Monday, July 14, 2008

Endless car research

So, we're getting a new car. We started our research in May, before my summer stay in Sweden, but decided to postpone the purchase until I came back. So now I'm continuing spending evenings reading reviews, checking YouTube videos and getting frustrated.

Since we're in for a minvan - which is a family car - with the purpose of transporting grown-ups and kids in different ages you would think that the reviews would be focused on the end user in mind.

Why do all reviews (made by the same men that also reviews over sized pick up trucks and yellow convertible sports car) begin with horse power, acceleration speed and wheel size? Most of the online video reviews start with pictures of the grill for crying out loud!

Why aren't there any pictures of cars with actual people in them? What does the second row actually look like with two grown ups in them - how much space is left (heck, the airlines are better in talking about legroom for a domestic flight than minivan producers are...). How "easy" would it be for a angry 5-year old with a tantrum to actually break loose the built in entertainment screen - and does the warranty covers that? Why is it only men that is seen lifting out removable seats and not shorter women? Why isn't anyone reviewing how easy/hard it was to load up the car with a cranky 5-year old, a wiggly 2-year old on a +40C day or - for that matter - on a cold snowy day. Why aren't reviews writing about how complicated it is to get into the third row seats - can a grandmother actually climb back in there? Or where are the pictures of actual car seats (with kids in them) in the second and thrid row seats? After all - if these are family cars - there would be car seats (at least if you follow the law...)? How hard is it to attach a car seat to the LATCH? And how do you get into the third row if you have two car seats installed on the second row seats?


Do I actually have to spend days going around to the different car dealers, bringing two car seats and five grown-ups (I think I opt out of actually bringing live kids, even if that would be the real test) and try them out to compare? Any volunteers?


BritGirl said...

We are now in the same postion! We are thinking about fuel economy mostly. I dread when we have to go buy a car again. Although last time hubby did his research really well and got loads off the final price. The poor guy didn't know what hubby was going to hit him with next!
Make sure u know more than the salesmen. (It actually isn't that hard believe it or not!) We got told loads of things that we knew weren't true. We just walked away in those situations because if they are lying that early on then there's not much hope really.
Some friends recently noticed the same car being sold for two different prices on some local forecourts and the garage admitted that they just keep moving it from yard to yard. Makes me angry that some poor old person who doesn't know what they should be paying might end up buying it at the crazy price instead of what it's really worth!
I hate buying cars out here!!!
(Whoops sorry it's so long!)

Anna, Fair and True said...

Kanske olika forum där "vanliga" människor skriver om sådant? Antar att du redan googlar men försök få fram användarrecensioner så att säga.

JaCal said...

Britgirl - even though fuel costs are really high now (compared to Sweden they're still very low...) that isn't actually the major thing for us. We're not commuting long distances - but need practicality when we're in the car. Oh, we'll get a good deal this time - we're way over-informed right now and are going to ask for quotes before hand to minimize on-site negotiations (and minimize the lying...). I hate buying cars...

Anna - jodå - men det är svårt att hitta i virrvarvet av reviews. Man skulle ju kunna tycka att de stora föräldrartidningarna här skulle ha sådana reviews - men de har också bara korta artiklar med vanlig "exterior" bild...

Anonymous said...

We have a Honda Odyssey, bought when we had our 3rd child. Currently I have a 5 year old, 3 year old and 18 month old in the car and even managed to combine this with 4 adults for a 3800 mile roadtrip last summer. After almost 2 years with the car, I still love it. We previously had a Toyota Highlander with 3rd row push up seats, that never really worked as well - awkward to climb out of and in to. The Odyssey is awesome. We took the 8th seat out (it's pretty small anyway) and the middle cupholder thing on the second row and pushed the 2 second row seats together, so that on one side of the car there is space to climb comfortably into the back row. Anyway, I'm rambling. But, I've read your blog for a while, I'm also an alien in CA (Bay area) from London - been here 4 years.

let me know if you have any specific questions about the Honda. We got the EX, but not the touring. Have the dvd player, which is quite robust but not the camera and back up sensors (actually might think about these next time - as the blind spot is way bigger than i thought, although I always just back out really carefully and watch the car park to see who is around before getting into the car).

post is too long now, hope some of that is helpful. oh yes and we made garages compete with internet prices before we turned up, so when we were ready to buy had the right color waiting at the garage and knew the price we were going to pay.


JaCal said...

Rachel - oh, thanks for posting a looong comment! Really interesting - especially since I just started researching the Odyssey a little closer recently and we added that one to the list of cars we will testdrive. My husband got really interested in what you wrote about pushing the second row seats together - sounds interesting! One of our main concerns has been the ease with which you get into the third row seats - and that sounds like a great solution. I really would like to have the camera and back up sensors - that would make me feel much more secure. The minivan we testdrove in May had it and I loved it... too bad some of these features comes in huge packages with other things you don't want or need...

Our plan is to do the internet thing too - no negotiations on the car sales floor. Did that last time - and that is just horrible!

Blogger said...

Using CarRental8 you can discover the most affordable rental cars at over 50,000 locations across the globe.