The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Help! Need help car shopping

As an American, in an attempt to boost our economy, I have decided to purchase a new car. This is a pretty big decision that mostly came about because my 10-year-old Ford Explorer is telling me that he's done. And by "telling", I mean, squeaking and grinding and refusing to allow me to unlock his doors. With a bit of a tax refund coming in that can double as a down payment, I figured I would venture out to purchase my first ever new car.

I have no idea what I am doing and could use some guidance. I thought step #1 would be to walk into a dealership and be completely frank about how many other cars I would be looking at and that I will not be purchasing a car this weekend. That will hopefully get rid of some of the car-salesmany type behavior. If it doesn't, I will fight fire with fire and use some of my stellar negotiating skills. A dear friend suggested I also make clear to them that if they run a credit check on me without my consent, they lose my business. If I hit multiple dealerships this weekend and they all run checks, my credit is going to take the hit.

It dawned on me that I cannot proceed to the car dealerships until I narrow down the vehicles I am interested in. That's where you guys come in! I would love any suggestions, cars you have and like, or don't like, things I should be aware of when shopping, etc.

A few hints about what I think I am looking for: I want a hybrid for environmental, tax, and mpg reasons. Although I adore having an SUV, I'm not sure I'm willing to spend the amounts necessary on hybrid SUVs (at least not now). That being said, I will likely go with a sedan. Also, I don't really like bubbly cars. While I do appreciate the suggestion, Bug, but there is no way in hell I would be caught dead in this. I am not too keen on cars that sit really low to the ground. My last car was a Saturn and it was just too low. Other than that, I'm pretty open because I'm not sure what I should be looking for.