Our Search for a Car - Part Two

After we returned our Mazda5, we were back in the exact same position we'd been in for months: what kind of car do we buy??!!!!

I decided to become a student again and get out my research tools: paper, multiple colors of pens, and my computer. I even went to my desk to work!

My husband and I had each written out a list of must haves. On both our of must-have lists were: safety, good fuel economy, reliability, and not a mom-car. Bonuses would be: a powerful engine, radio controls on the steering wheel, auxiliary jacks.

Since safety and reliability were important to both of us, I used those two criteria first. Using Consumer Reports, I looked at all of the above average reliability cars that weren't luxury brands. Then, for the years that were reliable, I assessed the safety ratings according to the IIHS and the government tests. These two criteria reduced the number of cars to choose from a bunch to a handful.

I made these charts to manage the data:

After finishing the charts, my husband went through looking for any cars I might have missed. Hence, the addition of the Rogue. Then, I looked at his car finds and assessed them. The Rogue didn't make the cut because of poor, poor visibility.

From there, I went to CarMax and test drove all the cars. For the cars they didn't have, we went to dealerships to test drive. All this work paid off...sort of. I now know that for the family car, we went a 3.5L, V6 Toyota RAV4, years 2008 and newer, tan interior, limited, 4x4, towing prep, preferably red. My friends are cracking up at this point because, once again, I've narrowed done my options so much. In fact, the closest car to me that meets these criteria is on Long Island. Road trip!!!

Since we couldn't find the family car, we started the search for the commuter car. My husband really, really wanted a Mazda3. It's a cool car and sporty! I found one that even had the bigger engine with the manual transmission that was loaded for a good price. Unfortunately, I looked at the safety ratings. They were AWFUL. Mazda added the option of airbags, but the car was never retested with the airbags so we couldn't find out if the car became safer with the airbags (not all cars do).

So, we set out looking for other options, and we came across a used 2010 Nissan Sentra. The day after our area was dumped with snow, we hit the plowed roads and test drove the car. We were pleasantly surprised with how much we liked it. We bought it and have been enjoying it since last Thursday.

It has really good safety ratings, is comfortable to drive, gets great gas mileage, has great visibility, has steering wheel controls, cruise control, a roomy front seat, a decent back seat, and good trunk space for its size. Based on driving it the past week, I'd highly recommend this car!

Car number one: DONE!


Kim said...

Remember Nana's Sentra? I could have told you what a good car it was and saved you ALL of those charts (although, I know you secretly - or not so secretly! - enjoyed it :)

Kim said...

OH, and I'm just going to say it - you are a bit OCD in this department!! :)

Renee said...

Remembering your dad's and Nana's Sentra gave me comfort as we were buying it!

And, yes, OCD is correct! I totally loved getting out my pens and paper! When I took the chart into the dealership, they just looked at me.......

Matt & Carrie said...

Matt and I are shaking our heads....oh my.

Matt & Carrie said...

Forgot to say I like the new wheels!