Buying a car requires a complex analysis of hundreds of new and used models and determining which one best fits your lifestyle and budget. Yeah right! Personally, I fall in love with a car, and then deploy a complex and creative thought process to justify its purchase. Sound familiar?
Emotionally-charged-decision-making worked alright a decade or two ago when vehicles were simpler, but even when you have selected the make and model of your new ride there are now a slew of smaller decisions to consider. We keep our cars longer than ever, so buying a vehicle that fits has become even more important.
The big picture:
Step back and consider the size, fuel efficiency, safety, maintenance costs and features that combine to create the perfect driving experience for you and your family.
Finding a vehicle that is big enough to hold your clan and their gear while not being so big that you need to live next to an oil refinery to keep the gas tank full can be a challenge. Safety should be high on your list, and www.safercar.gov is an easy place to double check the vehicle you are considering. Keep in mind that the smoother the ride and the more luxury your new vehicle provides also means it will need more maintenance. There is a lot to consider: road noise, safety, fuel economy and comfort- oh yeah, did I mention road noise? An irritating tire hum and the rumble from the road is seldom noticed on a test drive, but it causes more driver dissatisfaction than any other symptom, so pay attention. That sure is a lot to figure out in a 4 minute test drive with a car salesman sitting in the passenger seat.
Do your homework and give some serious thought to what fits best and then move on to the fun stuff!
Gizmos and Gadgets (part 1)
Integrated Entertainment Systems What will probably catch your eye and capture your senses is the integration of cell phones in your new vehicle. Of all the 2012 gizmos and gadgets integrated entertainment, navigation, and information systems that provide hands free management of our modern appendage-the mobile phone-are at the top of the techno list.
Fuel economy and safety are boring! We are a connected society and every manufacturer has a dynamic way to keep you listening to music, talking on the phone (hands free of course), locating a new restaurant and downloading apps. My favorite is the Ford Sync with My Ford Touch. Many systems have similar features. Remember that if your entertainment and connectivity system is important to you it is much harder and more expensive to upgrade these days.
Back Up Systems A few weeks ago I found myself circling my mother’s Buick through a multi-story parking garage with ramp after ramp of tight turns and full parking spaces. Darned if the first space I found wasn’t precariously located close to a corner and a pillar. The best approach seemed to be backwards so I found myself twisting and praying as I backed into the narrow space. Keep in mind that I usually drive a Smart car so this Buick seemed like a semi-truck to me. What a relief when I heard a series of ever increasing beeps and a somewhat sweet sounding machine announce “6 feet,” “5 feet,” and on down to a very successful parking job.
You can purchase a new vehicle with everything from beeping and talking indicators to actual video cameras. The aftermarket sensor system on Mom’s Buick was added after it was purchased. Adding cameras would be more difficult, but the simpler system is an easy add-on to a new or used vehicle.
There is More! Wow, I am out of breath, and there is so much more we can talk about. For your specific questions about a current car or the one you are thinking of buying – just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or access the live chat at www.thatcarlady.com. Of course, you can also read Part 2 of Vehicle Gizmos and Gadgets that includes heated seats, rain sensors and many more groovy additions.
Wishing you miles of happy driving,
That Car Lady, Lynn Beckwith