By on November 15, 2019

You would think that I would know better by now, right? That after literally years of doing this whole “What Car Should I Buy” thing (which sounds a lot like the name of a series on a competing blog that started after “Ask Bark” become the most widely read feature at TTAC), that I would realize people always take immense amounts of my time and virtually never follow my advice. But when I had a close friend ask me for help with buying a car for his wife, I mean, of course I said that I’d help. As I recently saw a fellow automotive writer say, I guess I’m a “gluten for punishment.”

Sounds painful.

Not because I actually expected them to take my advice, of course, but because this was going to be a chance to actually negotiate a deal in person. And if there’s one thing Ol’ Bark loves, it’s going toe-to-toe with a car dealer — it’s literally my favorite thing to do. Since I’m not planning to buy a car any time soon, this would be the next best thing.

So here’s the situation: my friend got married a couple of years ago to a young lady from his home country of Colombia, who is relatively new to the States and doesn’t have much credit history. Unfortunately, prior to this, my friend had also gone through a nasty divorce which caused him to declare a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so they were in a bit of a pickle when it came to financing. They had bought an older Nissan Versa for cash last year, but the transmission was on its last legs, and the cost of fixing the car would have been 2-3 times the actual value. Buying that car had eaten up nearly all of their cash on hand, so they needed to find a cheap, cheerful, and reliable car that would allow her to build up some credit history and also provide solid transportation — all for less than $250 a month.

Of course, there are a few brands out there that are only too happy to help (read: take advantage) of people in this sort of situation — namely, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, and Fiat Chrysler, all of which have pretty aggressive “first time car buyer” programs for customers with limited credit. I told my friend to run a Credit Karma report for his wife so we could see what we were dealing with, and it didn’t come back as bad as I expected — 632 and 640. Not quite Ford/Honda/GM territory for somebody who had never had a car loan before, but certainly good enough for the Koreans.

Therefore, I suggested that we start our search with Kia. The Soul and the Forte are both relatively new models, and I’ve enjoyed my rental time in both. This couple needed a car with good storage space, room for kids in the back, and decent to good fuel mileage, and both the Forte and the Soul fit the bill. Plus, Kia currently has aggressive lease deals on most of its models, starting at $139 a month with $2,600 due at signing. I figured I could work that into a $250 sign-and-drive with little difficulty, considering the willingness of most Kia stores to sell at invoice minus holdback plus rebates. I sent my friend some examples of deals, and he agreed that they fit into his budget.

2019 Kia Forte

So I agreed to meet my friends at a Kia dealership close to their home in west Miami after work so that they could test the decidedly cheap-and-cheerful Koreans. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, they had already sat down with a salesperson. It turned out the the Mrs. didn’t care much for the Soul, so they had moved on to the Forte and the Sportage. “I’m so excited!” my friend’s wife squeaked. Sigh. I had my work cut out for me on this evening.

Luckily, the salesman wasn’t super sharp. He had his screen turned to face us, so I could see all of his inventory and the number of days it had been on the lot. There was a blue Sportage that had been there 191 days, and a silver Forte that had been sitting nearly as long. “We’ll look at those two,” I said, cutting my friend off before they could pick out another color and ruin my ruse.

As the salesman walked away to get the keys, I leaned over and whispered to them.

“Number one, you’re not excited about this car, or any car. You’re apathetic. You could just as easily buy a Nissan or a Hyundai or anything else, as far as your salesman knows. Once he senses that you’ve got an emotional attachment to the car, you’ve lost a ton of leverage.

“Number two, I know you might not love blue or silver, but this dealership is paying through the nose each month to finance these cars on their lot. They’ll be more willing to deal on these, trust me.”

Sure enough, the salesman came back a few minutes later, not with a blue Sportage, but a silver one. “That one is at our other lot,” he explained. “But the silver one is just as nice.”

Mumbling some strange policy about too many people on a test drive, the salesman insisted that I stay at the dealership while they test drove the Sportage, and then the Forte. I warned my friend’s wife that any car was going to feel better than the ragged-out Versa she’d been driving, and not to get too excited. She nodded in agreement.

Upon their return, I asked my friends what they thought of the cars.

“Well, I like that the 1.6 liter engine in the Forte has better gas mileage,” my friend started.

“Hold up,” I interrupted. “It’s a 2.0 in the Forte FE, not a 1.6.”

“Are you sure? The salesman said 1.6.”

“Positive. Go on.”

“Well, the 2.0 liter felt a little more powerful in the Sportage…”

“It’s a 2.4.”

