Opinions Needed - Car Shopping

Lounge By TexasSugar Updated 10 May 2010 , 1:22pm by TexasSugar

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TexasSugar Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 6:24pm
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Okay so I am in the very early stranges of car shopping and am trying to figure out some pros and cons about different things.

My first serious of questions are:

Which do you prefer, Leather or clothe seats and why?

Do you have kids and did that factor into which you go?

Do you have one and wish you had gotten the other?

I'm looking in to an SUV, either a GMC or Chevy. While I don't have children yet, I hope to in the sorta near future. What I buy now I am planning on keeping a while so I want to make sure I get it child friendly.

23 replies
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indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 6:56pm
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When I go car shopping, I head to the car lots and see what's out there, then decide which of the available selections I prefer. I hear all the time about people internetting to car shop because they KNOW they want a blue Toyota 2 door hatchback sunroof .... thing. I just can't comprehend how they know that. How do they know what kind of car they want until they see what's out ther? That is such a weird way to buy a car, to me. icon_lol.gif It would be like deciding ahead of time what dress or shoes I wanted to buy BEFORE going to the mall to see what's on the racks.

But I digress!!!

A car salesman told me that REAL leather absorbs sweat, so when you sit on leather, you're sitting on other people's sweat. Is leather-like a consideration?

Both have pro's and con's. Cloth seats dont' burn your butt when you come out of the mall in the summer but leather/plastic seats dont' care if you spill a coke on them.

Kids or not, make sure the back seat is big enough for PEOPLE to fit in. I hate vehicles that appear to be built with "oh there's a little extra space back here .... see if we can throw a seat back there! Leg room? We don' need no stinkin' leg room!"

Unless you're planning on getting pregnant this year, then figure it will probably be 2 years before you actually have a kid to put back there. A lot of folks trade their cars in every 2 years, so you may be ready for a new car before you have a kid anyway. If you're not one of those folks, then this is not a consideration.

(And doesn't GMC ... General Motors..... MAKE chevy?) icon_biggrin.gif

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TexasSugar Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 7:34pm
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Indy, I'm going for the SUV, because I've had a Blazer for years and like that type of car. I like the flat open space in the back for cakes and other stuff. And my car is roomy. Unfortunetly they don't make Blazers any more. Go figure. I'm not sure which version I am getting yet and will definetly shop around first.

Yes, both GMC and Chevy are made by the same company. My brother has told me that GMCs usually come with the bigger packages than Chevy, and usually come with a bigger price tag.

So if I decide that I want clothe over leather seats then I will look for packages that have that or the other way. If leather is a must then I have to consider I may be looking at the bigger car package.

I've never had to go car shopping, and secretly wish my brother or dad would just pick one for me since when you start talking engine stuff that just goes over my head. The car I have now is 15 years old and I have been driving it for atleast 9-10 years, so I'm not a change a car every two years kind of person. I'm looking to buy a new car that will last me the next 10 to 15 years, which is why I am adding in the kid friendly considerations.

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saffronica Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 8:28pm
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Personally, I don't see a huge advantage to leather. I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old and have had to clean everything from goldfish crackers to vomit out of our car, and while it might be easier with leather, it's certainly feasible with cloth. I find cloth a lot more pleasant to sit on, especially since I live in the desert Southwest, where it gets very hot in the summer -- and since you live in Texas, I'm sure you understand that.

I shop a little differently than Indydebi. It would drive me crazy to have to go look at a dozen different cars at a dozen different dealers, so I use the internet to figure out exactly what I'm looking for in terms of reliability, safety, and features. Then I narrow it down to two or three models that seem to best meet my needs and test-drive those ones. We're going to buy a minivan sometime in the next two months (can't fit three carseats in the back of our car!), and I have done a lot of research online. I've narrowed it down to two models, and now we're going to dealerships to actually see and drive them and figure out which one is the best for us.

