Category Archive


How to buy a car using data: Part II — the final decision and epilogue of our adventure

In our previous blog post we identified 27 cars based on a list of features, and then narrowed our list down to 3 based on Internet data and test drives. Now, it is time for more data!


With a list of cars this small, we can do more in-depth research. We found out the cost of car insurance, average maintenance costs, vehicle crash ratings, accident data, and insurance data. We also tried to estimate how much each model would cost to own over 5 and 10 years.

However, the most interesting data was about crash test ratings and accident statistics. Vehicle crash-test ratings are designed to be predictive, which means they try to imitate real-world conditions. Accident data is far more interesting, because it shows what actually happened.

How to buy a car using data

My wife, Kate, and I were perfectly content to drive her car, a 1995 Honda Civic. It never gave us trouble…until it died last December. Then we needed a replacement.

After mourning the passing of our reliable steed, we decided we did not care about specific car brands or models. We cared about features. Our goal was to buy a car with features we care about, for the best price. Our first step: decide what functionality we wanted most.

In this set of blog posts, I will cover my experience in buying a car using data. I’ll go over some of the advantages, like ignoring all of the lies marketing.

How to get a new pre-owned car in your garage — without being an asshole

So… it’s time. The car you’re driving is falling apart or doesn’t have enough room for your growing family, and it’s time to — gasp! — buy a vehicle. I know what you’re already thinking: “I hate shopping for cars. I don’t know the first thing about it. I better figure out how.”