Car Shopping Is Hard Work

Car Shopping: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!
So I have been car shopping for the past three days. I’ve been researching online, test driving cars, trying to find the best promotions and deals, and getting my old car ready to trade in.
Car shopping is hard work! There are so many decisions to make. Should I buy? Should I lease? Which car should I get? What “bells and whistles” does it have and is it worth the extra money for them? Which cars are the best fuel efficient? Gas is at $4.00 a gallon so that needs to be considered. Which color car should I get? How much room do I need? It is all so much to think about.
I’ve come down to the decision that fuel efficiency and space are pretty important for me. I have a 7-year old and 5-year old, and I’ve been carpooling places and driving other kids around so I need a little extra space. I also have family the comes in from DC so it would be nice to have room to drive them around as well. As for fuel efficiency, I think that is pretty self-explanatory. It’s super important these days.
In fact, I tested the Toyota Prius V which we really fell in love with. It drives great! It has much more space than the Prius, and you get 45-55 mpg. There were so many cool features. We actually would have bought it right then and there, but the price was just too high.  Even though the sticker price was still just in the high 20’s, the monthly payment came to $499 a month. Out of our league. 
After more research I have narrowed it down to two cars. The Toyota RAV4 and the Kia Sorento. Here are the comparisons. I am thinking about closing the deal tomorrow, so I would love to hear any insights or feedback you may have! Thanks!
Both are for a 3-year lease. We decided on the leasing route because financially it just makes sense for us right now. Here are the pros and cons for each:
Toyota RAV4:
Pros: third-row seats, drives well, price is good, good reputation, nice new facility (get complimentary manicures when you wait for an oil change), 2-year free maintenance (includes oil changes), 24 mpg
Cons: the inside fabric is just okay, the third-row seats are a bit tight, not many “bells and whistles”
Kia Sorento: 
Pros: third-row seats (spacious), drives well, roomy, rear-view back-up camera, bluetooth capabilities, heated front seats, nice fabric, 24 mpg
Cons: more expensive (by a bit), not sure of the Kia reputation, facility was just okay  
Have you leased or owned one of these cars? What did you think? I would LOVE any advice! This is a tough decision. Thanks!



  1. We leased and I will tell you, that this car is our last lease ever! We travel a lot and we always run out of miles and need to spend an incredible amount to money. If you don’t travel a lot, leasing is a good option as you can try out a lot of different cars. Our lease is up in August and we will be buying!

  2. The Toyota- HANDS down.
    I can not believe the Kia is more.
    Toyotas are AMAZING vehicles and always have a great trade in!!!

  3. I can’t lease a car because I drive way too far to work and to reffing all winter long!!
    after going from a sedan to a small SUV I’ll NEVER go back to Sedan……..I think the Kia has more room then the RAV4 (I could be wrong) but I’d go with the Kia :)

  4. kia sounds better but i think i’d go with the toyota… those things seem to last forever (at least in my husband’s family). leases make me a little nervous though…you go over that mileage and you are in trouble. can you do it without leasing?

  5. I had a co-worker with a Kia Sorento in Hawaii. It was non stop problems with that thing. I agree TEAM TOYOTA!

  6. My daughter has a KIA. Seems to be a good family car for her ;)

  7. Toyota! I have a Rav4 and my parents have one too. We both just LOVE them! Toyota is a name you can stand behind and have GREAT resale value (if you were to ever buy it) Good luck! We just added a Toyota Yaris, we just LOVE Toyota!

  8. I drove a Kia Sorento for a week last year, and it was fun…a very nice car, but I agree with everyone else. The Toyota will keep its value better and will have less issues. We bought a used Toyota 2002 Sequoia a year ago and we’ve had absolutely NO problems in that whole year.
    And having two years of free oil changes means you’ll probably have it changed it more often which will keep the car running better too.

