Researching New Cars
Best Sources Of
General Information About New Vehicles
Manufacturers' Web sites offer general information
about their makes and models but this information is not objective.
Dealerships don't offer objective information, either. Use these sources
for descriptive information about particular vehicles, if you wish,
but consult one of the following sites for objective information.
The best, most objective source for hard,
accurate information about specific vehicles and pricing. Though Consumer
Reports makes mistakes at times, it almost always errs on the consumer's
side rather than a manufacturer's or dealer's side. A thorough report
on a particular vehicle will cost you a modest fee ($12) or you can subscribe
online to their reports on all products for $4 a month (renewed automatically unless cancelled) or $24 a year.
Highly recommended. Information included: current rebates, unadvertised
dealer incentives and holdbacks, accurate dealer "invoice" (cost)
figures, safety ratings from CR's own tests, and a list of alternative
Their print pricing guides have been an accurate
source of dealer "invoice" (cost) figures for many years. Online,
they offer a range of information, but no independent tests. Be cautious
in using related services or responding to site advertising links-ignoring
them is recommended.
Offers generally good and unbiased information and stories on both new
and used vehicles. [more to come]
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On New Vehicles
Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Provides vehicle ratings based on crash
tests performed by NHTSA, information on recalls, and information
on a range of other safety topics such as airbags and child safety
seats. Numerous links to other safety information.
Institute for Highway Safety
Provides vehicle safety ratings based on
its own crash tests. Uniquely it provides 40 mph frontal offset tests
that closely simulate a common type of actual highway crash. The site
provides information on numerous other automotive and highway safety
issues and links to other good sources of safety information.
Center for Auto Safety
Provides breaking news stories on automotive
safety issues, information on lemon laws, action alerts, and other
safety related articles and links. Consumer oriented and supported.
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Virtual Tours Of
Guides For New Vehicles
Many sites say or imply that they can provide
the accurate dealer "invoice" or cost to the dealer of a new vehicle.
Many are highly inaccurate. Stick to one of these services.
Subscribe to complete access to their online
reports, pricing guides, and ratings for $4 a month or $24 a year.
If you are serious about accuracy and no hype while shopping, this
is a deal.
Provides "base cost" or "invoice cost" and
"MSRP" for new vehicles at no cost. Generally accurate and an easy
way to do a quick check on any vehicle you're considering. Go to Consumer
Reports when you get serious.
Edmunds also offers a figure they call "True
Market Value" or TMV, which they claim to be the best current deal
in the marketplace. I advise ignoring this figure and bargaining up
from dealer cost. Edmunds is also closely linked to GMBuyPower.com,
so be careful about clicking on links or banner ads that take you
directly to buying services, financing services and the like.
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