My 2004 Ford Focus wagon has honestly been a great car – good on gas, reliable, and cheap to fix, with very minor repairs. However, it’s getting up there in age and kilometers, and her age is starting to show (some shakiness, cruise control no longer works, and a few other quirks). I’ve been looking to upgrade to a new used car and I’m struggling to find a vehicle that checks all my boxes with the budget I’m working with. My fiancé has also been planning a Ford F-150 purchase, so we’ve been taking lots of test drives and visiting various dealerships. I have to say that the car shopping experience is quite something, and it’s fierce!
I have an idea of what I want (higher trim level, ideally hatchback, 2014 or 2015 model year, fuel efficient, under 50,000 km, heated seats, etc.), but I’m open to trying other similar cars. In the last month, I’ve been to about 5 dealerships to look at and test drive used cars, and have been in touch with over 20 small shops and dealerships regarding other used vehicles. Some look great online, but then turn out to drive poorly or have had accidents (something I plan to avoid since I have zero knowledge of how to assess the car), while others have pleasantly surprised me, specifically the Kia Soul.
I thought I had found the car last month - a 2014 Ford Focus Titanium. On Friday night, I had taken in out for a spin and on Monday, I checked in for insurance costs. When I went back on Tuesday for 20-minute test drive and final look over, it was sold by the time I got back to someone else. Since then, I’ve test driven a Mini Cooper, Kia Rio, Kia Soul, Madza 3, Hyundai Elantra GT, Kia Forte, and looked at a Ford Escape, all of which have expanded my driving experiences and helped me narrow down what I do and don’t want in a vehicle. Unfortunately, the few contenders I’ve considered were sold within 1-2 days, before I even have a chance to check numbers. I’ve made a few appointments and received calls the same afternoon saying the car was sold – definitely not great luck so far.
Tactics by sales staff vary dramatically as well, and the individual’s character greatly impacts whether I’m getting back to them or not. I’ve seen the hard sell (if we can get you that price, I would need you to agree you’ll buy today – it will be sold tomorrow if you don’t), the passive but stern sell (this is the price and that’s it, let us know if you’re interested), the ‘I’ll ask my manager’ move (introduce their manager, who tries to get you to buy and may or may not negotiate on the price), and a few in-between approaches. So far, there’s only one salesman that I like and it’s because he’s taken his time us, has been open to negotiation and has not been overly pushy or demanding.
I’ve also been a passenger in about 5 different F-150s and it’s amazing how different each feels on the drive in terms of power and handling. My fiancé narrowed down what he wanted and has to have his F150 built because what he wants don’t exist in a used or currently built F150, so price was really the final determining factor. I went with him to two different dealerships (he went to four total) and he was fairly blunt that the best price wins, so it started price wars between dealers. In the end, two of four basically offered him employee pricing, and the absolute lowest got the sale. I unfortunately don’t have this luxury because I’m looking for used, so I just have to be quicker and need a lucky horseshoe too! I’ll continue my hunt until I find a good fit for the right price.
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.