By on February 24, 2015

The above video is mildly NSFW

“Hey, I want to replace my BMW 3 Series because it’s no good in the snow. I want something just like it but I want it to be cheaper, because I’m tired of making such a big payment. I want it to be sporty but I also want it to be practical. I’m open to used but I’d prefer new. Thoughts?”

I received the text message above about a week or so ago from a friend of mine, but I’ve gotten essentially the same text over and over again for the last several years.

The question comes in many forms, from many different people, but it can essentially be interpreted as follows:

“Can you use your years of knowledge, experience, and expertise to give me an answer to a wildly uneducated, unrealistic, and ill-informed question that I will then entirely ignore and do what I wanted to do in the first place?”

Let me be clear—I’m no Sajeev (or even Sanjeev). I barely even consider myself a “car guy.” I don’t have much mechanical ability. I can change a tire, adjust shocks…and that’s about it.

But when it comes to buying cars, especially late-model or new, I know my stuff. I’ve bought a dozen new cars and never gotten anything less than a rip-roaring deal. I’m fortunate enough to have driven most of the non-exotics on the market. If you’re looking to buy a car that retails for less than $50,000, it’s almost a certainty that I’ve not only spent significant time behind the wheel of the car you’re considering, I’ve also spent significant time driving its competitors.

I’m also entirely willing to provide advice to people upon request. Thanks to my presence on these pages, I get dozens of requests for car buying advice per year. Of the dozens and dozens of people who’ve asked my advice, feel free to take a guess as to how many of my personal friends have actually taken it and bought what I recommended. Go ahead.

The answer is One. One person. That’s it (thank you, Steve C.! So glad to hear that you’re enjoying your 2014 Mazda CX-5!). From what I hear from my “car guy” friends, this is a pretty common theme.

So why the hell does everybody seek out our advice and that categorically deny ever having received it? I have thoughts.

1. They asked us a ridiculous question and hated our realistic and practical answer

No, I don’t know of any dealerships that are willing to sell you the latest and greatest new car for three thousand dollars under invoice. No, your four-cylinder Ford Probe isn’t worth $5500 ( I got that one not too long ago). And, no, there’s nothing exactly like your BMW 3 series that’s going to be cheaper, better in the snow, and be sporty yet practical (for what it’s worth, I recommended a Ford Fusion or a Honda Accord V6 Coupe).

People click “send” on that text to me and hope that I’m going to send them back some magical answer to an unsolvable situation. Yes, it’s true that there are about 150 different new car models available to be purchased in the year 2015, but none of them are going to be able to do 0-60 in three seconds, plow the snow off of your driveway, seat seven comfortably, and get 40 MPG. You’ve got to be willing to compromise.

2. They’ve already decided what they wanted to buy and they just wanted us to confirm how awesome their terrible decision is

Listen, I just can’t tell you that buying a Lincoln MKC is a good idea. I just can’t. I know you drove it and you loved it, but the Escape Titanium is a better choice for less money. When the Lincoln salesperson told you that the MKC’s 2.0 liter turbocharged engine is more reliable than the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine in the Ford, and I told you that they were EXACTLY THE SAME ENGINE, you ignored me.  So when you decide to buy the MKC anyway, please don’t ask me to tell you that you made a good decision. I can’t do it. Our friendship is now strained and it’s your fault. Good job.

There is a list of cars that I simply won’t recommend under any circumstance, regardless of how much a friend of mine may like it—not because they’re bad cars, necessarily, but because there’s a better choice in the category. So if you come to me wanting me to confirm that you should buy a 2015 Sonata, I just can’t. There are simply better options for you. Isn’t that why you should be asking for advice in the first place, to avoid these horrible decisions?

3. They know just enough about cars to be completely and utterly stupid

This actual exchange happened recently:

Friend: “Hey, Bark, what new car would you recommend for less than $20,000? I’d like a hatchback with Bluetooth and some other upscale options.”

Me: “A good friend of mine just bought a Sonic LTZ about a year ago and she loves it. I really liked driving it, too. I just bought a Fiesta—you should check those out, too.”

Friend: “Americans don’t know how to make small cars. I’m going to get a Fit.”

Well, thank you for referencing your decade-old knowledge about cars to make your decision. You should also make all your dietary decisions on the food pyramid. Make sure you stretch out thoroughly before you attempt a world-record in the long jump, too. Did you know that smoking reduces stress?

When I go to my doctor, I assume that he’s more up-to-date on medical information than I am, because it’s his job to be. It’s my job to be up-to-date on the latest information and trends in the car biz. Trust me.

4. Even though they asked for advice, they don’t really want to relinquish any of their decision-making power

This one is especially true of guys. Listen, dudes, I get it. You’re a “man.” You’re supposed to know about cars. It’s part of a man’s DNA to have all of the knowledge available to mankind about automobiles available for immediate recall.

But you knew enough to know that you didn’t have all the answers. You asked me for help, which was a good idea. However, when it came time to make the final decision, you didn’t like having another man’s fingerprints on your choice. So you made a poor decision rather than accept the good advice that I or others gave you. It’s the same reason that size 48L men will wonder aimlessly through the 38S section of the tailored clothing department of a Macy’s rather than ask for help. It’s embarrassing to admit that you don’t know “guy stuff.” But you don’t. So suck it up and take my advice, already.

I suppose that I should be thankful that people still ignore the advice of their “car guy” friends and go to third-party sites like this one for car-buying advice. So “Bark” is likely never going to get out of the Car Advice biz. But Mark? I might just retire. After all, there’s nothing more damaging to the human psyche than doing work without a purpose.

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

277 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: Sure, I’m Happy to Have You Ignore My Recommendation...”


  • avatar
    stevelyon

    Giving car buying advice to anyone almost always comes down to Fido Barks the Numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      what he said. and for those who don’t know the reference :

      http://www.caranddriver.com/columns/john-phillips-car-buying-is-easy-when-fido-barks-the-numbers-column

      FBTN, always.

    • 0 avatar
      Tosh

      I read the C&D article which attempted to explain ‘Fido Barks the Numbers’ but I still don’t get it, so would somebody please spell it out for me?

    • 0 avatar

      My brother asked what he should buy; he lives in a hilly, snowy place and has two kids and a 26 mile commute. A Subaru Forester. He buys a base model 3-series in coma blue. When I visited him next I find two neighbours have Foresters.
      Yes, I know what it’s like to be ignored.

      • 0 avatar

        My cousin and her husband, who have a country house in a hilly, snowy place, and a toddler, asked me what they should get. I gave them several options, depending on other desires. (My cousin’s husband would have liked something with some status–his prior car was a 3 series.) They got the Forester. They both enjoyed driving it, liked the visibility, the projected reliability, and the ease of getting the kid in the car seat in the back seat.

        A coffee house friend who I advised to get a Fit loves it. My sister enjoys her FRS.

        I always ask people what they want out of a car before I advise them, and try to get them to think about everything from fuel mileage to safety, to driving dynamics, to aesthetics.

        • 0 avatar

          Bark,

          Please do not take my comment as criticism in any way. I enjoyed your article, and I’m enjoying the comments it’s generating.

        • 0 avatar
          mr breeze

          Your family members all sound like rational human beings. That helps a lot.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          I’ve also had a much better record than Bark. I think he may know too much about the subject so that it hurts his salesmanship. Having worked with a lot of engineers, I have learned that there is rarely only one best answer even if many of the engineers think so. There a lots of very competent engineers, but rarely will any group of them not come up with at least three ways that some think are each best without question.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Glorious article.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Maybe your advice just stinks. I’ve had friends ignore my car buying tips only to buy what I recommended after their mistake realizes its potential.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I am waiting for you to submit an article and have it published on here. Glad your advice didn`t stink!

    • 0 avatar

      Besides it takes a special kind of self-assured idiot to think that Sonic is better than Fit. But if you point out to M/Bark just how ridiculous that paragraph was, he would continue to think that he possesses a superior “car knowledge”.

      • 0 avatar

        Hi. You can talk directly to me.

        I’ve spent several hundred miles driving both. Comparable Sonics can be had for thousands less than a Fit, and will deliver nearly equivalent vehicle ownership experiences. Read Caroline’s article. Then tell me where she could have found a comparable Fit for the same money. Then come back and tell me what a special kind of idiot I am.

        BTW, I put my money where my mouth is. I leased a Fiesta. The Honda Fit is for people who don’t like cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          One could say that your choice to lease a Fiesta illustrates why it is a bad choice of car to buy. You decided it would be either too unreliable or hold its value too poorly to justify buying. :D (Since jokes don’t always come through online, I’m making a little joke before you go into a paragraph defending your reasoning to lease… I also lease a car in which I’m very much in love.)

          In all seriousness, though, the Fiesta ST is a better car for someone looking for a sporty driving experience. Hands down I agree. The Fit is a better car to own than a non-ST Fiesta, IMO. It is more likely to be reliable, more likely to hold its value, and it really is amazing at how much space is in such a small package. The packaging is a rather large letdown in the Fiesta comparatively. When you strip the ST away from the Fiesta, it is no longer a sporty car, so practicality and cost of ownership trump all. Not much trumps a Fit when it comes to practicality.

          • 0 avatar

            Perhaps, but price out a Fit sometime. They’re ridiculously expensive. The Fit I could get for the same price as my Fiesta ST comes with a whomping 130 hp. Cue trombone noise.

            Not saying that the Fit isn’t practical, because it certainly is. But saying it takes a special kind of idiot to prefer a Fiesta or Sonic takes, well, a special kind of idiot.

          • 0 avatar
            Don Mynack

            Ya’ll two just got OWNED by Bark M. Feel free to step back.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Different cars for different purposes. The Fiesta ST is one of the two most entertaining FWD cars made, with near zero (price) comparable practicality. The Fit is more useful than all other subcompact hatches,rivaling or besting some compacts, but is a bit pricey for it’s relative lack of technology.

            The second generation Fit was more fun to drive than the Fiesta (not the ST). I’ve only briefly driven the new one but it has been toned down a bit. The Sonic has, by far, the most convincing engine of all the subcompacts below ST price, but I’m not sure if it hits anything else out of the park enough to recommend it over the ST to someone with needs.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            @Tedward

            You can recommend a Sonic over a FiST to somehow who wants a quieter, more comfortable ride.I’m not sure how they compare in NVH, but no one denies the FiST has a stiff suspension. As you say, different cars for different purposes. The Sonic is the small car that rides like a car one class up.

          • 0 avatar
            LectroByte

            Does leasing ever make more sense than buying? And I’m thinking leasing a Fit would have been cheaper than a Fiesta, I ain’t an accountant, but I like to buy new and drive it until the wheels fall off.

          • 0 avatar

            Leasing a comparably priced Fit would have been about $30 a month more.

            Leasing often makes a lot more sense than buying, especially if you, oh, I don’t know, have some 1099 income you need to make go away. :)

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Lectrobyte

            Leasing can make a lot of sense in several scenarios:

            1. You can write it off as a business expense vs. having to capitalize a purchase.

            2. If you KNOW you only want the car for a set period of time. Particularly if you live in a state where you only have to pay sales tax on the payments, and not the total price of the car. It also can be advantageous in minimizing the down payment, as you never need to worry about being upside-down.

            3. The car maker is subsidizing the lease to a huge extent to move the metal. A few years ago BMW found themselves with a ton of Z4s unsold at the end of the year. They did an absolutely insane lease deal on them, something like $300/mo with a small amount down to lease a $55K MSRP car.

            If it weren’t for the fact that my state sucks in how they treat sales tax on leases, I probably would lease my on-order M235i. Maine wants sales tax on the FULL MSRP of the car on a lease. And then of course, if you decide to buy the car after the lease period you get to pay full sales tax on the buyout. That more than negated my desire to avoid putting a chunk of money down on a car I am not sure I want to own long-term. Not that I am afraid of doing so, just that I like to change up my toys on a regular basis.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    ” but none of them are going to be able to do 0-60 in three seconds, plow the snow off of your driveway, seat seven comfortably, and get 40 MPG. You’ve got to be willing to compromise.”

