Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A black 2018 Ford F-150 is parked on a snowy town road.

Finding The Right Winter Car

Another year, another changing of the seasons. With the winter months coming upon us, it is more important than ever for buyers to review their car situation and make sure that there aren’t going to be any auto-disasters this winter. Simply searching “Used Cars Cincinnati” will undoubtedly overwhelm any user with wonderful cars and fine dealerships. This time, however, as a consumer, we are not looking for just a basic sedan. Instead, we will be looking for vehicles that will comfortably get us through the upcoming winter months. For buyers who live in an environment that faces cold weather and snow on a yearly basis, their priorities are going to be a little different than someone living in Florida or Texas.

Different environments call for different accessories. Instead of darker window tints, those in cold environments like things like heated seats and all-wheel drive. At the very least, they need front-wheel drive over rear-wheel drive. To get a better understanding of what makes a good winter vehicle, we are going to review a few different models and see what makes them stand out over the competition. Sure, they could drive their Mustang through the winter, but why would anyone want to? There is probably a more comfortable option available, and who wants to expose their pony car’s undercarriage to unnecessary rust? While any beater car is a better winter car than a prized muscle car, finding a vehicle that is designed from the ground up to be winter-capable is always the better option.

Thinking Small And Simple

A red 2016 Ford Fiesta, popular among used cars in Cincinnati, is under an overpass.

For those thinking of picking up a sedan this winter, they’ll be better off splurging a little rather than getting the cheapest, most basic model. Sure, something like the Ford Fiesta is cheap, front-wheel drive and has heat, but that’s where the perks end. Buyers who are going to drive a sedan throughout the winter should do themselves a favor and get something with heated seats and a remote starter. They’ll be thankful they did. While upgrades can be made to the Fiesta to get heated seats, the more attractive option is to spring for the Fusion or the Taurus to get that sweet, sweet remote start. The first time entering a car that’s already warmed up, causes anyone to forget how they ever got along without it.

If the consumer decides that price is going to play a major roll in the winter car buying decision, they’re probably going to shy away from an all-wheel drive option. This is a grave mistake. Sedans by nature are not very heavy vehicles. Even worse, most of the sedans have an open differential. This means that only one wheel is given power until traction is found. Anyone who’s ever been stuck in the mud or snow knows that slamming on the gas pedal is not going to get them unstuck if the wheel that is receiving the power is in a puddle or on a sheet of ice. This situation can be prevented by opting for an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive drivetrain. Once again, the affordable Fiesta does not have this option. To give peace of mind, spring for the Fusion at a minimum. The Fiesta is a wonderful vehicle, it’s just not the best tool to make it through the winter.

Is An SUV Your Best Bet?

When most people think of a “winter vehicle,” a sedan doesn’t come to mind. Instead, a cozy yet tall SUV usually comes to mind. There is a good reason for this stereotype, as the SUV’s have higher seating height and are more likely to come with all-wheel drive as a standard. While an SUV could cost quite a bit more than a sedan, it is almost always money well spent. With a slightly higher price tag, consumers can expect to get more features standard. There are a few reasons why a person might decide to go with an SUV over a sedan. SUV’s have more capability in adverse weather conditions, they have more space to store people and cargo, and SUV’s are often safer for drivers and passengers.

A great example of an SUV that is a league above an equivalent sedan is the Ford Explorer. Right off the bat, there is seating for seven adults. There will be no shortage of four-wheel drive variant models, and the SUV is propelled along by a 2.3L engine. Despite having a larger overall profile, handling will still be tight, and it won’t feel sluggish thanks to the larger displacement engine. At one point in time, it was safe to assume that a larger car meant worse fuel efficiency. In today’s day and age, car manufacturers have closed the efficiency gap between sedans and SUV’s to the point where it is almost negligible. In a modern-day Taurus, buyers can expect 18MPG in the city, whereas the base model Explorer will get approximately 16MPG. That’s a pretty fair trade-off for just under 50Cu.Ft. of additional passenger space. With the proper research, many buyers will decide that the benefits of an SUV are worth the cash, and can take pleasure in knowing they won’t need to make any compromises.

A white 2017 Ford Explorer is off-road in front of snowy mountains.

No, I Need A Truck

It is a fairly common fact that, if a buyer is considering purchasing a truck, they probably have a need to justify purchasing one. Whether they need to transport hay across their property or need to transport their dishwasher home from the department store, the utility available with a truck is unlike any other vehicle on the road. While the trucks of the past had little to offer besides their workhorse capabilities, modern-day trucks can be upgraded to the point where the cabin is as comfortable and tricked out as the most luxury cars on the market. While purchasing a truck with luxury as a priority will cost consumers a pretty penny, there are more than enough affordable options that everyone should be able to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Say a buyer is looking for a vehicle to start a small metal scrapping business. They are looking to keep their expenses as low as possible and don’t need any extra features. The Ford Ranger is an ideal entry-level truck that they can swing without needing a lengthy loan. If they have a commercial job already lined up, it makes sense to upgrade to an F-150. With the upgrade comes a lot more cabin options and the ability to put a larger engine under the hood. When consumers know all of the options, it becomes a lot easier to discern which options are needed. Impressively, buyers can upgrade the heck out of both of these vehicles when in a position to spoil themselves. Heated seats, a backup camera, and cruise control are just some of the accessories that any salesperson will be happy to sell.

Knowledge Is Power

Armed with this information, it is very import to research all of the cars that are of interest before deciding to finally purchase one. Make sure to check reviews for used car dealers in Cincinnati. Not all of them are held to the same high standard. Know the budget and don’t be afraid to ask questions. When the extra effort is put in during the buying process, consumers rest easy in the long run.