The Four Words That Will Always Turn Me off from Buying a Car

SOURCE: GearDiary

I am planning to replace my beloved Prius this summer. She’s been a great car, but with over 160,000 miles on her, it’s time to move on. I’ve been combing certified pre-owned sites, but Kia just knocked themselves out of the running with four words: “Call dealer for price“.

Here’s what annoys me so much about this — it requires me to do a great deal of legwork to even determine if this is a car worth pursuing. There’s no way a dealership is going to answer the phone, tell me the price, and hang up with everyone happy. This is a ruse to get me to call the dealership, plain and simple. It’s not super uncommon, and I have gotten very used to seeing 3 or 4 of these types of listings on other car manufacturer’s sites. Honestly, I mostly use it as a barometer for dealerships I won’t be calling.

But Kia takes this to an art form. The first 21 listings for certified pre-owned Kias are all “Call dealer for price”. Worst of all, Kia lists these first if you sort from cheapest to most expensive. I’ve capped my search at $20,000, and I have no idea where some of these fall in that budget. There’s a Kia Soul + listed with 15,500 miles and one owner — is that $15,000? $18,000? I have no idea, and it’s not special enough for me to be subjected to an onslaught of dealer calls to find out.

Meanwhile, I can head over to Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota, and get actual prices on CPO vehicles. I get that dealerships play price games, especially with in-demand new cars and with non-certified used cars. But if it’s part of a CPO program, the pricing shouldn’t be this opaque. Car buying can be a frustrating and stressful process, especially if you’re doing your own legwork and not going through Truecar or Costco. Certified pre-owned vehicles aren’t hard to find, and in the sub-$20,000 range, there’s a ton of competition. Kia just shot themselves in the foot, because I won’t bother with them as my search moves forwards. There are too many car companies and sites that are more than willing to clarify costs — obfuscating them makes Kia seemed old-fashioned and slimy.

What’s your take on used car listings? Does “call dealer for price” bug you too?