My mother has always driven huge cars. She’s still a very capable driver, but is becoming nervous about maneuvering excessively long cars into and out of parking spaces, and is surprisingly ready to shift her interest to not only somewhat shorter cars, but significantly shorter cars. She recently drove a friend’s new Dodge Dart, and found it an easy-to-maneuver size, though there were things about it she didn’t like so we’re starting from scratch in developing the list of potentials. I have driven SUVs for 20 years and I don’t really know how to begin to zero in on some models we should try. Can you give starting-point tips?
If she likes the size of the new Dart, what you’re looking at is “compact size” vehicles. There are many, and although you did not specify a price range, that size is offered in a broad stretch of prices. As a start, she might research the Buick Verano, Honda Civic, Lexus IS 250 and Hyundai Elantra, all of which are solid performers at a decent cross-section of prices.
This may sound somewhat strange, but it could be helpful for you to drive her around some parking lots – restaurants, church, whatever¬ ¬– so she can eyeball an array of parked cars and begin to make a list of those she finds appealing in terms of size and look. When a friend returned to this country after 18 years in Europe and didn’t know quite where to start the car-buying process, we tried this and it helped her narrow the field quickly.
Ultimately, your mother’s final choice should be based on how she feels during test drives, and she should road test at least six cars.
We’ve been seeing fuel economy stickers on the new cars in dealerships; they’re helpful. We’ve noticed, though, that they all have something called a QR code on the bottom, with what looks like a scannable bar on it. What is that?
It stands for “quick response.” If you’ve downloaded a scanner app onto your smartphone, you can scan this and get linked to additional information and tools about this particular vehicle.
If you want more information (about the labels or about QR codes), you can go to fueleconomy.gov. There’s a video about how QR works.
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