2010 Chevrolet MalibuEnlarge Photo
One piece of advice that every car buyer hears is to "do your research." But what, exactly, does that mean?
Well, in this day and age, it means hitting the Internet. Here are three quick strategies to pursue while doing your online shopping.
1. Visit the large review sites: There are tons of Web sites out there that review just about every car on the market and compile those reviews into easily searchable formats that can be browsed by year, make, and model. There's Family Car Guide, of course, and our parent, The Car Connection. Other sites include Edmunds.com, Kelly Blue Book, Consumer Guide Automotive, Cars.com, and AutoByTel. The big search sites (AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!) also have automotive sites. Not only do these sites contain reviews on virtually every car out there, they also feature plenty of helpful articles, as well as links to tools such as Carfax and TrueCar.
2. Visit the blogs and buff-books sites: In auto-journalism parlance, print magazines with car-enthusiast audiences are referred to as buff books. Not only do they provide plenty of reviews in their print issues, but their Web sites also contain information that could be helpful in your new-car search. And don't forget the blogs, such as Jalopnik and Autoblog--those sites break a lot of news and provide a lot of insight to consumers.
3. Visit the manufacturer's Web site: Sure, the information here is meant to sell you a car. But that doesn't mean it's not useful. Most sites will offer pricing information, along with tools that allow you to option out a car and see how much it will cost. Often times, you can even preview paint colors and wheel packages. It's one thing to gather unbiased information from the automotive press, but sometimes you need to go straight to the source.
There you have it. Happy car hunting!