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  • I happened to drive behind an MDX today and the width did look roomier, at least from the outside. We already planned to test drive one soon. My wife's only concern is she has never driven an SUV before (this would be her primary vehicle) so hopefully maneuvering one isn't too challenging for her.

    We'll probably look at the CR-V, Highlander, and Prius V as well. I have my doubts about the Prius V though, probably too small?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,325
    edited January 2013
    Prius and CRV both too small.

    Maybe the new Cmax hybrid? I have no idea how wide it is, but if its like the mazda5, its pretty roomy. At least easy to get kids in and out of. Too bad they don't have the sliding doors.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,679
    Once you drive a Q5, X3, etc.. It will be hard to step back to the CR-V or RAV4. None of those models are large or hard to maneuver. Most women love the higher seating position. I know my wife does.

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,818
    Have you thought about a minivan??

    I know, I know - who wants to drive a minivan? Nobody - at first. But once you live with one for a while and haul kids around, go on vacation with them, et al, you'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

    We've had an Odyssey for 12 years now and although it's relegated to 3rd car status, it still gets used due to its superior ability to comfortably haul people and gear.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,458
    agreed about the van. We got our first when we had our 2nd kid, and only got out of a van a few months ago, when the Baby was turning 17 and could drive herself around!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    I may have a confusing question. I bought a 2011 Nissan Maxima in January 2011 through Nissan Motor Acceptace at 1.9% for 72 months. I owe about $18,850 on it. It's in near perfect condition, completely dealership maintained and has less than 21,000 miles on it. I'm wondering if I'd personally be better off making about 6 more payments and then trading it or should I try to sell it in 3-4 months, bank a couple of payments and get that loan off of my credit report for a couple of months and then just buy a new car? I know most of my payment each month is going toward the principal, so each payment I make will help.

    There is nothing wrong with the Maxima and I love driving it--I'm just thinking about getting a car with a more functional back seat and doesn't use premium unleaded gasoline.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    I'm curious what kind of vehicles you are entertaining. I've driven a 2011 Maxima, and had an older model myself, and thought the back seats in both were fine. Certainly, there are cars with roomier back seats, including the Subaru Legacy I bought in 2011.

    But if finances are an issue - and I'm guessing they are if you took out a 72-month loan :surprise: - you pay sales taxes and registration fees every time you buy a car, and that can add up. Also, I understand that premium fuel costs a bit more than regular. But it looks like you drive about 11k miles per year. If premium costs 20 cents more per gallon and you are getting 25 MPG, that really adds up to only $88 per year.

    And one more thing - when you trade a car, you will only get a wholesale price, whereas when you buy a car you are paying retail. In other words, if you sold and bought the same identical car, you would likely lose at least a couple of thousand dollars in the process. Add the wholesale/retail issue, sales taxes and other transaction costs, and you will come out far ahead by simply keeping your Maxima longer.

    I know, buying a new car is exciting. But it is very costly to do so every couple of years. What you should really do is pay extra every month so you can pay off the car loan in two years. Then, keep the Maxima an additional two years and save the monthly car payments in a savings account. At that point - four years down the road - you will have a fully paid-off car and two years of payments in the bank as a down payment on your next car. Then, take out a 3-year car loan, keep the car six or seven years and pocket the monthly payments. Do that a couple of times, and you will have enough money to buy cars for cash with no loans. :)

    The bottom line is if you need a 4-, 5- or 6-year loan to buy a car, you really can't afford the car and should look at something a lot cheaper.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Thanks for the lecture. No, I don't trade cars every 2 years--I had my last 2 cars over 5 years each. That's why I'm not sure which way to go may be the better personal option. No, it's not finances. I took the 6 year loan to get the payments low when I need a low payment and I pay extra when I can, as well--that's how I got a $30k loan to $18.8k in 2 years. If NMAC wants to give away 0% for 60 months or 1.9% for 72 months, then I might as well take advantage of it and use my money to pay off thinks that will have higher interest rates.

    I have 3 children and they are only getting bigger and when the 5 of us go places in my car, someone always complains of being cramped. We do have a Sienna, so please don't suggest I get a van or SUV. I was thinking about something like a new Accord or Altima.

    This is the first car I've ever owned that used premium and I'm no longer having fun paying the premium for it (I get 21-22 mpg back & forth from work, not 25). At 11k miles per year at 22mpg, that's 500 gallons per year at $4 per gallon (right now, this is the cheapest premium has been for a while) or $2000 a year. In a new car getting 28 mpg on $3.30 regular fuel, that's $1296 a year, or $704 a year cheaper--quite a bit more than the $88 calculated above.

    I was just wondering if anyone out there had any helpful advice for this question or not. Maybe it really is a stupid question; but, I'd rather get advice than a lecture from someone who doesn't know me.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,325
    edited January 2013
    I took the 6 year loan to get the payments low when I need a low payment and I pay extra when I can, as well--that's how I got a $30k loan to $18.8k in 2 years. If NMAC wants to give away 0% for 60 months or 1.9% for 72 months, then I might as well take advantage of it and use my money to pay off thinks that will have higher interest rates.