The absolute best advice I can give is to subscribe to consumerreports.org. They have so much valuable information, and it's only $6 for a one-month subscription -- which is hardly anything compared to the thousands you'll be spending on your car. You can compare different vehicles and see their ratings on the cars as a whole as well as individual components. They even have ratings for used cars. It is definitely worth the price -- plus, you can research a thousand other things (like stand mixers icon_smile.gif ), which can be fun even if you're not planning to buy them right away.

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misserica Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 9:15pm
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Texas I only wanted to add my 2 cents about the leather vs. cloth debate. I initially wanted my car with leather but it was not an option at the time. My mom has leather in her truck and I do not like it and neither does she. Unless the model you pick has the option of seat warmers, you are going to have a cold tushy in the winter. BFs truck has them and it lovely but moms does not and yikes! In the summer you can sear your thighs on those seats in both trucks!

By the way, do not know if you are interested in something other than GMC or Chevy but my mom has the Pacifica and its a really roomy SUV. We do not have the leg room problem in it, its a wee bit tight in the far back seats (it seats 7), but the two middle seats are ideal for car seats and booster seats. And all of the back seats fold down for cake transportation. HTH

Good luck on your search.

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TexasSugar Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 9:45pm
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My Blazer currently has the leather seats, as does my parent's car (which I drive when me and my mom go shopping.) I think the truck I had before had clothe, but I really can't remember. That's why I was curious about clothe because my experince in the last 10 years has been leather.

Misserica, I asked my brother at lunch today if I should shop around at other brands(?). I was like, I want something I can come to you with if I have minor problems, so I want something that you can work on. While my brother isn't officially a mechanic, (hasn't had any formal training) he works on all of our company trunks, which has included rebuilding a few engines. I totally trust him to work on my car, and it saves me money from having to go to a mechanic. Almost all of our company cars are Chevy/GMC as well as personally cars.

Either him or my dad will be the ones going with me to look at cars. I need someone that can explain things to me in English, not car speak. I trust my brother to help me shop for a car, he is all about getting the best vaule for your money, but also wouldn't let me get a car that isn't going to last. Espeically since he knows that I'll be calling him if I break down somewhere. icon_smile.gif

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TheCakerator Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 10:09pm
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I drive an 06 trailblazer with cloth seats. I HATE leather seats. My husbands car has leather seats and I just dread getting in the car in either summer or winter. To hot in the summer, to cold in the winter.

We don't have kids, but we wanted a truck with nice towing ability and the trailblazer fit our needs. But it is nice to have the roomy backseat (three adults can fit in there, not a ton of room, but it can be done without anyone's leg's sticking out the door) And I really enjoy the open space in the rear.

We debated between the Envoy by GMC or the trailblazer by Chevy. The trailblazer fit alllllllllllll of our needs and much more (compared to what we were driving) and the price difference between the two were unreal considering they both have the same engine/drive train. We do not regret going with the lower priced SUV.

Also because we live where winters are rough, we definitely wanted 4WD, not sure if that makes a difference to you or not but price wise it was quite a bit more for the 4WD. Again, that could be because they are in high demand in our area.

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indydebi Posted 15 Apr 2010 , 12:59am
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I also prefer an open-back type of car (no traditional trunk for me, please).

My husband claims to be the luckiest man in the world because he has a wife who basically doesnt' care WHAT she drives as long as it runs. I dont' care what it looks like, I don't care what color, I dont' care what brand or model.

Whenever we've gone out to buy me a car, I go to one car lot, see what they've got, find one in my price range, and buy it. I know a lot of folks shop via internet and I know it's so much easier for them that way ..... but i'd have absolutely no idea where to start on the 'net.

I've tried ... I really have. The first thing any site asks is "What model car?" How the heck do I know? Show me what you've got! "Do you want 2 door or 4 door?" How the heck do I know? Let me see the car first! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

I'm so easy to please in the car-regard! He is SO freakin' lucky to have me ! icon_biggrin.gif

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Rachie204 Posted 15 Apr 2010 , 3:23am
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I have had both....I prefer cloth. Leather is very uncomfortable to me....even the good stuff....(I used to have leather seats in a Lexus)

I do have children and they are very messy...Luckily my Dad owns a carpet cleaning company. . . . but you can always get cloth steam cleaned at a local car care place.

