Friday, June 21, 2013

Vehicle Shopping -- Choices, Choices, and then Options

Vehicle shopping is a lot like watching a stream tumble over rocks on its long journey to the sea. There are twists, turns, and options at every point along the way.

Think about the complexity of it all. From a standing start, with no intention of purchasing a vehicle to being in crisis mode and needing to purchase a replacement vehicle.

The first option is, what kind of vehicle? Auto (mini, compact, mid-size, standard, luxury) or SUV (cross over, small, large, luxury, AWD, 2WD, 4WD)

OK, so we focused in pretty quickly on replacing our SUV with an SUV and probably not the luxury version. Although, there is the desire to get a slightly bigger vehicle.

Next is manufacturer. Domestic (Chrysler, Ford, GM, Tesla), foreign (Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar) , or mix (Honda, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Acura)

That one is still in the air but it seems to be centering in on Toyota or Honda, but Jeep still has a dog in the mix.

Then it comes down to models. Ugh!! There are so many, Grand Cherokee, Highlander, Pathfinder, Pilot, MDX.

Currently the focus is in the Highlander with the Pilot close behind.

Once this is decided, then it is down to trim and options. There are about ten separate trim options (counting the 2WD vs AWD differences) for the Highlander. And that doesn't include Hybrid options which adds two more.

Once the trim option is decided, color (exterior and interior) and other lesser options are decided. One of the biggest discussions we had was over the need for an entertainment system with DVD/Blueray capability. We decided no, we hardly used the one in our previous vehicle.

Once all of these choices and options are narrowed down, then you would think that the hardest part of the decision process had been completed. But, no. The hard part is just beginning.

The grand daddy of all of the choices--which some people start with, but in reality is the culmination of all of the other decisions: New or Used (OK, call it pre-owned, ugh!)?

That is an incredibly interesting decision. One with which we continue to wrestle.

The really hard part of this entire process is that usually, we spend months shopping, looking and deciding. Now, however, it seems like we need to get a vehicle much sooner. I feel this puts us at a distinct disadvantage and has caused us to change some important plans.

But the decision tree will be completed and another vehicle will soon be stabled in my driveway. Although I am told that I may have to make room in my garage for it. That should be interesting.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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