Tag: Car Buying

By on August 7, 2020

1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera in California wrecking yard, front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Kids, as we all know, exist for but one purpose: to replace us. You’re out there on the deck, grilling steaks, and over there sits Junior. Waiting.

It’s ominous.

But kids need to get around, especially to places of employment so that they can pull their own weight. So sometimes a purchase is in order, or at least the gifting of a well-used vehicle you’d planned to sell or trade in. Ever done it? (Read More…)

By on July 31, 2020

2015 Mazda3 Sport Touring, Image: Mazda

The thought of a parent spending any significant amount of money on a vehicle for their teen offspring leaves a bad taste in this writer’s mouth, but some families march to the beat of a different, more affluent drum. Yours truly believes a free hand-me-down wreck should be the absolute limit of parental generosity, and that’s only on the condition that they pay for all upkeep.

But loans from the Bank of Mom and Dad are definitely a thing, which gives them considerable say over what vehicle actually enters their kid’s life. With this in mind, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Consumer Reports joined forces to craft a list of decently reliable, safe rides for parents on a budget.

Would your spawn be happy with any of these top choices? (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2020

Today brings Part II of my 2012 Subaru Outback’s sales and ownership story, as the green all-terrain wagon recently pulled from the driveway for good. If for some reason you didn’t read Part I, find it here.

Now we press on with the vulgar topic of money.

(Read More…)

By on July 10, 2020

I last gave an update on the vehicles which occupy my drive back in February. At the time, the Volkswagen’s roof rattle issues had (finally) been corrected and I was all ready for a quick sale of my Subaru Outback. But said quick sale was interrupted by a few different issues, both local and global.

Uncertain Times for car sales, eh?

(Read More…)

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…)

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