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Help Me Choose!

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  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,681

    The last car loan I took out, this summer, was at 1.9%. At that kind of interest rate, I would rather invest my money in my IRA or 401K and use the bank's money for a car.

  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,232

    @benjaminh said: I have a different point of view than biker4. Over time, cars are often our biggest expense in life, right after housing. Paying over time allows you to get a better car that will last longer. If someone has saved c. $5000, at this point that will probably only buy a so-so used car, and, as people have said, you're likely to have repairs and maintenance of c. $1000 a year. And then in c. 5 years or so, you might need to start the process all over again.

    But if you can buy a good new car, and finance it over 5 years, you might not need another car for a long as 10 years.

    Low interest financing allows the purchase of a decent car that will last longer. Some people are well enough off to pay cash for their new car up front. I was even fortunate enough to be in that situation the last time I got a car, but I decided instead to pay about half with my trade in and cash, and finance the other half with Honda at 1.9%.

    In this economy, a lot of people don't have the whole purchase price up front, but a reasonable new car in relation to income can still make a lot of economic sense in the long run imho.

    Agreed. Over the last 20 years I've bought 3 new cars and have had payments for 11 of the 20 years. I have 1 more year of payments on my current car and after that I'll again be payment-free for awhile. As I've bought reliable cars overall, my repair expenses have been roughly one more year's worth of payments. So by the end of this year I'll have made car payments for roughly 13 of 21 years, including repairs.

    There's also my brother's tactic: Buy a car (new or used) and pay it off. When you're done paying it off, as you're budget is used to the payments, keep making them to a savings/investment account. Use the fund to cover repairs or the purchase of your next car. My brother is always making payments but he's making them to himself & buys his cars from the fund and has no need to finance any more. It helps that he doesn't live beyond his means; i.e. he's driving standard compact or midsize sedans v. a luxury brand.

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923

    A great tactic for those who are assured of a steady, permanent job. Unfortunately, too many people do not have that fortunate circumstance, particularly many who are looking at used cars.

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,674

    I have a relative who is considering getting an Audi Q5 turbo diesel. Another vehicle under consideration is the BMW 328d xDrive. What's the long-term reliability like for European diesels these days?

  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108

    @benjaminh said: I have a relative who is considering getting an Audi Q5 turbo diesel. Another vehicle under consideration is the BMW 328d xDrive. What's the long-term reliability like for European diesels these days?

    The engines themselves should be ok. It's everything else that breaks down and malfunctions like electronics and computers. If it's a vehicle your relative really likes and plans on keeping for a long time, then they should budget for an extended warranty that covers everything, for as long as they can as repairs won't be cheap.

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

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    edited February 11

    This is why a base model car with a manual transmission (if you can get one that's not a tin can or stripped to nothing these days) is your best bet for frugal driving. Often you can get some very nice cars for not a lot of money like this. The Chevy Cruze comes to mind immediately. It's meh with automatic - just doesn't stand out at all, but manual makes it a blast to drive. Even the humble little Honda Fit is transformed into a much better car.

    Something like a BMW? Game-changing. Inexpensive, nothing to break, and drives like a video game. Diesel just makes it even better.

  • Looking for a source of info (reliability, power, quietness) for 2014 Buick Verano, Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion. Looking for a car that is quiet, and power for mountain driving. I drove a Malibu LTZ, and found it a little noisy and a little weak on power at 7500-8500 feet pass climbing, but acceptable. Trying to get ideas of other cars to compare with. I consider all three cars very nice inside and outside, but any other ideas on a $25,000 car to look at would be appreciated.

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,674

    The Accord LX auto has an msrp of c.$23,545 and you should be able to get a discount of about $2000 pretty easily. Worth a test drive imho. The LX has a lot of stuff standard that just a few years ago were only on higher end models, like: back up camera, dual zone climate control, direct injected engine, bluetooth, etc. Plus the Accord has the highest safety ratings on the small offset crash test of any midsize car.

  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,055

    @scotty49 said: Looking for a source of info (reliability, power, quietness) for 2014 Buick Verano, Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion. Looking for a car that is quiet, and power for mountain driving. I drove a Malibu LTZ, and found it a little noisy and a little weak on power at 7500-8500 feet pass climbing, but acceptable. Trying to get ideas of other cars to compare with. I consider all three cars very nice inside and outside, but any other ideas on a $25,000 car to look at would be appreciated.

    Hey scotty49,

    The Verano is perfect for power as well as luxury. It gets 32 mpg hwy so that means fewer fill ups. The StabiliTrak is the very best so you're in control when it comes to maneuvering. It's also equipped with a 2.0L ECOTEC turbo engine with 250 horsepower.

    The Malibu is still a great vehicle to consider still! Let us know if you have any more questions in regarding the Verano or Malibu.

    Regards, Patsy G GM Customer Care

  • biker4biker4 Posts: 746

    The Verano is smaller than the other two and likely to be more expensive, but will check all three of your criteria. You might be able to get an Acura TSX with a discount in the same ballpark. The Acura ILX is a direct competitor to the Verano but it's down on power (but much better on gas mileage).

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733

    @scotty49 said: Looking for a source of info (reliability, power, quietness) for 2014 Buick Verano, Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion. Looking for a car that is quiet, and power for mountain driving. I drove a Malibu LTZ, and found it a little noisy and a little weak on power at 7500-8500 feet pass climbing, but acceptable. Trying to get ideas of other cars to compare with. I consider all three cars very nice inside and outside, but any other ideas on a $25,000 car to look at would be appreciated.

    I looked at the Ford Fusion and while it was a nice car, the problem was that it lacked that extra bit that made it fun.

    I ended up buying a 2104 Mustang. Best decision I ever made in buying a car other than my 1967 Mercedes (still miss that car). 305HP, RWD, great power, even at high elevations, and the best thing of all was the insane price that I got it for.

    Seriously consider manual. Automatic is also fine, but manual is a blast to drive.

    Get it in any case as a base model. You don't want the extra bling or pleather or most of all, that Ford Sync nonsense. Keep it simple. If you do want to add something, only add the Ruby Red or Got to Have it Green paint as it makes the car look much better (three stage pearlescent paint for only a few hundred more is a no-brainer).

    • Mustang V6: $23420 Actual selling price: $18748 (Truecar, Los Angeles area - $19K is common all over the U.S.)

    To put that in perspective, that's $2000 more than a base model Corolla with nothing on it. I get 24mpg combined in heavy rush hour traffic. 30 on the highway for long trips is actually possible. And when you need to move, it has the same power to weight ratio as a Audi A4 or a Cadillac CTS. ie - it absolutely flies. Handling is also worlds better than the Fusion. The Fusion is a nice car, but it doesn't make you love to drive it.

    And it's quiet, too. Surprisingly so. It's probably the most refined V6 Ford's ever made.

    Next year's model will be selling for MSRP due to demand, so the value will be on the outgoing 2014s.

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,674

    plekto: Wow, that is a great price. Congrats on your purchase. Sounds like a very fun ride. Can you post a few pix? How is the clutch?

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923

    But totally unhelpful to the poster.

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733

    I think it's perfectly fair. The original poster did mention the Fusion but also mentioned that he lived at very high elevations and needed more power. I test drove the Fusion at the time and it was a very nice car. It really was. But the Mustang simply stole my heart. It's just built better and goes faster and is much better handling. For less money. 130 more HP also was more than noticeable. I drive a stretch of mountain road every day to work and a Malibu or Verano or similar is OK. But it doesn't fly up the road. Not even close.

    The clutch is fantastic. The shifter is a bit notchy, but that's part of its charm. It feels just that tiny bit crude and unrefined like you'd expect a sporty car to be. But it's all a very nice illusion, really. It handles great and is very smooth. They've done a great job at making it feel like a muscle car without actually driving like one. It hums along like any other car on the highway. Until you hit the gas hard and it roars to life, that is :)

    Go drive the Fusion and the Mustang, even with both having automatic, and the choice becomes a lot clearer.

    Plus, as a bonus, the Mustang and Fusion are built by UAW labor. They take immense pride in what they build at that plant in Flat Rock, MI. as it's one of the last "Big 3" facilities in the U.S. GM has moved almost everything to Mexico and Canada. Even if you don't buy a Mustang, at least don't buy a GM. Too much baggage at this point.

  • scotty49scotty49 Posts: 3

    Thanks for the info. Would like a manual, but have pinned and plated left heel and ankle.that sometimes causes extreme and sharp pain if I push on it just right. Front wheel drive is also desirable because of snow and ice.

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 923

    This person pretty much recommends a Mustang or Crown Vic for everyone no matter what they are looking for. What is your budget for a vehicle? Do you want mid-sized? If you will consistently be in mountain driving I think a 6 cyl. will serve you best. We had a Nissan Maxima that sailed over mountains with ease. It wasn't the greatest in snow but did well enough for the kind of winters we have. If snow is a factor consider a Subaru Legacy or the smaller Impreza for all wheel drive. If there is only sometime snow you might look at the Honda Accord, either 6 or 4 cyl. We travel over the Eastern mountains quite often and our 4cyl Accord does just fine. Knowing your driving parameters will help. Have you driven Malibu, Fusion, and Verano yet?

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733

    I've actually recommended dozens of cars over the years. About the only thing I don't recommend is GM stuff as it's as bland and soulless as a Toyota. And half as reliable. If you want a small rocket to get over mountains and that also is FWD, you might also consider a Mini. If you have more money, a couple of year old A4 or C class is also a great option. But upkeep is a bit rude on most of the entry-level luxury cars.

    As for myself, my final choice came down to a Fusion, a Mustang, and a Mini. I decided that bling was meaningless as it was primarily for driving to work and back. Note - if I had 5K more on my possible loan, I'd have bought C class with manual a couple of years old. The Mustang is nice, but it is a cheapskate car. Loads of fun, an amazing deal for the money, but no, it's not in the league of a BMW or Mercedes. It shouldn't be for $20K.

  • digitydigity Posts: 5

    I'm looking for something fun to drive, used, but not too high of mileage, good fuel economy, and under $7000. I really don't care about the age as long as I can fit comfortably (I'm 6' 2') and can install an aftermarket radio unit (and replace speakers). I'm hoping for a coupe or hatchback/5 door over a sedan (but sedan is okay). Definitely want to stay away from big cars (Acura RL and Chrysler 300 are my last two cars).

    Thanks!

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,674

    Hi digity: Welcome!

    For a hatchback for around $7k, I'd recommend a c. 2007 Mazda3 hatchback. If you can find one in good condition with maybe c. 80,000 miles, it might go for about that much. Mazdas are usually fairly reliable.

    But, you might also consider buying new. If you buy a c. 7 year old used car now, you'll have increasing bills for maintenance and repair. And if, when the car is about 12 years old and has c. 140,000, it needs so many repairs that you're back on the market for another used car, you might not come out ahead in the long run over new.

    With a small downpayment, and low financing provided by the dealer, you might consider buying a new Mazda3, Honda Civic, or similar. A new car, obviously, will only need routine maintenance like oil changes for quite some time. And, with good maintenance a little luck, it should go for c. 10 years and c. 100,000 miles without needing much.

  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 1,674
    edited March 10

    digity: Here's another suggestion. Right now there's an oversupply nationwide of new midsize cars, and so a "price war" has broken out. In my market of Louisville, the following midsize cars are being advertised for sale for c. $19,000 with 0% financing: Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry. I'm a Honda man myself, but the Accord costs about $2000 more, and so if you're on a tight budget it's hard to beat the "extra value meal" found in, say, an Altima.

    And a new Altima, believe it or not, gets significantly higher mpg than a 7 year old Mazda3. It's also a lot safer. And believe me, Nissan, or Hyundai, or Toyota will try to work with you to make it possible for you to drive one starting today, should you choose.

    To get the lowest price,look at the newspaper ads, or the online dealer specials, or just send them an email and ask what the lowest price would be for a base model, and ask what financing they have. With competitive quotes you probably will get close to the 19k that these cars are selling for in my city....Just a thought.

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