Then my friend and then-boss, Janie, introduced me to Consumer Reports. Luckily, the Dick Smith Library subscribes to this, so it’s a free service to use for staff, faculty, and students. I found that I absolutely love their Buying Guide. You can find it in the periodicals section of the library or you can search Discovery@TarletonLibraries for “Consumer Reports Buying Guide” and it will pull up the most recent buying guide. You can save the PDF to your personal folder and take it with you when going looking for cars in case you forget or see something new that you hadn’t considered.
Consumer Reports lists all the problem areas for each vehicle per dealer per year. It provides an average rating scale for each vehicle per year as well as an overall rating based on “the percentage of survey respondents who reported problems for that trouble spot, compared with the average of all vehicles for that year” – Consumer Reports. It’s interesting to see how each car measures up to the other, and definitely helped to narrow down my search. However, I do have to state that not all cars find their way into Consumer Reports. For example, I have no idea why they don’t have ratings for the Chevrolet Camaro prior to 2010. I know they were out then, so I’m not sure why they weren’t included. The Kia Rio is not listed either, and there are newer models that won’t show up on the list until they have the necessary data to be compiled and presented. All in all, it takes about 2 years for a car to show up in the Consumer Reports Buying Guide.
P.S. This has nothing to do with Consumer Reports, but it's just a helpful little tip that I found out when I went car shopping. You want to compare and contrast dealerships as well as cars when shopping. Some dealerships just have the worst service and others are very helpful and efficient. So, just be aware of that little tidbit as well. The site I visited to find this information out was dealerrater.com, but there are others as well.