    But, but… that’s what I’m looking for. Ok, what comes close and it’s got to be under $30K

    • 0 avatar
      doctorv8

      ”but none of them are going to be able to do 0-60 in three seconds, plow the snow off of your driveway, seat seven comfortably, and get 40 MPG.”

      Only 40 MPG? My P85D does all that and gets infinite MPG. So there.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        Your P85D’s mileage is measured in TOCPM (tons of coal per mile), not gallons of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr. K

          Yeah but…
          If they charge it at night I think there would be no additional coal consumption, assuming coal generated electricity…

          In some places PV charging is possible too…

          Good point in any case, Detroit

        • 0 avatar
          doctorv8

          Hopefully you know my answer was tongue in cheek. I could be on 100% solar for all you know. Regardless of MPG, there is no other 7 passenger AWD vehicle that can do 0-60 in 3 sec AFAIK. Can it plow snow? Maybe.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Generally I do not have a very high opinion regarding the objectivity of mainstream auto writers (loathe to call them journalists) who appear to be in thrall to the auto manufacturers, claim that each model is better than the previous (which they had previously lauded), or that “finally this time ‘x’ has a model that can compete with the best in its class” (which is what they said about the previous model which they now denigrate and recite all its flaw which they previously ignored).

    That is one reason why I enjoy TTAC so much!

    I did however purchase one vehicle a Kia Rondo after getting a recommendation from a national Canadian based auto journalist. He had purchased one for his family. He even recommended that we buy the 4 cylinder and was glad that he did, as it offers better mileage and has a timing chain rather than the belt that the 6 cylinder was manufactured with.

    And after a number of years we are (knock wood) still happy with this vehicle.

    Others that I contacted were not as forthcoming. Their excuses ranged from the article’s ‘nobody really listens’ to ‘if I recommend something and its a lemon then you will blame me’.

    • 0 avatar

      Considering how many fabulists, hoaxers and just plain gullible folks who don’t bother to check facts are employed as “journalists”, I’d rather be called a writer.

      I understand that in the 19th century, journalist was a synonym for an amateur.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I know I’m just picking on you randomly but can resist as I have see this odd logic before…

      Is it really worth opting for a slow 4 cyl over a speedy v6 model simply to avoid a 1k bill every 100k mi. Way to throw the baby out with the bath water…

      • 0 avatar
        Mjolnir427

        The Tbelt interval on Kia V6s is 60,000 miles, not 100k, and you’d better follow that “recommendation”. The early Kia/Hyundai V6 is ridiculously underpowered and gets horrendous fuel economy. The 4cyl is the “better” choice here. Actually, buying anything OTHER than a Kia is the better choice. Sources: I was a Kia service advisor 09-11 and I (unfortunately) owned a Kia Sedona.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I think it’s all the things you just said, plus a patience issue. People who are not into cars exceedingly (like most the people here) get antsy when it comes to spending their money. They know there are multiple options and should look around – but then they get to the dealer and fall for a salesman trap, and buy the first thing they check out.

    It happened twice in the past year here at work. I had extensive emails with two guys (both married and in their 30s) searching for different vehicles (one wanted SUV, the other a luxury sedan). I answered their questions, told them which things were good to check out and which they shouldn’t bother with, etc etc. Spent time checking out listings for them, reviewing their links…

    And when their weekend to start shopping came, what did they do?

    Ignored my advice entirely, and bought the fourth or fifth best choice in their selected category – which was the first thing they looked at.

    A brand new super-base AWD Traverse, and a CPO (overpriced) CTS-4 with the weirdo 3.0 base LF1 engine they only used for two MYs.

    FWIW the owner hates the Traverse, and thinks it’s nearly as bad as the 04 Pathfinder LE it replaced. It’s been in the shop for recalls and issues multiple times in the past year. I have not talked to the Cadillac owner to see what he thinks, but I do glare at it with resentment in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      Alfisti

      THIS!!

      My father in law wants to buy a luxo SUV as a “old man” gift to himself and jeeeeesus what an ordeal. He falls in love with whatever he sees and I have to talk him out of buying them.

      Maybe it’s his age as he still obsesses over what the dealer has in stock, i’m like dude, search the entire city at the very least, if not the province. To make matters worse he is cross shopping across three different size categories, from a Q3 to an MKZ.

      He does less than 3,000 miles per year and is actually considering brand new, i keep telling him to save $10K and buy them a year old but he is unconvinced.

      It’s impossible to shop with him.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Make him narrow his choices to a size category first. And I think you meant MKX (Edge) as the MKZ is a sedan (Fusion).

        Why not split the difference and get him in a nice mid-size but smallish luxury crossover? XC60.

        • 0 avatar
          Alfisti

          HA! I like the Volvo, that’s what i would choose but he doesn’t like the badge, no freakin way, Volvo’s are second class. Yet Lincoln is fine you see, he still calls them Continentals not Lincolns. Yeah MKX not Z. Sorry.

          We were at the dealer and RIGHT NEAR the MKX is an SEL Edge, brand spanking new for $10K LESS than a used Lincoln, would not even talk about it as he doesn’t like the grill. FFS.

          I cannot pin him down on size, to make matters worse my otherwise intelligent but at times bewilderingly sister-in-law has him convinced that a Q5 competes with an X5 and the Q3 competes with the X3 … urrrrrrrggggh my head hurts.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Can he afford what he wants new? Instead of acting like its your money, give him permission to make his own decision. It is his decision, after all.

            “Look, Pops, I think you can save a lot of money with a slightly used car, but if it’s worth it to you to get new, then get new.”

            As for any female who isn’t really an expert, you don’t have to compete with their advice. Ignore it. Any old man will only hear what she likes and ignore the rest unless it comes to color and such. If he wants to make her happy, he will ignore you no matter how sensible your advice is.

            In the end, you are better off supporting any decision he makes and keeping a good relationship unless that’s going to mean you have to pay for it in time or money.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            Don’t argue with your father in law: it is usually a waste of time and just breeds resentment. Be supportive, offer a little advice IF IT IS ASKED FOR, then shut up and be supportive. Your life and his will be better for it.

            BTW, at a certain age you realize that arguing with your older relatives is a waste of time (nobody is changing anybody’s mind) and fritters away time you will not get back. If you are lucky you realize this while your older family members are still above ground.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            So, how are the Hatfields, Mr. McCoy?

    • 0 avatar

      These days all I do when asked about a suitable car is provide a list. I also disclaim any knowledge of reliability. Test everything you can afford. Then decide.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Just drop him in a Lexus RX350 without the stupid computer mouse and be done with it.

        Also, while “Enthusiasts” get all hot and bothered by used cars because of the value they perceive, many “Normal” people do not. Without new cars, there would be NO used cars.

        • 0 avatar
          Alfisti

          He can afford new and yeah i’ve encouraged it rather than tried to bully my views. I don’t give a toss what he buys but I just want him to try a few cars out rather than drive off in the first thing he sees then regrets it.

          Hell, I suggested he go with his heart and just get the freakin Mustang he wants.

          As for the RX350, no lexus, no, not real car!!

        • 0 avatar
          Beemernator

          I actually went out and bought a used Lexus RX350 after this very site put it on my radar!

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I hear you. The only person who has ever taken my advice came to me freely admitting he didn’t know or care about cars, and cared mostly about low cost.

      Toad is right in his comment above– just rubber stamp their idea and move on. This seems especially true with people who are brand loyalists.

  • avatar
    jaydez

    I’ve had mixed results with this. I have 2 co-workers who took my recommendation and bought the cars i suggested (2010 Fusion Sport, 2006 Explorer) and many who did not… including the girl just starting her career after college and was set on buying a BWM… she now have a very good mechanic after buying a high mileage used one.

    My mother is currently playing this game with me. She wants me to go look at cars with her and make suggestions but every one I make says will say, “ugh, i wont drive anything made by X. Their cares used to suck.” I have a feeling that after all the research I do for her and all the test drive she will end up buying a GMC Terrain because her best friend has one.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I honestly can’t imagine anyone not knowing what car they should buy. That’s like saying you don’t know what clothes to put on in the morning. If you’re really that oblivious take a notepad with you and every time you think to yourself, “I wish I had a car that did_____” then write down your answer. After about a week look at your list, it should pretty well tell you what you want. Then make a realistic budget and try to get as close as you can to what you wish you had

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I’ve always wondered why, in some peoples minds, advice equals edict. Advice is an opinion, of which many may be solicited, but none followed.

    It makes sense to solicit others thoughts especially when they might possess more esoteric knowledge than you, but at the end of the day a decision should be made that takes into account all of the relevant information (of which you might not be privy).

    Don’t forget, cars (as do many things) contain both subjective and objective qualities. What feels right to you might not to someone else.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This is true – but I think most would easily agree that making a major purchase based upon the first thing you -happen- to look at, without checking out other options is not the most effective way to make such purchase (at least without intense buyer’s remorse later).

      I was more irritated that my examples didn’t allow themselves to check out options, than that they didn’t follow my advice. They didn’t follow the advice of any sensible consumer.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Substitute the word “car” with “girlfriend/boyfriend” and I’ll be you will be surprised how often you ignored the advice or opinions of others.

        News Flash: your car advice is no more special than other peoples financial, real estate, child rearing, or relationship advice.

        Most of us ignore sensible advice from others in relation to many aspects of our lives, often to our own detriment. I’ll bet your mom may not be great a picking out cars but she know the faults of your girlfriends long before you did.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          It’s true. And just like most of us have learned or are learning that offering car advice is mostly a lost cause, everyone that has tried to offer us advice in other areas probably learned it was best to let us make our own mistakes.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    “Our friendship is now strained and it’s your fault. Good job.”

    Just because someone bought a Lincoln MKC instead of an Escape Titanium? Really?

  • avatar
    319583076

    If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like working as an engineer, read and understand this article. There is a massive amount of joy and accomplishment in the design process offset by a massive amount of frustration and disbelief in the managerial decision process.

    This isn’t just a car-buying issue, this is a humanity issue. No one wants information unless it supports their opinions. If you have education, experience, background, expertise – expect lay people to abuse you in *exactly* the way described in this article.

    There’s a cliche about horses and water that comes to mind.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      This. This article goes way beyond cars. Not only do people generally not want to hear information that doesn’t support their opinion, they will dig their heels in and fight harder if your information contradicts their beliefs.

      Mark must have a lot of patience and a strong desire to help people, because I’m surprised he is only now considering retirement from the advice game.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        No kidding, with all the free open information on the internet people only become more closed and defensive of their own opinions, because now they have anonymous comments to validate their purchase decision!

        TC Fanatic: People on carsurvey say the Lincoln Town Car is “The Best Car Ever Made”, how can they be WRONG? My 8 Town Cars have been awesome for the past few years!

        Joe: Hows that eighth heater core going?

        TC: Oh I rigged up a pipe to re direct hot air! Now my Town Cars even faster with all that weight gone! I can blow the doors off every Honda in town! Handlings so overrated!

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
      -Harry S Truman

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Four little words that will be the end of me when helping many of my friends decide on a car:

    But it’s not cute!

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      This is why I’m glad my sister was not able to afford buying a used MkIV Jetta, and instead ended up with my mom’s Malibu.

      The Malibu isn’t cute, but it’s mostly cheap to repair.

  • avatar
    slance66

    I love this Bark! I often provide advice that is ignored, including by my mother in law, who bought a Rav4 without even driving it and now hates it. Forester was my suggestion.

    But even we semi-knowledgeable folks need help. I know I do as I also have a 3 series to replace. Budget around $30k used, looking at Touareg, LR2, Q5 and a Pilot (lower price option for bigger car). Need to be good in the snow, haul a little stuff, be pretty nice inside and handle potholes without breaking the car or me. Already rejected the current 4Runner and Explorer (ergonomics sucked). Grand Cherokee reliability scares me off.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The fact that you’re considering an LR2 for $30k tells me you’ve not thought about this enough. The LR2 is awful!

      If the Grand Cherokee reliability scares you off, this immediately eliminates any VW/Audi or LR product.

