Momma needs a new car! How to discover what she likes to drive?
Momma is not me, but literally my mom who is a "regular person"-- not a 7.3L diesel with horse trailer connoisseur.
She has driven hand-me-down cars for decades and now wants to bust out and buy a "modern car."
This doesn't mean brand new. This does mean figuring out what she likes in a car and what those features are worth to her. I'm no use because although I am Research Queen about everything, I study truck problems.
So how does she go about teaching herself what she likes after years and years of not asking? Going to tire kick and test drive at dealers seems like a painful way to go about it. Should she rent candidate cars and really try 'em out?
I can give you a list of her initial desires if you want to get into details.
Thank you for your help. This is one of my Christmas Service Projects for her. I'll be on it for the next couple of weeks.
My mother is 63, and strikes me as a fairly average type driver. Her ideal vehicle would be a small SUV/ crossover. She likes the better visibility and easier entry and exit of a vehicle that's a little higher off the ground ( compared to the average sedan), prefers a more hatchback style back end ( especially if the glass opens separately, makes loading groceries easy), and feels safer in a slightly bigger car ( again compared to an average sedan). A mid-sized or large SUV, however, is hard for her to park ( pull in or parallel) and hard for her to get in. Living in Colorado, traction in snow is also an issue, so 4WD or AWD are nice, but it needs to at least have front wheel drive. My mother currently drives a VW Jetta TDI and while she likes the gas mileage ( although she gets stopped at least once a month at the gas station by someone convinced she's using the wrong pump), but because it's low, getting in and out is harder for her, and the rear wheel drive is awful on the snow.
I don't know if this helps you any, these are just the things my mother talks about when looking for a car.
oops that's me ..... I always wished for an MGB, enough room for just me and a sack of groceries .. that was my fantasy after raising the kids and having to drive a Dodge Caravan all those shuttle service yrs.
I agree automatic, easy entry, higher visibility, ease of parking, AWD, enough framework that it's not like driving a tin can across country - why old folks had those big cushy Caddies.
Love the Subaru's.
About the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you're fighting temptation.
-- Tom Wilson, actor & comedian
When I was in the market, my first priority was a higher ground clearance. I set up appointments, after my internet research, and made my point on the phone that i was NOT buying, but just driving to see if the car was for me.
Drove the two that I fell in love with online (Buick Encore and Nissan Juke) and fell in love with the Toyota Rav ... that I only chose to test drive because it was a Toyota.
I love my Toyota Rav4! Just be very upfront about your needs and the car salesmen will adjust. Just remember - you can always walk away!
mvp, my parents have the VW Jetta TDI, and if I wasn't on my phone I could write you paragraphs about everything I think is wrong with that car. My Dad is German, is a strong supporter of diesel engines in small cars ( they started asking dealerships about this car and wanting to test drive it when there were only 6 in the US), and is a firm believer in keeping a car for about 7 years/100K miles. They have had the car less than 3 years and began shopping for a replacement nearly a year ago. I am a car nut and I hate the car! Sorry, I'm not trying to jump down your throat, I just think there's a lot of things wrong with that car and I know my parents are extremely frustrated by it and regret buying it despite the massive amount of time my Dad spent researching it.
I know a lot of people who swear by Subaru, I've never known an unhappy Subaru owner ( I'd estimate I know about 20, including several family members) and their durability is through the roof. My sister and her husband had 3 from 1992 that they bought as high mileage vehicles for dirt cheap and put nearly 200K on each car. Their last one finally quit two months sho after nearly a decade of abuse, limited oil changes, and almost no maintenance.
Apologies, apparently the car is front wheel drive, I don't own the car and haven't read the owners manual.
Last edited by Sacred_Petra; Dec. 15, 2013 at 02:40 PM.
There are websites that rate small SUVs. Most people have a feel for what brand of car they like or at least domestic vs import. We bought a Honda Pilot in 2005. It was one of 3 vehicles we'd chosen to try, 2 cars and the SUV. We drove, looked at each other and said "I think this is it ". We knew we wanted a smaller SUV next and bought a Nissan Murano last year. The next smaller sizes were out for us as my husband refuses to consider a 4 cylinder. Ford has a plethora of SUV choices but the one we drove was spendy and they couldn't come close to matching the year end discount on the Nissan. I think the Nissan Juke is super cute but wonder if I'd get tired of the design. We didn't drive one.
