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Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Throatwarbler posted:

A Chevy Colorado crew cab pickup truck has similar passenger volume to the Corolla, so plainly they are comparable vehicles?
The Camry and the Prius are classified in the same category, and the Corolla is not.

God drat, are you just trying having some hardcore issues justifying your Prius purchase or what?

The Prius is not, under any circumstances, a vehicle comparable to a Toyota Camry. The Camry is a very, very large car. The Prius is a very mid-size car.

Prius Wheelbase: 106.3 / Camry Wheelbase: 109.3
Prius Overall Length: 175.6 / Camry Overall Length: 189.2
Prius Overall Width: 68.7 / Camry Overall Width: 71.7

The Camry is a much bigger car. If you are looking at a Prius and you ask yourself "What can I purchase which is about this size and has a normal engine?" you're going to end up looking at the Civic, Corolla, and other cars of that size. Not the Camry.

And of course, if you do that you'll end up discovering that buying a Prius is quite a bit more expensive.

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Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Throatwarbler posted:

No circumstances except for the law of the United States and the SAE.

Did you just say it is the law of the United States to call the Camry and Prius the same class of car? You don't quite understand a law, do you...

In any case, I could not care less about EPA classification. People don't cross-shop the Prius and Camry as equivalently sized cars. Period.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Harry posted:

I think he meant this pretty obvious just based on percentages.

Not really. This isn't an issue I had thought about before I saw that graph.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



ynotony posted:

If you thought about it, it would be obvious. The problem is people don't think about it, even when gas was $5/gallon.

If I asked you objectively which was a more significant change: an increase from 15 to 25 units of anything or an increase from 25 to 35 units of anything, you'd say 15 to 25 because of larger percentage change. You probably wouldn't need more than a second or two.

No, it isn't obvious. I'm not good at math. You'd probably tell me "oh hey its percentages" and I'd be like "what the gently caress?"

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Leperflesh posted:

The reason a lease is almost always a terrible idea is because you are paying almost what you'd pay to buy the car, but at the end of the term you don't own the car. And you have to pay extra for any extra miles you drive.

What is the value of owning a car? A car constantly depreciates. If you own it, it will always be worth less tomorrow than it is today. Plus, chances are that unless you really do keep your cars forever, you never will actually own the car. The bank will own the car. The average period of ownership for a person who buys a new car is 39 months. The average new auto loan term is 64 months.

You absolutely do not want to buy a new car. You are exposed to a huge amount of risk when doing so. That risk is the car's depreciation. When you lease, there is no risk. Everything is already laid out for you. What you pay each month, what you pay now, and what you'll pay if you want to buy the car later. No trying to gamble on what the car's resell value will be in five years, which is where people lose the most money.

The average American person trades in a vehicle for something different every 39 months. The average person also ends up with $4,700 in negative equity when they go for the next new car. The reason they have that negative equity is that they purchased a car, and it deprecated quicker than they paid on the loan.

Artard, if you really do have a good budget and you can afford it, lease a new car. Yes, you could buy a $1000 poo poo box. But uh, then you would own a $1000 shitbox. And you very well may end up paying $1000 or more over the next year keeping that shitbox on the road.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Magic Underwear posted:

That's great and all but it's disingenuous to say "oh you lose money in depreciation with a new car" without mentioning that you pay for it in a lease, too.

When you lease you pay an agreed upon amount which is based on an estimate of what depreciation will be. You don't pay the actual depreciation. This is a big difference and the reason why leasing rocks.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Leperflesh posted:

If you buy a new car it should be your intention to drive it for the entire life of the car. This is BFC, where we discuss what is the best financial decision, and financially it is a bad idea to choose to own (or lease) a car only during the steepest part of its depreciation curve.

This is not realistic. There are many reasons you might want to get rid of a car before its life as through (that can be twenty years or more these days). And yes, while it will be less expensive to buy a used car overall, you're missing the fact that the person who asked the question initially can afford to lease a new car. I'm aware this is BFC, but if we were just framing everything purely on the basis of financial decision making here, there would be a sticky post at the top of the forum telling everyone to live and shacks and eat rice for every meal while sticking all the money saved into our retirement accounts.