      You want it to be pretty nice inside and haul stuff. That leaves you with Q5 or Touareg. The Pilot isn’t that nice. But the MDX is, and you can have one for $30k used. And you’ll save lots of money over maintenance on the Touareg or Q5. The Q5 may be OK reliability wise, but the Touareg has always had issues (and is expensive IMO).

      And you can get a seriously nice MDX for $30K.

      http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=45242&endYear=2016&modelCode1=MDX&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&makeCode1=ACURA&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=35000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=%5BACURA%5BMDX%5B%5D%5D%5B%5D%5D&listingId=377992376&Log=0

    • 0 avatar

      FLEX FLEX FLEX FLEX

      Seriously. Flex.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        Well that lodged itself into my head immediately.

        youtu.be/vnd4PL3Veko?t=51s

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Ack. I simply hate the Flex styling and don’t need anything that big. I know it’s an awesome wagon, but I really do want something more SUV shaped and higher seating position. Thought the 4Runner was the answer, but it it just too truck like.

        Looked at Cherokee Trailhawk, but it’s not quite right. I really don’t want a third row, only considering the Pilot because (a) it’s not too long and will fit in my garage and (b) I can get it for $25k in Ex-L or touring. Yes, MDX is on the list too. Are the LR2’s that bad with the Ecoboost engine or the Volvo 3.2? They are basically Volvo/Fords.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          The LR2 is an ancient platform vehicle with terrible overall reliability, built by people who don’t give a crap. If the engine doesn’t get you, something else will. Just avoid it entirely. Strike it from your consideration just like you did the Flex.

          But really if you’re scared of the GC reliability, you have eliminated your other options by default. You are left with Pilot/MDX as only options.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Is that current knowledge? I hear from techs that the LR2 has decent reliability. The engine is the exact same Ecoboost you can get in an Escape or Lincoln MK[a-z?].

            Are you confusing the LR2 with the old Freelander V6 that was discontinued a decade ago?

            Ironically, I’ve heard of more issues with the Honda and Acura SUVs. Probably because there’s more around, but still major issues.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          RDX, It’s the MDX w/o the 3rd row

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I had considered saying that, but I always have in the back of my mind that the RDX does not have great engine choices until 2013+. Might be out of his price range?

            I wouldn’t get a 2012 or older with that turbo 4.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I agree, but a 2013 RDX with the V6 can be had for under $30K easily

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            It’s the little things. 2013+ RDX would work (old turbo would not due to harsh ride) except that I can’t stand the very low passenger seat that can’t be raised, even manually. Epic fail.

            But you are right that the MDX/Pilot are the likely winners. I haven’t looked into Touareg VR6 reliability in the current generation yet. It’s the perfect sized vehicle.

            P.S. my many comments aren’t intended to hijack the thread, but to show the many considerations that those rejecting advice may be going through.

        • 0 avatar
          bludragon

          Highlander then? It’s the less truck like kin to the 4Runner. Pilot is of course the other one, although there is a new one imminent. All 3 of those are about the same length (1.3 inches between them according to edmunds spec lists).

          If you want something smaller then it is Rav4, CR-V, CX-5, …

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I take great pride that after several years of incessant nagging–oops, I mean, “gentle persuasion,” my father’s opinion of the Flex has changed from “that’s the ugliest thing Ford’s ever made” to “we should see if we can rent one for our next guys-only road trip,” because, as he admits, it may be ugly, but it gets better gas mileage with more comfort than anything else us guys own (compact CUVs and full-size trucks).

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          The thing with the Flex is when you see someone driving it alone they look so lonesome in that huge greenhouse :(

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Is the mileage that good on the flex? I heard mid 20s is the highest one can hope for in gentle highway driving. They’re heavy mothers, with brick-like aerodynamics (albeit a lower to the ground brick). A new Rogue/CRV/Rav 4 seem to have little issue getting 28-30 mpg in typical highway driving.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Is the mileage that good on the flex?”

            No, but it’s about as good as it gets for large three-row vehicles. The ones based on car platforms are all essentially the same with respect to mileage: bricks of similar size and weight, with similar ~3.5L DOHC V6 engines. The Flex may be marginally better because it’s lower.

            But of course the Flex I want has the EcoBoost and would get terrible mileage. And I don’t care.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            95% of the road trip is highway driving. At that speed it becomes less about weight and more about aerodynamics. A Flex may not be as curvy as, say, a GM Dustbuster minivan, but it’s more aerodynamic than you’d expect.

            Notice I said “new compact CUVs.” My ’02 Tribute will get no better than 23 if you make it run at 75 mph for extended periods. Newer compact CUVs have no trouble getting 28+ on the highway. (My mother’s CR-V got 38.5 going 70 with a tailwind.) But putting five grown men (I’m the smallest at 5’8″ and 145) and their luggage in one for a 9-hour trip to Illinois means that everyone will hate each other just a leeetle bit by the end of the trip.

            At any rate, mid-20s is nearly 80% better MPG than Dad’s ’06 F-150, the default choice for a guys’ road trip. And a Flex is certainly comfier than any pickup truck we own. We come out ahead no matter what.

            EDIT (9 min later): I just realized I wrote that all like I was defending a decision we made, when in reality, it probably won’t be made until late July. Whoa there, I better slow down. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Hey for 5 adult men, A flex is probably the comfiest and most efficient option for long distance travel, next to an Odyssey or something.

            Having recently traveled 3 hours jammed 3 across in a 2013 Rav4, the fact that it was getting 28 mpg at 75 mph was rather academic when I was sitting on a rock hard, short seat with my butt going numb. I’d much rather have spent that trip in the back of a Flex!

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Next trip take your own car

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      If you’re not worried about Audi, V.W. or Land Rover reliability I don’t know why you’d have any concern about a Grand Cherokee.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This. Judging by his commentary, he’s the personification of that person who will reject the advice given in each subsequent comment and purchase an LR2.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          Herein lies the challenge. There are so many subjective factors, along with objective, that you can’t measure. Ergonomics vary by body type and driving position, styling, driving styles, etc. The adviser can’t really anticipate those things.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      We were in the same boat recently. I’d add a 2013+ Hyundai Santa Fe Sport to your list, as long as you get it in a high trim. We ended up with the 3 row in Limited trim. It has great road manners, crushes snow, is very nice inside, and I feel good about reliability especially with the long powertrain warranty. I hear good things about the Sport as well and it has the same option availability; if it drives at all like the 3-row does, I’d say its a solid pick-up.

      The only thing I might add is look for the 2.0T, I’m not sure 190hp from the 2.4 is enough to motivate it confidently. At very least, drive both engines.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Slance,
      I don’t know you, but I am guessing from your post that you want a car in that price range because you could afford more car, but don’t want to spend more?

      I would recommend the Pilot. You mentioned reliability, its a Honda. It’s going to be a big change from a BMW to a SUV, so make sure that’s really what you want.

      *** The following is the disclaimer so we can remain friends ***

      Getting back to the budget. You can probably survive making a bad decision, so if you find something you really like and buy it instead, thats fine. You only live once. Besides, if the whole thing goes sideways its not the end of the world. Just do your homework so you make an informed decision so that if it does go badly, you don’t have to beat yourself up for it.

      *** How do you guys think that will work? ***

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        @landcrusher you are correct. Most people at my income level lease cars probably in the $50K range. Since I drive 7000 miles a year, I find that a stupid proposition. Potholes and frost heaves are killing me in the 328 though it is good in the snow. Went to the extreme end…4Runner, but that was too far. Dialing back some driving dynamics and creature comforts left me with my list. Reliability is less about cost than convenience and time in the shop.

        @duffman13 I hear good things about the new Santa Fe and Sorrento, but I’m trying to avoid new (and those aren’t cheap new either). Prior models had bad reviews for ride quality, but I haven’t tested them.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Well, we got a top trim Santa Fe AWD with tech (~$40k sticker) for $29k with 20k on the clock. Your criteria had you amenable to buying used and the current generation started in MY2013, so I figured that was an option.

          I live between DC and Baltimore so my used car market is better than most, but a cursory cars.com search of 150 miles (gets me Philly too) had close to 100 available under $30k, YMMV based on your location

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            Hmmm…thought the update was in 2015, or maybe that is just the Sorrento. You expanded my list. Locking rear diff I think too.

          • 0 avatar
            duffman13

            @slance66
            I’m not sure if its the rear or center diff that locks, but I know we have a “lock” button on the dashboard that does something to the AWD system.

            5000lb towing capacity too and pre-wired for trailer lights too, just need to add the hitch. Not that we’ll ever actually use it.

        • 0 avatar
          bludragon

          Do you want an suv for the space, or for the ride? If it’s the latter, then you might want to take a look at some other sedans, or simply swap out the run flats on your 3 if it has then.

          • 0 avatar
            slance66

            Ride quality, high seating position, much greater wheel articulation, greater ground clearance, more space. I wanted a 4Runner, just found I don’t want to drive it. Perfect vehicle price no object: new Range Rover Sport.

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Is there a reason the answer isn’t XC70? If you’re between Boston and Vermont you can’t spit without hitting an indie Volvo shop; they’re readily available used in your price range; they’re huge and extraordinarily comfy inside; they have enough ground clearance and suspension travel to handle anything New England can throw at you; and they have the European weird-factor / exclusivity I’m taking it you desperately want based on the obsession with the LR2 and Touareg.

            And nobody will look at you twice when you sneak into their country club.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      You’re scared of the GC reliability but you are still considering the LR2 or a Touareg? Seriously! Not saying don’t be scared of the GC but wow. Go look at RDX though.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Actually, a lot of the smaller Utes might be worth a look based on dry weather handling. Also, depending on what you haul, the roof can be easier to use on a tall wagon than the cargo area of a bigger ute. I haul wood a lot, and my Volvo is easier to load and unload than my Land Cruiser was. I’m 6’3″ so YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          Well I’m in the snow belt around Boston, with another house on the side of a mountain up a steep dirt road in Vermont. But size wise, yes, I don’t mind smaller. Hence the LR2. Won’t drive anything with a NA 4 cyl. I just won’t. I’m hard of hearing and can’t be in anything pulling that many revs on the highway.

          • 0 avatar
            mr breeze

            you could buy a new loaded Forester for 30k. Yes it is a 4 banger but plenty powerful enough, especially with the turbo.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            They sell a lot of RX’s for a reason. It’s not 3 rows, but the ergonomics are pretty damn good. If you can get past the social stigma, it may meet all your criteria. They’ve been around forever, so just adjust years and mileage to match the budget.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    I have a friend who has three kiddos and needs cargo / people space. In early 2012 she called me for advice. She was fixated on three cars: A Jetta, a Veloster (wtf?) and a Ram Crew Cab. Wow. I suggested a Journey, based on her budget and needs. She bought the 2012 Veloster. Too small. Too slow. Uncomfortable for everyone. Awful Veloster was traded for a used 2012 Golf. Cute, more comfy, slightly more utility. Still too small. Then she finally traded the Golf for a new (base) 2013 Journey. Everyone happy. Everyone smiling. Holy crap.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Wow. I wonder how much negative equity is rolled into that Journey payment.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      My Mom did the same thing, sort of. She and my grandparents had a Windstar, which was a turd. Traded that for a Jetta, which she liked, but was a little too hard to get aged grandparents in and out of, and being a sedan, impractical. I had taken her out to look at all sorts of wagony things, but she liked the color and the salesman so she bought the jetta – that dealer had no wagons in stock. Traded it a year later for a Routan (got a screaming deal on it). But two years later, Routan is too big and sucks gas. Finally listens to me and buys a Prius-V, which is perfect for her and she loves it. Also all paid in cash, Grandfather has more money than god.

      Worse is when they don’t ask at all, and I find out she “traded” a perfectly good Volvo 740 in on a Dodge Caliber for my brother and his wife. Biggest POS ever in our family. Cost a fortune once the warranty was up. I would have put them in a Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        What is it about relatives and Jettas? Not saying they’re bad cars–from these stories they just seem to be repeatedly trapping people into a car they get seduced by but then quickly doesn’t meet their needs. Just this weekend my sister-in-law traded in a barely 2 y.o. Jetta for an Edge, and while it’s not something I’d ask them, I’m certain they had to roll some negative equity into the payments.

