Tag: Car Buying

By on May 15, 2020

Once upon a time, it was expected to find the driven wheels of a car aft of the rear seat. In this writer’s recollection, the coming of winter would see the addition of a few bags of concrete mix or sidewalk salt added to the trunk for extra traction. Most pickups, usually of the wholesome regular cab variety, boasted the same setup.

Eventually, front-wheel drive replaced RWD as the go-to way to put power down, while in the background four-wheel drive gathered steam.

Would it surprise you to learn that the majority of 2020 model-year vehicles sold in the U.S. thus far eschewed front- or rear-drive? (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

Image: General Motors

It’s something we’ve touched upon in the recent past: the fact that, in these pandemic times, a private vehicle is the safest way to get around (from a contagion standpoint). It seems we’re not the only one to rethink the attributes of a personal car. Japanese driving schools are suddenly doing a booming business. Cars.com reports a sudden surge in non-car-owning visitors.

According to data accumulated from numerous countries, automakers could find a slew of newfound buyers once the strictest lockdown measures end. (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2020

It stands to reason. Despite the ecological advantage offered by buses and trains, private vehicle ownership starts looking mighty attractive in the midst of a viral pandemic. Fear and self-preservation often trumps virtue.

So it’s little wonder that a significant percentage of people browsing Cars.com in the first half of the month were people who’s never done so before, and who’d never owned a vehicle before. With transit ridership at all-time lows and ride-hailing companies hurting, the private car is king. (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2020

Volkswagen has decided to waive up to six months of payments for customers who lost their jobs due to the economic complications of the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, there’s a catch. Customers have to qualify for VW’s expansion of its “Community-Driven Promise” and must have recently purchased a new vehicle, though avenues exist to help existing customers who aren’t brazen enough to buy a new car after a viral outbreak.

The manufacturer previously said it would defer payments up to 90 days for existing Volkswagen Credit (VCI) customers affected by the economic crisis. While most automakers are trying to sweeten the pot while demand is down, deals and relief packages have rolled out pretty gradually. By contrast, VW seems to be doing quite a bit all at once — here’s how one goes about getting into those programs.  (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2020

In the most recent installment of Your Author’s CPO Volkswagen Follies, I shared the slow process which was the purchase of my 2019 Golf Sportwagen. At the end of that piece, I mentioned it was already at the dealer for a rattle after two weeks of ownership.

It’s back in my possession now, and it’s fixed. Any bets on how long it took, and how many trips were made to the dealer’s service center?

(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2020

We’re not talking about my Golf Sportwagen purchase today; they were slow to negotiate, but not sleazy. The topic at hand is what happened this past weekend when I helped my grandmother purchase a used car.

It turns out that at some dealers, even though the calendar says 2020, sales practices are more in line with 1980.

(Read More…)

By on January 21, 2020

All of you have shared in my car shopping experience, which began at the end of 2019. Starting with a solicitation for recommendations back in October, the process of finding the right replacement for a 2012 Outback extended longer than planned and was punctuated with a particularly poor experience at a Volkswagen dealer.

But it was all worth it, because now I’ve got a new (used) wagon.

(Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

gm

Cars are out, crossovers are in. This is as true as saying the sun rises in the east or that the slow air leak in your back tire will eventually get worse. It’s a given, and, with the current onslaught of crossovers now trickling into previously unexplored white space, your choice has never been greater.

2019 may be remembered as the year automakers broke out of traditional segments and began inserting boxy products into that narrow window between existing models. Chevrolet, Buick, and Mazda all decided it was a good idea to pursue buyers in tweener segments. The question today is: have any of these supposedly right-sized products moved you to consider a brand you’d normally have ignored? (Read More…)

By on November 15, 2019

2018 Buick Regal TourXRecently I reached out to you, dear readers, for some suggestions on replacing a 2012 Subaru Outback. The wagon has occupied my driveway for the past two years, but, for reasons outlined previously, it’s time for it to go. My initial idea for a replacement was a Kia Niro, but that didn’t seem like it was going to pan out. So I turned to the real experts around here.

Comments poured in, and four suggestions were clear. Let’s narrow things down a bit.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2019

Regardless of what your college instructors claim, individuality remains a virtue. And, while (legally and harmlessly) going your own way is still a good thing, great masses of individuals often gravitate towards the same thing. It’s an age-old phenomenon, one easily seen in the buying preferences of minority communities.

If you’re someone who values the time-honored affordability and usability of the common sedan, thank the African-American community. They’re still buying tons of them. If you value innovation and industry disruption, tip your hat at the Asian community. They show an increased affinity for trying new things.