Leperflesh posted:

There are many intangible reasons why it might be great to buy or lease a brand new car. I bought a new car in 2005 and I don't regret that decision - but I am not one of those people who sells their new car after 39 months of ownership, either. I'm going to drive my car until it can't be driven any more, at which point I will buy another new car, and when that one reaches the end of its life, I'll be at retirement age at least.

Okay. So what are you going to spend the money you saved by doing this on? Is it going to all go into a savings account? If not, then why is this such a good decision?

Leperflesh posted:

There is a 'sweet spot' where reliability is balanced by price, and that spot is going to be different depending on what a person's tolerance for reliability for their new-to-them car might be. The sweet spot is more or less never at the "brand new" point.

I don't know what to say about this because it basically sounds like an old wives tale. It sounds like something which might be true, but there is no actual evidence to support it.

Leperflesh posted:

The problem then with leasing is that you really can't lease a two- or three-year-old car (at least not as far as I'm aware). Hence, leasing is bad.


Unless you want and can afford a new car. Which, like I said, Artard can do. He is asking about a $180 a month payment on $4000 a month after-tax income - come on!

Leperflesh posted:

-If you're gonna own the car for its whole life, paying for it in cash is the best option, and getting a very good financing deal is second-best. Leasing it can be competetive on price, but often not, especially if there is a chance you'll go over the mileage limits.

Not, it isn't, because you have no way of knowing for sure when you buy a car that you will be keeping it for you whole life. No one is perfect. Maybe you end up making a mistake and the car isn't as good as you thought. Maybe you have a kid and your needs change. Maybe the car turns out to have a completely unexpected defect (Hello, Toyota owners!).

Further, there is no weight to the mileage limit argument. If you go over mileage on a lease, it costs you money. If you go over mileage on a car you own, it also costs you money in the form of added depreciation and additional maintenance. Either way, you're paying.

Leperflesh posted:

-If you're not gonna own the car for its whole life, you should buy a used car to protect as much of your "investment" as possible. Exactly how used is a function of how much you can afford to pay (and lose in depreciation) vs. how reliable the car has to be vs. what class of car you want.

You can save money buying used. But you end up with a used car. If you can afford to lease the new car, why shouldn't you? Again - what else is that money going to be used for? If it isn't going into a savings account I don't think you can call it better financial decision.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



moana posted:

Is this argument seriously "You're going to spend the money on other things anyway so it might as well be on a car payment"?

The argument is that he can afford a $180 lease payment. If he wants to lease a new car, it is a financially sound decision for him to do so, even if buying a used car would cost less overall.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Don Lapre posted:

There is still risk in leasing a car. You could have a lifestyle change and need to put more miles on it than allowed. You could be in an accident or damage the car and have to pay penalties and fees when you return it.

But you have the same risk if you don't lease the car.

If you put more mileage on a car you buy you have to pay for it through additional depreciation. That is why leases have the mileage limits in the first place.

If you lease you have to have gap insurance. So if the car is totaled you are not on the hook for anything. If the car isn't totaled you just get it repaired like you normally would.

I suppose you do have the option of buying a car, getting it damaged and not repairing it, but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I have a hard time thinking of a scenario where you wouldn't have to just pay your insurance deductible.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



shredswithpiks posted:

Besides $180 looking small in comparison to $4000/month after tax income, there's really no basis to call leasing a financially sound decision. When you're making that kind of income you're in a place to save up and pay cash for a car. Then if you want the excitement of a monthly payment, put that $180/month into a high-yield savings or money market or something that builds interest so you can start paying for your next car.

I dunno what the rest of the budget looks like, but on $4k a month it should be feasible to save up and buy a $10-$15k car in cash within a year or so. There's really no reason to complicate the process and get into a lease just because you can't wait a year to have a nice shiny toy to tool around town in.

