Linda Vertlieb, a popular Philadelphia Mommy Blogger, spoke with Montgomeryville Nissan about what she looks for in a vehicle.
MVN: What are the top 3 features a car has to have in order for you to purchase it?
Linda: Good gas mileage, trunk room, and I need Bluetooth.
MVN: OK, that basically answers my next question. I was going to ask about trunk space and how important it is to you.
Linda: Yeah, strollers nowadays probably aren’t as big as they used to be, but you see a lot of parents who have more than one stroller. So sometimes I find myself having two strollers, or when I’m driving other people and they don’t have a child, I’ll have to take the car seats out and put it in the trunk so someone can fit in my car, so we need the space, definitely.
MVN: Do you think your car requirements have changed since becoming a mother?
Linda: Oh yeah, for sure. Now I want great gas mileage because it’s a hassle to get the gas, you know, your kids are in the car; the less time you spend at the gas station the better. I need space, I just need low maintenance. Four doors, easy in and out.
MVN: Do you think your car needs will change as your kids grow older?
Linda: Yes I hope so! You know, I don’t have a minivan, but I can understand why people have minivans, they’re so much easier. But I cannot wait until I don’t have to worry about the booster seats, I don’t have to worry about car seats, the kids can get in and out. That’s my dream, I cannot wait. My trunk space will come back because I won’t have the strollers.
MVN: So do you have an SUV?
Linda: I used to have an SUV, and about 2 years ago I downsized. The gas price was so high that I was paying, and between the tires and the maintenance I said, I don’t care, I just want to spend less money on gas. So I got a smaller car, and it works for us. When I was growing up—I’m one of three kids—my parents never had a big car, so we make it work.
MVN: As far as car shopping goes, do you have any tips for how to negotiate prices?
Linda: I think it’s important to do your research because a lot of times people don’t know, they get excited about a car. It’s good to know your research—how much it costs, how much you’re willing to spend. Keeping to your budget is really important. If you need to take a step back, clear your mind, and come back to renegotiate, you should.
MVN: Do you have any go-to sites you check out to research prices?
Linda: I do Craigslist, just to see what people generally are selling their cars for, I go on Auto Trader, and Cars.com. I make sure I hit all of them up.
MVN: So I know right now your kids aren’t old enough to drive, but once they are, what sort of advice will you give them before they get behind the wheel for the first time?
Linda: You know, I’ve had experiences with my friends’ siblings who have lost their lives by getting into cars with unexperienced drivers. That’s one thing I want to focus on: just because you have a license, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically a good driver. I really want to teach them safety. With phones, I think it’s more difficult now. I also want to find them a safe car because I know it does make a difference to have a safer car. Kids can be reckless.
MVN: What is your biggest pet peeve when you’re driving?
Linda: Oh, we live in Philly, so you know, there are problems all the time. People don’t use their turn signals, they cut you off, or people will ride you from behind, oh my goodness, I could go on!
MVN: Do you think Philly drivers need certain car features that drivers in other parts of the country might not?
Linda: I’m not sure; everybody’s different, every city’s different, but I think Philly’s more fast-paced, everyone’s more rushed. I would think sensors are important. So many times I’ve been hit when people are trying to cut over in a lane, they don’t see me, so I think sensors would help.
MVN: Do you a funny driving story you’d want to share?
Linda: Well, my last car I had to get rid of because the windows didn’t go down. So I made a list in my head of the pros and cons of the windows not going down. The bad stuff was when you go to tolls or you go through drive-thrus, it was so embarrassing. And people would freak out when you try to open your door because they don’t know what you’re going to do. And then there are times when people would come up to your window and I would say, I can’t open it, I’m sorry, the window won’t go down! So it was a hassle. It wasn’t worth it to get it fixed, so we decided, let’s just get rid of the car. But I went for a whole year with windows that wouldn’t go down.
MVN: Finally, describe your dream car, the best car you could ever have.
Linda: Between having an SUV and a regular sedan, I prefer having an SUV. I like sitting a little bit higher up, I like the space, and I like the 4-wheel drive. So I think my ideal car would be an SUV, probably a hybrid, something with low gas mileage, and I like technology, so Bluetooth, navigation, leather, a sunroof. Absolutely.