        Couldn’t agree more on the Caliber, too. My most hated rental ever. Drove like farm machinery with significantly worse ergonomics. What a turd.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          +1 on the Caliber rental hate. We were in Hawaii, the Focus had just come out, and there were a ton of them on the rental lot. And we drew a Caliber. I can’t remember the last time I was that disappointed.

  • avatar
    omer333

    When I got my Dart, it was the first time I followed my own advice: test drive every single car you’re liking, stick to a price point, look for the best deal on financing not just the car payment, and go for something with incentives.

  • avatar
    Dan

    “When I go to my doctor, I assume that he’s more up-to-date on medical information than I am, because it’s his job to be.”

    A specialist is, or at least ought to be. General medicine is far too broad for one man to begin to keep up.

    If you want an expert on your particular malady, read up.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Unless it’s a really craptastic decision I usually just agree with anyone when they ask me “I’m thinking of buying XXX, what do you think” Doesn’t matter what I think, what do YOU think.

    What I really can’t wrap my head around is people who buy a car without ever driving it. Would you buy a house without ever stepping foot inside?

    Such a foreign concept to mme.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Most of the people I deal with follow my advice to the letter. A lot of people trust me to go so far as to choose the car for them and make a purchase on their behalf. No kidding, sight unseen. Here’s your car, hope you like it. Those people aren’t car people, though.

    Anyone with even faint enthusiasm for cars thinks they can second guess you and make out just fine with that well used luxury car. Maybe it’s the allure of the cracked leather and fancy features that don’t work. Or maybe they want to have a shot at proving the experts wrong. Who really knows. What I do know is that repairs and inevitable trades at pennies on the dollar can be profitable later.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      That’s the irony. Non-car people ask me for advice and wind up with flawless cars that serve them well until their situations change and they need something to drive their giant blended families in. Most of the time, said people are in good shape when they do need a new vehicle, because they bought something with stellar resale and good terms. People that read Car and Driver ignore your advice and wind up trying to break their VW or Ford leases.

    • 0 avatar
      dash riprock

      You must have a good reputation. Number of years ago was looking for a third car. Know a lot of people in the dealer game here. Since I know them, quite a few I would not trust. There were a couple I did and after not finding anything local, gave the one going to the auction a flexible list of what I wanted and a rough price point. The next day was driving with the family when my cell rang, wife answered it and all I heard was, “what did he buy?’ and then “ok thanks”.
      If you can surround yourself with knowledgeable trustworthy people, then life is much easier.

      Mind you I am not a “car guy” per se…more interested in their financials than engine specs

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        >If you can surround yourself with knowledgeable trustworthy people, then life is much easier.

        You got that right. People will pay to know they aren’t being ripped off, which shows that it’s not always about the bottom dollar. To some it is, but to many it’s about not feeling violated. It helps to have the ability to help people out even if your recommendation, while well intentioned, turns out to have some issues.

        There was a lady I put into an ’03 Lesabre who came out of a ’98 Regal that got totaled. A Buick for a Buick, safe bet. It ended up needing a wheel bearing and a plastic coolant elbow within a couple months. I fixed it up at a very reasonable price and she was happy. She would have paid a lot more going somewhere else, and felt a lot sh1ttier about me and her recent purchase if that were the case.

  • avatar
    Internet Commenter

    It seems like a lot of people who ask these questions simply want affirmation of a specific vehicle that they may or may not have disclosed, and will purchase that vehicle regardless of objective comparison, or what anyone else says.

    The vehicle one selects is largely an emotional decision which many view as a reflection of themselves. Therefore, it can be difficult to use reason to persuade someone to consider a vehicle that is not view as congruent with their self-image.

    If asked, I’ll make a few suggestions recognizing that they’ll likely be ignored, while at the same time, understand that it’s nothing personal.

    • 0 avatar
      hudson

      Yeah that’s the best way to handle it.

      It’s amazing how stereotypical people can be of the car they drive. My wife and I make games around that. Passes the time on trips etc.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    I’ve also had mixed results in this category. I get asked about this stuff fairly often, and I honestly have no idea who actually took my advice into consideration and who didn’t.

    But on the few occasions (I count 3 total) where I became actively involved, in one way or another, with the car search, my advice was heeded 100% of the time. But that may also just be a personality thing…

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    I wouldn’t limit it just to car purchases. Seems like most of the time when people ask for advice, they aren’t really interested in the advice, they just want their own opinions confirmed.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I just had this sort of conversation with my sister and my mother, although both have enough sense to admit at the end that they want a car that doesn’t exist. My sister wanted a 4wd/awd vehicle with more space and ground clearance than her Honda Fit but essentially the same gas mileage and for under $30k new. My mom wants something with at least as much space as the Fit, 35 mpg combined on regular unleaded, active safety, a panoramic sunroof, and is presentable enough for her to drive friends and family around in for under $30k.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      New Rogue doesn’t quite do it, but comes pretty close.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Slance – I don’t know that the Rogue will be big enough. She is very concerned with interior height because she has a Great Dane that she wants to be able to stand up inside. She looked at CX-5’s before she bought the fit and that was one of the criteria that the Fit passed and CX-5 flunked. She bought the Fit when she was single. Now she’s married and she says she can’t easily fit her and her husband, stuff for a weekend trip, plus their two dogs easily in the car. She really wants a Chrysler minivan with the stow n go, but they aren’t awd or lifted (she and her husband are about to move from Florida to Pennsylvania for 3-4 years and are terrified of the snow) and the gas mileage sucks. I actually sent her the article Timothy Cain wrote here a week ago “Chart Of The Day: Is Minivan Fuel Mileage A Big Part Of The Problem?” and she said that summed up her dilemma pretty well.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          Storage space is huge for the segment, and ingenious really in its design. Seems to have very good headroom, and is larger than most compacts.

        • 0 avatar
          Ubermensch

          Tell her she doesn’t need AWD especially if she is not experienced driving in the snow. AWD will only give a false sense of confidence and get her in trouble. A minivan with a set of winter tires would be a better option.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life and driven in more than 40 winters with vehicles that that have had RWD, FWD, AWD and 4WD. I’ve gotten stuck twice and one of those times was due to ice, not snow. That being said, and while it’s true that some folks with AWD drive like they think the laws of physics don’t apply to them, I personally prefer something with AWD when dealing with winter conditions.

            However, no matter what you drive, after putting a set of Blizzaks on my daily driver, and seeing how an AWD Jaguar with all-seasons acted in snow, the few hundred dollars you’ll spend on winter tires would be well spent if it snows or gets below freezing regularly where you live.

            I’ve always been impressed with radial snow tires, but modern winter tires are pretty remarkable.

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          @Slance66: I’ll tell her to check it out.

          @Ubermensch – I already had that conversation. the place they’re moving to (Erie, Pa) supposedly had the highest snowfall totals last year and again so far this year. Her husband did an internship somewhere it snows in a FWD car and was miserable. Everyone they talk to who lives up there or has done the program there says you need AWD with the snow tires (she knows All seasons wont do). She’s lived in Florida all her life and is very scared of driving in the snow. Her husband will be working long hours and they have no family or friends up there and he’s worried about her getting stuck with no one to come help.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Getting stuck generally isn’t a problem. People will help out. The real problem is accidentally going off the road, and AWD won’t help with that.

            Saw it again last weekend, roughly half the cars in the ditch were AWD, which is the same proportion as AWD cars on the road (during a snow storm, mind you). Don’t know why, but AWD doesn’t seem to help driver stay on the road.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I think they should look into the new Jeep Renegade. It has the 4WD that they obviously feel they want. I hear it’s quite spacious for it’s size, has good gas mileage and won’t break the bank

          • 0 avatar
            sprkplg

            FWIW, I learned to drive in no-snow country, spent two years near Erie, and currently live in central PA, where we’re still getting hammered with snow this year. My two vehicles are FWD (a Sienna and one of the last non-AWD Subarus). Snow tires, caution, and an easy touch on the pedals and steering wheel are all you really need.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Don’t they give great deals on subarus in Florida? Take that woman to a Subie store. Sell her on one. Measure the dog first, take a tape measure.

            THEN, totally without her, have him go find the best deal on one. He doesn’t need to tell the sales guys about the move.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            PS. If you move a lady from Florida to a snowy place for a job and she wants a new AWD car, get it.

            Happy wife, happy life.

            Don’t be a Dick.

            Etc.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            Despite my frequent arguments that AWD is oversold, if you’re in serious snow country (like Erie, PA), then you want AWD. Just so long as you understand that you also want 4 true snow tires, like Blizzaks. Might I suggest a used Honda Pilot? Plenty of room for big dogs, a vehicle that is adequate for snow (although not as good as a true 4WD). Its primarily an FWD vehicle with “slip and grip” AWD that engages the rear wheels when the front ones slip. It has higher ground clearance than a minivan. I have had my ’08 for almost seven years and 100K miles and have had no issues. On a good day, it will get 22 mpg on the highway; mid-teens around town.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It makes me very sad that you get the same mileage in your Pilot that my sedan gets. On premium.

            :(

        • 0 avatar
          Richard Chen

          Suggestions that would give you MPG in the low-mid 20’s:

          $$: Ford Transit Connect or Ram Promaster City (see Mr. Dykes’ review from yesterday), both give you a 2nd row

          $$ used Toyota Sienna 4-cylinder:
          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/review-toyota-sienna-le-2-7/

          $: Mazda5 and unbolt the 2nd row seats+tracks

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @heavyhandle – I’ve had the argument with her several times already and she (and especially her husband) are not budging.
            @lie2me- already suggested that and a Fiat 500L. Her husband won’t go for Fiats or CJD products.
            @Richard Chen – the Vans you mentioned arent available with AWD that I can find. She looked at the Mazda5 before buying the Fit and felt the Fit offered competitive cargo space with better gas mileage. The Mazda’s gas mileage wasn’t good enough to choose it over the Grand Caravan which was what she really wanted before she bought the Fit.

            My current suggestion to them was to keep the Fit and try it out for one winter and find the cheapest lease on a sufficiently sized 4wd vehicle since they’ll only be up there for 3-4 years and won’t need it when they move back to Florida. They can try to put as much mileage as possible on the Fit when the weather is good to keep the lease mileage down. If the Fit is a disaster next winter, it will be paid off by that point and should still have good residual (it’s only 2-3 years old) for trade in.

          • 0 avatar
            Richard Chen

            Sorry, missed where you mentioned AWD. We’re talking unicorns all right. Or a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, with many miles.

            I vote for the cheap/rational alternative: snow tires. Too logical, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It sounds like you’ve already given them the best advice, keep what they’ve got and see how it goes. Only then will they truly be able to make the right decision

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Can your sister wait for the Honda HR-V?

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @maymar – yes she could wait. They don’t move till this summer and won’t need the new car till next winter. Will the HRV simply be a AWD Fit on stilts (same cargo capacity)? Other subcompact SUVS like the Encore and Juke are too small (I assume the CX-3 will be as well since the she already determined the CX-5 is)

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      “My mom wants something with at least as much space as the Fit, 35 mpg combined on regular unleaded, active safety, a panoramic sunroof, and is presentable enough for her to drive friends and family around in for under $30k.”

      That’s the Prius V, isn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Deedub – I’m not sure she’ll go for a Prius. My dad doesn’t like them at all and I’m not sure that’s premium enough for her but I’ll definitely tell her to check it out.

        @Maymar – that HRV looks like a good option. I’m sending her info. thanks.

        @landcrusher – we’ve talked about Subarus. the problem is the only ones with impressive mpg are the smaller ones. Assuming an outback is big enough, I don’t think its gas mileage is good enough. Her husband wants the AWD car as much as she does so it’s not just happy wife but happy couple. That being said, she’s not happy about the move so happy wife ought to be an omnipresent concern of his. Then again the job is his residency in psychiatry, so hopefully he can buy her plenty of happiness in years ahead.

        @sprkplg and Richard Chen – unfortunately the need for AWD seems to be a settled issue. I don’t think either of them will budge on it.