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CWR41 Posted 15 Apr 2010 , 3:36am
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Leather vs. cloth seats... I think if you are used to leather, you'd be annoyed with trying to scoot or slide across the cloth seat because you can't! (unless you are entering by stepping up on a running board first to get positioned, it's an inconvenience.)

I love my heated leather seats. (I even use it in the summer on just the lumbar section because it feels great to relieve back pain.)

Yep, leather can be hot in Texas (for a little while), but when I'm in Texas--I know to get the a/c going at least 5-10 minutes before I get in! Have fun SUV shopping!

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tesso Posted 15 Apr 2010 , 3:41am
post #11 of 24

hi tex..

my three cents...

cloth seats all the way. Buy a few cans of scotchguard and have at them. all spills will wipe up. and you wont stick to cloth in the heat and dont have to worry about hot/cold leather cracks.

Make sure you call your insurance company and find out how much the insurance will run you on the vehicle before you buy it. (my friend just ran into this problem one suv ran him 100 more a month on insurance then his other choice did)

Also check on insurance and colors. with cars RED will run you 15% more on insurance. (SIL was insurance salesperson, I learned a lot from her)

Also with gas prices predicted to go alot higher for summer. Make sure it is not going to cost you a fortune to fill up.

Make sure you test drive 5-6 different kinds of cars, if you have personally already chosen your fav. It just helps you reafirm you decison.

happy buying. oh ps. you are picking the WORST time to buy a car, May, June are graduation months and the prices are boosted. Oct is the the best month, they are desperate to get rid of them before having to pay taxes on them. i bought all my cars in oct. and paid thousands less on them. also if you go in with cash. you can get a car for 1/3 - 1/2 off. I love buying cars!! they hate to see me coming!!! icon_twisted.gificon_lol.gif

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TexasSugar Posted 15 Apr 2010 , 2:22pm
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Cakerator, My brother has a TrailBlazer and likes it. And he is of the same thoughts. Get a cheaper Chevy package if it still has the basics that the GMC one does. I'm not sure what I will end up with yet, could be interesting.

Debi, my dad left their car buying up to my brother. He went and picked up a yukon for them to look at. My dad did take Mom to the dealer ship to pick the color she wanted, but I don't think either of them actually drove it before they bought it. I know for sure my mom didn't.

My mom laughed at me last night, I was like you wouldn't put a kid in a trunk so why would I want to put a cake in there. I am so use to the big open space back there that I really think I would have trouble with a trunk.

I had a guy friend yesterday try to convience me that I'd look good in the new cameros. After I asked him if he was buying I informed him I wasn't looking for a car that made my sexier (his words) but a car that was functional for me. I'm not dealing with putting a car seat or a baby in the back seat of a two door car, and I really don't want to put a cake in the trunk.

CWR, I'm short so depending on how tall the suv is I have to use the running boards anyway. They had to put them on my mom's car cause neither of us could get in and out of if with out them. I learned her heated seats where nice when you were cramping with lower back pain during your period.

Tesso, I'll get my dad to talk to the ins company. I'm actually under their policy because it is cheaper than my own, and because I drive their car often so it lets me be covered on both. My Blazer is actually red (didn't pick it), but I'll be sure to ask about that as well.

I live next door to my full time job, so there is no driving to work there. I do go to Michaels atleast two to three times a week for class, and to walmart, but the last three months I have used about a tank of gas a month, which is nice!

I can't put off buying a new car until the fall. I've driven this one as long as I can, if I don't get a new car before summer then I'm looking at putting money in this one to fix it and frankly I don't think it is worth it any more. My car needs a new transmission, has a or several water leaks and the fan on the AC is going out. I'd rather take the money we'd spend on fixing all that and get a car that I can very easily still be driving 10 years from now.