“Really? He said 2.0.”

I pointed to the window sticker. “Your dude doesn’t really know much about these cars, I don’t think.”

I asked her what she thought of the two cars.

“I really liked them both, but the Sportage was better.”

“Okay, great. Why?

“Well, I couldn’t really find a good seating position in it, but I liked being higher up.” Unfortunately, seating position is one of those things that just doesn’t change in a car — if you’re not comfortable on the lot, you won’t get comfortable later. My 2005 Scion tC suffered from this problem. Matt Farah sold his Focus RS largely because he wasn’t comfortable sitting in it. These things matter.

So we went back over to the Sportage and tried to find a seating position for her that allowed her to see comfortably over the dash (she’s about 5’0″ and 100 lbs) and also reach the steering wheel and pedals with ease. We couldn’t do it, much to her chagrin. So it was back to the Forte.

“Let’s work the numbers, shall we?” I said to the salesperson. Since I was sitting in a Kia dealership in South Florida, I fully expected the first draft to be full of fuckery, and to be demonstrated on a foursquare form.

I was not disappointed.

When he returned with a foursquare in hand, I immediately interrupted. “Sir, don’t bother with that form. This isn’t 1996. We aren’t focused on the payment. Let’s talk real numbers, please.”

He reacted like an NPC in an Atari cartridge game — he froze when his code was interrupted. “Uh, okay. Sure.”

Our salesman turned over the piece of paper and began writing. “We will give you $1,000 on your trade, and then we will require another $1,000 down. That will make your lease payment $269 a month, plus tax.”

Oh, come on, man.

“Okay,” I began. “We aren’t even close. What’s the sale price that you’re basing the lease on?”

“$20,020.”

“That’s MSRP, sir. Nobody pays MSRP for a Kia. Also, you’ve failed to include the $3,150 of available rebates. Finally, I’m going to need to know what the money factor on this lease is.”

Total deer in headlights moment. “Ummm. Okay. Umm.”

Luckily, at that moment, a bright young man appeared from behind the cubicle wall.

“Sir, I overheard some of your questions. I’m the sales manager here, and I wanted to provide you with some more information.” He handed me a sheet of paper. “These are the lease terms. Here is the residual value, and here is the money factor.”

Finally! Somebody with actual information. “Thank you, sir.”

The sheet showed the variable money factor based on credit score. “Can you show me the beacon you pulled?”

As if by magic, he pulled out another sheet of paper, showing a beacon score of 700, which was far better than what I had seen on my friend’s Credit Karma report. This meant that she qualified for a money factor of .0017, or roughly 4.29% APR. Not the best, but as a first time buyer, I was willing to accept it.

“I’m willing to write a lease based on invoice price for you, sir.” Great, now we were getting somewhere. But this was a Kia store, so I knew that there was money hiding somewhere.

“What’s your dealer fee?” I asked.

“$999,” he shot back confidently.

Fuuuuuuck me. Welcome to South Florida.

“No, we aren’t paying that,” I replied, knowing full well what was coming next, which was…

“Sir, we have to charge that to every customer.”

“No,” I answered. “You have to list a $999 dealer fee on the invoice, because that’s what your owner requires, and also you’re afraid that you’ll get sued for discrimination if you charge it to other people but not to us. I get it. What I’m saying is, you can take that $999 out of the deal somewhere else. Like your holdback, for example.”

His smile momentarily flickered. “Holdback on this car is $483. I can take that out of the deal, too, if you like.”

“Amazing. Now just go find $500 somewhere, and we’ll be in business.”

He came back with what I thought was a pretty good deal. Invoice minus $500, minus holdback and all available rebates, plus acquisition fee and TTL. The dealer fee was still listed, but he turned his screen around to show me where he had discounted the price by enough to cover it. $259 a month including tax, no money down, sign-and-drive for 36 months and 12k miles.

I smiled, thanked him for his time, and told him we’d sleep on it. There was another Kia store about 30 miles north who was advertising no dealer fees — I figured that we might be able to get them to match that deal and take out the extra $999. If not, we’d come back for the Forte.

My friends were thrilled. By most calculations, I had saved them at least $3,000. They took me out to dinner at a local Thai restaurant, which was excellent, and promised that they’d let me know how it went with the other dealer.

A few days went by, and I didn’t hear anything. So I texted them to see what was up.

“We got a Nissan! Thanks for everything!”

I quit.

 

[Images: Kia Motors]

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80 Comments on “Ask Bark: When Ask Bark Happens In the Real World...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Bark, they owe you lunch, at the very least.

