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What things do you consider when selecting a car to buy???

Old 10-05-12, 05:22 PM
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Alfster 
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What things do you consider when selecting a car to buy???

We currently own a 2005 Toyota Matrix ... awesome car. But it's getting pretty beat up from dogs, bikes, etc. I need something much nicer / newer for work when driving customers in my car.

The problem I'm having is that I'm cheap. I don't have a big problem with the purchase price as long as it's not too pricey, but I'm more concerned with the after-purchase costs (ie: fuel costs, insurance, maintenance). I'm trying to find a vehicle with a bit more space than the Matrix, but doesn't guzzle gas.

Here's some vehicles we're considering, and the increased gas costs (my main concern) for that vehicle compared to our Matrix:

Ford Flex:
Increased city gas mileage: 1.53 x
Increased highway gas mileage: 1.31 x
Based on city driving, this car would cost me $980 more per year on fuel costs.

Jeep Sahara Wrangler:
Increased city gas mileage: 1.71 x
Increased highway gas mileage: 1.64 x
Based on city driving, this car would cost me $1312 more per year on fuel costs.

Toyota Rav4:
Increased city gas mileage: 1.22 x
Increased highway gas mileage: 1.13 x
Based on city driving, this car would cost me $407 more per year on fuel costs.

Honda CRV:
Increased city gas mileage: 1.19 x
Increased highway gas mileage: 1.08 x
Based on city driving, this car would cost me $351 more per year on fuel costs.


What do you consider when buying a new vehicle? Is the initial price the biggest issue, after-purchase costs? or simply the aesthetics of the vehicle?
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Old 10-05-12, 05:36 PM
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Total cost of ownership and longevity. However, if you're using this for work then you're going to have a completely different set of requirements vs. people who need a home-use only vehicle.
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Old 10-05-12, 09:59 PM
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I consider horsepower and handling when I choose a vehicle, but then I'm a little different.

I'm proud to not be the kind of person that drives a Honda, and unfortunately Toyota owners are starting to be that way too. Not to mention the Toyota owner that tried to kill me with her car.

Considering the types of vehicles you have listed, I would look at a Ford Edge. Right now I'm on vacation driving a rental Ford Escape. The car is doing well for us although it is very plain and boring. We are getting about 30 mpg.
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Old 10-06-12, 01:20 AM
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Just be like pcad and buy a Prius....and of course, some sort of Apple product.
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Old 10-06-12, 01:26 AM
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I consider:

1. How much will the payments be.
2. How much will insurance be.
3. How bad is the mileage.
4. How super uncool is it.
5. How much will it cost to replace the tires.
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Old 10-06-12, 04:53 AM
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I consider the weight capacity rating of the roof. It always throws salesmen off when I ask them about it while they're trying to tell me about all the awesome features they think I care about. They get this blank look on their faces, then they say "I'd have to go to the service department and find out." And I say "OK - please go find out." Then they look even more shocked, but they do eventually turn and go off with their tails between their legs.

You don't say much about what kind of driving you do, or how you'll use the vehicle. The Flex is a pretty large car - rented one for a week of skiing in Utah. Had no problem fitting four sets of ski gear and clothes for 4 people for a week inside with enough room for 4 people. It was a very nice car to drive for a week - didn't find anything I really hated about it. The RAV4 and CRV probably aren't going to have a lot more useful capacity than your Matrix - but you'd have to go check them out.
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Old 10-06-12, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
I consider the weight capacity rating of the roof. It always throws salesmen off when I ask them about it while they're trying to tell me about all the awesome features they think I care about. They get this blank look on their faces, then they say "I'd have to go to the service department and find out." And I say "OK - please go find out." Then they look even more shocked, but they do eventually turn and go off with their tails between their legs.

You don't say much about what kind of driving you do, or how you'll use the vehicle. The Flex is a pretty large car - rented one for a week of skiing in Utah. Had no problem fitting four sets of ski gear and clothes for 4 people for a week inside with enough room for 4 people. It was a very nice car to drive for a week - didn't find anything I really hated about it. The RAV4 and CRV probably aren't going to have a lot more useful capacity than your Matrix - but you'd have to go check them out.
You're right about the RAV4 and CRV. There's is only a small increase in space, and the way the RAV4 hatch opens to the side, likely puts it out of the running. There are times when we want to bring home a longer 2x4 or something else that needs to stick outside the hatch. That won't work so well with the RAV4.

Glad to hear someone found the Flex to be a decent vehicle. My only problem with it is that it's butt-ugly. But the practical side of the car is amazing. Lots of room.
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Old 10-06-12, 09:39 AM
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Reliable and economical...i.e. Toyota/Honda/Subaru/Hyundai.

