BUYING A CAR IN 2019
(WITHOUT HAVING HEADACHES IN 2020)
Following are recommendations for different types of vehicles. The reason that more than one is recommended in each category is that, besides the fact that most people have different requirements and personal preferences, the basic physical differences between people can make a difference between which vehicles fit each of us and which are uncomfortable or inconvenient.
In each category, the vehicles are arranged from the highest recommended vehicle of that type (the one shown first in the category) to the least recommended vehicle of that type (the last vehicle shown in the category). The least recommended vehicle is still recommended for a particular purpose. Vehicles that are not recommended are not shown in these recommendation sections.
Vehicles are rated to give you an idea of what to expect as the capabilities of the vehicle. Of course, the actual performance of the vehicle will depend on the driver. Definitions of the ratings are as follows:
ACCELERATION (STANDARD ENGINE):
2 Can keep up with traffic pretty well
3 Adequate for most situations, with power to spare when needed
4 Quite spritely
5 Downright fast
BRAKING (FROM 60 MPH):
1 Takes over 130 ft to stop. Rather longish.
2 Takes 125 to 130 ft to stop. Average for today's cars.
3 Takes 120 to 125 ft to stop. Good for non sports car.
4 Takes 115 to 120 ft to stop. Serious stopping power.
5 Takes less than 115 ft to stop. Pavement grabber.
FUEL COST (STANDARD ENGINE):
1 Below 15 mpg on regular or below 16 mpg on premium fuel
2 15 - 19 mpg on regular or 17 - 21 on premium fuel
3 20 - 24 mpg on regular or 22 - 26 on premium fuel
4 25 - 29 mpg on regular or 28 - 32 on premium fuel
5 Over 30 mpg on regular or over 33 mpg on premium fuel
1 2 seater
2 Seats for 2 adults plus 2 kids who don't fight
3 Seats 4, okay for around town, a little crowded for trips
4 Comfortable for 4 on trips
5 Comfortable for 5 or 6 on trips, more around town
1 Not recommended
2 Good for low initial price/short ownership span/low total mileage
3 Decent reliability for long term ownership
4 Very good vehicle
5 Best there is. More reliable as a used car than many new cars
1 Not much
2 Can do a trip for two
3 Good trunk space
4 Swallows large household items
TOWING (WITH REQUIRED EQUIPMENT):
1 Don't do it
2 Can tow a small trailer - 4X7 UHaul or motorcycle/jet ski trailer
3 Can tow up to 3500 lb - outboard boat or loaded 5X8 UHaul
4 Can tow up to 5000 lb - 20 ft I/O boat or loaded 5X10 UHaul
5 Can tow over 5000 lb - Horse trailers/Travel trailers/big boats
1 Not for hauling
2 Hauls large boxes, but you have to fit them into the trunk
3 Easy to load and handles TVs and lawnmowers easily
4 Has space and weight capacity for heavier items
5 Serious space weight capacity
1 Must rely on brakes alone
2 Can get out of its own way
3 Has a decent chance of avoidance
4 Performs well in emergency maneuvers
5 Provides the best chance for survival
Vehicles depicted here are currently available at the dealerships. Although many vehicles are shown to the public prior to being available for sale, this website will generally not address those vehicles until they are actually on dealers' lots.
This section makes the assumption that you will keep the vehicle for several years. If you are buying for short term, or leasing for short term, the quality of the vehicle that you choose is not as important. Also, most short term buyers are less concerned with resale value. In these cases, “price” vehicles can be considered. Or you might check out the last vehicles in the respective categories below, which are recommended for people who either do not have the money for the best of everything or are not going to put very many miles on the vehicle.
These recommendations are starting points for your shopping. If you find something that rings your bell and pleases your bank account, it is what you should buy because you are the one paying for it.
The purpose of pictures shown here are to give you an idea of the style of the vehicle, not the size of the vehicle. The pictures are definitely not to scale. That is, just because one vehicle’s picture is larger than another is not an indication that the vehicle is larger. The picture of the Ford Expedition is the same size as the picture of the Honda Civic, but the two vehicles are very different in actual size.