I recently had the opportunity to drive to NYC for BlogHer’12 in a brand new, fully loaded Dodge Caravan. I wrote about buying versus leasing a car, but this trip got me thinking – What about the options? How do you choose? What do you want? What do you need? What can you afford?
How I got there
Name the feature, our Caravan had it. Funny though – some we didn’t even use! The UConnect, for example, that allows you to plug in alternate devices as sources of media (music, etc) was not once used… We were too busy chatting! Same for the DVD player. Trust me though, had I been on an 8 hour car ride with the kids, that DVD player would have been worth its weight in gold. J-F also likes to be able to plug in his phone and have the music come out of the car speakers. Had he been on this trip we’d would have listened to Weird Al and Jean Leloup the whole way down.
Our current SUV has leather seats. Nice, right? Ever sat on a leather seat in -40 weather? Let me tell you, the tush gets cold… FAST! That’s why I’m glad we have seat warmers, as does this Caravan. For me, if you’re going to have leather seats you better have a seat warmer. It’s a personal ‘non-negotiable’. What can I say? I like my tush warm. Some cars now even have seat coolers (that’s right, AC for your behind!). Is it a must-have or a nice-to-have? Maybe you don’t care!
Adjustable pedals. ‘Nuff said. I’m 5’2″. In order to drive comfortably I usually end up with the steering wheel in my lap. Add a growing pregnancy belly to the mix and it’s all kinds of uncomfortable to drive. I got to try them out. I may have fallen in love.
Plain or All Dressed?
Once you’ve decided you’re getting a new car, its more than just ‘how much can I afford’. Each car has basics, each car has different ‘luxury’ levels, and each car can have a multitude of add-on features.
What do you care about? What do you refuse to live without? Can you afford all the add-ons? Personally I prefer the little luxuries. The conveniences, those nice features that one might say ‘who cares?’ but once you’ve tried them… you want them! When we bought the SUV we never would have been able to afford the current year high-end model. We were looking at a two-year old car with pretty much just the basics. There was, on the same lot, a 3 year old fully loaded limited edition available for purchase. The warranty was still valid and the price was the SAME as the one with just the basics!
Guess which one we took? For me, it was a complete no-brainer. Personally I don’t care if I’m driving the newest model on the lot – I care that I got what I wanted at a price I’m comfortable paying.
Maybe your priorities are different – and that’s ok! That’s why there’s so many options to choose from. Whether you’re buying new or used, basic for limited – make sure you get what YOU want, at a price you can afford. Depending on your situation that could be a fully loaded current-year car, or a basic 2-year old model. Shop around, do your research.
We’re buying a van this year. We’re still not sure if we’re going new or used but we definitely know which features we want. I’m getting my van ‘Texas Style’, with all the fixin’s. I’m not paying a penny more than I can afford and my backside will stay warm throughout the cold winter months.
*A special thank you to Dodge Canada and Ottawa Dodge for letting us try out the 2012 Dodge Caravan for our trip to BlogHer’12! Want to read more about our Road Trip? Check out this post on DomestiqueManager!