We recently purchased a new car here in Mexico – a Honda CR-V. It was definitely a different experience than buying in the US.
We knew we wanted a small SUV, so I did a bunch of research online. The two that we seriously considered was the Hyundai Tucson and the Honda CR-V.
One Sunday, we drove up to Cancun, and went to each dealership. At the Hyundai dealership, we spoke with a sales guy, and went for a test drive. Nothing out of the norm. We knew we wanted the Tucson, and we knew which version we wanted (there are only 4 different versions) What was interesting was that the first question that he asked us was: What Color? Odd. He gave us a brochure, his card, pricing information, and we left.
We then went to the Honda dealership. For some reason, the dealership that day was empty, and there was only one guy working – a sales guy. So we couldn’t go for a test drive, as he had to stay and mind the dealership. A bit odd, but OK. No worries, he says. I’ll bring the car to you tomorrow to test drive! Keep in mind that we live about 30 minutes away from the dealership.
Sure enough, the next day, he shows up at our house with the Honda. He also brought along another sales guy whose English was better. We test drove the Honda, and really liked it.
I did a bit more research on both, and we decided to buy the Honda.
Versions and Options
Similar to Hyundai, there’s a limited number of versions. There’s 3 versions of the CR-V: Base (EX), Turbo Plus, and Touring edition. We decided on the Touring edition.
Back in the US, when we were car shopping, our experience was that each model had a variety of available options. I remember when we were shopping for Elizabeth’s Mini – we wanted the turbo S version, but we also wanted heated seats, a sunroof, and a few other specific options. So it was a bit of a challenge for the dealership to find the exact car with the exact options that we wanted.
Our experience here was different. Each version of the car was exactly the same. Each touring model had the same stereo, same sunroof, LED headlights, keyless entry, etc. The only difference was the color. And based on the exterior color, you only had one option for interior color. So, of course, the Honda guy asked us the same question as the Hyundai guy: What color? Now it made more sense. Blue. We’re going with blue.
Of course, there are dealer-installed options available (roof rack, fancy floor mats, etc.), but that’s pretty common everywhere.
What we were told by friends here was that the price was non-negotiable. The price is the price. Sure enough, that’s what we learned as well. The price on the Honda website exactly matched the price on the windshield of the car. I liked that we skipped the entire price negotiation step. None of the Well, let me talk to my manager nonsense.
In the US, after you agree on a price, then there’s a boatload of taxes and fees that get added on at the end. Not so here in Mexico. The price you see is the price you pay. The only fee that wasn’t included was the registration / license plates. The dealership also handled getting us our license plates.
This Seinfeld clip is so relatable.
We have some friends who recently bought a new VW, and they were able to pay for the whole car on a credit card. For anyone that knows me, you know that I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to credit card points and miles. So I was stoked thinking about getting about 27,000 Ultimate Reward points for buying a new car.
But, when it came down to it, the Honda dealership wouldn’t let me pay for the whole car on a credit card. They let me pay a deposit (about $1250 USD) on a credit card, but they wouldn’t do it for the whole balance. Bummer.
I didn’t want to be walking around with about $25K in cash, so we settled on doing a wire transfer for the money. Luckily, my Chase bank account in the US gives me free wire transfers. So I set it up, and initiated a wire transfer. It took a few days to go through, but it was all done online and pretty easy. Although I’m always worried about mis-typing a digit in the receiver’s account number, and sending $25K to the wrong person. After a few days, the dealership contacted me and said everything was good, and when did I want the car delivered?
Yep, they delivered the car to our house in Puerto Morelos! They showed up with the car and paperwork for me to sign. I had one of my native-Spanish speaking friends available, and he read through all of the contracts. I didn’t expect anything funny from Honda, but better to be safe. A few signatures later – and he hands us the keys (without an additional surcharge for keys or delivery!)
Overall the car buying experience was way less stressful than buying in the US. And I never felt like I was being ripped off or nickel-and-dimed with additional fees and charges.
We’re super happy with our new car – it feels so fancy and full of features compared to my Jeep (my Jeep doesn’t have power anything! It even has manual roll-down windows!). Now we have GPS, Apple CarPlay, back up camera, right-side lane-changing camera, keyless entry and start, and more.
Now we can do some more exploring of Mexico with our completely legal, Mexican-plated car.