Early adopters tend to buy their share of electric vehicles, hybrids and high-mileage performance cars long before others in their social circles. As for the next logical customer segment, how about nerds?
That's the premise behind newly launched website RideNerd. Nerds take pride in making smart purchase decisions, and this site offers a template for comparing cars on the market all in one place. Users can benchmark new cars against each other by fuel economy, smog and greenhouse gas emissions and cost of ownership.
If you were to compare two popular hybrid models, the Toyota Prius and the Ford C-Max, say, you'll see that the Prius inches past the C-Max – 8.2 out of 10 vs. 7.9 on the RideNerd scale. You'll see them going neck-to-neck, with the Prius doing better in fuel economy and air quality. If you scale down the chart, you'll find five reasons why the Prius scored higher and only one for the C-Max – better highway driving range (634 miles vs. 571). RideNerd lets you study annual costs, which factors in acquisition costs and fuel expense under typical city/highway driving routines with 55 percent city miles. You can also see ratings and read reviews provided by Cars.com, Kelley Blue Book and The Car Connection.
You can also study specifications, including engine and drivetrain, power and handling, suspension and safety features. That's a lot of data, but this a consumer group that wants to dig deep before making that purchase decision. "We are just a bunch of geeks who are trying to create an easier way to research cars," according to RideNerd's Brenden Sherratt.