Also, I look for good headroom. I'm only 6' but usually have to recline the seatback a few notches. Apparently I need to slouch more. Your taller clients would appreciate the extra space.
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Old 10-06-12, 11:09 AM
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Now days I'm interested in interiors. Comfort behind the wheel is what it's all about.
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Old 10-06-12, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by chris..... View Post
Now days I'm interested in interiors. Comfort behind the wheel is what it's all about.
Yeah, I have to admit, our driving trip this summer (in excess of 6000 km's) took its toll on my butt. Cushy seats is a must
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Old 10-06-12, 11:17 AM
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Once you get past a certain purchase price fuel costs fade pretty far into the overall cost of ownership. While I would rather burn less fuel I don't really care too much about what I pay for it. So I wound up getting a car a couple wks w/ not great gas mileage but that I am comfortable w/ owning, driving, maintaining, repairing over what ever time period it is until I have enough shoulder recovered to get back on the bicycle.

But I needed a stereo, if I'm going to be in a cage I need a damn radio so I sprung for one of those 1st thing.

I looked into a new car, and what I wanted was commodity transportation, which means I'm looking Korean, the Honda/Toyota of today. And it turns out that the prices for those were still past what we could pay cash for, and none of them made me want to take on a payment. And since I currently need an auto trans, it turns out that no auto trans inspires a payment either. If I'm taking on a payment it's going to be a stick shift, and that means it's not going to be for a while.

So looking at a car I could pay cash for, basically all other parameters were pretty far behind. So I was looking far enough back that all of a sudden esthetics could enter into it, and that made shopping more fun.

Last edited by HardyWeinberg; 10-06-12 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 10-06-12, 12:10 PM
  #12  
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If more space and client comfort is a concern, I'd rule out the Jeep. I have one (Rubicon and with soft top, but close enough for these comments) and there isn't any room in there to carry stuff unless you take out the back seat. They are raw and unrefined - even the Sahara - vehicles, but oh so much fun to drive! And gas mileage is just horrible. The numbers they publish are a bit optimistic, though you'd have the newer engine, so would have better mileage than my '09.

I'm not sure what your budget is, or what you'd consider a good trade-off for a higher initial cost, but what about the Audi A3 diesel wagon? Or one of the VW diesels (Jetta, Jetta Wagon or Passat)? If you can wait until next year, Jeep is putting out a Grand Cherokee with a 3.0l diesel that makes over 200hp and over 400 ft-lbs of torque. And it's getting some good press for the Euro version. To impress clients, there's always the BWM X5 diesel....

Typically a higher entry cost, but longevity and durability of a diesel offsets that, in my opinion. And the higher cost of diesel (don't get me started on that; it's a by-product of gas production and cheaper to make) is offset by the higher mpg the engines deliver.

Modern diesels are quiet, powerful, quick and don't smell or smoke like those of the 80s. I've got 2 - a Ram 2500 that I can get up to 22mpg on and an E320 that I can get over 40 on the highway. One of these days, I want to put a diesel in my Jeep, too!

Something to consider, anyway.

[edit: just realized you were in Ontario, so I'm not sure what diesel models are or aren't available for you up there]

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Old 10-06-12, 02:32 PM
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I check Consumer Reports & see what they have to say about reliability & safety... then I look at mpg, then cost.
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Old 10-06-12, 02:34 PM
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I know it's probably not the best way to go about it but, I always buy what I like. I do not give a rats arse about cost of ownership, resale value or what bull Consumer Reports or any of the auto mags say about my choice. I am not criticizing anyone who does it that way, in fact it's probably the smarter way to do it. I have used that route myself when buying a washing machine or a lawn mower but, a vehicle purchase for me is more primal. Of your four choices I would go with the Jeep Wrangler because I have a Jeep and I know just how much fun you can have with one. In my eyes your other choices are transportation appliances and very good ones at that but, if I am spending my money I want more than that.

You have obliviously done your homework and considering what you say your needs are it seems to come down to the Rav4 and the CR-V. Both are excellent vehicles and will serve you well just don't try this.........



The only other vehicle I might add to your list is the Subaru Outback. Lots of room and a little more car like for your customers

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Old 10-06-12, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by xjken99 View Post
I know it's probably not the best way to go about it but, I always buy what I like. I do not give a rats arse about cost of ownership, resale value or what bull Consumer Reports or any of the auto mags say about my choice. I am not criticizing anyone who does it that way, in fact it's probably the smarter way to do it. I have used that route myself when buying a washing machine or a lawn mower but, a vehicle purchase for me is more primal. Of your four choices I would go with the Jeep Wrangler because I have a Jeep and I know just how much fun you can have with one. In my eyes your other choices are transportation appliances and very good ones at that but, if I am spending my money I want more than that.

You have obliviously done your homework and considering what you say your needs are it seems to come down to the Rav4 and the CR-V. Both are excellent vehicles and will serve you well just don't try this.........

