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Shopping For A New Car Sucks

For your boat-towing truck, I’d consider which I could get the best price on the options I wanted among the Chevy Silverado, Ford F150, and Toyota Tundra . Pros working in the construction trade around here seem to go for those Silverado’s more than the other two. I’ve seen heavy boats pull trucks right into the water on those boat ramps. No weight in the back combined with rear wheel drive and a steep slippery boat ramp with a lake at the bottom is not a good combination. I’d be inclined to want a 4 wheel drive truck myself, especially if the boat is a big one. A light weight aluminum fishing boat with a trolling motor, 4WD is not needed as much. If all you want is an opportunity to be on the local lake for a ride on a nice day, that’s the way to go maybe.

What you say about boats being an expensive hobby is very true. There’s a saying that goes something like ‘a boat is just a hole in the water in which you put all your money’. That’s why Ray is always saying to the callers who ask how much some repair or another costs, he says “well, what that job costs depends on how much the mechanics next boat payment is” … lol …

At least the price of gas is pretty reasonable now. That makes owning a boat a little easier on the wallet. Remember back 8 or 9 years ago when gasoline was approaching $5 per gallon? I was taking a walk around the neighborhood around the 4th of July and a neighbor was preparing his rig for the big weekend. Parked out front, a huge RV pulling a huge boat. I joked that with the price of gas he should just sign his next paycheck over to Exxon … lol …

Ed: I guess we could go back to the pre 2000s when buying a new vehicle consisted of physically going to the showroom and letting the know nothing carnival barker salesman get you into the latest shiny thing for 50% more than you expected to spend but with affordable monthly payments. Boats and airplanes are things that are much better owned by a buddy. Like (not lived in) motorhomes and pickup trucks that are very seldom used renting is a good thing. In the mid 1990s I engaged in some mid level home improvement projects consisting of a concrete block retaining wall, garage shelving, and a utility shed. I had $900 of materials delivered ($25 delivery fee) by a local lumber yard (prior to Home Depot and Lowes driving all of them out of business). I decided I wanted to add another layer to the retaining wall so returned to the lumber yard and ordered the additional 100 or so blocks delivered. The clerk was very concerned that I would be paying $25 delivery fee on less than $200 merchandise. He asked why don’t you have a pickup? I replied let me think. An old beater pickup would cost $2,000 plus a few hundred more to get it reliable. Add title, registration, insurance, and other expenses. I need a pickup about once every 5 years unless I pay $25 for delivery. Do I need to do the math? His response: Oh! My last 2 vehicle purchases were a new Mitsubishi Eclipse and new Kia Forte SX. I researched on the internet finding the best prices 60 miles North. I buy local when possible as it not only supports local businesses but also their employees and vendors plus property taxes. I was willing to pay a bit more to go local. The local Mitsubishi dealer met the internet price at 0% interest for 60 months. I could have wrote a check but why turn down free money. The local Kia dealer beat the internet price. No free money so I just wrote the check. My Kia came with 12 months SIRIUS XM radio. I listened to all of 2 stations. I did not renew the $144 per year subscription. I think we are much alike being frugal. We tend to spend money for what we need not what we want but are not cheapskates.

Wow, a lot of good, thoughtful responses. Let me try to respond back.

@Bing “Back in the old days, people just used a standard RWD car to pull a boat. . .” I remember those good days. You’d see Chevy Caprices, Ford Crown Victorias or whatever they called those big Ford sedans (LTD’s) back in the 80’s, Country Squire station wagons (my father’s car of choice in the 70’s & 80’s) etc. Also you’d see those sedans / station wagons pulling camper trailers. Boy, those were the good old days. . .

@jtsanders : I appreciate the levity. I’m looking at the Consumer Repts 2016 buying guide however and Rolls Royces aren’t listed, so I cannot determine if they’re reliable vehicles or what the cost per mile would be :smiley: (I don’t want to be sitting on the side of the road waiting for AAA when the apocalypse comes. . . )

My CR buying guide suggests the Sliverado / Colorado / Sierra to be “much worse than average” in predicted reliability. I know, some here discount what CR says, but for a $40k purchase, I don’t want to take a gamble. My 1992 Chevy truck was great, I only realized it in hindsight. Seems like, especially with the “Big 3”, when they do a re-design, the reliability suffers for a year or 3 until they get all of the bugs worked out. Its a shame really.

Not so much that I want to buy a boat that would require a full size truck to tow, but I was thinking of potentially getting a slide-in truck camper in the future and hauling that and a boat. REALLY what I wanted was a little conversion van, but nothing on the market really fits what I need. Went to the RV show 2 years in a row, they’ve got these little Roadtrek vans where too much stuff is crammed into too small a space to be useful for like 100 grand. Or you can step up to a decent size little Class B motorhome, but its on a Mercedes chassis, so its like $110k + minimum. Class C motorhome is a better value, but you’d never be able to use it as a daily commuter, so, Truck Camper was my plan B. I guess you just cannot demand everything you want from a vehicle.