Go with a Subaru. I have an 05 outback sedan, they call it the legacy edition. It sits a bit higher off the ground than a normal sedan (think of it as a little lift kit ) so your visibility is excellent, it handles like a dream, decent gas mileage for an AWD vehicle, I have the 6 cylinder 3.0 engine which kills my mpg but you could go for a smaller engine too. Very zippy. The interior is fully loaded, leather, heated seats, cd changer, digital thermostat, power everything. I'm already planning my next Subaru purchase and mine is still going strong at 160.000 miles. I've never had to do anything but normal maintenance.
My elderly Mom had to go to a vehicle that sat higher because of her mobility, we got a Ford Escape. It is perfect. My husband works for the city and they are their fleet vehicle so he is familiar with their mechanical ins and outs, they are great.
fwiw when my mom had the opportunity to choose her own car for the first time in her life at age 70, she chose a Subaru forrester.
she loved that little car----and being a subie i sold it for what she paid for it when she passed away.
I could name a list of at least 20 subaru owners I know who have blown headgaskets on turbocharged subarus before 80k miles.
That said I really liked the forester I just drove, however, the 2014 is a completely different breed from the previous generations of foresters that were little trucks and just about as refined.
I ended up buying a 2013 Rav4. I'm tickled with it.
If you don't need AWD then don't get it-- it kills your gas mileage and does absolutely nothing in 99% of normal driving.
I'm concerned by the person about who describes themselves as a 'car nut' but thinks their parent's TDI Jetta is RWD. Jettas have been front wheel drive for their entire existence. So if it's bad in the snow, it is not because it's RWD.
for what it's worth my other car is an Audi and that thing is bulletproof, fun to drive, and never.lets.go on slippery surfaces. I would take an audi over a subaru any day, and the maintenance costs are the same anyway so why not enjoy a little class while you're at it.
I am a car nut and I hate the car! Sorry, I'm not trying to jump down your throat, I just think there's a lot of things wrong with that car and I know my parents are extremely frustrated by it and regret buying it despite the massive amount of time my Dad spent researching it.
It does not offend me that you hate a POS lemon of a car. I do understand that some of these have "electrical ghosts" that are a PITA to fix.
I'm sorry that happened to you/your dad. I appreciate the reminder warning. It's always needed to balance out my Fahrvergnugen- and diesel fetishes.
My mother currently drives a VW Jetta TDI ..... and the rear wheel drive is awful on the snow.
Originally Posted by Sacred_Petra
is a strong supporter of diesel engines in small cars ( they started asking dealerships about this car and wanting to test drive it when there were only 6 in the US), and is a firm believer in keeping a car for about 7 years/100K miles. They have had the car less than 3 years and began shopping for a replacement nearly a year ago.
What car do your parents have?
Because like the other poster said, the Jetta has NEVER been RWD, and the TDIs have been available in the Jettas for decades now (not just the last three years), easily available in the US. "Pick them up off Craigslist for $2000" sort of easily available...all the older ones you see around me have all been converted to veggie oil.
If I had a choice of what I would put my elders and my children in, for that matter, it would be a tough, safe car. I have always liked volvos for that reason. Can't kill em. The next would be a subaru outback. Lots of space in the back for groceries or a bike. Easy in and out, even when the body size of the person is small. Goes forever, and feels and drives great. I also like the Jeep Compass, similar to outback in some ways, but low power going up hills accelerating onto the highway, I thought.
I just bought a used Trail Blazer, if they want a mid sized SUV. Love love love it.
I also believe in equipping them with 4 wheel drive if there is any chance of snow or ice in the region they are driving in.
That said, I think the best way for her to see what she wants is to go on a bunch of test drives. You can look on edmunds and collect a list of 5 or 10, and make it a fun project.
"If you're a rescuer who needs 'rescuing'... you need to rethink what you're doing." - Angela Freda
Thought I'd mention, the Jeep Compass is a bit higher up off the ground than alot of sedans, and I like that, and the seat has a lot of height variation. This is a well priced little car which is actually the same car as the newer Jeep Patriot but with a smaller profile. It is Similar to the Ford Escape, too, so she might really like to try oun out.
"If you're a rescuer who needs 'rescuing'... you need to rethink what you're doing." - Angela Freda