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Car Shopping

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by HeinekenMan, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I'm just getting started with the car shopping experience. I'm looking for advice from people who own or know something about several vehicles. The particulars of my situation are that we're a family of four. Both kids are young. One requires a car seat and the other a booster. The wife can't drive a manual. We are to the point where we want a comfortable ride with lots of room without the big price tag. The vehicles I'm considering include:

    Subaru Outback, Nissan Xterra, Dodge Nitro, Dodge Magnum, Toyota RAV4, Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee, minivans, Honda Accord.

    The Outback is nice. I saw a mention of it on another thread. but I want something with power this time. I had a Corolla, and it was slow as hell. The V6 Outback is just out of my price range, so I'm wondering whether the 4-banger has some power. If so, I'm wondering about the ride and cornering.

    I pretty much see the RAV4, Xterra, Liberty and Nitro in the same light. My primary concern is that these cars are prone to rollovers and generally poor handling in corners. I'm researching this now. To me, they look like car tires on a truck with a narrow wheel base and narrow tires. I have this same concern regarding minivans, and I think they're particularly dangerous because their abundance of windows and lack of steel framing cause the tops to cave in. I've already seen a few sites that suggest a wagon, and I'm leaning that way, particularly now that there are some fairly sporty wagon options.

    That said, I like the room and the body styling in the smaller SUVs.

    The Magnum is just something I've considered. I can't afford the quick ones, but I'd be willing to buy a stripped-down model if it's a decent car. I'm throwing in the Accord because it's considered one of the top cars to buy by most publications year in and year out. I've never been in one, and I'm concerned about room.

    And feel free to suggest other vehicles. Lord knows there are tons of options these days.
  2. Big Buckin' agate_monkey

    Big Buckin' agate_monkey Active Member

    Good luck. Car shopping is a pain.
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Magnums are quite fun to drive. But only if you get the bigger engine. It's pointless to get a stripped down version of it. If you're considering that, just go with the Outback.

    You should seriously consider the Jeeps. I've owned four now (72 Wagoneer, 90 Cherokee, 99 Cherokee and 06 Wrangler) and never had any serious problems. The Liberty and Cherokee both have room for four adults comfortably and can handle luggage for all four.
  4. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I really didn't want to do the SUV thing... We looked at wagons, crossovers, sedans and SUVs...

    Ended up with the Highlander Hybrid, a small SUV on a car chassis, I believe.

    Highlander Hybrid was just voted #1 small SUV by Consumer Reports.

    I was pretty surprised by the "pick up" of the hybrid.

    Also, something that might help you... Either Parents or Parenting magazine just did a big write up on the safest cars. It had info on rollovers.
  5. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Wow. Great info already. Thanks a bunch.

    I'll take a look at the Highlander and take another look at the Jeeps. I've yet to go to a dealership, so that'll be an entirely separate step in the process. I checked out carmax, and I found it to offer great savings. Selection wasn't great, but I'm thinking of taking that route if I pick a car they have in stock simply because they have a low price.
  6. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    I'm comparing horsepower now. I've discovered that my Corolla had a 125-horsepower motor. The basic Outback has a 175-horsepower 4-cylinder motor. To my surprise, a V6 guarantees nothing when it comes to power. A basic Magnum has just 190 horsepower under its hood. Of course, that goes up to 425 horsepower as you climb the price ladder. I'm not sure what is acceptable, but I think something with 175 would probably suffice for now. 200 would be even better.
  7. rallen13

    rallen13 Member

    One bit of advice that has nothing to do with what you choose. Buy on the last day of the month and do it from the salesman who rushes out to meet you the quickest. He will be the one farthest from quota and most needing to make a sale. The last day of the month is when you will get the best deal from the dealership since they are on manufacturers quota fo the month. Also, ask for the price WITHOUT trade-in. Once you have the figure, then ask what it would be WITH trade-in. These hints were in Consumer's Digest a few years back. One other thing. I see from your sign-in name that you are a male. If you weren't, you should take a male with you, even if it just a friend (don't identify him as such). Let him ask the questions you want answered. Car salesmen truly do think women are the easier sell.
  8. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    IMO, there are two basic car-buying decisions:

    1. Japanese.

    2. Mistakes.
  9. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Rallen, I grew up at the Dodge dealership my father ran. Some of that info works. But it's not a sure bet.

    Yes, the salesman rushing to meet you on the 31st might be needing to make his quota. But that could work against you as well. If he's not hit his quota, he might not cut you the best deal because he'll need to make extra on the deal to payback any money he's drawn from the dealership.

    A guy who's sold 30 vehicles might be more inclined to get less on commission at that point, because he's made his month already. To him, anything on the 31st is pure bonus. So he might be willing to only make $150 on the deal instead of $750.

    And always avoid the extended warranty. Dealerships will always try to get you on the back end of a deal with that.
  10. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    rallen, you are beautiful. You just caused a spark in my previously dormant brain.

    I have been fretting because, with the main family car totaled last week, we only have a '98 Cavalier in serious disrepair. I was thinking of buying new and then leasing a second car when the Cavalier dies. Now, though, I see that I can trade the Cavalier, add the money I get from the insurance company and bring my monthly loan payment way down.

    On top of that, I can go all summer with one car because I work from home and my wife has the summer off. We'll be together most of the time. So I won't even need to think about a second car until August. Then I can figure out whether I want to buy a new or used car or lease one.
  11. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    And I use this against them each and every time! I'm the one who gets to purchase vehicles in our household. :D
  12. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    100% correct.

    Just bought a 2007 Toyota Camry 6 weeks ago. Love it. We have an '05 Highlander, love it. If you can spend it and want a very good AWD vehicle, wait until the '08 Highlanders come out, they are going to be great. We've owned 4 Toyotas, 3 Nissans, 1 Isuzu, 1 Mercedes (a handme down) and a Dodge MiniVan. Every one of them lasted well over 100K with no major problems except the Dodge, which blew a head gasket at 62K and a transmission at 66K.

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