Pre-Car Shopping

It’s that time of the season again! I’ve had my 2007 Acura TSX for three-and-a-half years now and I’m ready to start considering its successor. I bought my TSX in October of 2010 for two reasons: necessity and convenience. I had two children on the way and there was no way they were going to be shuffled in and out of a two-door. I needed four doors and I needed them soon. In addition I was looking for some feature upgrades. My tC was a great car, but I was looking for a bit more power under the hood and some additional interior refinement.

My tC had a 161 horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It was fine and cool but I wanted a little more umph and I was ready to ditch the extremely sensitive five-speed and its cavernous clutch that I could never seem to get along with. I wanted xenon headlights because of their increased field of view. I wanted leather, power and heated seats, dual-zone climate control, and a dimming rear-view mirror. I found all of those things in an Acura TSX. One of my coworkers had one and I really fell in love with it the one time that I was in it. I decided to hit the local Acura dealership after work one night just to see what was possible. I ended up driving away in a 2007 TSX a week later.

The TSX gave me what I needed: four doors, xenon headlights, leather, power accessories, and climate control, while still keeping the sunroof. It also gave me more power. It was still propelled by a four-cylinder but it had 205 horses behind the front wheels. I test drove both a six-speed manual as well as a five-speed automatic and while the six speed was really fun to drive there was something a bit sketchy about the car itself. Coming off the experience with my tC didn’t help either. I was fine with an automatic even with the loss of control.

I’ve really enjoyed my TSX over the past few years. It’s a great car and it’s still running well but my desires have changed over that time. I’m looking for a bit more in my next car. The majority are technological items – a rear view camera, blind spot detection, Bluetooth Audio, driver seat memory, push-button start, a navigation system, and a kick-ass stereo system with iPod integration (one thing I miss from my tC). I’d also like a bit more power under the hood, something in the 250 – 300 horsepower range.

Initially I was still looking for the fuel economy of a four-cylinder but I opened up to the idea of having a couple of extra cylinders around after driving a buttery-smooth TSX V6 loaner for a day. I’m not thrilled at the loss in fuel economy (especially with Premium fuel) but it might be worth it for the extra power and smoothness. There are certainly four-cylinder engines out there with 250+ horsepower, but they aren’t as smooth and refined as a V6. If I’m going to accept V6 fuel economy then I think I’m going to spring for all-wheel drive as well. It’s something I’ve always wanted anyway.

Right now I’m in research mode and I’m considering a large list of vehicles. Imports, exports, luxury cars, high-end standard cars – they’re all on the list. I’m already filtering some out based on styling, engine power, the availability of xenon headlights, and all-wheel-drive. Once I’ve narrowed down the list I’ll be in research mode and will start reading reviews about the various models in which I’m interested. At some point I’ll start visiting dealerships and test driving. Hopefully it will be fun but at the moment I’m not particularly interested in the hassle of someone trying to sell me something. I just want to drive the car to see if I like it at all. I’m not interested in making deals yet.

Once I do find a model or models that I like I’ll get serious. I’ll start looking through Auto Trader and Cars.com for the combination of color, mileage, feature set, and price that I want. It will take a while for sure but I want to make sure that I really like the next vehicle that I get. I want to make sure I’ve driven several different models for comparison and I don’t want to rush. I’ll probably start test driving vehicles in late May and it could be another few months before I find “the one”.

3 Replies to “Pre-Car Shopping”

  1. Jason,

    I like that you share your journeys on this website.

    I have looked through your requirements and because you want alot of tech. I think finding a vehicle that checks most of your criteria will be easier to find in a premium/luxury brand and/or on models that have recently redesigned.
    -Of note, Fiat/Chrysler Co. has one of the best reviewed hands free audio systems on the market called uConnect.

    New cars I would consider:
    2015 Chrysler 200C
    2014 Ford Fusion/Lincoln MKZ AWD
    2014 BMW 328d Xdrive
    2014 VW CC VR6 4Motion
    2015 Dodge Charger
    2015 Infiniti Q50x
    2015 Acura TLX V6 (awd?)
    2015 Hyundia Genisis 3.8 AWD

    CPO/Last Year’s Model:
    2013 Infiniti G37x (still sold new)
    BMW 335d
    Audi A4/S4

    Happy Hunting!

    – Brian

    Like

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