One “Drive…He Said” reader recently contacted us with the ubiquitous “What is the most affordable new vehicle transportation I can get for my money?”
We recommend a Three-Step process of car shopping:
A) List of Needs vs. Wants:
Our reader “needed”:
1) Low purchase price
2) Above average cargo capacity and load flexibility.
3) Better than average fuel economy, without resorting to costlier hybrids or diesels
4) Acceptable highway ride and handling
5) Reliability and durability
6) Low maintenance costs and good warranty
7) Styling that isn’t too radical
8) Power windows, door locks, automatically shifting transmission, air conditioning, FM/AM Audio with CD/ Aux
9) Bluetooth handsfree phone connectivity
10) USB audio connectivity
11) Heated Seats
B) Process of Elimination:
– Colors you wouldn’t be caught dead in, pricey options you’d rarely use.
C) Real Deals Out There:
Actually, the timing couldn’t be better to make an easy case for quite a few new cars.
In late autumn/ early winter, new calendar year models are just leaving the factory floors. That leaves glut of previous model year models hogging up dealer lots.
1) First, try to find an outgoing model year vehicle. Manufacturers offer incentives to clear dealer lots and l for new model year product. Often you can factor in a model years worth of depreciation. Maybe more if the new model brings more alterations.
Like your parents used to get on your case on Sunday nights, we say “Do Your Homework.” Hit the manufacturer websites and search for “Rebates“, “Incentives” or “Special Offers.”
When shopping end of model year product do it with a mind towards compromise. Whether it comes to option kit and colors you are essentially bidding for what no one else wanted before the autumn.
Example: 2014 Jeep Patriot. DHS did a quick take on the 2012 Jeep Compass fraternal twin.
* Patriot is the one that features the boxy, rugged Wrangler look.
* New available 6-speed automatic transmission
* More overall cargo space than the new Jeep Cherokee
* Fold down front pax seat enables 8′-foot 1″x 8″ siding digestion
* Spacious headroom and rear leg-room
* Cargo area dome light pops out to become LED flashlight
* Available 115 Volt outlet
Also, don’t disregard brands or model which totally fly under the market radar. Just because a manufacturer isn’t running TV ad spots every other intermission during an NFL game, doesn’t mean they don’t put out worthy product.
Example: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. DHS reviewed the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport here.
Notable on the 2015 Outlander Sport:
* New optional 2.4L MIVEC I-4 gas engine rated at 168 hp / 167 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
* Faster locking CVT transmission with available steering wheel shift paddles
* 27 combined miles per gallon observed
* Car-like “minimal bounce” ride from 4-wheel independent suspension
* High standard feature content: Hands-free comm., Heated wing mirrors, 18″-inch Alloy wheels, Leather Tilt/ telescoping steering wheel
* Available glass panoramic roof with LED trim lighting
* Available leather seat surfaces
* Thicker glass and more insulation = quieter cabin
** Did we mention that both the structurally same 2013 Jeep Patriot and 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport are Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “Top Safety Picks?” And that both are Made in Illinois? **
Do you have your own pick or shopping experiences you wish to share?
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