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If I wasn’t a legit mom before I totally am now. I’m the proud owner of my first “mom mobile”.

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Last year, my husband and I decided we’d be getting a new car in 2016. We wanted something bigger but not too big–Probably a crossover. We definitely didn’t want a mini van. Nothing against minivan drivers, I totally get the hype. They’re way convenient with those sliding doors, and comfortable and everything, but just… Not my style.

When I told Lil’ J we were going to get a new car I said, “We’re getting a new car and it’s going to be–”

“Pink?!” she interjected.

“No, but it’s going to be able to play Disney songs.” USB audio was a feature I was looking forward to in an upgrade from our older model cars. We had a Honda Accord (‘04) and a Toyota Corolla (‘08). The Accord’s air conditioner was less than reliable so we decided to trade it in before this summer.

When it came to getting help choosing a new car, these four tips for picking a family car got us started. Our budget was $20k, we wanted a car that would last, and be safe. I tried really hard to be open minded to many different models.

We’d always driven Hondas and Toyotas, so I initially really wanted to check out the Rav4 and the CR-V. Then after talking to friends and reading reviews I decided to look into the Hyundai Santa Fe and a last minute curveball was the Kia Sorento. At some point, I decided we needed a third row and only wanted to look at 3rd row options.

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I went to Carmax to test drive a few makes and models, but by that time I knew I really wanted a Sorento. I mainly just wanted to decide between a powerful v6 or a v4 with better gas mileage. After driving both, and testing out the bass (that was super important), I decided I liked the v4, but I still really wanted to drive another brand just to compare and be sure.

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I walked up to a 2013 Toyota Highlander and fell in love. It came out of nowhere. She was pearly white, big and beautiful. Plus, I was familiar with Toyota. There was a Hybrid option with leather seats and navigation but, I opted to try the regular version with less miles.

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When we got in my heart started to race. It was NICE. Everything on the inside was beautiful. It was extremely roomy, had rear air control, but when I looked up a “SOLD sign was glaring at me. I was crushed. I didn’t want to get excited about a car I couldn’t have. Josh (my neighbor and awesome car salesman) said he’d check and see if it was available since the sold sticker on it had expired. I called my husband and told him I was about to drive a Highlander and that I really liked it and was probably going to get it if it was available. It was a bit over our budget of $20,000, but I thought it could be worth it if I really liked it.

As soon as I got in the driver’s seat and pulled out onto the access road the honeymoon ended.

It felt like a truck, more hearty and gas-guzzling feeling. Not nearly as smooth a ride as the Sorento. I looked at the back seats and it seemed to go on forever, as if I was driving an 18 passenger van. We didn’t need a car this big. I definitely wanted something smaller. And even though the car was BEAUTIFUL and for a solid 10 minutes I thought she may be mine, in the end it didn’t feel right.

By the time we swung back into the dealership I knew a Sorento was the car for me.

I climbed in each row to be sure. I have the longest legs in the family and I wanted to make sure I could fit in the middle and the back with ease, and know most others would be able to as well, especially my kids and their friends. Yes, did I mention we plan to drive this baby into the ground? We tend to drive our cars about a decade. That’s why I wanted to be sure we got something with great reviews, and the least amount of miles and still within our budget.

We looked into getting a new one, mostly to compare prices. I remember reading in a financial book years ago that buying a car brand new car would immediately lose value once you drive it off the lot. We decided to get close to new, but not brand new.

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This dealership didn’t have the exact car we wanted so we searched and found a 2015 white Sorrento with less than seven thousand miles to be transferred from another location. It was about $22,000. Our trade in was $2,000, so we were right at our budget. A brand new Sorrento with all of the same features we priced to be $30,000. Talk about a deal!

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It took about a week and a half and when she came she was even better than I imagined! We paid cash to save on interest and now she’s all ours. We’ve named her Pixie and she’s been great to us so far. I feel so much safer with the kids in a bigger car and we now have really cool features we’d never had before like bluetooth (I can talk in the car again!), a backup camera, anti-lock brakes, rear air vents and side airbags.

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The trunk space is HUGE with the third row down–Which it is all of the time right now. We finally have our first family car and we all love it. I just feel like a different kind of mom now.—A mom with a mom mobile and space for tons of kids (or two kids and tons of stuff).

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According to this infographic my car buying personality is “budget buyer” but that’s just because I procrastinated on my finals in college and I don’t buy expensive clothes. I definitely would classify myself as a “Shop-’til-you-dropper”.

What kind of car shopper are you? What’s your family car?

If you need help choosing a new car hopefully these four tips can get you going.

I was so excited to find our first family car and share a few tips with you, which is why I partnered with Allstate on this post. This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to help protect your firsts and the moments in between. Share your firsts with #HeresToFirsts


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christina says:

congrats!!!

Jennifer says:

Thank you so much Christina!

Yvonne says:

You did get a great deal. I will give you that. You got a basically new car for a good discount.

I don’t normally recommend buying used. The market is over-inflated and it is hard to find deals…at least with the best cars. I have looked and looked and never found a good deal for what I wanted. I always buy new.

But then to me, a car is an appliance, not an investment. It isn’t a house. It is much more like a refrigerator. I would never buy a 4 year old $3,000 fridge for $2,000, but people do stuff like that with used cars all the time. SMH. We keep our cars for 10+ years as well (and pay them off quickly). As long as they are quality enough to last 10 years without high maintenance costs, I don’t care what value they retain at the end of that. I donate every car to charity in very good condition, they sell it, and I get a fat tax write-off. Easy peasy.

