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Any thoughts on Consumer Checkbook Carbargains service

I might be buying a new Subaru Impreza by the end of the year. I’ve looked at various makes and models, don test drives, research prices, etc. I should know by Dec 15 if I want a new car. I rarely buy cars (last time was over 20 years ago) and not the best negotiator. I can use the Truecar service for free but the reviews of it for the past few years seem sketchy. I am a member of Consumer Checkbook so I am considering using their Carbargains service for $200. Do anyone have experience using this service? And if I go ahead, when is the best time of the month to contact Carbargains?

This is easy, just look at the Subaru dealers near you and find the one on each web site that you might want. Have the internet sales contact with a price dependent on a test drive . That eliminates you bothering a salesman on commission and you being bothered by one. I would not pay a service to find a car for me.

Another way is to use the Subaru build your own feature and receive by email quotes from surrounding dealers .

It’s amazing just how lucrative it has become for automobile purchasing consultants. Have dealerships become more aggressive these days?

And when the rubber meets the road does the Subaru live up to the image it has built for itself?

And about that image stuff. I was convinced Ford’s position as #1 among commercial light duty trucks was well earned back when it took that position. Of course the UPS and Fed Ex fleets of route trucks seemed to be exclusively Fords with the bullet proof 300ci I6 engine likely had a great deal to do with becoming king of the hill. But these days it is my opinion that all the various automobile brands, Ford and Subaru most definitely, are tooting their horn on relative quality that they have let fade while polishing their rusting trophies.

you might want to go to something like edmunds.com, get through their “new car” wizard all the way to submitting price requests to the nearby dealers, then negotiate the price over email (it’s much less intense than in-person), usually takes 2-3 days, no more. Edmunds also publishes a “TMV price” as a guidance to what other people are paying, so you can judge if you are getting a fair deal for your particular set of options.

There are other free buying services, big box stores like Sam’s may include it with your membership, some credit card services, not sure but I think both AAA and AARP offer this service.
But I have never tried it. My last vehicle found online at the price I wanted, ontacted the internet sales at my local dealer, they went and picked it up and sold it to me. Actually got it for $500 less by agreeing to finance through my credit union, then paid off the CCU.

Never heard of it until today. Consumer Reports car buying service would be my first go-to.

Does CR have a buying service? When I go to the CR web site, they hook me up with TrueCar. Is there a different one?

I’ve not looked into just what CR offers in that realm. On the back cover of the April 2018 Auto Issue is their ad for this site: cr.org/buyacar

I have never heard of this service before, so can not comment on that.

Our Forester is the first new car that I bought and I was honestly lost as nobody was budging on their pricing, only until I came across subaruforester.org They maintain a thread for who paid what where etc.(like this one) I am sure there is such impreza board as well. Look for such thread and find what should be the best price for the trim you are looking for. Until this point, my car shopping experience was an ordeal.

Next, on the same board, ask if anybody knows any dealer that offers special pricing. DON’T HESITATE TO GO OUT OF YOUR WAY. I live in NY and a fellow member from NJ gave me a contact of a specific salesperson in a dealership in NH. I wrote him the exact details of the car I wanted and asked for his best price. His price was the cheapest I ever got from anybody locally. While it will still 500 above of my guesstimate, I didn’t haggle because he gave me his best price without a word from me (in terms of haggling).
I called him up to give credit card info for booking and the car was delivered to me in CT. I never saw the salesperson or the dealership. 4 years and 3 months now, best stress-free purchase I made so far.

BTW, CR or Costco or almost every other (similar) car shopping website uses Truecar in their backend. Their prices are nowhere what you can get if you talk to the dealership yourself. To give you an idea, the price I paid was $2000 less than every such website gave me.

If you are around me, send me a PM and I will give you the details. Just FYI, nothing in there for me, don’t get a dime from the dealership. Just a happy customer.

Thanks to everyone for their responses.

I appreciate all the suggestions. Most services offering to negotiate car deals for you have TrueCar at the back end. I’ve been reading about it this weekend and it seems to have used to be a great service but is now not so good. Too many stories of it not coming up with a great price or people going to a dealership and finding that they won’t honor the price they provided TrueCar. Or they don’t even have the car in stock. TrueCar used to provide more financial information to the buyer than they do currently. CR uses TrueCar.

CarBargains claims that they have dealers bid to sell you are car and that TrueCar pricing from dealers isn’t as competitive. TrueCar is paid by the winning dealership, CarBargains is paid by the buyer.

I will look more into Edmunds.com. I’ve seen them in reviews but I don’t remember what was written. And I might use some of the strategies suggested here.

I’m in Virginia so going to NH this month isn’t possible, especially since I am not able to take any vacation this month other than driving to pick up my son from college.

Another issue I am working on is whether the services include everything in the pricing. Not just the price of the car but also the “delivery fee.”

I’m sorry, but for $200 it sounds like a rip-off. You can absolutely make dealers to go into an email bidding and you do not need to pay $200 for that.
If you were buying a rare or expensive car, I could understand that, but Impreza??
I live in Northern VA and the competition here is fierce, I had a friend of mine driving here from Connecticut since the price difference paid for the airfare and the trouble and then some more.

Delivery fee is charged by the manufacturer it seems. If I remember correctly, I paid $799 for the vehicle to get it shipped from Japan on the boat. Its same even if it is made in Indiana, so that is not negotiable. When you talk to the dealerships, ask them out the door price, thats it. Pls don’t fall for monthly price.

BTW, you do not have to go to NH. They deliver anywhere in new England. So for you, it will be Stamford, CT. I picked it up in the parking lot of Walmart in Danbury, CT.

Either way, spending some time on Impreza forum will help a lot.
Check this thread, may be its helpful, https://www.impreza5.com/forum/9-2017-impreza-general-discussion-forum/5417-general-pricing-strategy-tips-first-time-buying.html
I didn’t find price paid thread after a quick search.

Thanks for the link. Virginia isn’t part of New England so I don’t think they will help but someone said the market here in northern Virginia is very competitive.

And I now have some people saying that Subaru has dropped some in quality. I am aware of the comments about the Impreza’s engine being underpowered but it is zippier than my Legacy. So considering the Honda EX again.

We have the nation’s top Subaru dealer here in my backyard in Western NY. They have a strict “no haggle” policy and their prices are excellent. I use their website to benchmark dealer prices if I am going to buy elsewhere but my parents have purchased from Van Bortel (because they hate car buying) and the prices have always been very competitive. They have three dealerships. Subaru, Chevy, and Ford. Hopefully their website is helpful to you. I don’t think that you want to buy from them since Virginia is pretty far away and I never liked the idea of buying out of state due to sales tax complexities.

Can you give me their website address. I plan on serious car shopping on Monday. Maybe even Saturday.

Car buying achieved. I checked out Van Boatel web site and I was able to do better than what they had posted on their web site. I ended up doing it myself without any car buying services. I found a nice website with a sample letter to get bids on cars. I think it helped, oddly the site doesn’t look like it was updated since 2010. I forgot to record the site.