Posts from ‘Shopping’

2015 Kia Soul, Good cars for young drivers

2015 Kia Soul

With a 15-year-old daughter having just completed driver’s education, I find myself in the unenviable position of shopping for a second car. That car, by the way, will spend most of its time in the service of the aforementioned daughter.

How your salesman is paid

Don’t mistake your friendly, helpful salesperson for an advocate. He/she is likely incentivized to charge you as much as possible for your new vehicle.

I was a terrible car salesman. Part of my problem in plying said trade was my disdain for confrontation. In the early Nineties, when I was peddling the metal, the new-car buying process was still very much an “us versus them” proposition. Giving a shopper a decent deal within 20 minutes of beginning negotiations was not only unacceptable in the eyes of my managers–it was grounds for dismissal. Salespeople were expected to wear customers down, and “leave no money on the table.” It was a brutal business, and one I wasn’t cut out for.

New-Car Dealership

Looking for a new car? Here’s how to get started.

Buying a car isn’t for the feint of heart. Even for folks who enjoy shopping, the rigors of identifying, locating, committing to, and paying for a new vehicle can take their toll. For these reasons, folks often rush through the process, unfortunately skipping steps that help put the right vehicle (at the right price) in their garage.

Used cars for $250 a month

What can you buy for $250 a month?

Cars are expensive. If you own a car, or cars, you don’t need me to remind you how much you’re shelling out monthly for your wheels. For those not in the know, the average transaction price of a new car is now about $32,000.

Cigarette prices, Save Money for a Car

Not only will quitting smoking make you feel better, you can upgrade your ride, too, should you so choose. (Prices above as advertised in Lincolnwood, Illinois.)

I am not a man without vices. My daily caffeine regimen taps the Appel-family coffers for close to $100 a month. Not a huge amount of money by contemporary standards, but not a dismissible sum either.

I mention this having recently burrowed deep into the murky past, recalling a particular high-school personal-finance class lecture dealing with opportunity cost. The core message was simple enough: Money spent on one thing cannot be spent on something else.

Big and Tall, Good cars for big guys

Feeling pinched by your current car? You’re not alone. For some excellent new-car options, read on. (Image of enhanced-cabin Saturn Ion courtesy Consumer Guide Big & Tall)

The diet is going well, thanks for asking. But even when I hit my goal (weighing what I did when I got married), I still won’t be a slender man.

I am 6’ 1”, and at the moment weigh more than 350 pounds. The plan is for there to be at least 100 pounds less of me by this time next year. Wish me luck. Still, even at my target mass, I will be a big guy, which, I believe, qualifies me to speak on behalf of big guys everywhere.

Service Department Scams

If you think $2800 is a lot to pay for a thermostat, read on.

Selling cars is a cutthroat business. New-car dealers work hard to eke every penny out of each sale. Most shoppers know the routine and for that reason dread the prospect of negotiating the price of their next new vehicle.

According to a 2012 survey conducted by, 64 percent of recent new-car buyers described negotiating the price of their new car as the worst part of the purchase process. This really shouldn’t be surprising.


2009 Cadillac DTS Platinum

My dad is a pretty lousy car shopper. He has established a pattern of deciding he wants to buy a car, then delaying the purchase as long as possible, then buying something too quickly. Somewhere in this process, he decides what he wants to buy, despite continuing to look around at other cars. If you’ve been enlisted to help him through this process, you’ll want to bring along some off-brand acetaminophen.


Azera vs. Sonata

As luck would have it, the Consumer Guide test fleet contains both a 2013 Hyundai Azera and a 2013 Hyundai Sonata Limited this week. The former is Hyundai’s entry into the “near luxury” large-car segment; it competes against the Chevrolet Impala, Kia Cadenza, and Toyota Avalon. The latter is the ritziest trim level of Hyundai’s mainstream midsize car. We thought it would be enlightening to examine these stablemates side-by-side to see exactly what the Azera delivers over the Sonata.

Online Car Shopping Experience

This Chevy dealer’s website tries to be helpful, but it really isn’t.

My wife and I might be in the market for a new vehicle sometime in the not-too-distant future. While my job as an auto critic gives me unique access to the industry’s latest and greatest, I will still need to get into the proverbial trenches to research not only the product but the dealerships who sell them.

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