Monday, April 12, 2010

Savvy Homegirl Does Car Shopping

Hampered slightly by the simple fact, 'I hate car shopping', I have begun my quest to find the ultimate new (or more likely used) car. <---- Since writing that line, I've actually narrowed my choices and nearly completed this adventure.

It's interesting because when I started this post, I'd narrowed my preference down to 2 brands. This was due to the fact I had made a conscious decision months ago, when I need to get a new car, I would look at Hondas or Toyotas.

That was before the Toyota recall. That was also before I sat down with Belair Direct's Car Insurance Quote and starting running some scenarios. My parents' insurance broker confirmed my fear- Hondas are among the most expensive cars to insure. I felt like I was back at square one.

So, I started shopping, all the while knowing:
  • I can afford $350 per month (max) for a car. That includes insurance. That cuts down a lot of options, including Suburu, Mazda and Volvo.
  • I do not want to lease. I drive too much and I don't want to pay to own nothing.
  • I really like crossover cars- lots of space, but fuel economy of a car. 
  • I test drove a Honda Fit. I really like it, but it was a new 2009, too much money (even after all the discounts & 4.9% financing) and my mom thought it was really noisy on bad roads. In hindsight, I agree.
  • Honda Civic 4 doors are not as big as I thought they were. Fact: They are the same as a 2 door, but with 4 doors. Same size car. Simple fact, but I had to sit in one to realize this.
  • A hatchback would be very practical.
  • Fuel economy is important.
  • I would still look at a Toyota. I really like the Matrix, but I worry a little about what will be recalled next. 
What I discovered next surprised me, because I am not typically one to ogle cars. Staring at every car on the road was downright strange to me. Having never paid attention to a Mazda 3 or Suburu Impreza before in my life, I found myself staring longingly at these sleek cars as I passed them on the highway.

My expensive taste was confirmed when I searched So, the scanning continued. Every time I left the driveway. 

It was the best shopping I could've done. I can tell you every compact on the market with a hatchback option. I also decided I don't want a compact. I eyed 'crossover' cars, and allowed price and previous rental car experiences to narrow my list even further. 

After weeks of scanning, I settled on 2 options: 




Look similar? They're almost the exact same car. Built at the same plant with the same frame and engine, only the body and interior differ (ever so slightly) and some options. A day of test driving and my mind is made up.

My decision matrix (no pub intended) included ride quality, options, price, production location, and brand reputation.

Which do you think I chose? 


  1. I was also going to guess the toyota. I love my hatchback and i don't know if I could go any other way now!

  2. You'll have to stay tuned! ;) Post coming up later this week!

  3. I think I know...Char

  4. I need car lol Toyota is <3