Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How An ISTJ Buys a Car

A Myers-Briggs temperament test says I'm an ISTJ. (Introvert, Sensory, Thinking, Judgement.) ISTJs over-analyze things.

My ENFP husband is the exact opposite. (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive.) This results in frequent clashes in how we approach life.

Case in point: our recent car purchase.

Keith (intuitive), has gut feelings and things either FEEL right or they don't. His favorite car-buying method is to have a general idea of what he wants, and then see the right car parked on the side of the road with a For Sale sign.

Since 2004 we've driven a useful, 14 mpg, maroon 1993 Ford Econoline passenger van. Five years ago I suggested buying something with better gas mileage. Since the van was paid for, Keith said we'd replace it when it died.

Taking the ferry to camp at Big Bay State Park last fall.

Only it never did. Despite our abuse, at 215,000 miles, it still runs. However, now we rarely drive anywhere with the whole family. We no longer need a van that seats eight people.

Keith has picked all our cars. "Molly", the blue Pinto I got instead of an engagement ring. "Feather," the blue VW Superbeetle he brought to our marriage. A blue Volkswagen van named "Vincent Van Gogh", followed by "Stacy" the blue station wagon. We drove a blue Ford passenger van for five years. Do you notice a pattern here?

When he bought our current maroon van, I wasn't sure I could drive a car that wasn't blue.

Fast forward nine years to 2013. I trust Keith's judgment but I hadn't chosen a car in thirty-five years and I wanted input on our next vehicle.

My priorities were good gas mileage, handling snow well, and room enough for four people to comfortably drive six hours to see the new grand-baby in July.

I didn't want a red car. Any color but. Why manufacturers make red cars is beyond me. I preferred blue, of course.

Keith could only handle a few hours of car shopping before getting overwhelmed. I spent hours on Craig's List, Yahoo Auto, and Car Gurus.

I suggested flying to another state for a better deal. Rural Northern Wisconsin isn't the cheapest place to buy a car. Keith would drive seventy miles to Duluth if need be, but he preferred to buy local.

I compiled a detailed spreadsheet, listing thirty car options in order of mpg, headroom (Keith is 6 feet tall), and rear legroom. Fuel-efficient cars without enough headroom got crossed off the list. Red cars never made the list. Maroon was okay, red was not. No exceptions.

We tried a Subaru Forester and Impreza because they handle snow well. However, Foresters don't get good gas mileage and Imprezas don't have enough headroom.

We vacillated between roomy minivans and smaller fuel-efficient cars. We almost bought a local blue Dodge Caravan. The Ford Fusion and three Focuses we drove didn't feel right.

We drove a really nice 2010 Prius that unfortunately was really expensive. We both liked driving my friend's blue Toyota Matrix. My poor husband had never tried so many cars before buying one before.

We'd drive a few cars, then wait for Keith to get un-overwhelmed, while I spent countless hours on the Internet. Keith still hoped to stumble upon a local good deal. He'd get emotionally flooded with too many options, while I scoured cyberspace and found good deals from Portland to Pittsburgh.

Last Thursday we spotted a used, bright RED Pontiac Vibe at a local dealer.

A Pontiac Vibe is the same thing as a Toyota Matrix. My OCD research showed Vibes get good gas mileage and have good headroom. After a test drive, my intuitive ENFP husband said, "I really like this car." After six weeks of shopping, Keith finally had his "Stumble upon, feels right" moment.

I couldn't see beyond the ugly red color. Keith said, "Really? You'd let color stop you from buying a car?"

"Yep," I said. I didn't want a car that looked like lipstick.

We drove three more cars but Keith liked the Vibe best. The dealer said technically the color was "Lava" and I wouldn't notice it after two months. I almost cried on the way home. I really didn't want a red car. Why couldn't it have been any other color?

I spent two hours Thursday night on the internet, determined to find a similar car that wasn't red. Surely, somewhere in the United States a reasonably priced blue Matrix or Vibe existed. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything that came close to the red Vibe.

This 2006 Vibe had 44,000 miles and was owned and babied by an 83-year-old woman. Nothing was wrong with it, other than the color. It met most of my criteria AND Keith thought it felt right.

Keith bought the car Friday morning. I felt embarrassed to drive such a bright car. What would people think of it's redness?

Positive reviews so far. The family loves it. Friends say they like red cars. Lava didn't bother anyone but me. Someone said to embrace its redness. To not see obnoxious, but sassy.

I'm slowly adjusting to the color. I saw a gray Vibe yesterday and thought it looked dull. I love my new (to me) car and am thankful the search is over.

ISTJs make things harder than they need to be. My ENFP keeps me grounded. Historically, ISTJ/ENFP differences caused Keith and I to butt heads. This time, instead of clashing, we collaborated. A definite win/win.

Our new to us car needs a name. Any suggestions?


  1. It's so cute! I totally get your color thing, I only want white.

  2. It is cute! The way you tell your stories makes me laugh!!!

  3. It's soooo RED! (Just kidding...glad you found something after all of that research and I hope you grow to love it) You could call it "Old Blue" just to be funny and remind you of all the vehicles from before...

    We name our cars, too. Right now we have "Toby" the Impala and "Curtis" the Grand Prix. I miss seeing your family on a regular basis - glad we can connect on facebook once in a while! ~Robyn

  4. Angie, You sure do know how to tell a story. :-) This is great. I was LOL the entire time.

    I think Amy will look great driving a red car. Seems to fit her? Am I wrong?

    If you have time, check out the boys blog. A story the girls might like about our cat little B. :-)

  5. I love that it was such a process of your different styles before finally purchasing (well, I love that you wrote about it so I don't feel so alone in my own decision-making struggles, ha!)

    I really like your new car... and I hope the color somehow finds a way to charm you too :)

  6. This info is good for anyone to know that how an ISTJ does buys a new car. I think that your facts and figures make it easy to understand for anyone.
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