While registration data shows America’s visible minorities haven’t diverged too far from last year’s buying preferences, a few surprises can be found in data drawn from the first half of the year. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2019

Ford EcoSport Greenhouse Roofline, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

No, we’re not talking about coming to someone’s emotional rescue, nor are we concerned about that time you pushed your buddy out of the way of that speeding Amtrak while searching for a corpse back in the ’80s.

This is serious stuff. A person can set themselves up for a world of emotional and financial hurt by choosing the wrong car, and, just maybe, you’ve successfully coaxed someone away from the proverbial ledge. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

Image: 2012 Subaru Outback, image © Corey LewisTTAC’s a great place to share car search stories (particularly for used cars), and I’ve taken advantage of this soapbox on a couple of distinct occasions when looking to replace one of my close personal rides with something else. I’ve gathered you all here today because that time has come once again.

The Subaru Outback is going to glide off into the fall sunset, and soon.

(Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

2019 Mazda Mazda3 interior

We’ve all eyeballed a pair of pants in the store, assumed they’d fit just fine, and took them home — only to discover that our waistlines aren’t as svelte as initially thought. Ignore the fitting room at your own peril.

Big-ticket purchases can also backfire, especially if they’re ordered online and come with “some assembly required.” But for the most part, large transactions — houses, cars, furniture — occur only after you’ve parked your ass in it for a little while, given it a once-over, and declared the pending purchase A-OK. For the most part, anyway.

Thanks to the internet, it’s not unusual for collectors or plain-old used car buyers to purchase a cheap, historical, or oddball vehicle without ever slipping behind the wheel, but would you do this with a new car? (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2019

Shopping cart full of cash money bills, Image: urfingus/Bigstock

When I was in high school, many moons ago, I had to recreate an historical debate in front of the class as part of a project for my American History class. I was assigned to take a “pro” position on the Three-Fifths Compromise (I don’t imagine that these sorts of things happen much in high school today). My opponent in the debate was a young lady who was, shall we say, a little different. She didn’t have many friends, she was socially awkward, and I’m not entirely sure that I’d ever actually heard her speak before.

We picked numbers out of a hat to see which one of us would go first, and she won. Right from the beginning, it was evident that things weren’t going to go well. She starting mumbling, inaudibly repeating the same thing over and over. Our teacher, a kind, and gentle man, asked her to speak just a little bit louder.

“Three fourths of a person, that’s all they were. Three fourths of a person!” And then she broke into hysterics and ran out of the room. The teacher sprinted out the door after her, returning after a few moments.

“Now, everybody,” he began, “Mary (not her real name) is our friend. When she comes back in the room, I ask each of you to treat her as our friend.” Let’s be honest. She wasn’t our friend. But in that moment, thanks to a kind word from our teacher, we did our best to treat her as one.

Here at Ask Bark, we get a lot of emails. As the curator of said emails, I do my best to answer all of them personally, even if I can’t dedicate precious ones and zeroes to them in this space. Some of them just aren’t interesting enough for me to dedicate an entire column to answering — it’s often as simple as “Don’t go to that dealer if they’re pulling that garbage on you,” or, “No, it’s never a good idea to spend all of your money on a used German car that’s out of warranty.” Stuff like that.

But every so often, I get an email that both excites and terrifies me, because I know that there is sufficient content within for a good column, but will also likely expose the writer of the correspondence to the combined vitriol of TTAC’s Best & Brightest. Today is such a day. So, everybody, Tom is our friend. After you’ve read his email, I ask each of you to treat him as our friend.

Here we go.

(Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk - Image: © Timothy Cain

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: unless otherwise stated, the “SUVs” mentioned in automotive studies refer to all utility vehicles, regardless of unibody or body-on-frame construction.

Utility sales surpassed passenger car sales in the U.S. in 2016 and never looked back. There’s an ever-growing number of them out there, and, with automakers now straddling segments (the Mazda CX-30, for example), expect the market swamping to continue apace. In a new Cox Automotive study that contrasts today’s market with 2008’s (while taking a peak at the future), the answer to the question “Has the SUV market peaked?” is most definitely “no.”

The market has legs, but the passage of time means it’s showing signs of saturation —  with a number of headwinds now buffeting automakers looking to clean up in this ultra competitive field. (Read More…)

Recent Comments

  • Detroit-Iron: There was a two hour ad for them on the Science channel today. Seriously though the car is a cross...
  • Old_WRX: More of a gift from an American company that moved manufacturing off-shore to cut costs. Quality of design...
  • namesakeone: I think ANY Mustang that isn’t an SUV is a good thing. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that the...
  • 07NodnarB: Buy: Q70 cuz it will hold it’s value slightly better than the others. Drive: K900 even in last gen...
  • -Nate: Love the stories . I too am a drive slow cars fast kinda guy and I love it because I can always dial it up...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber