Top 5 DOs of Posting a Used Car Ad

1: Make sure you have a presentable car

Before you get down to even thinking about how you will word and post your ad, you have to have the goods to back it all up. Make sure that the car is cleaned and detailed as much as possible. Some elbow grease, towels, and wax go a long way to helping you sell a car and can easily increase the value of a car on the used market. As a rule of thumb, imagine that you will be selling the car today. Don’t have any garbage or personal belongings left in the car. Furthermore, if the car has any regular maintenance that has to be performed, perform it. It’s a hassle for buyers to have to do those things right after getting the car, and won’t be a stumbling block for later on in the process.

2: Honesty for all

Leave the lying and ambiguity to the crooks. If there are problems with the car, however minor or major, write it down in your ad or at least mention it to the buyer at the first point of contact. Showing that you can be honest about these problems will enable the buyer to trust you more and believe that there isn’t anything else wrong with the car.

Conversely, if the car is in amazing shape, mention a few maintenance items that were either performed regularly or recently. You should expect buyers to want their own inspections done anyway, but you have nothing to hide, right? Lastly, if you are not the first owner of the vehicle, state that as well and maybe mention that you are uncertain (assuming you are) about the vehicles previous service history. This last part isn’t absolutely necessary, however. You can (and should) mention that at the first point of contact.

3: Don’t forget those details

Buyers, particularly the ones that are cross-shopping the same kind of vehicle, will be interested in the options and accessories that the car is equipped with other than make X, model Y, and colour Z. Car has a sunroof? List it. Car has the optional cruise control? List it. Car has working A/C? Definitely list it. Bullet points are a big part of any used car ad, so make use of them. Just don’t go overboard and list things like headlights or door handles that open the doors. I remember an ad once that stated that the car was “equipped with a speedometer”. Must have been special.

4: Check your spelling and grammar

You would expect this one to be a no-brainer, but I’m putting it on here for a reason. More than half of the ads that I read on any given day have horrid punctuation, syntax, and spelling mistakes that make the ad both difficult to read and belittle the poster’s position. As any self-respecting journalist will tell you, good writing is at the heart of presenting any case. Don’t ruin otherwise plentiful information with atrocious prose. The more effort that goes into the ad, the more attractive it is.

If push comes to shove and your English isn’t terribly good, have someone proof it for you. It will be a solid time investment.

5: Define acceptable payment options

This one could save you a lot of time and effort on buyers that wind up trying to pay you in ways that you are not comfortable with. If you only accept cash, state it in the ad upfront. Make sure you settle on how the buyer will pay before the test drive. Kijiji recommends that all transactions take place face to face, using cash only.

Used Reviews: 2008 Lexus IS F

lexus-is-f-review-3-bigLexus came on the scene in 1989 to bring out their S-Class-killing smooth machine, the LS. It took almost 20 years for the Japanese luxury automaker to build something that competed with the Germans on a performance level, and not just a refinement one. Enter Lexus’s F skunk works. They built the IS F, an entry-level vehicle turned menace in the same vein as the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Along with the Audi RS 4, the IS F entered into a very heated Euro-muscle battle royale in the late 2000s that ended in debate after debate of top-gunnery.

The Lexus IS F is a wonder of a machine. If there is one thing that the regular XE20-bodied IS is not, it is involving and connected to the road ahead. Sure, those cars have great V6 engines, particularly the 3.5L, but the entire car feels like an appliance on wheels albeit a very luxurious one. The IS F takes all of that character away from the car. A 417 hp 5.0L V8 sits up front and makes one hell of a racket. Below about 4000 rpm, the engine is smooth, quiet, civilized. But, open up the taps and the exhaust explodes in a concert of blissful sound and the 373 lb.ft of torque collides you with Newton’s three laws of physics quite nicely. It is every bit as smooth as the V6s in the regular ISes are, but with a tiny Godzilla wrapped into the package.

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Fun doesn’t stop with the wild engine transplant either. The 8-speed automatic transmission is just about as good as a torque converter unit can get. Shifts are every bit Lexus in normal mode driving down the street. Hit up Sport mode or use the paddles mounted to the steering columns, and you would swear you are driving a dual-clutch system. Shifts are quicker than you will ever need, downshifts are aggressive and cause the engine to bark ever so crisply, and flat out the engine is always in its sweet spot due to the high number of ratios. Thus, the powertrain department is settled.

The ride is much firmer than the regular car, but still much softer than a BMW E90. The chassis doesn’t have quite the agility of the BMW, but it definitely holds its own with communicative steering and nice weight. The brakes don’t hassle you to give any effort while totting around town, but you notice their firm sporting nature when you really dig into them. The IS F does feel like a heavy vehicle, however, and there are times when the V8 can’t make up for that particularly when braking. But, power out of a corner with some gratuitous throttle and that extra mass really gives you a thrill.

