We are in the process of buying a new car.
It’s been awhile since we’ve purchased a new vehicle, so I set out to do some research first.
I’m sharing the info here, with the hope that it will be helpful to others who are also in the market to buy a new or used vehicle.
Car vs SUV
We started our search for a new car with our sights set on mid to large-size sedan with good mileage.
Then, we noticed that many SUVs are priced comparably to today’s mid- and large-sized cars.
So we debated car vs SUV and concluded that an SUV is best for us for the following reasons:
It’s hard to ignore the fact that we’ve owned several SUVs in the past and we have always liked them better than the sedans we’ve owned. Better than most of our friends’ cars that we get in and out of too.
Initially, we only considered sedans because we thought they’d be more affordable. Wrong! Here are 10 SUVs that are cheaper than sedans. Likewise, the mileage of SUVs is comparable to some cars as well.
Now, we are definitely convinced that an SUV is the best type of vehicle for us.
The other 2 SUVs that keep attracting our attention are newer models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer. The 2014 model year Grand Cherokee is an all-new vehicle inside and out — the first one since 2011. It ranks #4 in Most Affordable Mid-Size SUVs this year. The 2014 Ford Explorer had no changes over the previous year. It ranks #15 in Most Affordable Mid-Size SUVs this year.
Finding Answers To Important Car Questions
Our time thus far has been spent exploring the following new car issues…
#1. – Makes and models (we are primarily considering Jeep and Ford SUVs)
- Jeep Grand Cherokee (KBB)
- Comparing Model Years Jeep Grand Cherokee (Autotrader)
- Ford Explorer (KBB)
- Comparing Model Years Ford Explorer (Edmunds)
#2. – Buying vs leasing (we are torn on this issue)
- Smart Money spells out the advantages, the disadvantages, the questions you need to ask, as well as a Car Leasing Calculator.
- Daily Finance has a great video and article highlighting the benefits of leasing vs buying a car.
#3. – Hybrid vs regular (we are willing to consider a hybrid)
- Autopawn has a great infographic that illustrates the bottom line dollar-wise when you buy a hybrid vehicle.
- Keen For Green shares some interesting hybrid vehicle myths and facts.
#4. – Buying new vs used (we are leaning toward new)
- Saving Advice shares a great story and the research they did when deciding to buy a new vs used car.
- Edmunds points out that lots of new cars cost less than used cars!
#5 – Best/worst car features (like mileage, reliability, cost, etc.)
- Consumer Reports always had a good reputation as being fair and honest. I search their site inside & out for the makes & models we’re considering, as well as other best/worst lists like their Most Reliable Cars list, Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs list, Best Cars For Tall & Short Drivers, and Top Picks For Cars & SUVs.
- JD Power has good Reliability & Dependability Ratings for vehicles.
- US News lists the Most Affordable SUVs and the Top-Ranked SUVs.
- Edmunds shares the Top Recommended SUVs list.
- Kelly Blue Book compiled a list of the 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs.
- The U.S. Dept. of Energy maintains a list of the Best and Worst MPG SUVs.
The links that I’ve included above are the ones that have been incredibly helpful to us in making our decision so far. (There are plenty more, but those are the best.)
We haven’t purchased our new car yet. At this point, we’ve only looked briefly at cars and SUVs on the Jeep lot and the Ford lot near us.
We haven’t even taken any vehicles for a test drive yet. We wanted to have a better idea of the ones we’d mostly be interested in after checking the ratings, reports, and reviews online.
I’ll be sure to post an update (and a picture) right here after we buy our new car. I’ll also share any other car buying tips we learn along the way!
Hopefully, this information will be helpful to you if you’re shopping for a new vehicle too.
Good To Know Before Buying A New Car:
- Carfax Vehicle History Reports: Are They Worth It?
- 6 Reasons To Pay Cash When Buying A New Car
- Car Salesman Tricks To Make You Buy A Car… Now!
- 10-Part Car Buying Guide
- Car Scams To Avoid When Buying A New Or Used Car
UPDATE: We Got A Great Deal On A New Car!
We ended up visiting a few more car dealerships (both Jeep and Ford) — taking our search beyond the immediate boundaries of our little town.
Doing that only proved that smaller towns had even less inventory than those near us.
I will say that we came across a handful of very nice car salesmen that we would have been happy to work with.
We never came across a slimy or standoffish car salesman that gave us a bad vibe at all. I think things have changed a bit in the new car sales world. Perhaps because there is so much information available online (such as the actual price they paid for the vehicle). Plus, it’s so easy to design what you want directly from the dealer, check other car dealers’ lots for inventory, and see all the vehicles that meet your criteria that are available right in your area — that they probably have less room to negotiate and fewer opportunities to “sell” you than they did a few years ago.
And I’ve learned that loyalty is built during the sale and it either increases or decreases in the years following the sale.
No surprise really. We love Jeeps!
Things We Learned After Buying This New Car
A few additional things we learned about new car sales these days:
- Typically dealer markups (the profit that’s made after closing the sale) range from 2-5% on the low end to 6-8% on the high end. This was important to us, because we wanted to know how low we could comfortably start our new car price negotiations.
- All things considered, the markup is around 10% between MSRP and Invoice.
- The markup on dealer accessories, parts, and services, warranties, and maintenance programs is typically as much as 50%.
- Here are some helpful do’s and don’t at the car dealership and some confessions of a car salesman that we found interesting. For more in-depth surprises, check out these confessions of an ex-car salesman!
- And for a better explanation of all of the different pricing terms that car salesmen use, check out these 10 steps to buying a new car, by Kelly Blue Book.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).