2012 Dodge JourneyEnlarge Photo
Pricing, financing, warranties, insurance--it's one hurdle after another to make it through the car shopping experience without paying a dime more than you must.
Sometimes, it's not the dealer or the bank that costs you extra money. It's you. By ordering optional features that don't add much to the driving experience--or worse, interfere with it--and don't hold their value over time, many car shoppers end up with a car more expensive than it should be, one that depreciates even more quickly the minute they sign the paperwork and leave the dealer lot. That's money that could go directly to paying off that new car, truck, or crossover sooner.
Wondering if you're spending too much? You might be, if you've ticked the boxes for these unnecessary features:
Siri becomes voice-activated ignition keyEnlarge Photo
Expensive navigation systems. Technology is driving down the price of GPS in cars, but many drivers are already turning toward even less expensive solutions. Phone-based navigation is often cheaper; some safety-and-security systems like GM's OnStar and Ford's SYNC come with serviceable, turn-by-turn navigation that eliminates pricey hard-drive or disc-based databases and big LCD screens. Meanwhile, Apple's plan to integrate Siri voice controls in cars threatens to turn the whole in-car navigation market into a free-for-all, literally. Some in-house nav systems are inexpensive, like the latest ones from GM and Nissan. Before you spend a thousand and upward on a bundled nav system, consider more practical options--and what the future may hold.