What to Buy: A Base Premium Brand or a Loaded Non-Premium Brand?

2016_Volvo_XC90

New-car shoppers continually debate between buying a fully loaded economy vehicle or a base-trim premium car.

When buyers realize that $40,000 can either buy a Kia or a Volvo, some interesting comparisons arise. Is it better to get a lower-end brand with the latest high-end features or a luxury brand that’s missing some desirable options?

For the sake of comparison, I spent the weekend shopping for two vehicles: a 2016 Volvo XC90 T5 FWD Momentum and a 2017 Kia Sorento Limited V6.

The base price of the Volvo is $2,450 more than that of the loaded Kia. Is the extra cost worth it?

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Are We Always Passively Shopping for Cars?

2016_ford_explorer

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re always shopping for a new car.

You can be casually scrolling through Facebook, thinking only of cat videos and the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode, when a post from a car dealer goes by featuring a shiny new Ford Explorer. You might wonder, even for a moment, if the new rig would make for a good replacement for your aging Honda Pilot.

Or maybe that first glimmer of desire for a different car appears when a friend posts photos of his or her new GMC Acadia.

Whatever the source of inspiration, you might start wondering if you should consider buying a car. At the very least, you’ll start thinking about the type of car you’ll want when the time comes to make a purchase.

Perhaps you’ll click on the dealer’s link out of curiosity, or even (innocently) begin a search inspired by your friend’s new car.

Even though you didn’t think you were in the market, a different car suddenly becomes a very real possibility. This is called “passive shopping,” and a new study suggests that social media has created an environment in which we’re doing it all the time.

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Hidden Used-Car Costs New Grads Must Know

A car has hidden costs

In many students’ minds, “car” and “graduation” go together. For some, it’s because a post-grad job requires a vehicle to commute to and from work. Others may simply want a car to maintain their independent lifestyle from college (especially if they plan to move home).

This isn’t changing for the class of 2016, either. According to a recent survey conducted by CarGurus, almost one-third of upcoming graduates plan to buy a car. And of them, 57% plan to pay for it entirely on their own.

Buying a car is a major purchase—even if you opt for a moderately priced used one. Taking this on yourself is a big sign of financial freedom, but it’s also a big financial responsibility. To handle it wisely, keep in mind the following hidden costs.

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The Impact of the Japanese Earthquakes on Lexus, Toyota Models

2015 Toyota Camry

The news of the recent earthquakes that struck Japan had a strong impact on the U.S. auto market when it comes to Toyota and Lexus. Several models have had to suspend production while the factories are inspected and repaired.

It’s even affected Toyota’s position as the number-one automaker. That spot was usurped by Volkswagen because of the shutdowns. Yes, in spite of the diesel emissions scandal, VW is on top because of the popularity of its Audi, Porsche, and Skoda brands.

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Do You Prefer Car Ownership to Car Sharing?

jeep_renegade

The new Jeep Renegade is a perfect example of an inexpensive, stylish vehicle that millennials love to own.

Young people don’t buy cars, right?

We’ve been hearing it since the millennial generation reached adulthood. The rise of car sharing services such as Uber and Lyft gave pundits and writers evidence to cite, while carmakers and dealers tried to figure out sales tactics to woo young people.

Does the youngest generation really despise car-ownership, though?

Probably not, though they do have certain expectations when considering the purchase of a car.

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Things to Know Before Using a Tax Refund to Buy a Car

Used cars

It’s that time of year many people look forward to: tax refund season. It’s also the time of year used-car dealers look forward to, because people use those refunds to buy new-to-them cars.

Now, you might see articles claiming that tax refund car purchases peak around April 15. That’s not true. The only people filing tax returns then are those who owe taxes – not those expecting refunds.

What’s the first thing you want to know about buying a used car with your tax refund? Now is the worst time to buy a used car with a tax refund. How come? It’s simple. Between now and the end of March, it is a seller’s market when it comes to used cars.

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5 Questions to Help You Decide Whether to Buy or Lease Your Next Car

2016 Chevrolet Malibu 005

When I was young and poor, I always fantasized about leasing a new car, because the monthly payments were so attractive. Of course, with a credit score in double digits, no responsible car company in the world would have leased me a new one.

Now that I’m older and married to a woman with a good credit history, I’m no longer attracted to leasing. We hold our cars for a long time, as witnessed by the 2008 Mazda5 and 2002 Dodge Neon parked in our driveway.

With my perspective out of the way, let’s ponder 5 questions to figure out whether you should lease or buy your next new car. They can help you determine what will work best for you.

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How to Enjoy a New England Winter Weekend Without Snow

2016 New England Int'l Auto Show Press Day

CarGurus was honored to attend yesterday’s press preview of the 2016 New England International Auto Show. With more than 600 cars from 37 manufacturers valued at over $22 million, we were able to see and get into a bunch of brand-new vehicles for the first time. The show offers any car fan with an interest in new vehicles an unbeatable opportunity to take a close look at and ask experts questions about the wide world of cars available to American buyers.

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Who Should Fix Recalls on Used Cars?

used_cars

Automotive recalls have been a revolving theme in the auto industry for the last few years thanks to some epic fails by Toyota, General Motors, Takata, and many more. If you bought a new car recently, odds are good that you’ve received a recall notice.

Some recalls can happen for minor issues that amount to nothing more than a minor nuisance, while others can be for potentially life-threatening problems that need to be fixed immediately. Owners are usually notified about recalls through the mail or electronic communications from the automaker.

How would someone know, though, if a car he or she is considering has had a recall? People shopping for cars can check for recalls using the VIN lookup tool offered on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

When you buy a used car from a dealer, though, whose responsibility is it to disclose, and repair, unfixed recall items?

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A Smart Alternative to Boring Cars: Our 2016 Nissan Leaf Impressions

2016 Nissan Leaf SL

There are no falcon doors, there is no Ludicrous Mode, and the company isn’t run by a man fashioning himself after Tony Stark. The center console isn’t comprised of a mega-iPad, and there are no rear-facing jump seats in the trunk. The Nissan Leaf is no Tesla Model S—a brilliant car, made by a fascinating company, and the first image to come to mind when one thinks of electric cars. But in the end, the Leaf may be more likely to succeed.

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