Brief: I'm pleased the way everything worked. Though I wish I could have gotten a lower price on the car I bought, more for my trade in, and different tires... I think overall, I got a better than fair deal.
I would be willing to do business with Kevin Murrell or anyone from Orange Motors again. I've already recommended them to a few friends and family. No real regrets.
Details: I'm a very picky person, and was looking almost 13 months for a Mazda 6 4 cylinder to replace my turbo charged 2006 Subaru Impreza wrx (133k miles). Wrx was just way too small for my new son and wife.
I went on cars.com almost every day, sometimes several times a day. I searched up to 500 miles from my house in NYC, because I really wanted a good deal on a 2012 Mazda 6 I touring plus. 2012 was a good year in terms of reliability from Consumer reports. The 2009s had too many miles. 2010 and 2011 had transmission problems. 2013 had big wheels and lower profile tires that were so noisy and uncomfy. I also wanted a sun roof - can't put a price on fresh air.
I'll also be honest and say that I'm cheap. I found Orange motors selling a 2012 polished slate mazda 6 I touring plus with less than 15k miles for an awesome price. I almost thought it was a typo because it seemed kind of low. It was lower than Blue book. I contacted the Orange Motors, and was eventually connected with Kevin Murrell. He did say it was low, but said he and the dealership would honor the price. wow.
I immediately looked at the carfax. Seemed clean, no accidents. Honestly, I was suspicious. Further, I live in NYC. Orange Motors dealership is more than 3 hours away! And, I had a two year old (who hates long trips in his tiny car seat) that I would have to bring with me.
I also read everything I could possibly find on Orange Motors, and even the salesperson Kevin Murrell. While not everything was positive, most websites and reviewers on average gave the dealership about 3.9 out of 5 stars. I couldn't find anything negative written about Kevin Murrell that was noteworthy.
I did read some reviews that mentioned that some customers bought cars, had some problems, Orange Motors did step up, and resolved most problems, sometimes at no additional cost. While they're not necessarily 5 out of 5 stars, it did seem they're better to much better than average.
I emailed and called Kevin Murrell no less than 50(!) times trying so hard to get him to lower the selling price, increase my trade in, even giving me better tires. Stock tires on the Mazda 6 are lousy... but that's really a Mazda thing, nothing I can blame on the dealer.
Kevin would not move much on the selling price. He did say (correctly) that the price of the car was below what a customer would be paid by a dealership if he tried to sell it to them. Meaning, the car was not only below blue book, but also below trade in. In other words, the car was already low priced, and they just couldn't go any lower.
Despite my best attempts, I couldn't even move him one dollar lower on the selling price.
So, I tried the other end, increasing my trade-in payment from them. He did move a little here. While my car was worth 7k dollars (low end) based on blue book value, Kevin did point out that there were two accidents and 2 panels would have to be replaced. I was thinking, how much does it really cost a dealership to replace two panels inhouse? Not like they have to outsource it.
So, I got $2500 less on my trade in than I would have wanted. Despite my best attempts, I couldn't move him too much on this front either.
The 2012 Mazda 6 I touring plus comes with Michelin energy tires stock. These are almost the noisiest, sloppiest, most slippery tires possible. But, they're also cheap, which is why Mazda probably put them on the 6. I asked Kevin if he could give me Pirelli Cinturato P7s, which are awesome and not terribly more expensive.
In the end, the dealership did an oil change, changed one air filter, rotated the rear tires, and gave me two new front Michelin Primacy tires. Eh, Michelin Primacy is ok. If it had to be Michelin, I wish they gave me the Michelin Premiers.... but, they didn't charge me more money for removing/discarding old tires (with only 15k miles), and giving me two brand new ones. I also (to my knowledge) didn't have to pay for the oil change and air filter.
After discussing with family and friends, I decided to take a chance. seeing only online pictures and going by conversations and email exchanges I had with the dealership, I decided to put down a $500 credit card deposit - which they said was refundable, and take a chance.
While my wife thought I was crazy for driving almost 3.5 hours for a Mazda, she grudgingly agreed to the long road trip.
When I finally got there, they had washed the car - which pretty much everyone does. All the windows were down and the sunroof was open. Later on, I realized they possibly did that to get the smell of cigarette smoke out of the car, which I didn't detect until I drove the car home.
Kevin had an important family event to attend to. I agreed with him that family is more important than selling a car. So we both agreed I would work with one of his colleagues: Nagie Rizk.
Like I typed before, I read everything I could about this dealership before putting down a deposit. Many people state the dealership lets you test drive a car without any staff member in the car. While this may seem a little unsafe and risky for them, this is what I was offered when I asked for a test drive. Nagie Rizk just gave me the keys (before I gave them any more money) and recommended a road to test drive on. No staff member was with me on my 15 minute plus drive.
During the test drive, I tested the AC. wow, was it noisy on level 3 or 4. I asked Nagie about this. He said it was normal, just the fan on higher power. Noise still with the car. To this day, I'm still suspicious about this.
I plan on taking this car to possibly the local Mazda dealer and evaluating the excessive, seemingly not normal droning and buzzing from the AC on levels 3 and 4. If it is not covered by warranty, I may or may not bring this up with Orange Motors. Unsure at this point of how they would respond. Meaning, would they reimburse me for charges to fix AC fan locally. Will update.
The only other thing that concerned me was that the blue tooth was locked out by a security code. Nagie and myself couldn't "break the code" to enable blue tooth. Nagie did offer to contact his service people. But I said, eh, forget about it. I did this because Nagie was doing me and Kevin a favor. Nagie was going to do papers, insurance, physical plate transfer for us... and he wasn't going to earn one sent for his time or labor.
I went on Mazda 6 forums by myself and found a way to bypass the security codes. Literally minutes after I did this, Brian Randio sent me the same security bypassing info.
There were no surprises or last minute fees that came up. Everything on paper (and everything spent) was exactly the same as what was discussed before hand. additionally, they let me put A LOT on a credit card. that made the purchase so much easier to afford. also, saved me (and them) the inconvenience of starting an application for financing.
Again, I wish so much I could have moved him down on purchase price, up on trade in, and gotten better tires.... but I think this was close to the best deal I could get from almost any dealer within 200 miles of me.
I spent almost one hour transferring stuff from my WRX to the 6. they were patient with me. They even gave my son a little toy (with some advertising) to play with while I transferred so much from my old car to my newer car.
I've driven the car almost 1000 miles in only 3 weeks. It was actually kind of fun to drive my new acquisition on a 3 hour trip back home. My wife (and even my 2 year old) both seemed to like the space and semi-comfortable (but semi stiff) ride while I liked the driving dynamics of the 6.
many other reviews online say this dealership holds up or is slow with title and/or registration post sale. this did concern me, and I brought it up with them several times before and twice after the transaction. I'm pleased to report I got the registration and title already.
Summary: I don't think I could have done much better. I got a good price on a 2012 mazda 6 I touring plus with less than 15k miles. Trade in allowance ok. two new tires. no problems post sale getting registration. still wish so much that the ac fan was quieter and that there would be no smoky cigarette smell.
Overall, I would do it all over again if I had to. I have no complaints. And, honestly, in a few years, I plan to contact them again when I need to get a second car (this time a Camry SE) for my wife.