After many ruminations and a second drive of the Mazda3, I changed my mind, but not for a reason I was expecting. You see, last Saturday my wife and I went to the Mazda dealership to buy a Mazda3. We had everything ready. We just needed one last test drive. So I took the car out and onto I5 northbound. Now there's this interesting thing about I5 here in Seattle: most of it is concrete, and much of it is in pretty bad condition, which makes for a loud ride at the best of times. But in the Mazda3, it was outrageously loud on the stretch between 65th and 85th -- so loud we were shouting at each other to be heard. Even though it was the exception, if I wanted to shout in a car to be heard, I'd get a Miata. So we went back to test drive the Acura TSX and again, it was a fine car and thus were our plans changed.
The bidding process was interesting. I had done my research on Edmunds.com and on kbb.com and on consumerreports.org. I had a pretty good idea what the car was worth, and what my used car was worth. So I used the web sites of the three dealerships to get bids. Interestingly, two of them answered in minutes with good, low, competitive bids. The most convenient dealership, however, took over a day and wouldn't give a quote by email (or fax). A few phone calls later, I had a price that no dealer was willing to undercut, and by 3:30PM yesterday afternoon I was in signing paperwork. A surprisingly pain-free process.
Of course the new car has more electronics than an Xbox, so I'll be happily immersed in software for the next two weeks.