Category: Bark’s Bites

By on May 27, 2016

gorilla dealer pic

The best thing about writing the Ask Bark series since the beginning of the year has been the feedback that you, the Best and Brightest, have given to our questioners. I might have a few good answers, but I’m only one man, and there are literally thousands of people who read each Ask Bark column. Collectively, you have wonderful ideas.

However, individually, you have some real clunkers. Today, we’re going to talk about the often given advice I’ve seen in the comments. Some of it isn’t just wrong, it’s flat-out harmful.

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By on May 25, 2016

2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, Image: FCA

Brent writes:

I’ve located a 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk demo. The owner’s 16-year-old daughter was presented this car on her 16th birthday, and she piloted it for 3,000 miles (a fact that doesn’t altogether leave me with warm fuzzies).

The dealer’s first offer, which included a trade-in of my 2005 Ford Ranger XLT with 51,444 mi, was $17,497 difference — without seeing my truck. My Ranger a very clean, well maintained, two-owner example. Black Book values its trade-in value at $4,400, but I wouldn’t give it up for less than $5,000.

My needs are few, and the truck meets them. However, I’d be happy if I could get into the Renegade for my trade plus $15,000. I’ve always wanted to enjoy the local Jeep jamborees and trail runs, and I need a “Trail Rated” Jeep to participate.

Is this deal feasible or am I being unreasonable? And what things should I keep in mind buying a demo?

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By on May 19, 2016

2014 Kia Soul

On May 4th, my friend “Jenny” (whose name is changed for the sake of her privacy) could not contain her excitement. She posted the photo seen above to Facebook, sharing with her friends that she had just bought what she believed to be a brand-new 2014 Kia Soul from Orlando Kia West. She got what she also believed to be a rip-roaring deal, too, paying $4,000 under sticker.

Although the car was a 2014 model with 530 miles on the clock, Jenny said the dealer claimed it had never been sold to a private customer, but Orlando Kia West had to list it as a used car because it had purchased it from another dealer.

The minute I saw that, I immediately knew something was up. I contacted Jenny and asked her some questions about her experience. Fifteen minutes later, we were both furious.

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By on May 17, 2016

lincoln town car cartier

Adam writes:

Hey Bark,

I’m currently driving a car that’s outlasted jobs, girlfriends, friendships, an Obama presidency and a Harper administration. I am rolling in a 1998 Lincoln Town Car Cartier — and boy do I love my ride!

From my pic, you can see “Mitzi” is a well taken care of lady. 446,000 kms later, I still love her as much as I did when I bought her. However, after 18 years, the undercarriage (despite yearly rust proofing, thanks southern Ontario winters) is becoming brittle and I feel like I’m getting repairs on a bi-weekly basis. If not for this being my first car, I would have moved on a long time ago. Aside from heated seats, a gold dash analog clock, a six-CD changer in the trunk and an unmistakable ride, it offers little else (aside from being insanely dependable for most its life).

My question: What should I get next?

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By on May 12, 2016

Ten Best/Worst Automobiles Today

When our esteemed Managing Editor, Mark Stevenson, gave you, the Best and Brightest, instructions for nominating the TTAC Ten Best and Worst Automobiles Today, he gave you several criteria: Looks that stop traffic, the “WTF” factor, misused technology, and misery factor. Essentially, you could nominate any car you wanted to (except the Compass), you just had to give a reason.

Mark instructed you to act like travel critics who’ve never left their hometown or restaurant critics that don’t go out to eat. In other words, TTAC allowed you to nominate cars you’ve never driven, have never sat in, or — heck — never even seen on the street.

That ain’t right.

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By on May 10, 2016

readerZ

Here’s a quick update from a previous Ask Bark questioner:

Hey Bark,

I wanted to drop you line to give a quick update and say thanks.

First and foremost, thanks for taking my question! I really appreciate your advice, and that of the B&B. It’s definitely safe to say that everyone’s thoughts pushed me to listen to the shoulder-devil that was saying, “You’re only young, dumb, and have no kids, wife, or dogs in your life once! Get something fun, impractical, and fast!”

However, I ended up going in a different direction than mentioned by pretty much everyone.

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By on May 10, 2016

Valeo Electric Turbocharger

Matt writes:

I am anticipating that my 1997 Subaru Legacy wagon, with 210,000+ miles on the clock, will need replacing soon. I’m lucky in that my wagon is a five-speed manual with the 2.2-liter EJ motor, so has been fairly bulletproof. In the last 19 years, it has needed only minimal work besides regular maintenance and wear items (brakes, clutch, tires), aside from the occasional axle or other random parts (i.e. alternator). I’ve been looking around at affordable commuter 5-door hatchbacks (Mazda3, Impreza, Focus, etc.) as it must fit multiple kids, sports gear, and I need a daily driver for work (~45 miles round trip).

Here’s my question: I would like something a little sporty as more than half of my commute is on fun twisty back roads. I keep going back and forth on whether or not to go for a naturally aspirated or turbo engine, followed by trying to decide between auto or manual. I feel like my five-speed-manual Subaru skewed my perception to believe a naturally aspirated engine and manual transmission is a much more sturdy, robust and reliable setup that’s less prone to breaking and needing repairs (fewer parts to fail) than a turbo and/or automatic.

Am I wrong?

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By on May 5, 2016

2015 Kia Sedona SXL front

Jonathan writes:

Hi Bark,
In the past, I’ve always bought used in the “golden zone”, i.e. two to three years old with less than 45k on the clock. This has always served me well. I’m pretty good at getting a good deal on this end of the process.

What’s brand new for me is dealing with an existing vehicle I still owe on. Due to a family addition coming along, we’re moving up from this late-model SUV (I don’t want to get too specific, but it’s a GM product) that has about 55k racked up, but is in good shape overall. Tires have tons of tread life, it’s mechanically sound, that sort of thing. We’re moving on to a Kia Sedona; my wife really dug one we kicked tires on. The minivan would be a late-model, purchased used — likely a 2015. Where my kung fu is not strong is in dealing with trading in or selling the existing vehicle.

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By on May 3, 2016

054

If you’ve read it once on the Internet, you’ve read it a thousand times: Conventional wisdom says the longer a used car sits on a dealer lot, the more likely it is you’ll get a good deal when you go buy it. People who’ve never spent a day in a dealership like to armchair dealer manager behind their computers and write about things like “floorplan” and “holding cost” like they actually know something about how a dealer principal calculates them, and how they affect pricing.

If this conventional wisdom were actually wise, then I wouldn’t be writing this column. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and adhering to it can cause you to waste a good deal of your time and money. Luckily, your friend Bark is here to give you the real scoop on how, why, and when you should buy at a dealership.

Go ahead, click the jizzump.

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By on April 26, 2016

2016 Mazda6 at LA Auto Show

Andre writes:

Bark,

I’ve lurked on TTAC for around eight months and just registered to ask for a recommendation. (Thanks! —Bark)

My daily driver is a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and it’s likely I’ll be taking the buyback option on the vehicle based on the agreement-in-principle between VW and the government on the “defeat device.” It’s been a great car (stone reliable, a miracle according to the B&B), but any fix is likely to cut both performance and fuel mileage.

The question is, what to replace it with?

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Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic

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