As Jalopnik’s resident car buying expert and professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve decided to pick a few questions and try to help out. This week we are talking about deals on discontinued models, heated steering wheels, and dumping a lot of cash into an older car or getting a new one.
First up, how long will the deals last on a discontinued car?
I’m probably going to be in the market to buy a new car in the next year or so. One of the cars that was on my short list to test drive when the time comes was the Buick TourX wagon. I was sad to see that Buick is going to be killing off that model next year. I was wondering if you have found any dramatic price variations in models like this that are about to be discontinued? I know there have been some pretty good discounts on the wagon now but wasn’t sure if those would dry up as we get closer to the end of next year. My other question is whether it’s riskier from a maintenance perspective to buy a car that is about to be discontinued?
It’s a shame that the TourX will no longer be sold here, it was a good wagon that I think maybe six people, including our own Bradley Brownell, bought one.
Naturally, the question that everyone asks is “now that they are killing it how much cheaper will it get?” The answer is not much cheaper or at all. These things have had fire-sale prices for some time with up to $9,000 off the MSRP possible in some cases. Keep in mind the markup on this car is around $1,500, so any additional significant discount has to come from the factory, and GM isn’t going to be tossing money at these things forever. There will come a time when the rebates dry up and dealers won’t be able to go as deep. When that will happen, I’m not sure. I know that now is a good time to score a deal and I suspect the discounts will carry over into quarter one of 2020, but how much further beyond that is unclear. So if you are hot to get a Buick wagon you should act sooner than later.
As for the maintenance question, the TourX shares a lot of components with other GM models so service and parts should not be too much of an issue in the long term, but if your body panels get damaged it may be a challenge to find those.
Next, what’s the best way to find a car with a heated wheel?
Spouse has lupus, Reynaud’s syndrome and Dupuytren’s contracture. Which means her hands are a mess, she cannot tolerate cold well and driving is a chore in the winter even with gloves.
She has a 2015 Subaru Outback Limited. She is looking for a new car and the one single make it or break it item is a heated steering wheel. If the car doesn’t have one, it will not get bought. She’s open to anything with a heated steering wheel that’s not a full SUV or minivan (She’s 66, Outback sized or a bit smaller is her sweet spot.)
I’ve found that it seems well nigh impossible to figure out reliably what cars offer it and in what trim level. For example, Subaru offers it but only at the Outback and Ascent Limited or Touring trim levels, and the Crosstrek Hybrid. Took a bit of time to figure that out. Looking across every manufacturer and model and trim just seems daunting.
I’m looking for any advice that would keep me from having to go to every car manufacturer web site and drill down each model and trim looking for the option in the options list. Would calling each get accurate information? Dealers so far have been sketchy on this specific item.
I’m sorry to hear about your spouse’s condition, I can imagine that makes it difficult for her to get around. First of all, don’t call dealers, as I have encountered far too many salespeople that don’t know the details of their product or worse will tell you something has a certain feature and it doesn’t just to get you into the showroom.
Usually, heated wheels are relegated to the top trims on some cars and on other cars not available at all. What you need to do is start with a budget and see which cars fall within that price range, and from there which of those models have the heated wheel using the various brand configurators.
However, there may be a lower cost and more convenient option for you. Apparently, you can buy a heated steering wheel cover, like this one for about $20. While it’s not going to have the same look as a factory wheel, that’s a cheap and easy way for your spouse to drive with warm hands.
Lastly, is it better to dump a lot of money into an older car to get it the way you want it, or just buy a newer car?
I have an 06 F150 with a touch over 100k miles on it and it runs perfectly. My complaints are that it is a bit underpowered(though I don’t tow anything) and gets pretty bad MPG relative to new trucks. I also would really like to have power windows and locks, and maybe a rearview camera. Finally, the upholstery in pretty gnarly and I would replace that too.
As best at I can surmise, it would take about $8k to get the truck the way that I would like it before motor upgrades. About $15k would get it as close as possible to the new truck that I am looking at, minus of course safety features and warranty.So the question is this:
Upgrade a 2006 F150 STX 4.6L V8 4WD for $15k,
Put $15k towards a 2019/20 F150 XLT 2.7L V6 4WD?
Unless you are extraordinarily attached to that old truck, I would not recommend dumping $15,000 into a 2006 F-150. Spending a few grand to get stock parts in good working condition makes sense, but $15,000 seems like a lot of money on something that really isn’t worth much. So I would say, live with your current ride as-is, but fix what needs fixing or take the cash and use it towards a new ride.
Got a car buying conundrum that you need some assistance with? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!