    Absolutely! I do this all the time.

    As for the premium concern, you absolutely can run regular fuel in your Maxima. The computer will take care of the timing so you won't feel any ill effects. It could impact your mileage, however. You'll have to test it and see.

    But, putting cost aside, if you need a bigger car, then you need a bigger car.

    While I can't predict the future value of your trade-in, it is usually best to pay it down as much as possible. You would only be gaining equity with every month that goes by. So try to hold out as long as you can. At the same time, you gotta do what you gotta do. I just don't think any midsize sedan is going to give you a whole lot more room, but that's another topic.

    As for "getting it off your credit report," don't worry about it. When you tell the dealership "I sold that car," everything will be fine. They can work with their lenders to straighten it out.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • billy3554billy3554 Posts: 147
    You are correct in taking out the loan for as long as possible when the interest rate is low. It is like getting money for nothing. I do it on every car and I am in a position where I can pay off a loan in two years. Also, having a long history of paid a agreed loans is very helpful to a person's credit score.

    Really, only a person unfamiliar with finance concepts would suggest anyone taking out a loan for more than 2 years is purchasing a vehicle they can't afford. If that were the case, most of us would be driving a Yugo.

    One thing to consider regarding selling your Maxima to a private party or trading it on a new vehicle is you won't get the sales tax break if you sell to a private party, in most states. This can be considerable. If your car trades at $20,000 and the sales tax rate is 6% the sales tax break on the new purchase is $1,200. This means the private sale would need to be more than $21,200 to be more of an advantage than trading the vehicle.

    It is likely a Nissan dealer will offer more for the Maxima. Use Kelly Blue Book and NADA for the value of the Maxima which will give you a good idea of what the vehicle is worth. With a fairly clean vehicle I have always found a dealer willing to meet the KBB or NADA values. Any dealer who does not come close is, in my opinion, lowballing the trade value. At a minimum get up a leave, better to leave and go to a different dealer.

    Finally, at 11,000 miles a year the expected savings in gas would be more than $500 not $88 as you noted.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    One thing to consider regarding selling your Maxima to a private party or trading it on a new vehicle is you won't get the sales tax break if you sell to a private party, in most states. This can be considerable

    I didn't even think of this--good idea, thanks.
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    As for the premium concern, you absolutely can run regular fuel in your Maxima. The computer will take care of the timing so you won't feel any ill effects. It could impact your mileage, however.

    I feel funny running regular whent they recommend premium--besides, if mileage comes down, then I'm not really saving anything in the end.

    Thank you for the suggestions.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    While 1.9% is pretty cheap as far as loan interest, it is still higher than you can earn in a savings account, money market fund, short-term CD rates or anywhere else you can deposit money at low risk for 2-6 years. So, despite what the previous two posters indicated, borrowing at 1.9 percent isn't a particularly shrewd move. It's not a horrendous decision, granted, but it's certainly not "free money" in today's interest climate. Borrowing at 0% is a different story, so if you had said you took out a loan at 0%, I wouldn't have assumed you took out a 6-year loan due to affordability.

    After making 24 payments on a 72-month $30k car loan, the balance should be $20,377. So, you've made about $1,500 in extra payments, or $62 extra per month. That's good, but it only reduces the loan term to 5.25 years. I would encourage paying even more extra every month to shorten it further.

    As for selling the Maxima, you could probably buy a replacement car that has a bigger back seat and gets better fuel mileage, but both changes would be relatively modest, I would wager. It's easy enough to look up interior dimensions in Edmunds, and a 4-cylinder car would get better mileage than your Maxima. If that's what you want to do, go for it. Perhaps a different car really would satisfy your desires and needs better. From a lifestyle perspective, it might be justifiable.

    But don't pretend that it makes financial sense to sell or trade a two year old car. You've already taken the biggest depreciation hit, and there are transaction costs that are difficult to avoid. Getting modest gains in MPG or saving one cent per mile by using non-premium fuel, however, wouldn't come close to the depreciation and transaction costs involved with buying a new car.
  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 1,995
    I have 3 children and they are only getting bigger and when the 5 of us go places in my car, someone always complains of being cramped ... I was thinking about something like a new Accord or Altima.

    Isn't the Altima smaller than the Maxima?
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,904
    My take on financial transactions such as this is very similar to yours. A move like this might be very satisfying in getting rid of a car you no longer like, but financially, it is hard to justify.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    Well, I bought the car in January, 2011, so my first payment was in March, 2011--meaning I've made 23 payments and not 24. No big deal. Either way, I'll probably ditch this plan, anyway. The 5 of us ride in the car maybe twice a month and I really do enjoy driving it--so my thinking out loud was probably all for naught, anyway.
  • timadamstimadams Posts: 294
    The Maxima would be vastly more fun to drive than a 4-cylinder sedan, for sure. If any of your kids are still in car seats, I can see why the back seat might be tight. But if they are old enough to forego car seats, then I would think the back seat would be fine for three kids. I used to have 5 people in my Maxima quite frequently, at least for short trips. Since you have a van already, that would be the family truckster, but that depends on whether the van is available when you need it.

