Shopping, the words sends happy tingles down my spine. Vehicle shopping however does not! The last time we needed a new vehicle, I did the research, visited the dealerships and went on test drives. When I found a van that I felt provided us with what we wanted at the right price, I gave my husband the opportunity to check it over, give it a drive and together we decided on the purchase. Much like car repairs, car purchases are stressful for me. We look to the dealership to help us make an informed decision but most times it feels more like we are at the mercy of salespeople who have a vested in our purchase and not necessarily our best interest in mind.
Once again it is time for us to consider purchasing a new (or gently used) vehicle. This time around, I have a strategy, I will make a list of must have, nice to have and don't need features. I will choose a brands/vehicles that are in our price range and begin my research.
I love research but like medical advice and trip reviews, the internet is full of both good and bad reviews on every vehicle you can imagine so it's straight to the manufacturer sites for me. Even if you are not looking for a new vehicle this is a great starting point. You can review models, features and safety and get an idea of what you will pay full price. My comparison chart (I love excel) in hand, I will create a short list of vehicles that could meet our needs.
I carry precious cargo with me almost every day of my life. My two daughters are shuttled to school, activities and we travel regularly on weekends to visit relatives or for family outings. The safety of my children is priority one. I need to know that the vehicle I drive provides us with the best protection and prevention from accidents that I can get.
Vehicle Test Drive
The test drive is almost pointless in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, you need to drive a vehicle to see how it handles and find out if you feel comfortable in it but a quick drive around the city, on to the highway and back to the dealership is not a true reflection on whether a vehicle will suit your needs. People (like us) spend lots of time in their cars - we need to know is it easy to get kids in and out of the car, how much of our stuff can it hold, can I get groceries in the back without dropping everything while wrangling my keys and purse. You know, the day to day stuff that you can't determine in a test drive. A vehicle we are considering is one that I had for a week while my van was getting repaired. The car rental company should get a kick back from the manufacturer because by the end of the week I was ready to leave my van behind for the newer and better equipped vehicle I had driven all week. It really fit my needs. However, I need to go through the process and do my research, "test" drive my short list and let the hunt begin.
Once I determine the vehicle I want then the hunt begins - I use online tools to find the make, model and year of vehicle I want and then I do comparison shopping right from the comfort of my laptop. No pressure, no salesperson, just me and a list of available vehicles. I would never buy sight unseen and sometimes you can negotiate a better deal in person but starting with an online search narrows down the number of locations I need to visit and gives me a price range of what I am willing to pay. No matter how much I "love" a car, I always have to be willing to walk away. *Note to salespeople when I say this is my offer, I mean it and I will walk away. I would never try to undercut but if I offer a fair price don't try to haggle for an extra couple of hundred, you will lose the deal. If you treat me well and sell me a vehicle that I am happy with I will return the next time I need to purchase.
So once the holidays are over, the hunt for a new vehicle will begin. I am leaning toward a cross-over/SUV. Just because I'm a mom doesn't mean I have to drive a mom van...right?
If you have a vehicle you love let me know and tell me the best feature it has.
- A Village Mama
- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- As a mom to two girls, I often heard "it takes a village to raise a child" but it also takes a village to make a mom. If it wasn't for the love, support and random sharing of other moms I don't think I would be enjoying this journey of motherhood quite as much. PR Friendly contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org