I’ve had an eye on the Honda Fit since it came on the market here in late 2006. Last year I came within 1 visit to the dealer to buying one, but a family situation I won’t get into here because its personal AND quite off-topic derailed that at the last minute. I feel like I’ve already done my research on the Fit and know about what I should pay.

I don’t really want to drive all over town test driving a dozen different vehicles. I absolutely HATE dealing with commissioned salespeople, its almost impossible to concentrate, in fact, they’re trained to keep you distracted specifically so you CAN’T concentrate and you let down your guard. If I wait until the auto show comes to town, I can sit in and examine all the different vehicles and narrow it down to 3 or 4 choices.

You guys have given me a lot of food for thought. I’ve always preferred a manual transmission for my daily driver. Most people cannot or will not drive a manual these days and I wear it as a badge of honor. However, perhaps my days of shifting gears are drawing to a close. :frowning: Bottom line I suppose is you just cannot have it all in one vehicle.

Perhaps I should forget about the Fit and go consider something like a RAV 4, a CR-V, as some of you have suggested, or a Mazda CX-5? I could combine a practical commuter vehicle with something that would easily (I assume) tow a waverunner or an aluminum boat with outboard motor. Of course I’d have to start over from scratch, research wise. CR doesn’ t really report on towing capacity, so I’ll have to dig for that on the internet, and wait for the auto show to come to town to get my close look at these.

Perhaps patience is in order. 3 or 4 years from now when gas prices spike up over $4 a gallon again (and who amongst us doesn’t see THAT coming?) folks will be practically giving away big pickup trucks, boats, etc. especially if the economy slips back into recession.

Whenever I take a nostalgia drive through the neighborhood I grew up in, I always see a lot of boats sitting on trailers in driveways and back alleys that look like they’ve been sitting for quite awhile (flat tires, bird droppings on boat covers).

I work with a guy who’s good at this kind of wheeling & dealing. He sees something like that he’s interested in, he’ll just knock on the door cold and try to hammer out a deal on the spot. He says that’s how you get the best deals. Oftentimes the owner died or got too old or just lost interest and he or his widow is willing to sell for cheap. Me, after my experience with my Jeep, I don’t want something that’s been sitting for a long time though. I learned my lesson.

Nah, towing capacity for the RAV-4 and the CR-V is listed as 1,500 pounds. Could not find a towing capacity for the CX-5, although a tow hitch is listed as an option. Thing that drives me crazy is, every manufacturers site I’ve looked at, first thing that pops up is lease offers. On the other hand, clearly Big Brother is not watching me because they don’t know any better than to insult my intelligence on the first page.

To paraphrase / parody a Rolling Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you’ll find, you can’t get what you need either.”

Back to the 'ol drawing board. Shopping for a new car sux.

I dont even shop anymore,the sales pressure,internet and phone are a pain in the @$$,the Salespeople will misrepresent whats availible,even after you clearly state what you want,I have found out however the price difference a couple of states over can be incredible,dont go down the “motor mile” and expect to get the dealerships competing against each other,when the same person owns most of them.(heard one Salesman say"We are not giving cars away")
On the ownership deal,eg;I bought a new compressor last summer and havent used it yet,due to change in circumstances,occasional use doesnt dictate ownership,unless you have so much money,you dont know what to do with it.

Car shopping can be fun if you:

  1. Analyze objectively what you really need
  2. Know what you can afford
  3. Research the options based on (1) and (2).
  4. Ignore what the salesman says
  5. Ignore even more what the sales manager says.

Most retailers DELIVER and even Costco delivers if you order on-line.

Over the last 10 years I have needed a truck once, and a friend picked up the materials for me. That was worth a bottle of very good whiskey. If you ROUTINELY carry bulky items a minivan is the most economical solution

“Over the last 10 years I have needed a truck once, and a friend picked up the materials for me. That was worth a bottle of very good whiskey. If you ROUTINELY carry bulky items a minivan is the most economical solution”

My Dodge Caravan, combined with my utility trailer, boat trailer, PWC trailer, (Where I live a “permanent” trailer license plate is a one-time $75.) covers just about everything, even short hauling my not too big boats, Sea-Doo, etcetera. Living on a 10,000 acre lake helps with that.

If I had a big boat and didn’t haul it much, then I’d probably rent a truck from one of the “Buy Here, Pay Here” lots, in my area. They’ll rent you a car or truck for not much money.

