Buying a 2010 Mazda MAZDA3, and saving $1500 off of MSRP.
All the vehicles were very worthy - no major issue with any of them found however I found the (1) Mazda3 to be the best "combination" of economy, quality, performance , polish, and fun. If you want to have a true sporty car that performs and handles well, still get decent gas mileage, has great features, and looks great it was the only choice in the end.
The (2a) Toyota Corolla S was a good car with great features and looked great but it just doesn't drive like it looks - it really is built and drives as an economy car. (2b) Honda Civic Sport models are great too, drive a bit better, obvious great quality record, close but not as attractive or nearly as fun to drive, less features, and more expensive. (3) If cost is your only concern then check out the Hyundai Elantra and you may save a few bucks (good features in some models but missing some key features in the sport model and drives like a Toyota Corolla)
I went to two mazda dealers and two dealers of Toyota, one Honda dealer, and one Hyundai dealer. Andy and his Sales Manager Cheemun at Sherwood Park Mazda were fantastic - honest, patient, and professional - they were all about providing me with good information, service, and support - no pushiness and no "sales tactics" that annoy everyone. I chatted personally with them longer than I negotiated with them because when I got serious about considering the vehicle they took a cost up approach rather than an MSRP down approach. In the case of this dealership at Park Mazda I didn't need the Car Cost Canada report but I benefited from the confidence of having it in advance.
Good people at a good dealership matter a lot. At the first Toyota dealership the salesman was so lousy and unprofessional, that I wrote off Toyota until my Car Cost Canada report triggered a contact from another Toyota dealer (much better). The other mazda dealer had young "wheeler and dealer style" sales guys - Ok but could be pushing home electronics as much as mazdas. Hyundai dealer was ok - salesman a little young and inexperienced but trying hard to do the right thing (didn't bring me the car I wanted to buy for the actual test drive - said it was virtually the same but without the sport trim - big mistake when you are trying to visualize owning the sporty car and it looks ugly to you in the test drive).
Make sure you pay a few bucks and get the Car Cost Canada reports just to know where you stand - it's important to know who is treating you fairly and who isn't, good dealerships will give you a fair price but you won't know a good dealership when you start so you need Car Cost Canada for your own comfort.
Make sure you round your choice down to about 4 vehicles, clarify the options you want for all of them (get your Car Cost Canada report done with all of the comparable options) and make sure you test drive them on the same day! Then later, round it down to the final 2 after getting close to the bottom line price and do another test drive with the final 2 within an hour of each other. Then buy and enjoy the winner! Be informed about the obvious extended warranty and extra coatings offers that are standard at all dealers after you settle on the final car price - do your own homework on this stuff before your final sit down so you don't make snap decisions on thousands of extra dollars of expense - I passed on everything but you decide for yourself.
If a dealer tries to close you on your first visit or calls you shortly after your visit to bring you back then drop him and go somewhere else - there are better dealers (like Sherwood Park Mazda) that will wait for your call, just provide advice and knowledge, and let you decide whats right for you on your own schedule.
Earl from Edmonton, AB
reported on Thursday, November 05, 2009