what are some good resources for selecting the car you want to buy?

While there are tons of online guides that are supposed to help you pick out the best car model for you, they give you advice on things to consider, without giving any advice on where to find that information (except consumerreports.org which points you to their subscription-only section for actual details). So where can I find a comparison of the various models in a given price range?

I’m looking to buy my first used car (well, the first one where I can choose by something other than price). I’d like to use USAA’s car buying service (or get the loan through them, at least), unfortunately, they assume you know exactly which make, model, and year you want.

I don’t know if this is what you are looking for, but Edmunds offers reviews and pricing and specs for most cars.

Kelly Blue Book lets you compare up to four cars at once.

The Car Connection has a lot of good info as well. The major auto mags have online articles covering stuff like “most reliable used car,” “best family sedan,” “safest CUV,” etc. I’d google phrases like that and see what comes up. I would also consider that a car is probably the second most expensive thing people buy and a $12 subscription to Consumer Reports may be money well spent.

NADA (click on “NADA Guides” tab). You can do side-by-side comparisons of four vehicles, plus you will be using the price guide that car dealers use.

Car dealers don’t use NADA; they use wholesale auction data.

You might be able to get into the Consumer Reports website using your library card number. (Try to find the login portal through your local library website.) I do think CR at least does a better job presenting information than most of the other car shopping websites.

For new cars?

Your library will have a copy of the CR buying guide.

What I would do is find the depreciation guide for car leases and cross reference that with the CR reliability guide. You will probably wind up with a “grandma” car using this methodology. IOW, an unpopular but reliable car. For example, everybody wants a used Camry because they are supposedly bullet proof…but for a lot less cash a used Malibu (from the Avis fleet) is a better deal, when looking at TCO/cost per mile.

If you want sexy, ignore all of the above.

go to www.autotrader.com and click on ‘browse by style’. After you get a list of cars narrow it down using things like price, features, transmission, etc.

Decide first what body style you want – sedan, SUV, etc. Then decide if you want big or small. Then go around and test drive a bunch of cars, and buy the one you fall in love with.