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The interior is as well made and nicely trimmed as any other Lexus. Although the rear seat suffers from cramped dimensions all-round, the seats are among the best I have ever tested. In fact, I still to this day go so far as to rank these seats as my benchmark for any seat. They are comfortable, heated and cooled, and gorgeous when optioned in white two-tone leather. Absolutely nothing about the interior feels cheap in the slightest. Comparing this again to the BMW E90 makes me realize that there are quite a few pieces in the BMW that could have used less bean counting, which is saying quite a mouthful.

Lexus was new in the game when the IS F was released in 2007, and it started off great. The car has a wonderful powertrain with a wonderful interior and that Lexus durability and finish. Now, all we can do is wait for the next generation model to take care of that rear seat space.

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Used Reviews: 2009 MINI Cooper S Convertible

Just about everyone knows what a Mini Cooper is. Only so many, though, are fortunate enough to have the experience of driving one, and better yet, living with one. I had the stark opportunity to live with one on and off for a about a year, and I fell in love with the car. Yes, it had a few reliability concerns, and yes, the convertible top rattled like a fully loaded landscaping truck, but it was the great drive that made up for all of it.

2009-mini-john-cooper-works-convertible-photo-259889-s-1280x782The Cooper in question is an S Convertible. This car has a 1.6L turbo inline-4 producing 181 hp and 177 lb.ft of torque. But the big number is that all of this is pulling only 1150 kg of curb weight, which makes for quite the driving experience. If you have read Mini Cooper reviews before, you may have heard the words “rides on rails” or “turns like a go-kart” before. Allow me to assure you now that all of these kinds of classifications are undeniably true. Even with all-season rubber, the Cooper S continues to grip until your kidneys hurt and your face is hitting the side window. Using the steering wheel is synonymous with having your hands on the wheel hubs themselves. Braking feels like you are using the Force to stop the car. This is potentially one of the best handling front-drivers you will ever try.

No turboed front-driver would be complete without a healthy amount of pull to one side when you put your foot down while turning. And, while the torque steer can be mitigated with a healthy amount of practice, the turbo lag cannot and only makes considerable power well after the 4000 rpm mark. As a consolation prize, torque is available as low as 1500. Also luckily enough, the 6-speed manual is a real reward. You won’t even think twice about shifting down a few cogs to make use of that higher-up power because the shifter is easy to engage, if a little inaccurate. Throws are short enough to feel sporty and long enough to remove any ambiguity left from the slight imprecision of the shifter itself.

Owners of the hardtop Cooper can tell you that it is not the most impractical car in the world. Quite a bit of cargo fits in the back and becomes even more usable with the back seats down. While the convertible is not as trunk heavy as the hardtop, a smaller golf bag may just fit, and multiple golf bags are possible with the seats down. Keep those seats up, and it may be difficult to fit four adults, but three could sit comfortably if the front passenger seat is advanced slightly. The biggest problem with the rear seating is the upright position that can cause back pain after a couple of hours.

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The convertible top can be lowered or raised at speeds as fast as 30 km/h, which makes switching it up at red lights a breeze. Furthermore, the very first portion of the top can be opened without putting the whole top down to create a big targa-esque feeling without the compromise of messing up your hairdo. Interior space up front is great, plenty of head, shoulder, and legroom. The seats are comfortable and provide a decent amount of side bolstering, although more is needed due to the go-kart-like handling. Mini decided to add a cute little gauge to the left of the tach that displays the amount of time the top has been down. What seems like a gimmick at first is actually a nice touch and encourages you to enjoy top-down fun as much as you can.

The Cooper S starts at about 35 grand brand new, but high depreciation puts this gem in the used buyers market. It may be pricey and a hassle to maintain due to the unique way certain things are designed, but treat it right and this car will make you forget about any thing else you’ve driven this year.

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Used Reviews: 2007 Nissan Altima 3.5SE

Alas, I suffer from yet another drought of cars to review and my mind wanders backwards in time to a period when we owned a V6 Nissan Altima. I often find myself pondering life with the Nissan still in our family, and then I snap back to the reality of the far better metal that is available today.

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The Altima in question is a 2007 3.5SE model, equipped with such amenities as moonroof, 9-speaker Bose stereo with Bluetooth capability and voice recognition (a rather big deal nearly seven years ago), and gorgeous 17” wheels. Our little family hauler came with the optional and famous 3.5L VQ35DE V6 engine pumping out 270 hp and 258 lb.ft of torque through a six-speed manual transmission. For a front-wheel-drive car, these numbers may seem daunting at first, but Nissan announced that they designed the chassis to reduce the front-drive downfalls as much as possible, and I’m glad to announce that they delivered in spades. Under normal driving conditions and during some hard pulls around corners, you would think this car was all-wheel- or rear-wheel-drive if you didn’t know any better. The VQ pulls hard all the way up to its 6500 rpm redline. Economy isn’t terrible at 11L/100km combined observed. Around 9L/100km is possible on the highway.