    Which Nissan did they get, and how was the deal?

    People routinely dismiss advice. My kid just bought her first car – a Hyundai Elantra GT. Nice car, and if you can find a ’19 (as she did), Hyundai will give you a damned solid deal.

    I scouted a ton of cars for her, and found one I figured she’d go gaga for – a ’18 Golf SE with 3,900 miles, certified (which in the case of a ’18 VW, is terrific – it adds another year to the 6/72 warranty). It’d been on their lot for about three months, and they were asking $18,000. We drove it, and she asked me what I thought afterwards. My response: I’d be making a deal on it right now. She ended up with the Elantra anyway. Oh well.

  • avatar
    davewg

    Bangs head.

    Let me guess – they paid to much for it too.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Reminds me of the plethora of TV shows where an actor/talking head/agent/shill interviews a couple about their ‘ideal’ home and then takes them to see homes that fit their description.

    Rarely does the couple buy. Instead they find something totally unlike what they described and purchase it.

    Hey, the entire retail automobile industry is built on emotion over logic. Just watch some commercials to see what they emphasize.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      FYI those “buy this house” shows are, like most of TV, total BS. I know 2 people who have been featured on such shows. Both had already bought the homes when the TV crew showed up and asked to use the house in an episode. Apparently the crew just scans a list of recently sold homes in the area (to get the pricing and happy new owners) and then work backwards to build a story around it. This is how they can show those “after” shots of them moved in and enjoying the home – the decision and move occurred weeks before, its all staged.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @JMII, in the shows that I am talking about, the couple nearly never buy the homes that they are shown. Instead they ‘continue their search’ or buy something that was not shown on the program.

        The point is that what people say they want and what they end up buying are often diametrically opposed.

        • 0 avatar
          SaulTigh

          I like when they give the host a budget and then nothing the host shows them is in that budget. Most real people would have trouble coming up with an extra $50k out of the blue, but not on these shows.

          I also remember one episode of House Hunters International where they were looking at a vacation home on and island and the guy just would not shut up about being close to his boat. I looked it up and the island was like 7 miles long but they rejected house after house for not being built on top of his boat slip.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I’m a part-time Walmart cashier and my husband Jim is a barrista at Have Your Coffee and Froth It Too, our budget is a meager $600k.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        that’s my favorite part of those shows: “I knit humorous cummerbunds for my Etsy store and my husband sharpens colored pencils part time for a Montessori school, our budget is $1.5 million.”

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      That’s not reality TV that is reality. As they say Buyers are liars. To be fair sometimes it is due to market realities, other times it is champagne taste and a beer budget, yet other times, most frequently with first time buyers, they just don’t know what they really want until they see it.

      “I have to have at least a 1/4 acre with a lot of lawn and be within 30 min of work.” Actually bought a 5,000 sq ft lot with 50 sq ft of grass in front and 300 sq ft in the back, 50 min from work.

      “I don’t want any projects” Actually bought a house that needed new flooring in much of it, drywall repairs, paint throughout much of the interior, new deck and a new fence, not to mention the yard was overgrown and almost all weeds.

      “I want an older home with charm, doesn’t need to be more than 1500 sq ft.” Actually bought a newer home that was 2200 sq ft.

      “I don’t want the same or less stairs than my split level, master on main if 2 story, water view, must be a stand alone house.” Actually bought a condo on a golf course that is 3 stories, has a mid entry, with 10′ ceiling on the main for extra steps.

      Some of the time that was preceded by being sent a property the client found on a website or that they had driven by, that includes word to the effect “why haven’t we looked at this one?” Because it is $50k over your budget, it doesn’t have X that you said you had to have, has Y you said you didn’t want and isn’t anywhere near the area you said you wanted to be in.

      No sure there are also clients that know exactly what they want and buy what they initially said they wanted.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Aw, come on. You got yours, she got hers. Sounds like a satisfying experience.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I prefer gluten-free punishment. :-)

    But seriously, a *Nissan*? Weren’t they already experiencing the joys of Nissan’s CVTs? I don’t see how anyone would buy that garbage. I’d take a Kia any day over a Nissan.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      I’m pretty sure the first generation Versa in the US had a 4-speed traditional auto. I had one for a month while my Honda was in the shop and thought it was a pleasant little car, but sluggish.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    “ I guess I’m a “gluten for punishment.”

    You must be bread for it because you’re about to be chastised for using ‘gluten’ when you should have said ‘glutton’.

