Buying a Car Without Getting Taken to the Cleaners

When I decided to replace my Saturn with a small SUV recently, I was determined not to walk away from the dealer feeling like I had just been taken to the cleaners. Every car deal I have ever made has left me feeling like I somehow paid too much. In fact, the experiences have been so bad, and I have felt so pressured, that I have avoided even looking at cars, all the while knowing that my little Saturn sedan was on its last legs.

So, when I finally faced reality and accepted the inevitability of having to find a replacement vehicle, I made a commitment to myself to become as educated as possible so that I could walk away from a dealer with my new car feeling good about myself and the transaction I had just completed.

After searching the internet for hours in search of the ultimate car buying guide, I came across Edmunds.com. Edmunds provided me with a one-stop site for all my car shopping needs. The site was easy to navigate and I quickly found myself immersed in a multitude of facts and reviews that helped me to quickly narrow my search and focus on the SUV that would best suit my needs.

I began with a generic search that allowed me to look at SUVs from a variety of angles. I could choose to narrow my search by size (compact, midsize, or large), price (7 different price ranges), or special category (diesel, hybrid, luxury, etc.). I was then able to select a few models for comparison, and following the Car Reviews link, examine buying guides, road tests, consumer ratings, and photos for the cars I was interested in.

The Tips and Advice link then directed me to safety information, special buying tips, guidelines for financing and insurance coverage, and buying experiences from other consumers.

Once I had decided on the SUV I wanted, I found what is perhaps the most valuable tool on the Edmunds.com site: the True Market Value, or TMV. The Edmunds trademark TMV is an exclusive system that gives the consumer information about what others are paying for a particular vehicle in their geographic area.

By examining real sales data, the vehicle’s invoice price, the MSRP, current supply and demand, and brand strength, Edmunds gives you a customized price estimate based on the car you selected, with the exact options you selected, and for your particular zip code.

In addition to the price estimate, the TMV from Edmunds provides you with information on any available rebates and incentives for the purchase of the car you are interested in.

Without a doubt, this car purchase was the most satisfying I have ever experienced. Thanks to Edmunds.com I felt knowledgeable about the car I was interested in and I had research reports and pricing data printed out to back me up during negotiations with the dealer. For the first time, I felt comfortable leaving the dealership. For anyone interested in buying a car, the Edmunds.com website is an invaluable, and highly recommended tool.

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