Nissan has always been known to make the Altima a sportier option to its main competition, the Accord and the Camry. This Altima is no exception. The steering is extremely communicative, if a little light around town; the brakes are tough and grip with presence; the engine is smooth and willing. Everything down to that six-speed. While the shifter provides satisfying shifts when executed correctly, it feels as though there are a hundred little fingers in the shift boot trying to get a little piece of the action every time you try to find a cog. News doesn’t get better with the left foot. Nissan managed to drop the ball majorly in the clutch department when it installed a vague, light, and numb clutch to accompany what is otherwise a great powertrain. To make matters worse, our car had a first-production-run gremlin that Nissan could not (or maybe would not) fix in the car’s time with us: the throttle would sometimes leave itself partially opened when the clutch was depressed thanks to the drive-by-wire system. This is definitely one of those cars where I would just bite my tongue and go with the automatic (CVT in this case) instead.

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Impressions were good with the rest of this car at the time, however. The interior was laid out excellently and some of the materials were great in the areas that counted. This isn’t to say that there aren’t cheap things about the car. The rear seats would squeak with occupants in them at low temperatures, the driver’s interior door handle would consistently come off after a few years’ abuse, and some of the painted surfaces did not age as gracefully as Clint Eastwood. But otherwise, the interior is comfortable and particularly spacious. Nissan’s Smart Key keyless entry and ignition system is also a notable feature of this car. While more commonplace now, features like these made the Altima feel like it was in a class above at certain moments as similar kit was being seen in Infiniti models.

While the Accord and the Camry might be better cars, the Altima has that Nissan character that only makes sense once you spend some time with one. Some will note that this Altima lacks the refinement of its German counterparts (save the V6 engine) and the build quality of its Japanese ones, but none of those vehicles seemed to have quite as much soul. Yeah, I said it.

 

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Used Reviews: 2009 BMW 328xi Coupé

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Hopefully, many times in one’s life, there will be a car that stands out and makes you feel warm inside no matter what angle you are looking at it. A car with perfect proportions, exceedingly well-executed lines, and the colours that put it right over the edge. When I first laid eyes on the BMW E92 3-Series coupé (in white), these are the kinds of feelings that built up inside of me.

The E92 328xi coupé is a well-finished, well-built driving machine made to handle anyone who wishes to step foot inside its comfy and cozy interior. Hardcore autocross enthusiasts, soccer moms, Joe Pesci, you name it. My tester came with the red leather and piano black trim that accented the car wonderfully. The seats are supportive and feature adjustable air bladders on the side-bolsters to keep you strapped in on corners or to give your body room for cruising. Trunk space is also enormous for a car such as this with special provisions for skis because, you know, skiing.

No interior is perfect, however. Remember that. While back seat space is plentiful and materials are excellent, ingress and egress could be improved and my 5’ 8” self occasionally hit his head on the bloated A-pillar when checking his left blind spot. The cup holders are a bit flimsy and intrude some of the centre stack controls even though they are out of the way of the shifter. The standard digital radio screen cannot be read while wearing your mandatory polarised sunglasses, and the standard radio leaves a lot to be desired. But the gripes end there.

This 3er is just as fantastic as any other. You won’t find a more solid and a more ridged chassis with better reflexes in this class. The 3.0L straight-6 only puts out 230 hp with 200 lb-ft of torque, but you wouldn’t care from behind the wheel. The engine is about as smooth as a Wankel rotary engine, which is saying something. It pulls linearly and has the right amount of low-end torque for city slicking. The X-Drive AWD system makes the 328xi grip beautifully and while some purists may cry to their mommies about it not being the RWD model, if you want a year-round smile fest, look no further. I did not once miss RWD when I was driving this car. It is superb.

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The BMW E92 3-Series coupé rides on rails even if it does feel a little big. If you have been spoiled by something smaller, say, a 1-Series, this will definitely feel like a boat. But, a thick steering wheel and tight suspension keep the car planted and in check long enough for you to forget that heft. Steering is communicative and well weighted for every task, if a tad tiresome to use at parking lot speeds. Brakes are firm and could probably adequately stop two 328xis if they had to.

My only complaints with the driving experience were with the transmission. The clutch is absolutely phenomenal and is everything that it should be: light, comfortable, good engagement point; the only thing it is missing is a finger to put an engagement ring on. Shifting gears once that belle of a clutch is in, however, is another story. I know many whom are happy with the shifters on these cars, but I was not impressed. The shifter is notchy and difficult to engage even when warmed up. What’s more, throws are long and the engine revs drop extraordinarily quick while putzing around down which leaves you little time to shift those gears. However, the automatic version of this car is even worse with astoundingly bad throttle response.

It is tough to find a finer coupé than this one, though. Not many offer the same rear seat comfort – you could do a long trip back there, I’m serious – and grounded and stiff feel as the 3 coupé. The only things that this car is missing are a great shifter and a more powerful motor, and as luck would have it, the 335i and the M3 variants of the E92 exist.

If you are interested in picking one of these up, don’t forget to check out our buyer’s guide for the E9x here.

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