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New Car Advice

respect4autosrespect4autos Posts: 1
edited January 2015 in General
Hello to all members of the Edmunds forum community.

I've been a fan of Edmunds ever since I caught sight of their glossy magazines when I was a young buck! I'm glad there's a community of folks with subject matter expertise that can help me out in this perplexing decision about what kind of car to buy, and when/where.

ME: I'm a young man in his early thirties and recently moved to Minnesota. I moved from a city in the Northeast US where I hardly ever drove. I had a hand-me-down vehicle that I took with me to Minnesota.

Car: I'm driving a black 1998 Toyota Camry. Surprisingly, it only has 133,600 miles. It was bought new by my mother and handed down to me. No accidents ever. Only point A to point B. 7 mile distance from home to work, and an occassional summer road trip to the beach (2-3 hours). Everything is up to date (new timing belt/struts/wheel bearing/rear stray bar/tires) according to recommended intervals. There are no funny lights (check engine,etc) or anything wrong. No leaks.

What I'm looking for: So, I'm a practical guy. I just want a good, reliable car that feels smooth and won't give me maintenance problems if I take care of it (I'm a stickler for regular maintenance and preventative care). Here are some things I'd like to consider:

AWD - Since I live in Minnesota now, something that can handle snow real well would be great.

Gas mileage - I want something with good fuel economy. If it meets my budget, a hybrid engine would be cool with me.

6-Cylinder engine - I think this is the right number for me. 4 lacks the power I want and 8 consumes too much gas IMO.

Manual Transmission - I've missed driving stick ever since I drove a Jetta. Now that I live in a city with flat terrain and no real traffic issues, I would like my next car to be a manual.

Used/New - No big preference towards one or the other. New probably has better financing though.

Type: Either an SUV or Sedan. I'm a big guy (weightlifter) and the Camry is comically incongruent with that.

Extras: I'd probably go with some premium options, depending on the cost. Since I'm leaning away from a luxury car due to likely expensive maintenance costs and budgetary reasons, I will probably go with a premium option for whatever I get.

Budget: I'd like to sell/trade-in my car as a down payment on a new one and take advantage of financing. I have good credit and can probably get a 0% loan from the dealer if those are available.

Pretty wide range. I guess $250 - $500/month up to 5 years. The lower the better.

I'd also be interested in possibly leasing but lean towards owning.

Car experience: I used to drive a 2007 VW Jetta in 2006. It was a nice entry-level German car. I loved the handling and generally fun nature of the drive, but I've also heard they run into problems (electrical and otherwise) around the 50-60K mile mark. That's not good for me.

I also drove a fully loaded Nissan Altima (1995 model) and that was cool at the time. They've come a long way since.

I'd be open to a whole host of makes. From the Asian end of the spectrum (Toyota/Hyundai/Honda/Nissan).

For American/European it's really wide open. Whatever meets my needs.

Thanks for your help and input! I appreciate the collective wisdom in this community! :)


  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited January 2015
    I guess $250 - $500/month up to 5 years.

    Up too?

    That's what a salesperson is going to ask you. Suddenly you're not looking at $250 a month but $550. Sneaky way of bumping you up in price.

    The way to go about this is to decide on a car and then talk price, not payments. If the price is right, the payments will be too. May as well get pre-qualified too. Most dealers will be able to beat the rate you'll get but it's good info to know.

    Our Car Finder may help a bit, but I think you need to go visit some dealers. Hopefully you'll find one or two "real" salespeople who can help you narrow your selections down a bit.

    You're in Subaru country so you may want to start with the Forester (it's really still a wagon in my mind but the size had grown over the years). The CR-Vs sell well, as do the Escapes and the CX-5 is "sporty".

    Someone else will have to jump in with sedans.

    Oh, and welcome!
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