If I go with GMC, they have a guy up there they have dealt with and have gotten good deals with. He also through out the option of a program car, I just need to go see which ones they have.

Man I hate making big decisions like this!

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Sunflower08 Posted 15 Apr 2010 , 3:00pm
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I just purchased a new car.. I knew exactly what I wanted so I used the internet. I typed in everything I wanted and found a car that had everything I wanted and more.. The price was an awesome deal.. The kicker was that the car was in Chicago and I'm in Ohio.. So made a little road trip!

Other factors i would look into when getting a new car is safety features on it too.. that was a big deal with me after just being in an accident. I now have a car with more airbags and roll over protection on it. And the car will call 911 if airbags go off.. Never would have thought that would come very much in handy when your in a wreck and your cell phone is smashed..

I used to have cloth seats and now have leather.. I was very impressed when I dumped a cup of coffee in my drivers seat on the way home with the car the first night and it wiped right up. Having a five year old this will come in handy.. icon_smile.gif

Good luck hunting your new car... icon_smile.gif

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prterrell Posted 16 Apr 2010 , 1:07am
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I don't like leather seats because they make my legs sweat in the summer.

We only consider 3 brands of cars: Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

Absolutely would not buy a car from "Guv'ment Auto".

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Chasey Posted 16 Apr 2010 , 5:47pm
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Leather seats all the way!!! icon_razz.gif I live in the South as well so I know what people are talking about in the hot summer sun and bare legs on hot leather! But if I am not in my garage or in a parking garage, I just toss a hand towel from under my seat onto the driver's seat if I am wearing shorts and parking in the direct sun for awhile. I rarely have to do this, but I choose that over yucky cloth anyday! icon_lol.gif Cloth reminds me of carpet in a house as compared to hardwood floors. It traps a lot more!

Cloth is impossible to slide in and out of easily and when you are stepping up into an SUV or sliding your way to the ground..it makes it more convenient with leather.

I have a 3 year old and vomit cleans up easily from leather with no lingering smell. thumbs_up.gif

One last word about leather vs. cloth from me: most of the times leather seats come as an upgrade with other options. It may turn out that you desire those options, yet want cloth seats. You would have to pay a la carte for those things if you went with the more "base" model that had cloth. Hope that makes sense!

Have you considered the Honda Pilot at all? It wasn't on my radar, but after posting on Facebook that I was car shopping for a new SUV, I got about a 1/2 dozen thumbs up from owners of one. I scouted some out in my parking garage at work and found at least 4 to check out.

I did all of my research online and used consumer reports auto issues to compare safety, etc. among years. (I bought a previously owned one) I walked into the dealership with a specific car and price in mind and left 3 hours later with it. I hate browsing car lots!!!!!!

Good luck shopping and making a decision. Car shopping is definitely not high on my fun things to do list. thumbsdown.gif

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Kayakado Posted 23 Apr 2010 , 4:02pm
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I bought a Subaru Forester in 1998 and am still driving it. I am very pleased and haven't have any real problems. It still looks like new, inside and out and I don't baby it (I do keep seat covers on the seats). I use it as a car and to haul me and my stuff for yard work, camping, biking and kayaking. Of all the cars I've had (9 so far, US and foreign) it has been the best, most reliable, and cheapest to maintain.

It has almost 170,000 miles and no signs of breaking down anytime soon.

I am a supporter of cloth seats and cloth seat covers to keep them clean. I get wet and dirty! I prefer to be able to pull the seat covers and throw them in the wash. I can't imagine being soaking wet with salt water and sitting on a leather seat (even covered with a towel) and not ruining the seat.

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TexasSugar Posted 27 Apr 2010 , 3:42pm
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Well I think I have narrowed it down to the Acadia. I'm waiting for my brother to get a chance to go check it out and give me his advice on the "stuff under the hood" then I'll have to decide which package I'm going with.

Can I say that car buying is just play confusing!!