    The correction phrase is:

    “be a glutton for punishment”

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/be-a-glutton-for-punishment

  • avatar
    gtem

    Hahaha fantastically written Bark, one of the best pieces on here this year!

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Dealers, can’t live with them, can’t take them all out behind the service department and… well, that wouldn’t be politically correct these days. We purchased two new cars this year, a Toyota and a Nissan. Let me just say it was very easy to tell which marque currently has the world by the balls and which one is running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

    I’m betting most of you can easily guess which peg goes into which hole.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Hahaha fantastically written Bark, one of the best pieces on here this year!H”

      Agreed! The banter between him and the car salesmen was classic, would have loved to have been a mouse in the corner listening to that!………..LOL

  • avatar

    People like your friend don’t deserve your help.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I’m not surprised that they didn’t lease the Kia.

      In my opinion, Bark committed the one inexcusable sin a salesman can make:

      Not listening to what the customer is saying.

      “But Bark isn’t the salesman here”, you say.

      Maybe not for the actual transaction, no, but he didn’t pick up on the importance of the CUV love and pushed the deal on the Forte. He should have realized that when it came down to it, the Forte was dead in the water and either walked away or gone for round two at the Nissan or Mitsubishi dealer with some other low-end CUV.

  • avatar
    eng_alvarado90

    Thia reminds me of a friend who just replaced his 2006 Sentra with…. A 2019 Sentra.
    He also considered the Forte, Elantra and Corolla and all were priced within $1000 of each other. My advice was always towards the Corolla since it’s got the best reputation and is the newest of the bunch.
    His reasoning was that his 2006 Sentra had been a solid vehicle for 13 years (although it has been burning a quarter of oil every 1000 miles for the last 6 months, the radio doesn’t work, the wiper motor doesn’t work, one window regulator went south and also requires a new clutch) even if it only has 150K miles. I’ve seen lots of other cars from that vintage nit requiring that much work, but there you go!

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I usd to get this when I sold cars. People would come in and say “Well, my last 8 cars have been Hondas, but I wanted to see what Hyundais were like…” Ok, sir, stop right there. The Honda dealer is next door. I’m not even getting started with your nonsense. Just go.

      • 0 avatar
        psychoboy

        As a life-long Honda guy who works at a Honda dealership, I’d honestly take a look at some Hyundai offerings if I were in the market for a new car. I’m not all that impressed by most of the current Honda offerings.

        Then again, I’m driving a 265,000 mile twice-totaled 06 Accord LX coupe as a daily, so I’m not really a “current Honda offerings” customer.

  • avatar
    Jon

    I always learn a few extra bargaining techniques with dealerships from these articles. So what is the purpose of the dealer fee? Does it vary by dealer, state?

    • 0 avatar
      ShoogyBee

      Profit. It does vary by dealer and state. I believe some states have a cap on how much a dealer can charge for its “fee”. Basically dealers can advertise a lower price/payment and then make up for it by slapping on that dealer fee toward the end of the purchase process.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        On CarGurus you have to dig deep to find this fee on Florida cars. In MA many dealers have “trade-in” requirements include their advertised prices. Drives me nuts.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Dealer fee, accounting fee, all BS fees, those employees are getting paid regardless of that fee, it’s pure profit to the dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I’ve seen where the dealer fee is pre-printed on the form as if that makes it etched in stone. I actually crossed it out and wrote the new total at the bottom once. Sales guy was pretty shocked but his “manager” (yeah right) came back with the adjusted price.

        Oh and I live in South FL… there is a special kind of nonsense down here.

    • 0 avatar
      Phil in Englewood

      I don’t mind the $999 dealer fee – I figure my $1200 check writing fee cancels that out and more.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Ha. I frequently go through the same motions for people with the same result. I don’t even mind it anymore.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Once again, no good deed goes unpunished.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    You are a very good friend. And, unfortunately, that’s what friends are for.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Sigh. Yeah at least you tried. I’m batting .500 when it comes to suggested vehicles. I guess that ain’t too bad.

    That Florida fee is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It is what it is. I’ve now bought two cars in SW Florida, and many in Maine where dealer fees are usually more like $200-300. The reality is the FL dealers are far more willing to discount the price, so the bottom line ends up the same to cheaper. I’ve had one great experience in SW FL (GTI) and one not as great (Fiata from a Chrysler (no Fiat franchise) store).

      My advise for non-car people friends is ALWAYS “whatever Toyota you like best”. I don’t care if they take it or not. My car nut friends already know what they want.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Don’t forget that it will be ‘your fault’ if anything goes wrong with the vehicle they *did* buy.

