Category: Ask Bark

By on December 7, 2016

2018 Euro VW GTI Golf

Alexis writes:

I give advice to everyone about what to get and not get, and yet I’m finding it impossible to decide for myself.

I’m a moderately successful realtor living in Toronto, and my 2005 Saturn Ion is about to give up the ghost. Yes, I know, an enthusiast driving an Ion doesn’t really make sense, and I admit it’s a car for people who just gave up — that’s why I bought it four years ago.

Alas, it’s time for something else.

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By on November 30, 2016

2014 Ford Focus ST Interior-006

Tommy writes:

I love reading your columns, and have a question that I think you’ll enjoy. I’ve been living in Washington, D.C. for seven years, about half of that time without a car. I’m planning on getting a raise soon, and with that, I’d like to buy a car. And not just any car, but an adult car that I can rely on to start when I need it, and not constantly have to wrench on the little things that break.

For so long now, I have wanted nothing more than a Focus ST. Everything I’ve read about them just screams to my inner child, and at 29, I think I can still listen to him because I’m not expecting a family any time soon.

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By on November 22, 2016

2017 Accord Hybrid

TJ writes:

Greetings Bark,

With a growing family, it’s about time for me to move out of my 2007 Frontier Crew Cab into something more family friendly. The crew cab has been great transporting our toddler, but we’re planning on having another one, and I don’t think the backseat will work for two little ones.

After a long search that has included newer midsize pickups without much more inside room, full sized cars (namely Impala, LaCrosse and Azera — nice car, horrible seats), I think I’ve settled on a V6 Accord. I have my grandfather’s old C10 for pick-up stuff once I get it running again, and my father is interested in buying my Frontier, so trade-in won’t be a problem.

I’ve test driven the Accord twice, and the dealer is absolutely pressure-free; which my wife and I appreciate. BUT…the dealer only has three V6s in stock — all standard, easy-sell black or silver. I prefer Honda’s Obsidian Blue, and the salesman said getting one shouldn’t be a problem. Am I setting myself up to get taken if I email him requesting the blue one?

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By on November 15, 2016

Screen-Shot-2016-11-15-at-11.11.05-AM

Kori writes:

Hey, Bark! I’m a 37-year-old woman with a couple of financial degrees and a decade of experience in the world of money, yet I still dread going to the dealership. I know that they’re screwing me but I just don’t know how, and that’s the worst part. I don’t object to the dealer making his fair share of money (I’m a capitalist after all), but I just wish that there was a way to know how they were making that money, and where.

In your experience, where do most customers get the shaft in a car deal, and how can it be avoided?

Thanks for your question, Kori. Most customers feel uneasy about the whole purchase experience for this very reason. Let me see if I can help you feel a little better about it by breaking down the various money aspects.

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By on November 9, 2016

money

Brian writes:

Hi Bark,

I’ve been a TTAC reader for a couple of years now and you seem to be the guy for the right advice here. The wife’s six-year-old CUV with 160,000 kilometers is showing signs of a problem that the dealer couldn’t reproduce, but said will cost upwards of $1,800 for parts (if I am right about it). This is after a different repair last year that cost over $2,000. I am wondering if now is the time to replace the car while it still has some trade value. My wife’s argument is that a repair still costs less than a year’s worth of car payments, but my counter is that a predictable car payment is easier to deal with than an unexpected large repair bill. This is especially true given our first child is due very soon.

I understand some people are serial leasers, but we tend to keep our cars well beyond warranty. So, when is the right time to replace a car?

Thanks‎!

160,000 kms? Hold up — let me get my Canadia-to-Trump calculator. Whoa — that’s only 96,000 miles! Which FCA CUV does your wife own?

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By on November 2, 2016

2017 Chrysler 200C Platinum

Thom writes:

Hi Bark,

Your RC F article got me wondering: what are some of the cars out there you think are actually good, enjoyable cars that get crapped on for no good reason other than inherent bias and/or groupthink in the automotive world?

I always wonder what’s out there that’s actually decent, if not outright good, that everyone seems to think is garbage. (Notwithstanding that sometimes everyone thinks a car is garbage because it actually is.)

This is gonna be fun.

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By on October 26, 2016

2016 Chevrolet SS blue

Nate writes:

Hi Bark,

I like to know your opinion on the subject matter of the email. My ideal car is a reliable all-wheel-drive, full-size sedan with more than 400-500 horsepower, similar 400 lb-ft of torque, decent average fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon, and it’s made by Honda/Acura with all the safety features (lane keep assist, front collision mitigation, blind spot detection, etc).

However, that vehicle does not exist, and I have a budget of $55,000 out the door.

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By on October 18, 2016

2015-Lexus-RC-F-Badge

Ryan writes:

Hey Bark,

I’m in the final year of my lease on a 2014 Cadillac ATS 2.0T and the itch to start shopping for my next car has kicked in. Ownership has not been perfect. CUE annoys me on a regular basis, the 2.0T noticeably shakes the car at idle when the engine is cold, it’s been recalled four times for its sunroof, and its automatic transmission is way too eager to up shift. While my wife loves how quiet and smooth the car is, I am a bit ambivalent. The handling is great, but the car itself lacks character when you cane it.

I’ve owned an E46 BMW M3, both eighth and ninth generations of the Honda Civic Si, and a Toyota MR2 targa top in the past. Recently, I put a refundable deposit on a 2017 Subaru BRZ with a manual transmission in hopes of getting back into something that’s a bit more raw, but it seems Canadian customers are not receiving some ’17 updates and my wife hates being a passenger in it.

