Aug
05
Used cars

Our used-car reviews go back to the 1990 model year.

Ever since our old website went down last year and our new one went up, people have been clamoring for us to bring back the used-car content that didn’t initially make the migration. Some commenters even suggested that we were ignoring their pleas – and even their inquiries.

It’s not that we didn’t hear you. Or that we didn’t want to answer. It was more that we couldn’t answer – at least not accurately – and we didn’t want to string people along with the typical “coming soon” response that’s all too often an empty promise in this business.

The problem was that our used-car content, which goes back to the 1990 model year, was contained in an old database that didn’t lend itself to automated copying. So it all had to be done manually. Plus we wanted to add the original price and equipment lists we had going back to the 2000 model year, and those, too, had to be copied manually. This exceptionally vast project (there are more than 900 model generations and 3000 prices) was done by a small but dedicated group that also had their normal jobs to do. So we didn’t know exactly how long it would take.

But now it’s done.

Consumer Guide Used-Car Home Page

The new Consumer Guide used-car review home page. Check here for a closer look.

Here’s what you’ll find:

As before, the cars are grouped by design generation. For instance, the 2004 to 2007 Chevrolet Malibus were essentially the same car with just some minor year-to-year changes. The Malibu was then redesigned for 2008, and that generation lasted through 2012, after which it was redesigned again. So the respective entries would read “2004-07 Chevrolet Malibu,” and “2008-12 Chevrolet Malibu.”

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Click here for our used-car review of the 1990-94 Dodge Shadow.

At the top of the Consumer Guide homepage you’ll find a USED CAR tab. Hit that tab, and at the top of the page you’ll find three search tools. “Used Simple Search” allows you to search by make (such as Chevrolet) and then by Category (such as sedan, SUV, or Pickup Truck). Below that is a “Search for” box, in which you can type in an individual model (if you know what you want), and that will take you to a list of all entries that apply.

In the center of the page is the “BY MAKE” search. Click on a make, and all entries for that make will be listed in chronological model-year order, most recent ones first. From there, you can scroll through the pages to find the model and generation you’re seeking.

Once you get to the report, you’ll find the following information (a “jump to” pulldown will allow you to skip right to any section):

* A brief stat box (in what country the vehicle was built, what bodystyles were available, drive wheels, and Good Condition price range)

* Pros and Cons

* A description of the vehicle’s market position

* An Overview that describes the vehicle in its first year

* Yearly Updates that relay changes made for each subsequent model year of that generation

* A description and list of available powertrains (engines and transmissions) and the original EPA fuel-economy ratings for each (Some reports also include our real-world test mileage)

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Click here for our used-car review of the 1990-97 Mercury Cougar.

* A comprehensive Road Test report that covers performance and accommodations, and also includes a Ratings chart for an individual (usually the most popular) trim level

* Complete Specifications for each bodystyle

* Safety Ratings issued by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute), if available

* Trouble Spots

* Recall History

* And last but not least, the Equipment Lists for each trim level of any given year, as well as what options were available. (These are particularly helpful if you’re trying to figure out, for instance, what trim level you need to look for in order to get certain features, such as a sunroof or heated seats)

Although all the information we currently have is now up, we’re expecting to have to tweak things a bit as time goes on. And that’s where we’d like your input. Let us know what you think we need to change to make the site more user-friendly, and if we get enough people saying the same thing, we’ll do our best to try and fix it. (You can do so by clicking on “Contact Us” under the INFO tab at the top right of the main page.)

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Click here for our used-car review of the 1990-93 Mercedes-Benz 190E.

Again, sorry this took so long, and we apologize if it seemed as though we weren’t addressing your inquiries. We were only trying to get it right – however long that took.

–The Editors of Consumer Guide Automotive