Thursday, August 7, 2008

Car shopping

The last few weeks I’ve been car shopping. One thing to watch out for when shopping is the “Well for a little more I can get even better. What’s another thousand when I’m spending this much money” thought.

I started off thinking the Hyundai Accent. Hyundai quality has been improving and has been highly rated on Consumer report. The Accent is a nice little car that’s cheap and good on gas. I picked the GLS package which comes with ABS, power doors etc., and side curtain airbags. This brings me to around $17K+ (after $3K rebate for paying cash) for the 2008.

Then I test drove the Toyota Yaris, which would be around $18K+ with ABS and cruise control (not possible in the Accent). However, the 2008 Yaris gets an Eco rebate of $1K from the government and because I graduated within the last four years I get a grad rebate of $500 (worth looking into if you are buying any new car just before or after graduation). This actually brings the Yaris to a couple of hundred less than the Accent. However, the package I picked does not include side curtain air bags like the Accent GLS and would cost an extra $900. I thought for a small car I might like the side curtain air bags.

Now if we are going to spend close to another $1K on adding airbags, I might as well look at the Honda Fit. By far the best drive of the three and includes all the features like ABS, cruise control, and side curtain air bags. Some cool features too like the way the seats fold forward and backward. However, it will be $19K+. But I really liked it.

Then if I was going to spend $19K+ on a Fit I might as well look into the next class of cars. The Toyota Corolla, which my Toyota guy told me I could get for $19K+. Well, then I’d prefer the Corolla to the Fit.

I had a feeling that I’m not getting the best deal for the 2008 Corolla from my guy. Why? Because when I first bargained for the Yaris I got a good price. Then when I went back and said I need side curtain air bags, he gave me a price that is $1,500 more than without but the airbags only cost $900 extra.

So I looked around other Toyota dealers. Well, then it turns out I could get the 2009 Corolla for about $20K. What’s another extra $1K for a newer car right? See what I mean? I’ve steady moved up my price. Dangerous. Because then my friend says, you know a Mini is only about $24K. I don’t really know if this is true, but still.

A Mini is probably not in the cards. However, I’m still deciding on the rest.


Canadian Saver said...

I sooooo love the Mini!!!! I smile everytime I see one go by... but they are in a class above the others you listed and you have to decide if the cost is worth it.

Good luck with the big decision!! You are so wise to do so much research and test driving! The 2 vehicles that I've purchased in my lifetime were bought without researching at all, I bought because I liked the look of the vehicle and it is the dealership my parents have always used. Worked out well, but I could have been burned...

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I can totally see how that happens. I have to be careful of that when I'm comparing electronics and such too, if I have to buy. It's so tempting to just "level up."

Don't forget that a lot of the game is played (when it comes to car prices) in long haggling. My mom got her Nissan Sentra (back in 1990) for about $6000. She went back and forth between the Geo people and Nissan. "Geo said they can drop the price $500." Okay, Nissan will drop the price. And? And... the stereo is free. "Hey, Geo..." And so on. You get the idea.

Finally, both sides said NO MORE we have NOTHING else we can do. So she chose. It's a tad exhausting but I think in the end the price went down by quite a bit -- around $2000 if I recall.

I think the point is you may not want to decide absolutely on a car, because then you have no leverage. If you can walk away at any time and "think about it" and "talk to the other guys" then the salesmen have to play to you. If they know you've done your homework and decided *this* is the car for you, you're kind of at their mercy.

Then you can say things like, "Well, man, I thought I wanted a Yaris but, gosh, for $1000 more... I might as well go up a class of car."

And, the age-old rule I'm sure you know: If at all possible go on a grey day, preferably in the middle of the week and/or toward the end of the month when they're desperate to make quota.