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Car Shopping on the Freeway: A Novel Technique

Updated on July 7, 2014

My Car, My Life: The Automotive Blog for Independent Women...

When it comes time to upgrade the old set of wheels, chances are two thoughts will start taking up some serious brain time – what am I going to buy next? And, OMG! -- there are so many choices!!! Considering which new-to-you vehicle to buy can be an almost overwhelming experience exactly because there seems to be an almost endless supply of styles, models and types. Do I go for an SUV or Crossover, or sedan, or coupe, sportscar, maybe a wagon (do they still make those?) Do I need a van? A pickup? Do I go upscale, downsize, standard, economy -- micro? What about gas or hybrid – and what’s this about clean-burning diesel? Isn’t there also something called bio-diesel? And what about ethanol or flex fuel? Are electrics available yet?

And you thought it was hard enough choosing panties at Victoria Secret.

Throw in the very first question you need to answer -- new vs. used (excuse me, “previously owned” is now the preferred term) -- and the best choice might be to just go get your nails done.

What's it gonna be -- fresh or adopted?

Regardless of whether you choose to be the first owner or to “adopt,” here’s a fun, entertaining way to help narrow the field of contenders: freeway shopping! All this entails is looking around at the other cars sharing the freeway lanes with you. See which ones catch your eye, then find out what make and model they are. (Determining the year is downright challenging unless it’s a brand new vehicle with paper plates.) The intriguing thing about this technique is, once you settle on the one or two models you like, you’ll start seeing more and more of them. It’s like they’ve taken over the road all of a sudden. Check out the colors. See what the people look like driving them. Imagine yourself looking like that cruising by.

Once you decide on a few eye catchers

Once you settle on one or two that’s when it’s time to hit the internet and do some serious research. But until that final round, you’ll have a more interesting – and alert – driving experience when you do a little freeway shopping! Imagine, not only can you turn that stale commute into a productive shopping experience, you’ll also be multi-tasking!

(Oh -- and, yes, station wagons are still being made – and are staging a comeback. And there is going to be an electric vehicle coming to market in 2010: The Nissan Leaf. Kudos to them for taking the mass-market leap first.)

Choices, Choices, Choices

Almost like magic, electric vehicles are appearing in dealer showrooms -- and these aren't plug-in hybrids, we're talking pure electrics. Cadillac is introducing the ELR this January. Tesla has the very highly rated Model S. BMW is introducing the i3, as is Audi with an A3 model in their e-tron configuration. Ford has their all-electric Focus. With so many choices, it's electrifying!


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