        • 0 avatar
          DeeDub

          I think the only choice other than the Prius V for 35 combined MPG and largish cargo space is the C MAX. It’s up to personal preference which of the two is more “presentable”.

        • 0 avatar
          Richard Chen

          http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2014/11/how-does-2016-honda-hr-v-stack-up-to-siblings-in-cargo-space.html

          • 0 avatar
            tjh8402

            @Richard Chen – great article. I sent that her way as well. Thanks.

            @Deedub – just was thinking – I’m not sure the Prius V or CMAX offer all the active safety features that she wants. My moms perfect car is a self driving electric with at least 150 miles of range haha.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Lots of psychiatrists are terrible convincers. At any rate, try these steps. You don’t have to get stuck on Subaru, btw. Just an idea as you are in one of the few places where they put money on the hood.

          1. AWD adds a second bunch of gears that add weight. You either have to go smaller or lose mileage to make up for that weight. Or, get something FWD with good traction control and winter tires.

          2. If she goes for this, all good.

          3. If she reacts negatively, congratulate her for her understanding of automotive engineering. You could of course make up for that weight with a less powerful engine. Any place but the US, you could get that, but we are a lead footed people who won’t buy cars without lots of pep. What are you going to do, people are stupid, and Americans have money to afford more power so they choose it. So unfortunately, she has better judgement than most people, which she already displayed by buying a Fit. If there were more people like her, they would sell more Fits than Accords. They don’t. So, back to number one.

          You might also look at her making up the mpg with less mileage. Likely she won’t need to drive as much as she does in FL.

          You might also look at used cars from retirees from up north. Get a three year old car with the features you want without paying for them. (We did this moving from Houston to Calgary on a BMW. The Winter package was actually less than free because people just didn’t want the car.) Plan to sell it before returning and likely you will make up any amount of lost mpg on the arbitrage.

          OTOH, you really have to check out the taxes and fees situation. You may really need to wait and buy up there. You don’t want to pay a big sales tax in FL, then get hit with a big registration up there or something like that. Also, they may not need a second car up there. We didn’t in Calgary.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          I would strongly recommend the Forrester Limited. Would kick ass in the snow and a lot of room inside for the dogs (taller than the Outback).

          Bark, I disagree about the MK-C v. Escape Titanium. Once prices soften on the C (and they will), you’re getting a much better looking car with a more grown up interior for not a lot more than the Titanium…

    • 0 avatar
      mr breeze

      You won’t get 35mpg except possibly on the highway, but the Forester ticks a the remaining boxes. The amount of glass including the sunroof is amazing.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    “I’m going to get a Fit.”

    I have to say, I am with your friend on this one. My wife currently drives an ’07 Fit. I have her about 20% interested in getting a 2015. The ’07 has been wonderful for us, but it’s missing some key creature comforts. No bluetooth audio, no AUX jack, and it doesn’t even play computer formatted CD’s. No keyless entry, though we did add an OK aftermarket keyless entry system. So we have been half considering upgrading her to a 2015 which now includes all that standard right down to the base trim. And I have to say, I don’t think we would even consider a Sonic or a Fiesta. But, the point is moot, I said 20% interested. She likes the idea overall, but really wants to stick with her current car because she really likes it.

    As for advice, I don’t do it often. In fact the last time was in ’07 when my wife was looking and I suggested the Fit. I had read about it. It wasn’t my cup of tea but I thought it was just what she was looking for. We did look at alternates, but she really liked the Fit so we got it.

    Now my brother has been looking for advice from me. He wants something nicer than his Yaris, wants a hatch, and wants to stick with Toyota. I suggested the Lexus CT200h. Yes there are better candidates on the market that are non-Toyota, but he wants a Toyota. His business, not mine. He is somewhat considering it now. He will probably stick with his Yaris though.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I hope bluetooth audio, an AUX jack, and “computer formatted CDs” aren’t the only reason to get into a 2015, because those can be solved on the ’07 cheaply.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        Oops. I forgot. I suggested an aftermarket stereo. She flat out refused. She said she hates aftermarket stereos and their tiny little buttons. She prefers the great big buttons that come from factory. What I jokingly call “Fisher Price buttons”. So she would rather deal with the current system or get the newer car with the updated system. As I said before, there is an 80% chance she will deal with the current system. Quite possibly for the next 20 years.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          I bought an aftermarket stereo for my S2000 for exactly those features, and she’s right – the tiny buttons are terrible. Thankfully in my case it stays hidden behind the radio door and I use the dash-mounted controls for it.

          Clarion and Blaupunkt (I know, not anyone’s go-to radio brands) have some of the most OE-looking faceplates for someone who needs an aftermarket radio but wants reasonably sized buttons and a less flashy display.

          If her vehicle takes a double DIN, the New Jersey 220 is a great deck

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Honda might have an OEM retrofit for aux in. From there you can get cheap bluetooth products that leverage said aux in. As an example, I use the Kinivo btc450 and think it is fantastic. If you need the functionality of both at once, maybe some kind of splitter can be added to the mix.

          It is a problem with that kind of a solution – you have to go all in on the bluetooth source (in my case, my phone). If you want a call or nav directions to mute FM radio, you are out of luck. Parrot products can solve that, but installation is harder and I was less impressed with the reliability of the product.

          Aftermarket head units do have terrible ergonomics, but some come with remotes. A remote in a car sounds ridiculous, but I found it easier to use than even OE fisher price buttons. The target buttons don’t bounce around with the car, and you can operate completely by feel once you are familiar with the remote.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Why are you trying to talk your wife into a new car? She likes what she has and as long as it’s not giving you trouble, let sleeping wives lie

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            As a car guy, I tend to “window shop” cars online. My wife has made the comment that it’s alot like how her mother will “window shop” houses online.

            Plus, there are little things on her car that make us take a look at the new Fits. Like the lack of keyless entry. The aftermarket device we installed is a little wonky sometimes and it’s not nearly as nice as the factory one on my RSX. And this winter I think she would have liked the heated mirrors that my Acura has. I was shocked to learn lately that the new Fit EX-L does in fact have heated mirrors. And finally, the new Fit has an integral center armrest that the old one didn’t have. If there is anything that drives her a little nuts on the car it’s the lack of the center armrest. Oh, and I almost forgot the power. The old ’07 Fit had 109hp which gets around just fine, but sometimes my wife says it’s a little lacking. Especially at highway speeds. The new ones have revised the top end. They get about the same torque as before, but the horsepower peaks a lot later and a lot higher at 130hp.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            The aftermarket has your back on armrests too. You could even try to track down a JDM center console.

            As for the power, if she is like most non “enthusiast” drivers, any additional power that peaks higher in the rev range might as well not be there.

            With a minute to research, I’m not sure what can be done about keyless entry and lack of heated mirrors.

            Admit it, you are just bored with the car and want something new!

          • 0 avatar
            DevilsRotary86

            “Admit it, you are just bored with the car and want something new!”

            There is a bit of that, and the car really drives me crazy when I have to drive it. And again there are things about her car that have been vastly improved that would be nice and would correct some minor gripes. As for getting an aftermarket armrest, I am reluctant. My general experience has soured me on aftermarket add-on solutions. I think that they are largely junk*. I have seen the aftermarket armrests and they look shoddy to me at best.

            And I keep forgetting other little things. The ’07 also lacks cruise control. I keep forgetting it because it’s hard to believe that it doesn’t have cruise control, but non-sport ’07s didn’t! That one keeps freaking me out whenever I have to drive hers long distance. All Fits after ’09 got cruise standard.

            *Exception to that experience; aftermarket stereos. She hates them, I love them. I have a very nice Pioneer in my Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      For your brother: the Scion iM intro is 6 weeks away at the NY Auto Show. I’m guessing that this will be your basic Scion hatch without frills, for 2/3 the price of the Lexus CT. I can understand your brother’s reluctance to try other brands, there aren’t many brands I’m interested in getting to know.

      There are some other hatchbacks that I’m looking at in slow-motion shopping mode, such as the Mazda3 & Subaru Impreza. Hyundai Elantra GT? not a brand I’m familiar with and unlike the others the dealer isn’t close by, but its 180hp would be welcome.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Dear Bark M.:

    I see that I can receive $10,000 off a Cadillac ATS without so much as a negotiation, $13,000 off a Cadillac CTS without so much as a negotiation, and as much as $20,000 off a CTS V-Sport without so much as a negotiation.

    These vehicles aren’t very luxurious or reliable, however, have relatively unrefined motors, tight passenger and trunk space, small rear seats, abysmal resale/residual values, and have wildly inflated MSRPs to begin with.

    That said, should I accept a dealer’s offer to sell me a CTS 2.0T Luxury with an MSRP of $56,000 for $41,500 plus TTL, or should I buy either a

    1) Chrysler 300 AWD with a MSRP of $36,800 for $27,540, or a

    2) 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 liter with a MSRP of $38,700 for $33,490

    instead?

    Thanks,

    Melody L.
    SoHo, NYC

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      This is going to far…count me officially concerned about your mental state.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      You’re making all your OTD prices up. Not just for the Caddies but also for the Chrysler and the Hyundai. People writing garbage like this are the reason salesmen have to put up with ridiculous lowball offers.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        You stick to the PNW & Subarus & leave the OTD pricing of the vehicles I mentioned in the metro Detroit area to me, cupcake.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        DW isn’t making numbers up. I looked at a 300 AWD last week, and $28K plus TTL is within range around here. My neighbor’s 2014 Charger Hemi AWD was about the same price.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Thanks, bball.

          I like Dal & will cut him slack since he’s probably unaware as to how hyper-aggressive metro Detroit area dealerships are on price.

          BTW Dal, those are NOT “employee price” prices. Employees & immediate family member of manufacturers and in many cases Tier I OEM Suppliers can take another $800 to $1,800 off those prices with ease, depending on vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I get the sense from your posts (and now your confirmation of this one by DW that I thought was in outer space) that everyone should buy cars, at least domestic cars, in Detroit. It seems like a completely different market from the coastal places where I’ve bought cars.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It depends on the vehicle (I’ve seen better prices on Hyundai, Toyota, VW & Mazda in places like Virginia, North Carolina, Atlanta & Long Beach), but generally speaking, metro Detroit dealerships are very price aggressive.

            p.s. I’ve seen more aggressive pricing on Subarus in Colorado & Spokane/Seattle than in Detroit area, too.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            No complaints on the pricing of my Subaru here in Seattle. $4000+ off MSRP with a pair of free season tickets to a local ski area thrown in.

            But there is no way you’d get five figures off any Cadillac or $8000+ off a Chrysler 300 locally. Of course, PNW dealers face a bit less competition than dealers in other places because of the distances involved.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There is so much domestic competition. There are seven Ford dealerships and six Chevy dealerships within ten miles of my house in SE Oakland County. They all move significant volume at employee or close to employee pricing. It’s easy to find someone who wants to sell a car at a fair price.

            The best way to illustrate the weirdness of the Detroit market is that the two largest volume Lincoln dealerships in the country are 15 miles away from each other in Detroit’s western suburbs.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I’d take the Genesis. Or 300

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        In San Diego I can get 36,000 MSRP 300s for 29,999. Don’t even ask what 200s, cherokees, darts or patriots start at…I imagine DW isn’t that far off.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      My 2014 Charger is already a rattling and malfunctioning quality horror show at 3200 miles so I don’t know about going for the 300.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I recommended a Neon to my mother in-law back in the 90s. It was ok but it had all of the common maladies that Neon’s had (head gasket, thrashy engine, etc). Thankfully, she totaled it and then leased a couple of Mazda’s after that.

    Then there was the time my boss retired and I heartily recommended a G35 having owned one myself at the time. “You deserve it after working all these years!” I said. He didn’t realize that the drivers seat killed his bad back until it was too late. They wouldn’t take it back so he traded it for a Maxima, taking a bath on it in the process.

    I don’t recommend cars anymore outside of “I love my _____.”

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Most people have a preexisting concept of what they really want, usually bound up in their self-image, but for some reason the car they really want doesn’t meet their needs. They’re asking us to find something that meets their needs but still fits within their preexisting concept. That’s almost never possible, and they end up hating the recommended car which actually fits their needs but isn’t consistent with their self-image.