  • avatar
    aja8888

    $999 dealer fee to handle paperwork…nuts! In Texas it’s capped at $199, and that’s too much.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Nobody listens to friendly advice. It’s the human condition.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m of two minds on this. All of the dealers I’ve used are of the “no-haggle” variety and I generally don’t begrudge them their cut; I’ve never dealt with negotiations. It’s easy enough to walk of the numbers suck.

    That said when I ask for help, I try to heed the advice as generally I’m asking somebody I trust. Where I get annoyed is when I’m offered advice that I didn’t ask for by somebody who doesn’t let up.

    I’ve been called upon to be the memory on a couple deals though. My friend leased an F150 several years ago with the intention of buying it. He thought the residual after 3 years was going to be 1 thing, but it ended up being much higher. Fast forward to new lease, I went along strictly to reel things back in, ask the dealer to spell out exactly what the residual would be, point that out to friend son he wouldn’t be “surprised” and generally to temper excitement.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I avoid giving unsolicited advice.

    A wise man (or woman) doesn’t need it.

    A foolish one won’t heed it.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “I guess I’m a “gluten for punishment.”

    — That sounds like a very sticky problem (pun intended.) But then, for those who are intolerant, it can be a very sickening one, too.

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    Bark, excellent advice for the few that do listen. thanks.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Love the abrupt ending, hilarious!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    There are two kinds of people who ask for car advice.

    1.
    “What car should I get?”
    “What’s important to you in a car?”
    “I dunno.”
    “What’s your budget?”
    “$350/month.”
    “You drive mostly in the city, right? How about a RAV4 Hybrid?”
    “You don’t think I can get a Tahoe for that?”
    “…”
    (friend eventually gets frustrated with dealers that are trying to “rip her off” for Tahoes)

    2.
    “Should I buy a Mini, you know, the one where you sit higher?”
    “Well… it’s expensive for what you get, and it’s got a terrible reliability record.”
    “Really? But it’s a new car. It’ll be OK, right?”
    “Well… these surveys are all based on new cars. Have you thought about [lists five competitive premium small SUVs?]”
    “Well… I just really like the way the Mini looks.”
    “…”
    (friend goes and buys Mini without any comparison shopping)

    Summary: Most people already know what they want to buy and shopping is a formality. They want you to affirm their choice, not actually give advice.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      “Most people already know what they want to buy and shopping is a formality. They want you to affirm their choice, not actually give advice.”

      BINGO.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        My view, for myself as well, is that you should really do the work to get the necessary info on the products and pricing, costs etc. (often means getting info from someone else, or at least info on sources) and then make the emotional choice with your eyes open.

        Know what you’re doing, but make the choice that will make you happy. And the other way ’round make the choice that your heart says you should, but knowing at what cost.

        I find that there really are massive amounts of different choices one can make to satisfy your real, actual car needs. And very many different kinds of financial choices out there: after all, almost everyone could get by with the cheapest base econobox and use the money saved on other things OR most people could move into a small condo, stop spending on anything else than ramen noodles, and buy a garage queen Ferrari/Porsche.

        But what makes us happy is the car that satisfies our emotions while not being too costly financially or too costly by being contrary to the ‘optimum’ choice. Hell, I’ve been really happy with something that was very much contrary to what my needs were, but the joy I got was such that I found it ok to get around the constraints and problems that arose from owning a vehicle not entirely suited for my situation. And I’ve been happy with a car I didn’t like because of how low the upkeep was and the depreciation was zero, so I knew my next car could be a step up from what my budget has previously been.

        So as long as we can afford it and bare the hassle, going ‘my way’ is the way to be satisfied. The part that people usually fail at is the ‘do your homework’ part so they are in fact unable to know what they’re doing, what they’re getting into when they are making their emotional choice. That also means bad consumerism like buying from an unethical brand 9like VW)

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    and what is it they call it when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, hmmmmm?

  • avatar

    Nah, not insanity. It’s the same terminology one uses for anyone who thinks humans can correct human made problems. Wait! Yeah, insanity.

  • avatar
    gasser

    As bad as I feel for you, Mark, I also feel bad for the salesman. He spent his time with you, he and the sales manager worked their magic pencils and, despite meeting your criteria, still no sale. Sales is a thankless task. The only field less thankless, is providing free advice.
    Now I just tell friends who are car shopping to deal with a buying service like AAA or Costco. Is it the best deal that they could get?? Maybe not, but I pull less hair out of my head.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Yea, sounded like you had a great sales manager. I was annoyed that Mark was going to take that and play it off another dealer. If you get a fair price, take it and call it a great day.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    At least Mark got the satisfaction of doing what he likes and doing it well .

