Finding a new car that is adequate is not that easy. Some of us might have the luxury of time and can afford to physically show up at the appropriate dealerships to test-drive and compare vehicles (though asking a salesman might not get you anywhere in this endeavor, really). But most of us, I contend, have way too much to do and would prefer someone do the vehicle comparisons for us.
But where to go? Whom to trust?
The trick is to consult the most reliable sources—those who will compare vehicles with regards to style, comfort, cost, dependability, emissions ratings, and (especially these days—in 2006—with gas at over four bucks a gallon!) gas mileage statistics without having anything to gain by doing a vehicle comparison review for us average consumers.
True, we can consult the car and truck forums, where aficionados and enthusiasts will clarify in great detail their opinions on makes, models, and relevant characteristics. We can check out the commentaries on bulletin boards online, such as those at Craigslist.com, to get an idea about which particulars (and even particular sellers) to stay clear of. But we can also compare vehicles of our liking at the premier online sites. Such sites do not get a kick-back for high ratings or reviews, and, hopefully, do not suffer the fallout when providing us with information on lemons. Such sites compare vehicles according to standards, regulations, and industry specifications, and offer clear, accessible, and fair and unbiased reports.
For instance, one of the finest sites to consult to compare vehicles before you buy is Edmonds.com. Though you may not need to be told this anymore, as Edmonds advertises on television, now, the site is a wonderful database of new and used vehicle information, and even includes a six- or seven-part series written by a guy who went undercover to work (!) as a used and then new car salesman and return to Edmonds to write about the experiences and to keep us unsuspecting, gullible, or trusting folks in the know.
And since, as I noted above, the gas prices are out of control, and emissions concerns are also at an all-time high, such sites as epa.gov (Environmental Protection Agency’s website) will help you compare vehicles’ emission ratings and gas mileage details. Which is important information not to be underestimated.
Other sites that are handy for those who want to compare vehicles by studying online include, of course, those which offer reports and reviews written by general, public consumers and consumer-centered writers/professionals. For example, epinions.com is a site which publishes average Joe reviews (that sometimes can be more important for a buying decision than all the technical details given by “experts”), and Consumer Reports offers the reasonably “unbiased” reports of those pros who compare vehicles and report to us, to protect us by informing us. As it should be.