    So one of two things always happens: either 1) they get the car they want even though it doesn’t fit their needs, and either adapt to it or get disillusioned with it, or 2) they find some other preexisting concept entirely and buy something which seems out of left field to everyone.

    2) is how my relative who liked Mini Coopers, after hearing a recommendation to buy a Forester, ended up with a Ram 1500.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I just tell people to get a brown diesel manual wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      1) Rear wheel drive (or light AWD system, sending no more than 18% of power to front wheels)

      2) Diesel (turbocharging a diesel, unlike a petrol motor, is not only fine, but the only way to fly)

      3) Manual transmission with hydraulic foot operated clutch & 5 or 6 speed gear lever

      4) Durable yet supple whale peni foreskin leather interior trim

      5) Mocha and/or dark’caramel brown exterior paint option

      6) 0-60 time of less than 7.5 seconds/top speed of 150 mph @ 48mpg

      7) Starting MSRP of $12,998 with fully equipped model maxing out @ $16,339, including destination

      8) Factory standard bumper-to-bumper warranty that is 12 years/120,000 miles

      9) Only station wagon or true hatchback configuration

      10) Actual center console mounted, non-electronic hand brake

      11) Saab

      12) or Volvo wagon

  • avatar
    John R

    Meh…judge by the kind of people you have to deal with it’s just as well he or she bought the Fit. It might fair better against the inevitable benign neglect.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Cars are emotional purchases for most people (those who don’t buy Corollas). Just because they ask for advice doesn’t mean that they will do what you would.

    It’s like looking for a mate. If I was 100% rational, I would have picked a girl fresh out of medical school with almost no personality (the Corolla of women!). Wouldn’t that be boring?

    Cars are a very low-risk gamble, so why go for something that doesn’t speak to you? If your “car guy” friend recommends a Chevy Spark, that’s just one data point. Shouldn’t keep you from buying a Fit (or even a Fiat) if you happen to like that car better. Worse case scenario, you upgrade earlier than planned and lose a few bucks. No big deal.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I give advice to mostly ‘non-car people,’ namely family members and some co-workers. Generic advice is to avoid anything European that isn’t under warranty. With an emphasis on avoiding VAG 2.0T engines and DSG transmissions, oh and Foci with Powershifts. My gf’s parents were looking to get something to replace first an older Highlander with 170k miles and then to replace a 2009 Prius. In both instances, the mom was pushing for something with a fancy badge on the hood. I simply said that if they wanted a trouble free 170k miles from their next crossover as they got from their Highlander, and a completely uneventful 90k miles from their Prius, to stick with Toyota. Ended up buying a Rav4 Limited (not a huge fan of how it rides or the interior, I was recommending another Highlander), and a 2013 Camry XLE Hybrid. Safe choices that they’re happy with and I know won’t come back to ever haunt me or them with issues in the future. Did I recommend the under-appreciated, under valued, used car find of the century? Nope, just something that would serve them as well as what they’re used to.

  • avatar
    r129

    I don’t get too upset if someone asks for my advice about which car to purchase, and then purchases something other than what I recommended. What really bothers me is when they don’t even bother to look at or drive the vehicle(s) that I suggested. Why did they even bother to ask? I have also found that, unless I was directly involved in the negotiation or strategy, I don’t like when people share how much they paid for their new car purchase. It’s almost always painful to hear. The worst is when someone will only look at a certain dealership because a friend-of-a-friend is a salesman there, or refuses to travel more than 5 miles from their home to purchase a vehicle.

    Here’s a little something that I have learned through years of experience. If anyone tells you that they are thinking of buying a Jeep, Subaru, or Volkswagen and asks your opinion, don’t bother offering any alternative suggestions. They will absolutely 100% of the time purchase the Jeep, Subaru or Volkswagen. I’m sure this applies to some other vehicles with a specific image and/or inexplicable brand loyalty, whereas someone considering a Ford Escape or Hyundai Sonata might be a bit more open to other suggestions.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There’s truth to this, you can’t deter a Volkswagen fan. There’s a Passat coming by this week for repairs that I advised against purchasing.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        A coworker has a 2008 Passat 2.0T with 86k miles with a seemingly incurable CEL and burns a bunch of oil. I’d argue anything BMW/Merc/Audi/VW made past the mid 1990s is a throwaway vehicle for the typical consumer that isn’t their own mechanic. There is just so much that goes wrong at the ~7 year/70k mark, which coincides with most CPO warranties expiring. My brother specializes in diagnostics, and the general rule of thumb is when you hook up the scan tool to something like a 10 year old Honda/Toyota, there might be 1 code stored. Domestic? abut 2-5 codes. One of the aforementioned German makes? 7-15, depending on how many gadgets the car has. Add to that fragile and complex suspensions (why oh why did Audi insist on 8 ball joints on the front end?!), and less than sturdy/finicky transmissions.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I used to build computers for coworkers. No more. The profit I did make was usually erased by spending weekends cleaning off all the adware their kids put on there by clicking “Yes” to every damn popup box that ever appeared on the screen.

    I then would offer advice on computers. This led to numerous phone calls on specs, all on my time for free.

    Now I just say “go see what Dell has on sale.”

    Car-wise, I hardly ever get hit up for advice. Now for the 2 years I had the RX-8, I did have people question if I liked it. And yes, I absolutely loved to drive it. But then they asked if I thought they should get one.

    “You need to know 2 things. It’s slower than a V6 and burns more gas than a V8.”

    I realize that’s selling the car WAY short, but that little bit of truth kept my conscience clean because I wouldn’t have to listen to anyone’s buyer’s remorse.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    This doesn’t happen with just cars. Take any subject in which you have above average knowledge of and friends and family will ask your opinion as to what they should do. And then they’ll do exactly what they were going to do in the first place. Just accept it and move on, and remember to never exert one iota of effort into research because they’ll do what they originally planned.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I always told my family members “Just get a clean, good Volvo 940”, or “If a Volvos too old, get a Chevy Impala, W-Body”.

    One of them went with a first gen Scion XB thats been fine, the other a Dodge Neon which has needed a bit of work.

    The only advice I regularly give is “Make sure the car has ownership records (a receipt will say more than an owners rambling), the engine bays somewhat spacey (when you have to fix something), get a TEST DRIVE in (dont whine about discomfort AFTER you’ve dropped your cash) and buy your car based on the bucket of bolts right in front of you, not what a few nutjobs say on some random site (I say this especially for Hondas and Crown Vic Police Cars)”.

    I ended up with a dirt cheap 240 wagon based off this advice, it still needs work but it gets me around fine.

    Normally I don’t seek car buying advice when it comes to models, I already know what I want.

    • 0 avatar
      r129

      I don’t have much experience with Volvos, but the 2006+ W-Body Impala is a great recommendation for just about any value-conscious car shopper.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        You have to be a bit careful, some of the older 4t65e 4 speed autos are crapping the bed now, the 3.5L “high value” motors have had occasional head gasket trouble, and the 3.9 AFM motors burn oil (on top of the same head gasket concerns). Power locks and windows seem to be a bit of a sore spot as well. New 3.6DI motor may have some intake valve carbon build up issues, we’ll see in a few years how the first 2012 cars to get these motors are doing.

        They are incredible bang for the buck space/age wise, you can pick up a used 2013 Impala “Limited” (read: w body) with 20k miles for $12-13k all day long.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I typically suggest the 3800 models, less efficient but more robust.

          We used a Limited Impala rental once, it wasn’t remarkable but it did the job, pretty comfy for a long trip.

          For a year or two my Dad had an 03 GT2 Grand Prix, reliable cruiser but too low/stiff for our citys roads, it could never hold an alignment.

          RWD Volvos are good budget cars if you don’t mind fixing waterpumps, speedometer/odometers, and chasing electric gremlins down. They’re not fast (yet have pretty good brakes), their suspensions tough enough for city use.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          So they answer is… 3800… which of course is the answer to every quandary of this sort.

          “some of the older 4t65e 4 speed autos are crapping the bed now”

          What? Did they pass their expiration dates all at once?

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            “What? Did they pass their expiration dates all at once”

            I can only assume that most of them are, I wish I knew if those transmissions were those “lifetime” things.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Mileage/age is getting to a critical point I guess. Nothing new, those transmissions have been around for a while, and depending on driving habits, some failed. It’s a fair amount of torque to deal with from those V6s (3800s and such).

  • avatar
    dwford

    After years of car selling and advice giving, I hit upon a solution to the prejudiced buyer: show them wrong options first, on purpose, then show them the car you know is perfect for them. That’s how I got my sister into the Kia Soul, and she loves it

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      People at Disney Animation used a similar tactic on the executives, where they’d purposely create character designs that weren’t the best, knowing those would be rejected in favor of the ones the artists knew were better

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I rarely get asked for car buying advice. There are really not that many people who know that I am very into cars. But when I do get asked for advice. I just listen to what they are looking into and tell them those are great choices as long as I feel they are not “bad” choices. There really aren’t too many cars that I would try to veer people away from, but I do try sometimes.

    But it is difficult to convince your closest of coworkers when one thinks his VW CC is a RWD car thus explaining his abnormally high rate of tread wear on the rear wheels. Another went years without changing oil in a car he actually owned! Another has no idea how big the engine is in his car or how many cylinders it has. Nobody I know can give even a basic “for dummies” explanation of how a turbo works.

    We are a pretty rare breed, the rest of the population….lets face it…is using advertising, anecdotal evidence from friends and family and or consumer reports.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “Another has no idea how big the engine is in his car or how many cylinders it has”

      I know at least 2 good friends who didn’t know their cars had V6s until I spoke up, I was quite shocked, thats like not knowing your own shoe size!

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        @Ryoku75 – I remember walking up to the car service aisle at walmart to see a confused looking car owner and some confused looking techs looking under the hood of a BMW X5. I asked what they were doing and they said trying to figure out which engine it had, the 3.0 or the 4.4. The fender badges were missing, so I took a quick glance under the hood and said “the 3.0”. they said “are you sure?” Thinking I missed something because there’s no way people could be this uncertain about something so obvious (never mind I just walked up from my 330i and was wearing BMW schwag), I checked the exhausts and said I was sure. I didn’t have the heart to say it was the same engine as my car at that point.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          That is deeply unfortunate that the service center tech couldn’t figure it out.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            >walmart

            There’s your problem. Never get work done on your car at Wal Mart, even in a pinch. Chances are your car will leave in worse shape than when it arrived.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          ” I remember walking up to the car service aisle at walmart to see a confused looking car owner and some confused looking techs looking under the hood of a BMW X5.”

          Huh, what? Who takes an X5 to Walmart?

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            My old man complained about the lack of service he received during an oil change at Walmart. He was incredulous about the lack of training, knowledge, and care exhibited by their “techs”.

            I asked him why on earth he expected any sort of reasonable service from a Walmart mechanic and that this was his fault for going there.

            He countered that it was the cheapest place in town.

            Cheap morons take X5s (and other vehicles) to Walmart.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            What the burger said. Cheapskates and drivers of beat to sh1t 12 year old X5s who shop at Wal Mart.

          • 0 avatar
            Syke

            The fourth owner of the vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        When I had a Mazdaspeed 3, a GTI owner struck up a conversation. He asked me about the Mazda and told me one of his friends bought one. When we started talking power and engines, he was surprised I told him the MS3 has a turbo 4 – his friend claimed that his MS3 had a V6. I told him all MS3s were turbo 4, a 6 cylinder was never an option.

        He then pointed out his coil-over suspension upgrade. When I asked him about it, he said he regretted buying and installing the aftermarket parts because the ride was too rough, so rough that his buxom girlfriend could not comfortably ride in his car.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          On the subject of shaking buxomness – I’m at PHL on a layover. Walking from gate to Admiral’s Club I passed one of those lines of pay massage chairs. There was a rather LARGE woman in a rather low cut top in one of them with the thing set on “puree”. My inner 12yo could not stop laughing all the way down the concourse.

          This is not the first time I have seen this, kills me every time! Like something from a Benny Hill skit.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Ah suspension mods, gotta love people who think they know better than professional engineers.

