Once I'd decided not to pursue a car loan, I started to look at cars in a slightly more conservative price range. I found one little Toyota Matrix that seemed nice, so M and I went over to the dealership on a Sunday. The first guy who came out to greet was friendly, and his personality did not make me want to rush home and take a shower (if you know what I mean). He told us a little about the Matrix, gave us the keys, and told us to take it out on our own for a few minutes.
The test drive went fine. The automatic Matrix is not a sports car, but it is reasonably peppy, and it has a decent amount of power going up hills and passing other cars. Steering is tight although not as good as a same-level Honda. My only real complaints were a poor turning radius, and bad blind spot visibility due to the location of the center pillar. I do not see any of the problems with the instruments panel that some reviewers complained about. Over all, it's a nice, if not special little car to drive. I decided I was interested.
I took the car to my trusty mechanic who's been working on the RX-7 (frequently!) for the last seven years. He gave it a thorough going over, and determined that the car, in spite of only having 50k, had an oil leak in the engine. He felt that it was probably a small thing, but that it might also be a cracked head gasket (not a small thing at all). He suggested that the dealer fix the small thing, clean the leaked oil off the outside of the engine, and then run the car for a few miles at highway speeds. If the small fix did the trick there should be no more oil leaking out. He said he would be happy to take another look at it after they'd done the small fix (for free too because he's a good guy).
Given this information, I drove the car back to the dealer, told them what he said and gave them his documentation. The dealer was SHOCKED that it didn't pass inspection. He was AMAZED that we thought it might be the head gasket. There was NO WAY it could be the head gasket. He agreed to make the small repair and call me when it was ready to go back to my mechanic. He promised it would be repaired by the next afternoon. I've never heard from him again. What would you make of this experience? I could be wrong, but I would say that Championship Motors in Redmond is not a very trustworthy place.