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Ren715 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 9:13am
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First, congrats in advance on getting a new car! It's so exciting.

My biggest recommendation to you and everyone, is to get GAP insurance (whether you lease or buy). Don't get it through the dealer (they will rip you off) get it through your car insurance carrier. I never knew about it until a friend suggested it to me when I was buying my new car in 2008. Eleven months later my new car was totalled when a woman ran a red light. If it wasn't for the GAP insurance I would be in big trouble because she had minimal insurance that couldn't even begin to pay for my car or medical. The GAP insurance made it possible for me to pay off my loan and gave me money to put down on another car.

As for leather vs cloth, I love my leather seats (they are so comfy) and will never go back to cloth again! My seats do have an "air conditioning" and "heating" feature so I'm cool in the summer (usually over 100 degrees) and warm in the winter. Even if it didn't offer this feature I would never go back to cloth again. Someone mentioned that leather is like sitting in someone's sweat. I don't sweat in my seats but if I did, I can clean them in two minutes. Cloth is like sitting on dirty clothes that have never been washed in years.

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flourgirlz Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:20pm
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Congrats on the new car! icon_biggrin.gif A friend of mine just bought an Acadia and they are very nice! I bought a new Ford Freestyle 3 years ago and love it! I have 2 kids and it's nice to have the 3rd row seat so they don't have to sit next to each other! The 3rd row also folds down and gives plenty of room.
The insurance isn't bad either. I only pay about $46 a month, of course that is also with a multi policy discount! As far as red cars being more expensive, I am an insurance agent and I can tell you that is absolutely NOT true! That is a rumor I have heard for many years!

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TexasSugar Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 2:40pm
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Flourgirlz, thanks for the info on the insurance and red cars. Right now I'm on my dad's policy, because it is cheaper to have me on it than alone, and because I often drive their car. My mom has gotten to where she doesn't really care to drive so if her and I go some where we take her car and I drive. I'll probably stay on their policy with the new car too. But we will see which works out better.

I'm still waiting for my brother to go and look at it, sucks when you work together and things are busy and it is hard for two to get away at the same time. icon_smile.gif But I'm not in a rush rush to have a new car tomorrow either so it is okay. I'm looking forward to it, and nervious all at the same time.

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flourgirlz Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 6:35pm
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If the vehicle is going to be titled in your name only, unfortunately you won't be able to insure it on your dad's policy. His name would have to be on the vehicle, too.

Just a heads up, because if an accident were to happen, and the company finds out he doesn't own the vehicle, they may refuse to pay the claim or even non renew the policy! Most people aren't aware of this, and we have had many policies non renew for this very reason. Progressive is the only company I am aware of that will allow you to insure a vehicle that you don't own.

As far as the gap coverage mentioned above, I highly recommend it if you are buying a brand new car! I have it on my car because I know I would be SOL if it were totalled! It's pretty reasonably priced, too!

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CWR41 Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 7:08pm
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[quote="flourgirlz"]If the vehicle is going to be titled in your name only, unfortunately you won't be able to insure it on your dad's policy. His name would have to be on the vehicle, too.

Just a heads up, because if an accident were to happen, and the company finds out he doesn't own the vehicle, they may refuse to pay the claim or even non renew the policy! Most people aren't aware of this, and we have had many policies non renew for this very reason. Progressive is the only company I am aware of that will allow you to insure a vehicle that you don't own.[quote]

Sentry also allows it.

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TexasSugar Posted 29 Apr 2010 , 7:36pm
post #23 of 24

He is probably going to have to co-sign for me since I have no credit.

Thank you for the heads up!

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TexasSugar Posted 10 May 2010 , 1:22pm
post #24 of 24

Well I did it! I bought a new car, well certified used, but it is still a 2010. By going with the used (it was a rental car), I was able to get a the next up package than what I was looking at for just a little bit more, instead of an arm and a leg more.

I was going to go for the clothe seats, but ended up with the leather. And ended up with a red car.

Ren715, I did get the GAP insurance on it.

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