          The only car thing I have from Wal-Mart is a battery, I would never go to one for car work.

          • 0 avatar
            Power6

            To be fair suspension is a compromise those who change it are looking for a different compromise not outsmarting anyone, even the most hard core OEM suspension is full of tons of compromise for comfort. Some of the stuff is engineered by the OEM guys who did the production stuff. 99 percent of what is out there for product is cheap crap though and the buyers don’t care so here is that.

            It is always funny when someone thinks a large faceless corporation makes something that can’t possibly be improved upon. Have you ever been inside a big company? It is full of normal fallible humans and the bigger the company the more messed up the systems that they labor under. It’s amazing they make such coherent products at any automaker,…they are hardly producing a device that can’t be improved upon.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At Power6:

            That ultimately varieties between automakers, I wouldn’t mind changing the suspension out on an American car, but I wouldn’t even touch what you get in a BMW, not unless if I was racing or something.

            I never said that one can’t “improve” upon on a stock car, I’m just saying that 9 times out of 10 they end up doing more harm than good.

            Don’t believe me? I brought a used car with an “improved” audio set up I could show you.

  • avatar
    dzot

    Looking forward to your upcoming column on cars you would never recommend. (You can’t tease us like that.)

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Enthusiasts have different tastes than civilians. I probably would make a terrible auto executive. But I would say over time my friends have gone with my advice more and more as they’ve learned some tough lessons.

    Personally though, I would agree with the Honda Fit over the Chevy Sonic. I trust cut-rate “CAFE” cars from the Big 3 about as far as I can throw them.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    A few weeks ago, my parents mentioned they were considering replacing their ’08 Sonata. My mom mentions wanting to downsize, my dad objects, saying maybe they could look for something a little nicer.

    So, I put together a list of a few recommendations (think Buick Verano, Lexus CT200h), and took them to our local auto show to see, well, everything – I know well enough to know I’ve got my own biases on what constitutes nicer. Anything I had in mind is pretty much immediately ruled out, or they’re just apathetic to it. Not helping is that my mom would likely gravitate towards something like a Fiat 500 if given the chance, and I suspect my dad secretly wishes their garage had enough room for a Panther. Still, they’re at least willing to listen to my input on whatever they were interested in, but it seems like they’ll just end up in another Sonata.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I can’t believe Bluetooth is an attribute that seriously influences a car purchasing decision. We are so screwed as a society.

    I just had this one with a co-worker…
    Him:”I’m looking at the Ford Escape right now. What else can you recommend?”
    Me:(Thinking about the very subject of this article) “You should go to the Auto Show. There’s a lot of new stuff coming out that you might like.”
    Him:(I’m not making this up) “No. I don’t want to know if there’s anything better out there.”

  • avatar
    Mr. K

    My advice is just don’t. In a few cases I spent a long time narrowing the choices with people. In 2 cases they bought before they even looked at all the cars out there, in the third cases the belief that their 12 YO BROKEN (Loaded) subie outlander with >150K miles was worth ~$6k killed the deal.

    Hours of work and nothing but frustration – on both sides.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s a fact of life that most advice will be ignored, and you have to accept it. Just make sure that it doesn’t blow back against you when your good advice is ignored, and otherwise learn to stop caring that people ask for but don’t follow advice.

    If you want them to actually heed your advice, then make an effort to get them to believe that it was their idea. (Unless you’re being paid for your advice, I would limit this approach for your kids.)

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I no longer give a definitive answer.

  • avatar
    wmba

    The premise of this article is so true. Found that out 30 years ago.

    What about coming at it from the other angle? Happens to me all the time.

    I attend a meeting most Saturday mornings of an old group of friends, and a couple of them think they know cars reasonably well. One is even the warranty specialist at a local Chrysler dealer, a very busy man, ahem.

    What they cannot understand is my need for something a bit sporting in a vehicle – it just doesn’t register in their minds. I should buy a Civic, no I should buy a Sonata, no I should get a Forester. Probably wouldn’t surprise anyone here that they recommend the vehicles they personally drive. It’s the old refrain, “I’m happy with my choice, why wouldn’t you be too?” Why yes indeed, a micro-waved frozen dinner is good for supper every day of the week.

    Nope, these folks just cannot wrap their heads around anyone wanting more than pure overt dullness. It’s all the more amazing when you consider that we meet to discuss high-end hi-fi equipment. Not one person has less than $20K invested in decent gear, and one well over a quarter million.

    As the general populace knows, a bluetooth plastic piece of crap that produces noise is all you need for sound. Hell yes, why bother with anything more?

    That’s the only argument that seems to get it through their thick heads when I say I want something somewhat more stimulating than the backpack donkeys they’re driving. “Oh, you want something better? Like our hi-fi gear is better than average?”

    Then they understand. Because none of their other friends has a decent hi-fi, and seem unconcerned about it even after they’ve asked for advice and then bragged about some $200 piece of rubbish they picked up at Cargo Max. As a group, we have come up with a standard reply to be used in such circumstances: “Oh, when you asked me about what to get, you forgot to tell me you weren’t serious!”

    Mind you, a month later my friends all seem to have forgotten that logic when it comes to vehicles, and recommend a Sonata or Civic again. There’s no heat in the discussion – I gave up arguing the toss years ago, except online where the minute possibility exists you might actually find a kindred spirit.

    That’s why anyone offering free advice for or against any purchase is better off whistling to the wind and paying no heed to the travails, conceits and prejudices of others. It’s a loser’s game. Be non-committal.

    One anecdote where I recently got caught out. The nephew of one of my friends, a young fellow with a high opinion of himself as it turned out when I spoke to him, took it upon himself to purchase a used 2006 Audi A3 two years ago. No research, not a car enthusiast. He just imagined he’d look good in it as an aspiring management trainee.

    A week later it would not start. he spoke to his uncle, my friend, asking him if he knew anyone who knew anything about cars, saying he couldn’t afford the $2800 quote from Audi to repair it. My friend asked me – they both wanted the $150 fix of course. A quick Google later, and yes, there it was. Gunked up cylinder head from DI and ruined camshaft – typical of these German wonders. And yes, that’s what his quote was for.

    The kid then vented on me for telling him the truth. That’s what dumb people do when reality ruins their dreams. Blame everyone but themelves.

    See, that’s the problem with giving reasoned advice. No good deed goes unpunished.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      wmba,

      Great comment.

      Your friend’s nephew’s mistake was buying a used car without an independent inspection. Any tech who knows those cars would have vetoed that specific one.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      OOO, do any of you guys have the magic nailpolish that when applied to semiconductor chips enhances even harmonics and “warms up” the sound?

      High end audio enthusiasm is an excellent comparison to auto enthusiasm. Lots of vaporware and prolix prose about nothing that gets eye-wateringly expensive very quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Just by your remarks, I know you don’t have a clue about harmonic structure nor anything about good equipment. Enjoy your computer speakers and smart phone sound.

        We have all built up our audio systems the old-fashioned way – we listen and appreciate the music.

        I used to run my own speaker company and also designed preamps and power amps. No magic, just hard work.

        Not one of us is on audio forums listening to the bleatings of the insane. I personally just subject myself to it by being on this forum and reading similar kinds of tripe about cars from similar kinds of people like you, apparently.

        What have you done with your life except pour unrelieved scorn on the efforts of others?

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Oui, I don’t get the attitude here.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          Love the initial comment WMBA. Paints a vivid picture of the recurring conversation. I think the burger may have a point though, in that Hi Fi has vaporware vendors as well as those selling the real, and you can certainly buy the equivalent in the automotive world if you buy the sizzle and ignore sound advice.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          It was meant as a joke based on my own knowledge of the insanity that is perpetrated among the naive, yet fanatical, hi-fi enthusiast.

          Me? I have two engineering degrees and have designed and built hundreds of amplifiers and signal processors. I have studied thousands more. In my case, I have the physics and math that allow me to separate wheat from chaff as opposed to the typical consumer who is naive and uninformed – similar to Bark’s lament, no?

          Methinks thou dost protest too much, wmba. Enjoy your magic cables and haunting mids!

  • avatar
    Syke

    My expertise-for-advice category is motorcycles. Over the past 40 years, I’ve had a lot of people (definitely into four figures) asking advice for getting started in riding and getting one’s motorcycle endorsement. And, like the author, I’ve had exactly one person follow my advice completely.

    Where do I invariably lose them? “For your first motorcycle you do NOT want a (depending on you biker style) new Harley-Davidson/Japanese 600cc or 1000cc fully-faired sportbike.” Because, of course that’s what they want. Instant street cred, so what if the bike’s going to invariably be dropped in the first year because the rider doesn’t have a clue. “I ain’t ridin’ no Jap beater, and especially not riding anything under 500cc.”

    Of course that one person made it all worthwhile. She was my favorite bartender at the local biker bar (The Dog House in Richmond – no longer there). For the following three years, I drank for free every Saturday and Sunday. Boy, I miss that place.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      For a few years I was the president of Cornell University’s fledgling Motorcycle Club, I helped a good dozen or so people actually find and buy bikes, and helped teach about half of them how to ride.

      I always pushed for a solid running but cheaper bike. Some of the guys looked at the old UJMs I was running and wanted to do the same, finding non running basket case CB550s and the like for cheap. I asked them, how soon do you actually want to start riding? Most of these were guys that might know how to change oil in their car, but nothing about cleaning and synching carbs or troubleshooting electrics on a 1970s bike. One friend insisted on buying a newer sportier bike for $3500, and was very sad when he laid it down in a ditch. Two others ended up with nice CB650 NightHawks (the mid 80s DOHC ones with shaft drive), each paid no more than $1000, and after we cleaned the carbs out, they ran and rode impeccably. I helped one girl buy a Buell Blast, perfect learner bike with little to break and a simple, easy to maintain powertrain, for a steal of a price. I helped another buy a KLR250 that we put a lowering link in the back after she wrecked her Ninja 500 (my brother was leading the ride, I felt responsible for that one for not emphasizing that everyone ride at their own pace). Yet another girl I set up with a little GZ125, tiny little cruiser with a sewing machine motor. It was perfect for her, she was rather short and was kind of new to 2 wheels as a whole (bicycles and all).

  • avatar
    SC5door

    What I do:

    1. Give people a list of vehicles to check out.
    2. Give people a list of websites to check out.
    3. Tell them when they narrow it down and go on a Sunday to the dealer. See the cars in person, at least from the outside so you can form an opinion other than it looks bad in press photos.
    4. Go back when they are open to drive the cars. Ask for an extended test route if available. (One dealer I went to had people driving around the block on smooth roads, I asked for an extended one and it exposed a flaws on how uncomfortable the ride really was).
    5. Anymore questions? Then ask. Otherwise make the decision yourself. If you REALLY have to try out a car for a weekend or day, see if a local rental agency has that car in stock. A “mom and pop” rental place here has some Accords, Camrys, Sonatas, and others in their lot. See if you can rent one for the day to check out.

    As a side note, your choice and mine may differ greatly. People told me at the time to grab the Focus 5 door….”It’s a fantastic car!”, “Handles Great!”, “Great Interior!”. I went with a Forte 5 door instead and it was never in the shop like my friends Focus has. Yea the Focus and Mazda 3 were the cars to get because it was the “trend”. No thanks to that.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    For the woman with the Great Dane. Trade the dog. Start over with the car.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    I was asked for car advice once, and when I asked him what his criteria was, the reply was “A hot car.” I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach that one, although I eventually figured out, he really liked the wheels on the TT-S. He eventually bought a 370Z and was incredibly happy with it.

  • avatar
    readallover

    No, the absolute worst is not them ignoring your opinion. It is when you tell them `have a mechanic check out the used Subaru before you buy it – they have head gasket problems`. And a year later they get mad at YOU because you knew about it and you not only did not stop them from purchasing the Subie, you do not know where they can get it fixed for the price of an oil change.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The worst is probably getting car advice from an IT person.

    Triggered.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “No good deed goes unpunished.”

