The New Car Conundrum

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Because I live, breath and work cars it’s not uncommon for friends, family and strangers to ask me for advice about buying a new car (save for my mother who seems to think I don’t know what I’m talking about, so she’ll get what she wants whether I agree or not).

I have mixed emotions about someone asking me for advice on what car they should buy. On the one hand, I’m totally honored that they would value my opinion and knowledge and consider my opinion in their big life purchase. And on the other hand it makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Sure, I know cars. I better know them. But buying a new car is kind of like buying lingerie — at least it is to me.

When you look for a new car, you’re looking for an extension of yourself. You’re looking for something that speaks to you, something that works with your daily routine, your personality and your living environment. You’re looking for something that you’ll be comfortable in from day 1 to day 1,891. You’re looking for a very expensive accessory.

I’m not giving you advice on where to get a good cup of coffee.

It’s a bit intimidating, to be honest. And while I really do appreciate that you all think I have the smarts to advice you on this big buy, it also freaks me out that you might actually take my advice. I think it’s mainly because most people phrase their question like so:

“What car would you recommend for me?” And then you stare at me with this grin that says, “Try and figure that one out, cause I sure can’t! Ha!”

And it’s that “for me” part that makes me panic. I can offer you endless opinions, facts and information about specific models. Ask me if the Subaru Impreza is a good car and I’ll tell you. Ask me if the Nissan Cube really is roomy inside and I’ll tell you. Ask me if the Ford F-350 SuperDuty is really necessary and I’ll tell you. But ask me if the Kia Soul is right for you, and I’ll have a harder time answering that one.

Buying a car really is like buying a piece of expensive lingerie (for the boys, like a pair of uber posh silk boxers). It’s a very personal purchase, one that you need to do pretty much on your own. And while auto journalists are here to help you out (we wouldn’t really be employed if we didn’t), we can’t magically tell you which car is meant for you. That’s for you to find out on your lonesome.

When you have your choices (cars that speak to you, really appeal to you) narrowed down, then you can come to me and ask which is better and why. And I’ll tell you the honest to goodness truth, even if the car companies don’t want me to.

Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on June 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “The New Car Conundrum”

  1. For all those reasons I hate looking for cars because I don’t really want to go on a journey of self discovery for a car – I don’t know if others are like me but it seems so much easier to ask someone who “knows” and then be at peace with that.
    so that being said what do you think about the Versa ? as a second car that my son would mostly use
    thanks Ms Mandy !

    • Hey Judy,

      Thanks for the read! And I know not everyone likes the journey, but then not everyone likes buying a new bra either … but it has to be done! 😉

      As for the Versa; it’s not a bad car, but it is small. If he needs any sort of space, then he might want to look at the Cube instead (if you want to stick with Nissan and he thinks he can pull off the funky look). Or even the Suzuki SX4 (almost the same space, but it has AWD for our winters). I’d suggest the Honda Fit, but I know Honda can get pricey.

      If size really isn’t an issue and he doesn’t mind driving a hatch, I’d suggest checking out the Ford Fiesta (rockin’!) or the Mazda2. I like the Versa, but after driving the Fiesta it is totally my new favorite hatch.

      Hope this helps Judy!
      Drive on,
      – M.

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