    Were I in the market for a new vehicle I’d love to have him come to the buying table .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    dwford

    Bark, you forgot car sales 101: if you don’t close them right now, they’ll never be back no matter what they say. You forgot to close your friends and get them papered while you were sitting there.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re not wrong, but I figured it was worth investigating if the other Kia store would match the offer minus the dealer fee.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Could that have been handled via a phone call or text exchange while still on the premises — either from the car or in the showroom out of the salesman’s view? I’d think if you gave the other place all the numbers right there and tell them that you’re in the other dealer, and you’ve got a chance, a salesman at the other place would try it if they were desperate enough.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Luckily the last time I was asked for help buying a car it was only through text, I never had to go to the dealer. my friend wanted a hybrid car for his wife to take the kids a long distance to school He got fixated in the Hyundai Ioniq PHEV. I tried to tell him not to waste the extra money on the plug in, since his wife was going to far exceed the battery only capacity, and why would he want her to have to go find a charging station every day on top of it. But he ended up getting the plug in anyway. Whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No need to find a charging station to top off a PHEV every day. Just charge it at home and drive on the gas which is cheaper than the over priced public charger electrons.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        No need to find a charging station every day. Either don’t top up or you can plug into a 120v outdoor outlet. Public charging stations aren’t overpriced either. You can find free charging if you look. Many of the fast DC charging locations that charge have free J1772 level 2 charging. Other level 2 chargers I know of charge between $.50 to $1.50. For my car at the most expensive rate, $3.00 will get me 50 miles. That’s the same or slightly better than the cost of gasoline, especially when you throw heavy stop and go traffic into the mix. But, I rarely go to paid public charging so I don’t pay. Sometimes I’m only putting in 50 or 60 cents of power at home for a 100 mile trip.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Around here they want 4x the rate I pay at home for level2 charging at most locations. That makes running on gas 1/2 the price of those public electrons.

          However they did just install 2 free level 2 chargers at a local Walgreens. The one they installed at the local park was free for the first couple of months but now it is also 4x the cost of charging at home.

          I haven’t done the math on the Electrify America DCFC rates they got up and running a couple of months ago at the Walmart near that Walgreens.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    I really don’t get this. Why on earth do you think that your freely given advice constitutes “a contract” that has been violated once the people that asked for it don’t follow it? Despite the extremely high opinion you have of yourself, you will never be qualified to do all the objective thinking and reach objective conclusions for someone else.

    Once you account for the unexamined and simplistic premise this article rests on, all that’s left is yet another entry on “maverick Bark’s exploits.” Great.

  • avatar
    Sobro

    “That after literally years of doing this whole “What Car Should I Buy” thing (which sounds a lot like the name of a series on a competing blog that started after “Ask Bark” become the most widely read feature at TTAC), that I would realize people always take immense amounts of my time and virtually never follow my advice.”

    Hey, I followed your advice. Except I went newer, a 2018 Focus ST1 with 12k miles. I ended up bumping my budget by $5000 for fewer miles and an intact B2B warranty.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2019/05/ask-bark-dont-call-it-a-comeback/

    My wife likes the looks of it and while the ride isn’t “soft” it handles Nashville roads quite comfortably. I suppose if I had bought Tangerine Scream her opinion might have been different, but Tuxedo Black is so nondescript that even fellow ST drivers don’t wave.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “ So I agreed to meet my friends at a Kia dealership“

    Dude, rookie mistake. You meet somewhere first, then go to the dealer together.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    From now on just do what Clarkson says he does. He claims that when anyone asks him ‘what car should I buy?’. His response is ‘a Ferrari’.

    Why because he thinks it is the best car available. And he knows that they won’t buy one, so they can’t blame him for not liking what they do end up with.

    Remember it is ‘what car should I buy’ not ‘what car can I buy’.

  • avatar
    don1967

    I think highly of Mark’s writing, but this one’s a miss.

    Even by car-buying-porn standards it’s dripping in unnecessary sarcasm and pettiness. Like mocking the intelligence of the car salesman who revealed inventory details, and then just a few paragraphs later sneering about finally getting “actual information”. I would expect this from the smallest, angriest editor at Consumer Reports. Not TTAC.

  • avatar
    jonsey

    It’s really hard to believe “ask bark” was more popular than “no fixed abode”

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