  9. I like the KIA better. I own a Hyundai (more expensive version of the KIA and I love it!!! We have rented KIA’s before and they are nice!!! Good Luck and make sure you tell us what you picked!!!

  10. I Love Toyota Rav4. that is my fantasy car.

  11. I lease my car because I drive it 6 miles a day M – F, and it just makes sense. I’ll never reach my mileage limit! We just bought a Kia for my husband and he loves it so far. We’ve also had Toyotas. I liked them ok, but I don’t see myself ever getting a Toyota again. If it were me, I would probably go with the Kia.

  12. I’m hopng to get a KIA Sorento by next year! I really like them! What’s up with free manicures at the Toyota dealership???

  13. I own a Kia Sorento, I love it.

  14. We just went through the same ordeal at the beginning of the year. We went with a Chrysler Town & Country Limited because I definitely wanted all the bells and whistles this time. Our last minivan was standard features, cloth seats, and after five years I was ready for an upgrade.

    I think for me the rear seat room would be an issue. We have 3 kids so I’d want the more spacious Kia. My sister has a Kia and it’s lasted her for the past 6 or 8 years. The free maintenance (and manicures) from Toyota is definitely a nice perk though, although getting a manicure at a car dealership would be a tad weird. lol Good luck deciding! :)

  15. I would rather have the Kia if it were me. I would rather have the backup camera, more space, and bluetooth capabilities. Although the manicures would be awesome, but I would think that the Kia would be a better option!

    Thanks for sharing and good luck. You’ll get WAY more gas mileage than I do. I drive a v8 Ford Expedition Harley Edition!

    From Made.By.Jess

  16. Anonymous says:

    If you are going to lease—I assume you do not plan to put a lot of miles on the car, I have read that paying for the vehicle at the end of your lease terms can be very expensive. Believe it or not I have done alot of research on new cars as I am looking to purchase one in the near future and I am into vehicles–especially SUVS. I am familiar with both the KIA and the Toyota. I think that KIA has really been innovative with offering consumer’s all the extra’s and a eye catching design without the sticker shock.The brand has a good reliablitity rating now. I think the Toyota’s RAV4 isn’t as chic on the road and agree they lack offerings in the tech extra’s, but Toyota has a good resale value. If you are leasing I am not sure re-sale value should be a concern. I personally would go with the KIA I have read Consumer Reports recently and the report was good overall. I think you will love the Sorrento! N. Bowie

  17. I did similar shopping two years ago. I didn’t like the Sorrento when I did a test drive (I didn’t mind the car itself but it didn’t ride as smoothly) compared to similar vehicles. I ended up with a Hyundai Santa Fe (which I LOVE)but of your two choices, I personally think the Toyota.

  18. Anonymous says:

    My husband sells cars. Go with Kia! Toyota is doing alot of the freebies to make up for the bad rep they got. Just say’n.

  19. I’ve heard good things about the RAV4. I’ve heard horrible things about leasing being a rip-off. But you had me at manicure. :)

  20. Anonymous says:

    We love our Hyundai Santa fe too. I think either of your choices will be great!!!! A car lease is not usually a good long term financial decision if you have any other option. I would look at buying used first and while I understand new can sometimes be a better financial choice, see if there’s anyway the dealership can make it an option for you to own outright. It might save you some surprises down the road and you can sell it for cash down the road.

  21. My daughter has a Sorrento and loves it. She’s had it only for a year. Yet my mechanic swears by toyotas and hondas.

  22. Leasing vs buying is really one of those situational decisions. I put less than 10 miles on my vehicle every day so leasing makes sense for me. I also like to switch cars every 3 years. Leasing isn’t a rip-off — buying a car in general can be a rip-off if you are uneducated. I also agree that resale value should not be a concern unless you intend to buy out at the end. I would go with the Kia in your shoes — a few more bells and whistles and not as plain as the Toyota. I shopped around as well and ended up with a GMC Terrain which I love but the Kia Sorrento was also on the list. Good Luck!

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