Giving people who aren't car enthusiasts advice on buying a car when you are a car enthusiasts is one of the worst things in the world. They ask you because they think you know a lot about cars, which you do. And that's the problem.
The part of the population that doesn't know a whole lot about cars usually has a lot of outdated notions about cars, something Matt delved into today. Which is really difficult, because you have to spend a lot of time explaining that certain beliefs aren't true anymore or that what they think they want isn't really what they want and feelings get hurt in the process.
Sometimes, my plan goes right and people choose a Jetta TDI over a Prius. Other times it backfires horribly and they get a Nissan Versa instead of buying a commuter rail pass.
Straightsix9904 presented an excellent time when this problem rears its ugly head:
My favorite question: I'm looking for a small sport hatchback. What car should I buy?
Them: Should I buy the GTI
Me: Great Car, but some owners aren't happy with VW quality in electronics.
Them: What about the Fiesta
Me: Fun Car, but somewhat tiny and the auto transmission isn't great
Them: What about the Volvo C30
Me: Pseudo-luxury and therefore expensive for what you get
Them: well what about the Sonic
Me: Still not really up to snuff as the other cars in this list
Them: I CAME TO YOU FOR HELP....YOU AREN'T TELLING ME ANYTHING!!!!11!!!!
The best advice here would be to pretend VW doesn't have a reputation for craptastic electrical stuff or indifferent dealers. Those of you who want to know about cars will be much happier if you listen to all of us, at least until the warranty runs out. But then it's not our problem.
Photos: Ford, GM, Volvo, VW