I was eyeing the new Chevrolet Camaro SS, BMW M2 and used Porsche Caymans when, on a whim, I test drove a 2015 Lexus RC F.

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By on October 11, 2016

Katt Williams

sportyaccordy writes:

Hey Bark,

My current ride is a manual Civic sedan, which I’ve modified but in which I’ve lost interest. It’s just not powerful enough, and I think I want something a little more relaxing for the daily grind. I commute about 400 miles a week and offspring are hopefully coming in the near future. I’ve grown to accept that my next car may break my all-stick-shift streak (six since 2003). I don’t want or need all-wheel drive as I live in the South.

So what do I want?

Well I definitely want a sedan; preferably a smaller one. I definitely want something with six cylinders and liters no less than three by the Lor’t’s decree. I also don’t want to spend more than $20,000, so it will obviously be used. It wouldn’t hurt to have a decent aftermarket—I want to lower the car and put an intake and exhaust on it. The obvious choices to me are the Infiniti G37S, followed by the previous-generation Lexus IS 350 and BMW 335i.

Still, I just can’t shake the idea of at least checking out a 2015+ Chrysler 200S. Why?

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By on October 4, 2016

2015-ford-focus-st-06

James writes:

I seem to find myself in an endless car-buying cycle of “I’ll finally be content if I buy X car”; get said car, get a year into ownership and dammit — I want a different car! Buyers remorse at its finest.

I don’t know what it is when it comes to cars, but I seem to have this blind spot for knowing what the heck I really want in the car, unlike everything else in life. Sigh.

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By on September 27, 2016

2012_BMW_328i_sedan_--_2012_DC_1

Doug writes:

Hi Sanjeev,

(OH FFS)

I am coming up to a time that many of us must face. My son is about to turn 16 and will need to have his own ride. Currently, we own a 2012 Toyota Highlander that my wife drives, and a 2013 Honda CR-V that I drive. I am currently scheming to dedicate the CR-V to my son and then my daughter as they begin driving, then buy something for me to enjoy driving for a while. My sights are set on a used 2008-2012 BMW 328 that is in the 70,000 mile range.  I have always wanted something like this, but would not be able to afford a new one.

So here is my quandary: my wife likes that the CR-V is well rated on safety and that it is not too powerful of a car. But, she and others think the car is too new.

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By on September 21, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Jeff writes:

I recently started shopping for my first new car in a decade. I have looked at Infiniti, Audi, VW, Cadillac, Genesis, Tesla and BMW.

Something that really stuck out about the process was the different dealership experiences. The quality and happiness factor of each dealership seemed to coincide with the price of their cars.

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By on September 13, 2016

15FordEdge-Sport_15_HR

Michael writes:

For the past decade my daily driver has been a 2007 F-150, now sold. It’s time for something lighter and smaller to drive around the city in, not having enough need of a truck any longer to warrant keeping one. As an example of the drastic downsizing we were wanting to do, initially we’d ordered an Escape, believing it to be large enough to meet the need.

When that didn’t work out as planned, we revisited the decision and decided to order an Edge instead. The extra couple of inches in every dimension makes for a much more livable vehicle for two large people and a dog, without sacrificing much suburban city maneuverability. Neither of us liked driving the Explorer much, and we don’t need the interior space offered by the Flex. We’ve decided on a fully loaded AWD model with all the latest electronic gadgetry as this will be another decade long ownership experience.

So the problem isn’t so much what vehicle to buy, but what engine, as the Edge is available with three.

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By on September 6, 2016

2010_Lexus_GX_460_003

Austin writes:

Bark,

For the last two years, my daily driver has been a used 2006 Audi A6 Avant (bought outright in cash). Living in Minnesota and attending college in a rural part of the state, it’s the ultimate vehicle. It swallows 4 people and gear for a spring break Chicago vacation, gets through the snowstorms, and has heated seats and steering wheel. It even averages 24 mpg!

However, its mileage has reached the point where it’s no longer economically feasible to hold onto (repair-wise) going into the spring of 2017. I’m trying to hold off until used car prices fall, because of lease returns. With a budget of $15,000, I’m hoping to get five-plus years of use out of my next vehicle. My search has gravitated towards larger vehicles that are kinda low-volume players (with a slightly better reliability record) like the Lincoln MKT, Toyota Sequoia, Lexus LS/GX, Volvo S80, etc. Something bigger and a little more cushy. So, what do you recommend?

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By on August 30, 2016

2016 Ford Focus RS

Alex writes:

Hi Bark,

The lease on my BMW M235i runs out next summer and I’m looking at options for my next car. I’m mostly considering the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, and Volkswagen Golf R, but also the Ford Fiesta ST (since you’ve praised your FiST so much) and Ford Mustang GT (because it’s a Mustang?).

I don’t really like the Golf R because it’s the only car on this list that doesn’t have Recaro seats and, well, it looks almost identical to the much cheaper, baseline Golf.

I contacted my local Ford dealer about the RS and they urged me to put down a $2,000 deposit since they don’t get many units and they’re selling fast.

My hesitation: I’ve never really driven a manual car outside of iRacing (online racing simulator) and an hour I had with a Corolla with 170,000 km on the clock, so I’m not sure that I’d like to drive a manual every day.

What do you think would be my best course of action?

Sincerely,
Alex

Alex, my friend, sit down. We need to talk.

Read More >

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