Come on. I don't want to have to repeat myself. I already listed why it is better to lease even if you can pay cash for a new car. So have other posters.

Besides, have you actually looked at car prices? You're not going to get much of a new car for $15k.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



The dealer in that Autoline Detroit podcast was Mark Ragsdale, and he has a book called "Car Wreck" with is basically just him bitching about how the auto industry is putting everyone underwater on their car loans and car manufacturers gently caress over-dealers regularly. It is interesting bitching, however, because you don't usually get to hear the dealer's side of the story.

Chapter 7 is where he explains why he thinks leasing is better than buying, even if you can buy with cash. If you're interested in leasing you should read it.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Yeap. Which is why you can't just go and get a lease on any car you want. Only some manufacturers offer leases and only on certain models.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



This is ridiculous. One guy is talking about owning a car for twelve years. Another thinks we should be happy with the "perfectly serviceable" vehicles we can buy for 15k.

The thing is, people don't keep vehicles for twelve years. Nor do they always buy 15k vehicles. Nor should they, if they can afford to purchase a more attractive vehicle or afford to purchase vehicles more often.

We can talk all day about theoretical situations where people buy economy cars and keep them forever, but if we're having a general discussion about buying new vs. leasing these examples are meaningless because generally speaking, people don't behave that way.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



I think it is unreasonable to expect a person to buy a new car and expect it to be their only car for twelve years, or even five years, and that basing financial advice on the assumption that a person actually will do that is not the best thing to do.

However, we're not really taking about leasing vs buying at this point, or really buying cars at all, and I do see where you're coming from, so I will leave it at that.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



A two and a half star dependability rating based on the first three years of ownership doesn't inspire confidence.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



I don't think you can get a new Mazda2 or Fiesta for $12k, can you? Maybe a base Mazda2. But that's not exactly going to be plush. I suspect you'll regret you decision in a few years when you want things like, oh, cruise control.

Either increase your total budget to $14-15K for a decent mid-range hatchback or go with a used vehicle. The Ford Focus 05-07, Mazda3, and Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix are all relatively new, reliable, and available as a hatchback.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Might want to wait. That's a common car. I can't imagine it'll be too long before what you want pops up in a city the size of Seattle.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



I know you want new right now, but maybe consider a Certified Pre-Owned used luxury car. The extended warranty is great and you'll be able to get a larger car. I don't think you can afford a spacious luxury car with gadgets and gizmos for $35,000 these days, unless you're willing to buy an option-loaded large sedan from a company with a less prestige name.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



neogeo0823 posted:

So 2 weeks ago, my '99 Plymouth Breeze finally shat the bed. The power steering, water pump, and timing belt all decided to go, and the quoted cost for repair was $700 on a car that I paid $6000 for and put $600 into over the previous year. RIP, you old poo poo bucket.

Since then, I've narrowed down my choices to either a 2010 Toyota Corolla, or a 2010 Honda Civic. I love the way the Civic looks, and it has better gas mileage, but I feel like the Corolla has better handling and acceleration, despite its somewhat dated appearance. Between the two, which car is generally more reliable/has a lower cost of ownership? Is there anything that either car is known for breaking on a regular basis? Which car would you pick, if given the option?

Reliability between the two is going to be so close it basically comes down to luck. Both are very likely to run for years with nothing more than basic maintenance. I'd go for the Civic, on the basis of looks and handling, I'm not a fan of how newer Corollas look. But that's up to you.'

Ultimately it's hard to go wrong with either, just remember to get an inspection!

