brake pulled, not in gear. I was livid. I informed the sales manager of many things (loudly and very publicly) and that he needed to have the car looked at by the service dept to make sure it was ok. I was going to be observing the entire time and the deal was most certainly dead. He wasn't impressed. I didn't care. He didn't even know how to park a car!
Lesson to all you Jalops, never, ever let someone near your car you don't trust. I have one local dealer that I trust and buy most of my cars from. They are honest and have never done me wrong. Never again.
Also seen while coming back from the test drive. A manual Corolla S. I hate the Corolla and the fact that people still buy it even though there are far better alternatives and most at a better price. This one was a manual though and brand new. I had not seen that in years.