So for me that car is a Honda, occasionally a Subaru, but that is about it. I don’t buy any other cars. Honda’s have HIGH used car sticker prices, and we owners tend to think too highly of our cars. 😀 I don’t waste my time with used Hondas.

In any case, my Element was 11-12 years old and last July I bought a 2016 Honda Pilot. We have 3 kids, have family visit from out of town often, and we have dogs (one is 100lbs). A big car with 3 rows was what we needed since the hubby drives a Subaru Legacy. I love the sliding doors on minivans, but we used to live up a steep hill, and in a snowy state. Most FWD minivans with 4 inches of clearance wouldn’t make it up our hill even after plowing (many friends got stuck in their’s; it isn’t fun walking uphill a half mile in blowing snow).

I walked into the dealer, told him I was buying a car that day, and I had 4 dealerships to visit so don’t waste my time. Either you have the car I want and you want the sale or someone else gets it. They did a great job, found me the car I wanted, added on the tow hitch I needed, and sold me the car for $3300 less than sticker. I was a happy camper…and 28,000 miles later, I still am. I LOVE this car. The only way I’ll love it more is in 2 years when it is all paid off. 😀

Enjoy your lovely new mom mobile. 🙂

Jennifer says:

Holy smokes Yvonne! You are a BOSS! Walkin it and tellin them how it’s gonna go down. LOVE it! Those Hondas definitely retain their value… Or like you said, we think they do. Haha. I was surprised we got $2000 for ours with over $160k miles on it. The Pilots are nice too! Do you like the new build? And that’s awesome that you donate your cars when you’re done! Wow, ya’ll rock! And thank you!! <3

Yvonne says:

Frankly, I was hoping to buy the 2015 Pilot. I love that boxy look. I was an Element owner. The box is where it is at for me…but when I asked about it, the dealer said they weren’t making any deals on the 2015s. They’d only discount the 2016s. I would have been crazy to pay a $3k premium just to buy an older car because of its shape.I got all of the other neat features and upgrades to that makes up for that 2nd choice shape I got. I also got the color I wanted so I really wasn’t going to argue at that point. 😀

When I bought my very first car, Honda was having an end of season promotion for the dealers. It was some competition to see which dealer could sell the most cars by the end of the quarter. The winning salesman would get an all paid trip to Hawaii (or so my salesman later told me). I had no idea, but the dealer I picked was close to winning the competition, and they needed to sell x number of cars by the end of that day to clinch the win. I have never seen salesmen more keen on selling cars. It was insane. I wanted a Honda civic EX fully loaded for $15k, roughly $3k below sticker, and I wanted to pay cash. Not a good deal for them (they make money on loans). They tried to get me higher, but I said, well the Saturn dealer is next door and I like one of their cars too so I’ll just go over there and see what kind of deal they can give me. I was serious. I wasn’t jerking them around, but suddenly they started telling me about the competition and that they would sell me the car at a loss (yeah right) just so they can post the sale.

After that, I always bought cars using that technique. It works every time. I even made my mom do it when she bought a car once and Ford sold her that car at $2500 less than sticker, gave her way more for her trade-in than it was worth, and they gave her a 0% loan. It is the craziest thing I have seen. I will always buy cars this way. Now I even walk in with a list of local dealers and notes in the margins about what each dealer has in stock, and I let them see that I have done my legwork. If one dealer won’t do it, the next one will. Someone is always hungry for a sale. 🙂

cindy szlaien-ng says:

We have a hylander that my hubby drives and I just bought a new camry 🙂

Ruth says:

Haha your reaction to the highlander!! Which was the same as mine and that was after I drove the old version of the pilot!! It totally felt truck like. We never did the Kia drives because I wanted the new pilot so bad but they look so similar! Congrats on the new car, it looks fabulous!!!

Dani Faust says:

Congrats on your new mom mobile!!! It’s beautiful and perfect!
John and I talked about it and Jan/feb I will be able to get my own mom mobile. I too want something big enough but not too big. With 2 kids and lots of “stuff” we need something more than a sedan. Let’s see how this goes…

Keep me posted on what you choose!! LMK what you narrow down and decide. I spent sooooooo much time researching. It was stressful, but fun.

Silas Knight says:

Searching for the right new car can be difficult. I like how you tested out a lot of different makes and models. I think that is really important, because if you just buy the first one you see, you might miss out on a great deal!

Nina says:

I agree with you, thanks for sharing.

Bella says:

Hye I am agree with you it is very important when you buy your first car you have to search about thr car then you can buy. Thank you for sharing

I’m glad you agree! Thanks!

noor says:

You need to do something, because the status quo has got to go. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to junk that broken-down vehicle. If you don’t, you might very well end up regretting your decision — or lack of decision –- down the road.

usama says:

Its very simple for long family…while the tools of your vehicle fit and timely repair .Although if you you want to avoid the driving then you can hire vans Auto Repair Shop Marketing Company
for your trip and no problem will be created with you and your family.

Mallorca says:

Cha, I’m so happy to hear this resonated with you and I hope it helps your kids too. Man, I can’t even imagine the struggle teens go through right now, it’s hard out there. They’re lucky to have a mom like you who’s willing to work through that with them!

Great choice! I would go for KIA in terms of comfort. Kia is now in level with toyota mitsubishi etc.

Wow nice car you got there. I wish I could buy one of those.

Your tip is really great. I agree with you. Your tips are very important to buy a new car. Thank you for shear a helpful information.

Great points and Thank you for sharing them. Plus, love the car it looks so spacious and comfortable, especially for the kids. Anyways, awesome article!

john says:

I was reading through some of your posts on your site and I conceive
this post is really informative! Retain putting up.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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