I like the idea of getting the daily driver you want and getting a used pickup to tow your boat. I have a 1997 F-150 (4.6L, 4WD) that I maybe put 1000 miles on year. I don’t use it much, but it’s nice to have around for those times that I need truck, I bought the truck about ten years ago, I didn’t pay much for it, and it’s upkeep is actually cheaper than running out to rent a truck when I need one.

How often are you going to tow? Can you rent a truck for that?

I say that because investing 40K in something you are not going to use all the time seems a bit extreme. Also, towing increases the wear and tear on the truck.

This way you can also get something a bit more comfy than the Fit for your daily driver, like a 6 speed Mazda 3.

@galant stole my thunder. I was going to suggest the same thing. Rent a truck with a hitch when you need it and use the money saved to put towards one everyday vehicle that meets all of your everyday needs.

That’s what got me. Small SUVs with zero towing capacity, and mid sized with a 1500# capacity. Even a little VW bug used to be able to pull 1500#. What good is an SUV if you can’t tow anything with it?

Small SUVs with zero towing capacity, and mid sized with a 1500# capacity.

I don’t know of ANY mid-size SUV that can’t town 3500lbs…most can tow 5000lbs. My highlander can tow #3500. The Rav-4 can too. The 4runner (mid-size) with the V6 can tow 6500lbs.

Well, objectively what I really need isn’t available in one vehicle. One shouldn’t necessarily spend as much as one can afford to spend. I would advocate spending as little as necessary to achieve the goal and putting the rest into dividend paying mutual funds (or ETF’s if you prefer). Of course “need” is subjective too. I suppose I could eke out my survival with no more than a little motorcycle, but life would be a lot tougher.

I don’t know about the whole rent-a-truck thing. I think that would get expensive and inconvenient quickly renting a truck every weekend or every other weekend, then you’ve got to get it back to the rental place before they close, and so on. . .

Perhaps a minivan would work. I seem to recall reading that some minivans can tow about 3,500 pounds. But front wheel drive isn’t so good for towing, is it?

Now I’m thinking the best option is like many of you have said, get the daily driver (probably a Honda Fit, for me). That way I’ve at least got reliable transportation. And then just be patient and wait for an older pickup truck. A good friend of mine says to always keep an ear open when you hear about someone going through a divorce, job loss, medical problem, etc., they’re often willing to sell stuff for cheap. Problem is I’m a bit of a loner and don’t really know a whole lot of people, also, I don’t go around poking my nose into folks’ personal problems either, so I tend to miss out on this kind of thing.

Another thought: I notice its quite a bit cheaper to sit around and talk about all the fun things I am going to do in the future (go boating) than it would be to actually buy the boat and tow vehicle I would need to actually do them. Maybe instead of actually buying a boat, I could just spend a few more years talking to everybody ad nauseum about all the fun I’m going to have when I do. That’s kinda what I’ve been doing for the past decade or so.

On the first track of comedian Lewis Black’s CD “Anticipation” he discusses this at length, saying the anticipation of an event is always more fun than the event itself. “The moment - is reality - and reality - always kinda sucks!” “I believe, that the way in which we should truly live, is we should think about what we’re going to do, and then not do it.”

I don’t want to be limping around going to work on herniated disks when I’m 70 just because I just HAD to have a boat when I was in my 40’s.

Response to @MikeInNH

Well, according to Toyota’s website, the RAV4 is rated to tow #1500 pounds. So is the CR-V. I looked it up earlier this morning. I don’t know if the older models could tow more. HIghlanders and 4Runners cost as much as or more than the pickup trucks, if I were going to spend that kind of money, which I probably won’t at the end of the day, I’d rather have a pickup truck.

Well, according to Toyota's website, the RAV4 is rated to tow #1500 pounds.

Yup…you’re right. But the Rav4 USE TO offer a V6 that could tow 3500lbs. From my search the V6 was dropped in 2013.

. HIghlanders and 4Runners cost as much as or more than the pickup trucks

That could be…I was just commenting on Bings statement that small and Suv’s can’t tow much…And they can.

Hm. Maybe SUV should be more accurately termed SDV. Sport DECORATIVE Vehicle.

Glorified station wagons. Except you could tow more with an actual station wagon. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Country Squire again, except they’d probably screw it up like Volkswagen did with the new Beetle, it wouldn’t be the same (you can’t go home again.).

Glorified station wagons. Except you could tow more with an actual station wagon

And you’re sitting at least a foot higher.

I’m just going by the reviews in Motor Trend a few months ago where they list all the SUVs with some specs. I was surprised that all the little ones that I might be interested in couldn’t tow spit. I don’t know about what it was like in 2013.