Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Buying Your First Car

One of our newest members to the Uftring Auto Group tackles the world of car shopping

My name is Alyssa Reginetz and I have been working in the Marketing Department at Uftring for about a month and a half.
I'm 22 and the only car I've ever owned was a '98 red Ford Contour I've been sharing with my identical twin since we were 17. Currently sole custody of the Ford has been granted to my sister so I've been using my fiance's 2004 Chevy Malibu, while he finishes his last semester at Bradley University.With his graduation right around the corner, however, we know we need a new car.

This is going to be our first together so we've been doing heavy duty research on cars for the past month. There is A LOT of info out there and choices so my first word of advice would be to figure out your needs in a car, match them with a few models and then start more in depth research.

Our criteria helped to cut our options a little so we took a weekend to go to the Automall and the Nissan store to test drive a few cars. We went online to browse some inventory options and picked out a few cars we liked BEFORE getting to the lot. If we hadn't done that we probably would have wondered those lots for hours.

At the Automall we drove a new Ford Focus and a used Suzuki SX4. Test driving really helped to see the difference in the two cars. The SX4 was a little louder with more head room, testier gas and breaks, better upgrades (there was a space for your Garmin!) and less blind spots. The Focus was so quiet, drove smoother, had impressive breaks but stiffer steering. It really depends on what you're looking for but I was pretty much ready to buy the Focus after the drive. My fiance isn't quite as spontaneous as I am and he talked me into going to Nissan.

At the Nissan store we saw two really nice Sentras and a nice older Altima with tons of upgrades. The two drove about the same but the Altima had much better upgrades. Even so we liked the Sentra more because of it spaciousness, price and unique features. There was a little pop out garbage can and the cup holders swiveled so that you could make room for bigger cups. It also only has only 30,000 miles and gets about 34 mpg.

We've decided the Sentra is the car for us but we didn't do one important thing-get pre-approved. I thought the process would be quick and painless-we have great credit and a good amount of money in the bank-but we've been waiting now for two days to get some sort of approval.

Lucky for us the Nissan store is handling all the negotiations for us and were the ones to find us some rebates for new grads. (Recent/Upcoming grads should really check out the recent grad financing option on New Nissans). Almost all the manufacturers have programs or rebates so DO YOUR RESEARCH.

We hope to hear from the lenders tomorrow and to own our first car soon so wish us luck! If you have any tips or suggestions post them here.