    I really didn't intend to lecture you or pass judgement. I was simply pointing out factors involved with depreciation, sales taxes, fees and car dealer profits all cost money for consumers. That's not to say everyone should drive their cars for 10 years or more - though that is clearly the way to minimize costs. Needs and desires change. But trading one sedan for another for modest gains in fuel costs and interior dimensions are hard to justify on a purely financial basis.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  • I can get a 2012 Toyota Prius Three with solar roof for $24,809 + TTL, or a 2013 Prius Three with solar roof for $25,944 + TTL. I'm inclined to get the 2012, since I plan to keep my car for awhile.

    What do you think?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,876
    For make/model-specific questions, you're probably better off posting in the Prices Paid discussion for that model. Here's the Prius Prices Paid discussion:
    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.f1d1fb3/1088

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  • verdugoverdugo Posts: 1,995
    I'm inclined to get the 2012, since I plan to keep my car for awhile.

    If you're keeping it for a long time, I'd choose the 2013.

    Say you keep it 6 years, that's less (1135/6) than $200 extra a year. And remember, when you do get rid of it, you'll get a bit more for the 2013.

    I'm not familiar with the Prius, but are there any changes/upgrades between the 2012 and 2013?
  • There are no changes in the 2013.

    I'm planning on keeping it more than 6 years, and I'd think that the re-sale value difference will be less than $1100 in, say, 10 years...
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,904
    For what it is worth, in your position, I would buy the 2012, assuming you can get a fairly substantial discount over the 2013.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,695
    timadams didn't give you a "lecture". He gave you solid advice and answers to the questions YOU asked!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,876
    Oh, I think we can let this go and just call it even. I can see why uga91 was offended by the suggestion that he took out a 72-month loan because he bought more car than he could afford. I probably would be too.

    However, I can also see why the assumption was made, since most cases we see posted around here involving a longer-term loan are, indeed, cases in which the buyer couldn't otherwise afford the payment. Everyone seems to be at peace now, in any case.

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  • wsb2wsb2 Posts: 2
    Nalley Audi North Atlanta in Roswell GA is requiring all sales people to make 700 individual phone calls per month. If they do not make the required number of calls they will not receive all of their bonus money. This is written in to their pay plans which I have received a copy of from an employee. The dealership has 10 sales people. That is 7000 calls a month! They are harassing people who do not wish to be disturbed about a car purchase. In a world of Privacy Laws and Do Not Call lists I am sure that this policy is in violation of the existing laws. It is also highly unethical. I also have been informed that this type of harassment has been going on at all dealerships owned by the Asbury Automotive Group based in Duluth GA. They have about 90 dealers in the country with a dozen situated here in the Atlanta area. Please help stop this abuse.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    edited February 2013
    If you're a client of a dealership, whether in service or by purchasing a car, you would automatically get added onto a database and a call list.

    It's a privacy violation only if they actually sold your personal info to another company.

    Otherwise when sales and service transactions are done most customers ok the dealer to contact them with special deals and offers.

    Yes it can be annoying and from working in the car business for nearly 10 years I know it's like that everywhere.

    The only thing you can do is write a letter asking them not to contact you or speak with management directly and say that if they continue to harass you that you will not do business with them anymore.

    I worked at a Honda dealer where every 3 months the owner decided to do an "invite only private sale". Everybody who ever bought something or serviced something at that dealership was called, every 3 months. Ultimately the management eased up but it did tend ot tick off a small percentage of customers.

    Unfortunately these days, especially at this time of the year when walk ins are few and far in between and competition is fierce, management finds it more cost effective to get sales guys who are just hanging out to call existing clients rather than spend money to send out 10000 mailouts to the neighbourhood with little or no results.

    I would talk to the management and ask that they don't contact you. On our client followup system we had a few clients whose numbers were marked in red stating not to contact them. Good luck.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,904
    Sounds like excellent advice from someone who was in the biz for many years.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,855
    Also sounds like fairly clunky management. If a person works 25 days a week, that's 28 phone calls a DAY--at 10 minutes per, average, that's over 4.5 hours a day sitting on your butt rather than addressing people who come into the showroom, learning product, and enjoying your work well enough to want to come back next week.

    This is my idea of "micro-managing", which, in my opinion, builds an unimaginative, paranoid and dispirited sales force.

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  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    Usually phone calls last 1-2 minutes as people don't pick up or tell you they're not interested, or 5 minutes tops just to set an appointment and get the customer to come in.

    There is a lot of downtime at this time of the year in the showrooms. The last place I was at, you'd be lucky if in a 6 hour shift you talked to more than one customer. :sick:

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • wsb2wsb2 Posts: 2
    I have a 2008 A4. I service there. Four people called me in two weeks!
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