The only other vehicle I might add to your list is the Subaru Outback. Lots of room and a little more car like for your customers
As you can probably tell, I'm a very rational purchaser that defines their needs, and researches before buying. That's why I'm amazed the Jeep is still on my list. It's purely there as an emotional response. I LOVE the look of a Jeep.
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Old 10-06-12, 03:26 PM
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1. Does it fit the requirements
2. Do I like the looks and handling
3. Amenities
4. Resale value
5. Operating costs
6. Purchase price

That is how I do it anyways.

I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee, my wife a RAV4, daughter a Matrix.

I like Toyotas best.
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Old 10-06-12, 03:41 PM
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My requirements:
  1. Affordable without a loan. If I can't pay cash for a car, I won't buy it. Interest and finance charges will greatly outweigh any savings on gas.
  2. Reasonable gas mileage.
  3. Reasonable storage. I usually end up with a hatchback or station wagon.
  4. Some resemblance of handling in snow (doesn't snow often, but when it does, I usually need my car)
  5. A reliable car. I don't mind paying to fix my car, but only if it is something all cars eventually need.

We own a 2003 Subaru Impreza hatch now, but in the next couple years, we're looking at buying a Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, or similar. A Matrix is definitely in the consideration.

I have never considered resale value.
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Old 10-06-12, 03:57 PM
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I try to balance purchase cost, fuel economy, driveablilty, and practicality. I recently bought a ford focus sedan, it's a great car but I would have much rather have this car which of course they don't sell in the US. I really like small wagons I think they're the ultimate balance of economy and practicality. My wife's Hyundai Elantra Touring if a great car as well.

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Old 10-06-12, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
As you can probably tell, I'm a very rational purchaser that defines their needs, and researches before buying. That's why I'm amazed the Jeep is still on my list. It's purely there as an emotional response. I LOVE the look of a Jeep.
Then you should buy a car not a midget SUV. I can see the Jeep, but the other 2 are chick vehicles for people who can't afford a real full size SUV. Even then, if you need the room get a mini van. You will get more for your money.
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Old 10-06-12, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by chris..... View Post
Then you should buy a car not a midget SUV. I can see the Jeep, but the other 2 are chick vehicles for people who can't afford a real full size SUV. Even then, if you need the room get a mini van. You will get more for your money.
Apparently you haven't seen my past comments about mini van owners.

As for the chick vehicles, you're not far from the truth. But I will ALWAYS own a hatchback for city driving. They're easy to drive, park, and can haul an incredible amount of stuff in the hatch ... considering the size of the vehicle.

I would love something bigger, but I would have a hard time paying for the gas, maintenance and insurance costs. Not worth it ... except if it's for the Jeep
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Old 10-06-12, 05:11 PM
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I take into account "whole of life" costs. So if I buy a car that I cannot service myself, even of it has good gas mileage, over the whole life it may be costly to run because the service costs outweigh the gas savings. Other factors are reliability. Also I don't buy a car with too much electronic control, e.g. electric windows etc. All those things only work reliably for the first few years and then they eat into your time and money. I don't buy a car with a "space-saver" spare tire. I don't buy a car that has expensive tires.
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Old 10-06-12, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by chris..... View Post
Now days I'm interested in interiors. Comfort behind the wheel is what it's all about.
This.

Plus I like anonymous. A remarkable car is not a selling feature to me.
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Old 10-06-12, 05:45 PM
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One you may want to put on the short list with the Honda and TOyota is the Mazda CX-5. With the Skyactive technology, fuel economy significantly better. While I own the Mazda3, I've looked at the CX-5 as getting (pre-paid) service done.
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Old 10-06-12, 10:36 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by xjken99 View Post
I know it's probably not the best way to go about it but, I always buy what I like. I do not give a rats arse about cost of ownership, resale value or what bull Consumer Reports or any of the auto mags say about my choice. I am not criticizing anyone who does it that way, in fact it's probably the smarter way to do it. I have used that route myself when buying a washing machine or a lawn mower but, a vehicle purchase for me is more primal. Of your four choices I would go with the Jeep Wrangler because I have a Jeep and I know just how much fun you can have with one. In my eyes your other choices are transportation appliances and very good ones at that but, if I am spending my money I want more than that.

You have obliviously done your homework and considering what you say your needs are it seems to come down to the Rav4 and the CR-V. Both are excellent vehicles and will serve you well just don't try this.........



The only other vehicle I might add to your list is the Subaru Outback. Lots of room and a little more car like for your customers
^^ Looks like fun^^

I do things pretty much the same way when it comes to cars. My '07 FJ is a blast to drive and an awesome off road machine but it's not practical and gas mileage is poor.







The RAV-4 and CRV are excellent vehicles for both long term reliability and future resale value.
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Old 10-06-12, 10:50 PM
  #25  
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Handling, power, transmission, looks, cost. In that order.
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