    — Confucius or some other righteous dude.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    My most frustrating related experience was when my friend asked me for what seemed like simple advice – he wanted a new, reliable car with ABS (this was 10 years ago). I rattled off the Mazda3, Corolla, and Civic EX (the base Civic didn’t come with ABS at the time). But it was too late, he had just purchased a Civic LX. The salesman had lied to him. Or, more likely, didn’t know (it seems to be the only industry in which the sales reps don’t know a damn thing about their products). Congratulations, buddy! No, I’m not going to tell you that you did well. You had one tangible requirement and all you had to do was look at the sticker in the window…

  • avatar

    I don’t mind being asked advice about cars, whether it’s taken or not, but the question that bugs me is “what’s the best car?” as if one vehicle or brand could check all possible boxes.

  • avatar
    baconator

    It’s even worse here in San Francisco. If your friend is a hipster they’re going to end up with a Subaru or a Volkswagen. Or if they’re management, they’re buying a 3-series or an A4. Or if they’re in any demographic but have a long commute they’re buying a Prius. The new parents all want a Q5 or Q7 but see the lease payment and end up with a Volvo or a Subaru. The Tesla is the aspirational car for everyone.

    At this point I just recommend individual salespeople, not cars. I think I got one friend to test drive an ATS once, but I couldn’t even convince my wife to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      duncanator

      Well, crap. I live in the Sacramento area, own a 2008 VW Jetta (105k miles), and now want a Subaru WRX. Not a hipster in any way, but I do have a long commute and definitely don’t like the Prius.

  • avatar
    lonborghini

    “Hey, I want to replace my BMW 3 Series because it’s no good in the snow. I want something just like it but I want it to be cheaper, because I’m tired of making such a big payment. I want it to be sporty but I also want it to be practical. I’m open to used but I’d prefer new. Thoughts?”

    The answer in two words is, snow tires. No doubt he’s upside down on his car loan so keeping it is his cheapest alternative. With snow tires, his BMW will be good in the snow. His BMW with snow tires will be remarkably similar to his BMW without snow tires except, of course, for the snow tires. It will be far more sporty in the snow and more practical too. It’s good that he’s open to a used car because he already owns one. The correct answer is “snow tires.” When Spring finally arrives the correct answer will be to remove the “snow tires” and reinstall his Summer treads. That was easy.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Sometimes they get a clue, after impulse buying two first year lemon SUVs (2nd Gen Jeep Grand Cherokee and Volvo XC90) which both ate their rear diffs. My in-laws finally took my advice to buy Japanese and got a Lexus RX330. Obviously not an enthusiast choice but at the time it was the best available soft-roader, if you had an irrational hatred of Subarus. Since it has been stone reliable, I stand by my advice.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “After all, there’s nothing more damaging to the human psyche than doing work without a purpose.”

    Amen.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    My experience when asked for an automotive opinion:

    – Someone uninterested in, and unknowledgeable about cars who has a Toyota on his/her radar will not listen to advice about buying something else. Nothing wrong with this, as this will often lead to a sensible purchase.

    – Someone interested in, and (thinks he/she) is knowledgeable about cars who has an out-of-warranty VW or Audi on his/her list will also not listen to any suggestions about buying something else, despite ample evidence this will not result in a sensible and ultimately satisfying purchase.

    (My experience above has likely been echoed by others in this 200+ post thread.)

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I thought Miata was always the right reply

  • avatar
    nickoo

    “So if you come to me wanting me to confirm that you should buy a 2015 Sonata, I just can’t. There are simply better options for you.”

    Mark, could you please expand upon that? Why is it not the right option, what are the better choices, is yours a matter of preference or are the better options legit? I’m asking because I happen to really like the 2015 Sonata eco model and can’t see why it isn’t a good choice of vehicle in it’s class.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Why bother asking?

      Apparently the gist of the articles and comment have passed you by – you have made up your mind and will buy that Sonata hybrid no matter what Bark M says. Then in a couple of years if the thing doesn’t go wrong, you’ll be on here crowing about “your” amazing choice.

      Now I don’t have a clue about you nor your motivation about asking that question. It might be pure naivete and that you really want to know what he thinks.

      However, since you have gone from the general cerebral tone of the article about the futility of proffering advice to asking a question on a particular vehicle, I must assume a general dullness of outlook, or a GREAT!!! deal down at Joe’s Hyundai which has settled all debate in your mind, and that you merely wish to receive approbation on your choice.

      That kind of thinking is what the article is about. You want the author to commit yet again the very thing that tees him off. Good Lord man, wake up!

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I couldn’t make any sense of your inane ramblings, perhaps you need to call your nurse because you missed your evening medication and are slipping in and out of a lucid state?

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Not having driven one, but I also question the ‘no-go’ advice on the 2015 Sonata. I didn’t care for the original 2011 styling inside or out, and I’m an Accord/Camry guy myself. But for the right price, I don’t see what’s wrong with the 2015, I like the 80s-looking blockier interior.

  • avatar
    Car-los

    How many times have you been attracted to someone who doesn’t fit your “type” because that someone possesses a je ne sais quoi that drives you crazy? You just throw logic out of the window and go with the flow of life and passion.

    And that is often the case when you buy a car, whether is a Fit or a Fiesta or a Sonata or a Bentley or a Phaeton. When buying a car, like in sex, some times rational logical thinking just gets in the way.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I like your analogy, but the smart person doesn’t act on impulse and marry or buy the “wild thing” knowing in the full light of the morning they’ll be faced with buyer’s remorse whether it be in their bed or in their garage

      • 0 avatar
        oldowl

        When you get old enough you can revert to illogic in cars. I’ve lately been down the Prius road, and now I’m thinking the new Jeep Renegade, the Trailhawk variant. I tell myself this is not logical or sensible. I don’t have boulder fields to climb over or back roads choked with windfall to navigate. I live in flat country where the roads are pretty good. And I’ve heared about problems with FCA vehicles, and don’t buy in the first year of any new model. And, and, and. Still….

  • avatar
    Jim Broniec

    I just had to mention how ‘not a fan’ of leasing I am. It’s a tax on the middle class. More eloquently explained here: http://www.daveramsey.com/index.cfm?event=askdave/&intContentItemId=10367

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I tend not to recommend specific models of cars when folks ask, instead I recommend classes of vehicles. There’s two reasons for this; first the choice of a particular model within a class is very subject to personal preferences and because pretty much any new vehicle that isn’t a JLR product will be reliable. What’s “best-in-class” for one person might not be for another.

    For example when someone says I want to buy a 3-series I usually encourage them to test drive loaded mid-size FWD/AWD sedans. If someone wants a truck I tell them to choose 4×4 (for resale) and buy domestic. When someone has a family and just wants a new vehicle I recommend compact/midsized CUVs. I still maintain they are the ideal vehicle if you aren’t an enthusiast. They’re fuel efficient, space efficient, safe an phenomenally easy to load children into. I’ve talked people out of compacts and midsize sedans in favor of the CUV and they all thank me for it. We have a Terrain and a child and it works extremely well. The h-point is a perfect height for loading and unloading kids/carseats. The tailgate holds more stuff than any midsize or compact sedan can ever hope to. Even a big sedan like an Avalon or Impala can’t compete. Does the handling and acceleration suffer? Yes. Does it matter? No. Does the fuel economy suffer? Yes. Is the difference significant? Not even close. Driving a 30mpg vehicle versus a 40mgs vehicle only save you 8 gallons a month if you drive 1000 miles a month. That’s $32/mo @ $4/gal, which is well worth the extra convenience.

    When people really pressure me for a specific model; I’ve sold alot of people on Chevy Equinoxes (it’s best in class for rear leg room (40″) and for plush ride quality; the non-flat load floor is because the rear seats are comfortable and high enough off the floor that an adult can use them, unlike a CRV). Our platform-mate Terrain has been reliable, efficient (I4) and I’ve yet to ride in a small CUV that delivers the same “Buick” ride quality. My only real complaints are the monstrous A-pillars and the lack of a column shifter. The damn console shifter is right where I like to empty the contents of my pocket in my pickup.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    B&B demonstrates on a daily basis that “car guys” tend to have limited perspective and give terrible advice.

    “I need a reliable car that will be easy to load toddlers and groceries into”

    “U SHOULD BUY AN OLD BMW E30 COUPE.”

    *EDIT* I should say car guys who don’t actually work in the industry.

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    When non-car-people ask car-people for recommendations, I think many of them have already decided on something and are really asking if there’s anything we think they’ve overlooked, either in other specific car models or information about the model they’ve settled on, such as whether it’s about to be replaced.

    The Sonic LTZ mentioned in the article is probably a good example. It might not otherwise be on the list for buyers who know enough to associate it with the much-maligned Aveo or who are put off by the Chevrolet name. Even shoppers who have read reviews might not know that the Sonic will likely be available for much less than the stated list price, while the Fit will likely sell closer to list.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    People asking for car advice generally want reliable and useful transportation. The only consistent advice I ever give is not to touch anything European, unless it’s a VW TDI and it’s not your only car. Gas-powered VWs are verboten per my personal experience with one.

    Everything else can be tailored to their individual needs and wants. I have recommended mostly Japanese cars like Mazda5 (max interior room, modest exterior size), Prius V (my Prius isn’t big enough, still want a hybrid), CR-V (I hate sliding doors, they take away my man card).

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      While I normally get annoyed at the anti-euro crowd, recommending Japanese makes (specifically Honda and Toyota) at the expense of the Europeans is solid advice in this case. Japanese = “bulletproof”; everything else, and especially euro = “lemon” is the conventional “wisdom”. If you rubber stamp someone’s idea to buy a Toyota, or even steer them to it, that won’t be held against you no matter what the outcome.

      • 0 avatar
        superchan7

        Exactly as you suspect, I have nothing against European cars (2 of my 3 cars are Italian).

        In my experience, the typical person asking for car advice really doesn’t have the informed experience on what makes a car reliable (hint: it starts with “old” and ends with “tech”).

        Steering any such person to a higher-end car with very particular maintenance needs would be a disservice to a friend or relative.

        Now if the friend is a car enthusiast and really looking to get into an interesting model, that’s another story…..but these people aren’t as likely to come to you to ask “Hey, what should I buy?” Rather, it would be something like “Hey, have you had experience with _______? How was yours and what should I look out for?”

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Much to my surprise, I was able to point a relative away from a used sonata onto a new Mazda 6.

    I think a little humility is in order from all of us. I was skeptical of the value of a used car in this market and said so. I mentioned the Mazda among others as a likely bet. So, they checked out a car they ordinarily wouldn’t. What do you expect? Blind obedience?

  • avatar
    Gin

    I stumbled across this interesting and informative thread and thought I would ask for advice. I am driving a 2000 Olds Intrigue with 182K miles. It now has so many issues I need to replace it. I want a midsze SUV with leather sunroof, etc bit cant afford over 20K. I am considering a 2012 Santa Fe Limited with 43k miles. I like everything except the steering feels a bit loose. Would you recommend this purchase, or another SUV? I need reliability. Years ago I had a Tauras SHO that I loved driving but almost paid for it twice with all the repairs. Keep in mind, I am not a small woman so need a roomy interior. Thanks! (On the other hand I could put a grand in the Olds and hope that leaky transmission doesn’t give out. I still like driving my very intriguing Intrigue.)

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Gin,
      Whatever you decide to buy, if used, please see an independent mechanic and ask them to do an inspection on the car. You will have to pay the mechanic, but it will be worth every penny. You may want to get a carfax report on the vehicle, which will list most (but not all) accidents a vehicle has been in. For reliability statistics, the site TrueDelta is very helpful and free to use. It has real data from thousands of owners, which is much more useful than the anecdotes of a few friends or online reviews. Good luck.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • slavuta: I am buying a few horses. And podvoda
  • Ol Shel: All they have to do to keep their base is this: Mount huge resistors atop the motor. Have them stick through...
  • Ol Shel: Not completely. If he had, he’d explain that business doesn’t care about the planet or...
  • CKNSLS Sierra SLT: Yes-those were interesting times. It was frowned upon to buy an “Import”. But it was...
  • Lou_BC: @dal20402 – my father lived through 1 …ONE…bad fire season in the 40 odd years in my home...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber