Tag Archives: Car Buying Tips

Should you buy a Pickup Truck?


Posted on Feb 13, 2018

why buy a truck

Why your next vehicle should be a pickup truck

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and aren’t opposed to shaking things up, a truck could be the perfect car for you. There may be a number of preconceived notions associated with trucks, but the reality is that many of the ones on the road today make for pretty incredible vehicles to own.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider owning one:

You’ll have a better view

One of the greatest benefits of owning a truck is having a better view of the road in front of you. This can be great for highway driving, as you’ll have a better sense of where traffic is moving and may be able to shave a few extra minutes off your commute.

They’re not as bad on gas as you’d think

If there’s one reason that many drivers stay away from trucks, it’s the belief that they’ll end up costing them a fortune in gas. While this may have been true in the past, a lot of today’s trucks are much lighter and incorporate technology that allows them to burn fuel at a much more efficient rate.

Sure, they’ll never be as gas-friendly as a high-end sedan, but you also won’t be going to the gas station every other day if you drive a truck.

You’ll be more prepared

How many times have you seen a piece of furniture or wanted to take your junk to the dump, but weren’t able to because your vehicle wasn’t big enough?

While many assume that they’ll never need to use a truck for its intended use, you’d be surprised just how many times it can come in handy.

If you have children that plan to go off to school, a truck can be convenient for when they move in and out of student housing. By owning a truck, you’ll be ready for anything.

They’re smooth

When you think of a truck, you probably think of a loud, clunky vehicle. In reality, they’re actually quite smooth to drive.

They’re safe

Fortunately, many trucks are equipped with the exact same features that many consumers look for in cars and SUVs.

They’re great in the winter

If you live in a small town or in an area that doesn’t get plowed often, a truck can be a lifesaver during your morning commute. Even if there’s fresh snow on the ground, a truck with winter tires should have the capacity to get from point A to point B with little trouble.

Owning a truck can also come in handy if you drive up to your cottage in the winter.

They’re affordable

While it ultimately depends on the make and model, many of the trucks on the market today start at incredibly affordable prices.

Since many are built to last for years and years, you can rest assured that your money is going towards a quality investment.


2018 Subaru Outback vs. 2018 Honda CR-V


Posted on Dec 12, 2017

2018 Honda CRV vs Subaru Outback

2018 Subaru Outback vs. 2018 Honda CR-V

If you’re in the market for a new crossover SUV, both the 2018 Subaru Outback and the 2018 Honda CR-V should be considered as potential options.

With plenty of cool features, high safety ratings and impressive fuel economy scores, both vehicles are viable choices for virtually any consumer.

Read ahead to find out which car is the better option for you:


Potential customers will be happy to hear that both vehicles come at relatively affordable prices.  The 2018 Outback starts at $29,295 (with AWD) while its counterpart begins slightly cheaper at $28,988 (No AWD). No matter which option you choose, you can be assured that you’re getting good bang for your buck.

Handling & Performance

While both vehicles maneuver well, many experts believe the Outback is a little easier to handle than the CR-V. As a result, the Outback could be seen as a better option for drivers who live further north and experience the harsh winter elements on a more regular basis.

The 2018 Outback also comes with a new suspension and updated brakes, making for a much smoother ride.


Fortunately, both vehicles performed well in their crash assessments, receiving five-star scores in all tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

However, the Outback performed better according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as the IIHS chose Subaru’s newest crossover as one of its Top Safety Picks for 2018.

Fuel Efficiency

Subaru’s newest crossover SUV owns an impressive fuel economy rating of 11.5 litres per 100 km in the city and roughly 8.8 litres per 100 km on the highway. The CR-V offers pretty much the same rating, boasting a fuel efficiency score of 10.5 litres per 100 km for city driving and 8.5 litres per 100 km for highway driving.

However, the Outback has a much larger fuel tank, meaning you won’t have to make as many trips to the gas station on your commute home from work.

All-Wheel Drive

As always, Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system leads the way and every Outback whereas all-wheel drive is an upgrade option on the CR-V.


If you’re part of a larger family, you’ll be pleased to know that both the Outback and CR-V are equipped with plenty of room and cargo space.

The Outback has slightly more leg and back room, while the CR-V has more space for cargo, so it’s up to you to decide what you prefer. It should be noted that the Outback also has plenty of head room, making it a more practical choice for taller drivers.

Overall, the Outback is both longer and wider, making it a better option if you’re looking for a more spacious vehicle.


With more space, better handling, and a bigger fuel tank, the Outback is likely a more practical option compared to Honda’s new CR-V.


2018 Toyota Camry vs 2018 Subaru Legacy


Posted on Oct 24, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry vs 2018 Subaru Legacy

A bite-size comparison between the 2018 Toyota Camry and 2018 Subaru Legacy

If you’re in the market for a new mid-size sedan, you’d be remiss not to include the 2018 Subaru Legacy and 2018 Toyota Camry among your options.

Both cars are sound choices for anyone looking to upgrade their current vehicle, possessing a number of unique features that should be attractive to any car buyer. Here’s a quick breakdown of the two vehicles:


If you’re someone who likes to plug your smartphone in and listen to music or podcasts while you drive, you’ll be disappointed to hear that the Camry does not support either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – two systems that are available in the new Legacy.

Toyota has decided to use a Linux-powered infotainment system instead for its 2018 model, going its own route instead of teaming up with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

The Legacy comes with “Subaru Starlink” – which ranks as one of the top infotainment systems on the market.

Fuel Efficiency

No matter which car you choose, you won’t have to worry about spending a fortune at the pump. The 2018 Legacy boasts a combined fuel economy rating of 12.5 litres per 100 km, while the Camry comes in slightly ahead, with a combined rating of 11 litres per 100 km.

At the end of the day, neither is much of a gas guzzler, especially if you do a lot of highway driving.


Both the 2018 Legacy and 2018 Camry come at affordable prices for the average consumer. The Legacy starts at $24,995, which is simply incredible value for a car of this class.

The Camry, meanwhile, begins at $26,390, while the hybrid starts at $31,290.

Neither is overly expensive, especially given the expected longevity of both vehicles. However, if you’re under a tighter budget, the Legacy would appear to be the better option.


As with most Subaru vehicles, the Legacy is absolutely loaded with cool safety features, including adaptive headlights and high-beams, tire-pressure monitoring, pre-collision braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert, to name a few.

However, Subaru’s legend was born on the back of their industry leading symmetrical all-wheel drive system.

The Camry offers a number of safety features of its own, but doesn’t have as extensive of a list as its Subaru competitor.

Both vehicles performed well in crash tests, receiving “good” scores across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Neither vehicle has been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but both cars received five-star ratings for their 2017 editions.


While both vehicles are reasonable options for any consumer looking to purchase a new mid-size sedan, many would agree that the Legacy offers a better bang for your buck.

Considering the Legacy not only starts at a cheaper price, but also offers better safety and infotainment features, it seems like a no-brainer to purchase Subaru’s newest mid-size sedan.


Kid-Friendly Features for Next Car


Posted on Aug 29, 2017

Kid friendly cars

When you’re looking for a new vehicle, there are often more people invested in that decision that just you, namely the kids. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of your kids, which is why you should do everything in your power to ensure they’re comfortable whenever you’re driving.

Here are some of the top family-friendly features you should consider for your next vehicle:

Rear-seat entertainment system

The more entertained your kids are, the less distracting they’ll be when you drive. This could mean getting a rear-seat DVD player or leaving an iPad in the back seat.  Or how about an activity-box filled with their favourite books, puzzles, games etc. While this may not be enough if you’re driving for hours on end, it should keep them busy for the majority of trips.

Sun shades

Baby skin is more sensitive than adult skin, which means it typically burns much easier in the sunlight. As a result, it’s a good idea to invest in sun shades for both of your rear windows to give your young ones another layer of protection against the hot sun.

Rear climate control

Nothing can upset young children more than being too hot or too cold for an extended period of time.  If you want to make sure your children are happy and comfortable when they’re in your car, you’d be wise to invest in a rear climate control system the next time you go to buy a vehicle.

Third-row seating

Just because you only have two children, doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need a third row of seating in your vehicle. At some point, you’ll likely need to drive their friends around, creating the need for an extra row.

Make sure the seats are flat-folding so you can have extra room in the back for groceries or other items that can take up a considerable amount of space.

Safety features

While it’s important to keep your kids entertained, it’s more crucial that they stay safe.  Some possible features you may be interested in could include: forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, and back-up cameras.

Remember that you are not only putting your own health and safety at risk whenever you step into a vehicle, but also the well-being of everyone else you’re with. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to make sure everyone with you stays safe.

At the end of the day, the happier your kids are, the happier you are when driving, so it’s important you take their needs into consideration the next time you buy a vehicle.


Why get Pre-Approved for your Car Loan


Posted on Aug 22, 2017

Car loan pre-approval

Unless you have the funds to pay for a vehicle with cash, you’ll need to secure financing (or a lease) whenever you purchase a new car. While this can be done after you’ve picked out a car at a dealership, there are a number of benefits to getting your loan pre-approved beforehand.

Here are a few of those benefits:

You can set a more realistic budget

Few things are more disappointing than picking out a vehicle and finding out you can’t afford it.

By getting pre-approved for a car loan, you can figure out your budget before you walk into a dealership, giving you a much better idea of how much you can spend on a new vehicle.  Not only will this make you a more educated buyer, but it will also speed up the car-buying process, as you won’t have to waste time looking for something out of your price range.

Removes stress

If your credit history isn’t the greatest, you could be facing the prospect of being rejected for a loan. This can be a very uncomfortable feeling for some people and can create a large amount of stress and worry throughout the car-buying process.

Getting pre-approved can help to reduce any stress considerably – as you’ll know up front what you qualify for – making your experience much more positive.

Saves time

While it depends on the person, some car buyers actually spend more time in the finance office than they do picking out a vehicle.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time to spend a half or even full day at the dealership, getting your loan pre-approved can speed things up considerably.  It could also allow you to spend the proper amount of time inspecting your vehicle before driving it off the lot.

Either way, the car-buying process can be much quicker if you get your loan secured ahead of time.

You don’t have to wait for approval

While most financial institutions have sped up their processes in recent years, you typically still need to wait a day or two to get your loan approved. However, this is assuming that you’ve provided the correct information. If not, the approval process can be much longer and can add to the stress and uncertainty.

If you do it all ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about any of this.

Simplifies the car-buying process

If you’re someone who tends to get overwhelmed with numbers and paperwork, you could be doing yourself a big favour by getting pre-approved for a loan. By getting the hard stuff out of the way ahead of time, all you’ll need to worry about is the car itself when you walk into the dealership.

Happy shopping!


The Dangers of Selling Privately


Posted on Aug 15, 2017

Selling car privately

Selling your vehicle on your own may seem like a good way to make a few extra bucks, but it doesn’t come without its risks. Read ahead to learn some of the hidden costs of selling your car privately.



One of the additional costs of selling on your own is being forced to advertise the vehicle yourself.  Whether you choose to post an ad online or in your local newspaper, you may have to pay a small fee to get the word out there. If you decide to advertise through multiple outlets, you could end up spending quite a few of those bucks on promoting your vehicle alone.

Of course, if you choose to skip advertising altogether, you could end up waiting months and months before your car is eventually sold.

Quick Tip:  Try using Kijiji, it gets a lot of eyeballs and better yet – it’s free!


You don’t know who you’re dealing with

Most people look to buy privately because they’re looking for a good deal.  If you’re negotiating skills aren’t up to par, you may end up selling the vehicle for much less than you intended, especially if the prospective buyer happens to put you on the spot.


Receiving the payment

Unless you’re getting cash up front, there’s always the risk of being scammed.  While most buyers will make good on their word, there are still some who may try to offer you counterfeit cash or cheques.  Once the buyer has the vehicle in their possession, you’ll likely have a hard time getting it back.


The return

Unless your car is in peak shape, there’s a chance that the buyer will demand a refund if they discover something wrong with it after the purchase.  If you aren’t willing to refund the payment, you could end up having a legal issue on your hands, which will just end up costing you more time and money.


Time consuming

We all live busy lives, and many have of us don’t have the time required to sell a car on our own.

If you list your vehicle online, you’re likely to receive dozens of inquiries from people across the province, all of which are expecting an answer in a timely manner. There will also be a handful of prospective buyers asking to see the car in person, meaning you’ll have to spend your free time setting up appointments with these people.

Unless you’re offering up a really good deal, you’ll likely have to wait a while to find a buyer that will match your price.  At the end of the day, is an additional few dollars worth hours of extra work?  For most people, the answer is no.


Trade-in instead

If you want to ensure you receive payment in a timely fashion, you should consider the advantages of trading in your vehicle when you buy your next car. It will be quick and easy, and you won’t have to run the risks above.


Car Insurance Questions and Answers


Posted on Jun 2, 2017


Car Insurance Questions and Answers


Automobile insurance is mandatory in Ontario. However, for many, it is a confusing and even intimidating subject. Broker Colin Robinson uses his experience to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions about auto insurance in the following Q&A:



What are some of the most common myths surrounding auto insurance?


I would say the most common misconception is the notion that red cars are more expensive to insure than vehicles of any other colour. This is unequivocally untrue. Another myth is that two-door cars are always more expensive than those with four doors – this is also false (in fact, sometimes the opposite is true). As well, the idea that expensive vehicles cost more to insure than their more economical counterparts is a myth, as higher-priced cars often have more safety features which can lead to less injury claims, which is a major factor in determining premium.



Will a not at fault accident raise your rates?


No. By law, rates cannot be raised as a result of an accident that is considered to be 100 per cent not at fault. As well, rates can also not increase as a result of fire, theft, vandalism or a situation in which your car is hit while parked.


What type of cars are typically the least expensive to insure?


Family-type vehicles such as sedans and minivans typically cost the least to insure, as do pickup trucks. Also, some exotic sports cars are surprisingly frequently among the least expensive vehicles to insure due to the demographics of the drivers that often own them.


What insurance coverage is mandatory and what is optional?


Third-party liability coverage is mandatory. Available optional coverages include collision, comprehensive (fire, theft, vandalism, glass) and increased accident benefits. However, if a car is leased or financed, the manufacturer will require a full coverage policy.


What are the most common discounts available for car insurance policies?


All insurance companies offer several types of discounts to those who are eligible. These may include:


  • Multi-vehicle discount
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Conviction-free discount
  • Snow tire discount
  • Senior discount
  • Good student discount
  • Renewal discount



What is waiver of depreciation coverage?


This coverage is available on new vehicles. It protects the full value of a car in the event of a write-off for the first 24-48 months of ownership, depending on the company.


What is accident forgiveness coverage?


For those who are eligible, most insurance companies will “forgive” a driver’s first at-fault accident, which as a result will not cause a rate increase at time of renewal.


Colin Robinson has been a registered insurance broker in Ontario for 27 years. He specializes in auto, home, business and life insurance.



Why you didn’t get approved for a Car Loan


Posted on May 30, 2017

Why you didn't get approved for a Car Loan


There’s nothing more frustrating than going through the entire car-buying process only to find out at the end that you didn’t get approved for a car loan.


While it may appear as if your whole world is crashing down on you after getting denied, it’s possible that you’ll simply need to make a small adjustment or two in order to improve your chances in the future.


Credit Score


Your credit score is the main factor in determining whether you qualify for your car loan.


Being out of work, having other outstanding debt, and missing payments in the past are all things that will negatively impact your score. Also, if you’re fresh out of school and still have a large chunk of OSAP to pay off, you may have a more difficult time securing a loan.


If you can, pay off some of your outstanding debt before re-applying for a loan. This may take some time, but it’s also the most financially responsible way to go. If you really need a new car right away, consider asking your spouse or another family member to be a co-signer.


Wrong Information


Even something as simple as a spelling mistake could be enough to have your application rejected.  Fortunately, if that’s the only thing wrong with your application, you won’t have to worry about getting approved once you’ve corrected any errors.


If your supporting documentation is accurate, you could still run into problems if there are mistakes in your credit report. Obtain a copy of the report and make sure everything is correct and up-to-date. If you notice any errors, it’s your responsibility to contact the credit reporting agency to notify them of any blunders.


In the future, it’s a good idea to double-check all your information before sending it in for approval.


You have Inconsistent Income


Unless you’re working a classic 9 to 5 job, a bank may be unwilling to lend you the money you desire if they fear you won’t be able to make steady payments.


Even if you’re taking home a sizeable income, a bank can still deny you if the majority of your earnings are coming in the latter half of the year for example. By pairing up with a co-signer, you can eliminate this problem by sharing your loan with someone else, such as your spouse.


Too Young


Sometimes, age makes all the difference.  You could be the most financially responsible person on this planet, but a bank can still deny you if you don’t have the credit score to prove it. If you can manage, wait a few months to build your credit and apply again. Otherwise, it may be in your best interest to find a co-signer to get the loan approved.


No credit can be interpreted as negatively as bad credit funny – or not so funny enough.


Too Expensive


At the end of the day, you may just be asking for too much money.  Look around, and see if you can find a less expensive vehicle that fits your needs. It may not be your dream choice, but if it’s safe and affordable, it could still be the right car for you.



5 Things that can Hurt your Car’s Resale Value


Posted on May 23, 2017

Car Resale Value Tips


While unlikely that you’ll get back what you paid for your car, you can still get a decent chunk of change for a trade-in if you have a handle on it, and avoid some of the common problems linked to depreciation.


Here a few things that can negatively affect your car’s resale value:


No maintenance records


So you’ve taken good care of your vehicle over the years, it’ll still be tough to prove without the proper documentation. Without any service records, it’s impossible for a buyer to be certain that your car was properly maintained.  Even if there’s nothing wrong with it, this in itself can negatively affect the resale value.


Remember to always keep dealer invoices, receipts, and any other documentation to prove your maintenance history. You could find yourself losing out on hundreds of dollars if you don’t.


If you don’t have the proper documentation, at least be honest up front. You could end up digging yourself a deeper hole if you lie about the condition of your vehicle.


Dents and scratches


This is an easy one – it’s tough to sell a car that looks beaten up.


Before selling your vehicle, make sure any significant dents and/or scratches on your car are dealt with ahead of time. It may seem like nothing more than a cosmetic issue, but a well-informed buyer is likely aware that those types of problems can lead to damage to the body down the road.


Simply put, the more scratches and dents your vehicle has, the less you’ll get for it.


Interior Issues


Having a dirty interior may not seem like a huge deal, but it can make a big difference in the eyes of a buyer. Even something like a foul odour can certainly be enough to turn off a prospective buyer.


Spend a few bucks and get your car detailed at a dealership. It may seem counterintuitive to spend more money on a car you plan to sell, but it can go a long way in ensuring you get the most for your vehicle.


You’ve driven it too much


Even if your car appears to be in great condition, you’ll have a hard time getting a good return for it if you’ve driven it for too long.  The further your car has traveled, the less you’ll get it. It’s as simple as that.




Just because you like the customizations you’ve made to your vehicle doesn’t mean someone else will.


Generally speaking, the more modifications you’ve made, the tougher it will be to sell. While leather seats or security features may be seen as a bonus, a lowered suspension or tinted windows likely won’t be welcomed by a prospective buyer.


Keep this in mind the next time you think about accessorizing your car.



First-Time Car Buying Tips


Posted on May 12, 2017

First-Time Car Buying Tips


Have you finally saved up enough money to purchase your first vehicle? Or perhaps your parents are buying one for you as a graduation gift. Maybe after years of taking public transit and hitching rides with friends, you’ve decided it’s time for a car of your own. Whatever your situation may be, going car shopping for the first time can be an overwhelming experience – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three tips that will help to make your first dealership visits easy and exciting:


  1. Do your research


With the age we are living in, virtually all the information we need is only a click away. Use the Internet to your advantage and do some serious research before heading out on your first car shopping trip. Check out the websites for all the different car brands you are interested in to see what features their various models offer and for what price. The vast majority of car company websites have a “build and price” feature that allows you to customize a vehicle to your liking and see how much it would cost to buy or lease it. If safety is your top priority, look up safety ratings, or if you have a small garage, check out the dimensions of various vehicles to see what would fit. Don’t let any information pass you by!


Also, make sure to check out third-party reviews, either on car blogs or YouTube channels. This will provide you with an unbiased opinion on the vehicle you are considering and may offer up some information not available on the company website. There are also many articles out there on the web that compare similar cars to one another which can help determine which one is the right fit for you.


  1. Take someone with you


Going on your first car-buying expedition alone is risky business. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, you will want to make sure you have someone by your side when you go to check out your options, and this person should have car-buying experience of their own. Even if you go into it well-prepared, chances are there will be questions you will forget to ask the salesman, and that’s where your shopping companion can step in to make sure all the bases are covered.


Taking someone car shopping with you will also help to prevent any impulse decisions – it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. You may be tempted to buy the sports car you fell in love with, but your friend will be there to remind you that it wouldn’t be practical to drive that in Canadian winters with your long work commute, and that an all-wheel drive SUV would be a smarter option.



  1. Shop with a budget


Shopping for your first car is like looking for a house – you will want to go into it with a strict budget in mind and not stray from that budget for risk of disappointment, or even worse, spending above your means. Take some time to go over your finances to determine what the maximum amount you feel comfortable spending is, and only look at vehicles that fit comfortably into your budget. While it may be tempting to check out a luxury sedan “just for fun,” doing so will only result in heartbreak. Buying your first car is a big financial commitment, and it’s important to keep that in mind throughout the whole process.


Bonus tip: Wear comfortable shoes! Test driving in high heels or loose flip flops will not only be uncomfortable, but it also won’t give you an accurate idea of how you feel driving the car.