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Lava Lamp posted:

Proposed Budget: Sub 15k
New or Used: either
Body Style: (e.g. 2 door? 4 door? Compact/Midsize/Fullsize Sedan? Truck? SUV?)4 door sedan or hatchback
How will you be using the car?: (Do you tow things? Haul more than 5 people on a regular basis? Have a super long commute? How are you going to use this vehicle?
Do you prefer a luxury vehicle with all the gizmos?) 30 min commute, just me and my dog.
What aspects are most important to you? (e.g. reliability, cost of ownership/maintenance, import/domestic, MPG, size, style) Reliability, MPG

You say you're looking new or used but only mentioned new cars, are you really looking used? Because there are hoards of used Civic, Corollas, Sentra, Foci, Fits and etc that fit your criteria.

If reliability is and cost of ownership is important, consider certified used. Near me (I live in Oregon) there are numerous Certified Used Corollas, Civics and Focus for $12-$15k. These generally have a 7 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty (from original purchase date).

Also, I recommend buying something in the mid-size class (Corolla, Civic, Focus) rather than compact (Fiesta, Fit, Versa). Compact cars have only marginally better gas mileage, aren't much cheaper to buy used, and are less enjoyable to live with. I'd only recommend compact if you're specifically into very small cars.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



keeper posted:

Proposed Budget: ~$17k, not a hard number it's more based on how I want to treat the car vs. what I can spend, should have all financing options available too.
New or Used: Leaning toward new, but starting to rethink that idea
Body Style: The 2 cars I have driven for prolonged periods are a '92 mustang and '99 Taurus and would like something in between, this seems like an under-served niche.
How will you be using the car?: I don't know. Currently doing time in contractor hell, so right now most of my time is spent in horrible Austin traffic, but last year had mostly driving jobs where I drove all over Texas living out of the car and hotels and rarely dropping below 70mph, I think it ended up being 13,000 miles in a 4 month period.
What aspects are most important to you? Value(cost of ownership), MPG but would like some sportiness. I like the geekiness but rarely get along with built in versions and am used to being able to do things people don't think cars can do.

Well the default choice for people who want a sporty econo car has always been the Mazda 3, but you think it drives like a Taurus (which seems odd...) so the Focus is probably your best bet.

Although it's worth mentioning you could get a used 2011-2012 Mustang V6 for 17k.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Grumpwagon posted:

You're going to need to do work on any car in that price range, but it's doable. I have a DOHC engine Ford Focus that I bought for 3k 3 years ago. I've spent about $1k/yr on it for maintenance, but that includes a motor swap (not the car's fault, engine got flooded due to user error) and minorish body work from when I hit a deer. That's doing my own work though. Parts for the Focus are super cheap (a 55k mile used engine cost me $333), the car is pretty reliable, and because they're domestic, they don't come with the import tax. I'd definitely add a Focus to the list, but those other cars you mention are fine too.

Make sure you get a DOHC engine though. I'd highly recommend a manual, since at the age of car we're dealing with, transmission work is a real possibility and can be a pain.

Having owned both, I'd personally recommend a hatchback, since it's your only car. You can stuff a bunch more stuff in the back of a hatch, but that's a matter of preference.

Also, cheap cars = craigslist. Don't bother with autotrader at this range.

I second the Focus recommendation. They're economical, cheap to keep running, reasonably reliable and actually not bad to drive.

I'd also give the Sentra a look, it's usually a bit cheaper than a Corolla and not that hard to find.

You can find a Honda or Toyota on your budget, but it's going to take some looking.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Ruggan posted:

(3) How much should I plan to pay as down payment? (Obviously contingent on financing)

I didn't see anyone respond to this so I'll take a stab at it.

I think you should down as little as necessary to obtain the payment you feel comfortable with. Considering your savings, I'm going to assume you have excellent credit, which means a 2%-2.5% APR loan should be possible. At such low rates I don't think laying down a bunch of money makes much sense. You'd be better off investing it if it's burning a hole in your pocket.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Faded Sloth posted:

Why is there such a stigma against buying used? Everyone I've talked to about buying a used car have told me I'd be better off buying a new car after I graduate from college because apparently every used car is a POS or I'm gonna get ripped off. They say things like I'll be paying a poo poo ton for insurance and maintaining the car yet somehow buying new works out much cheaper. Doesn't insurance cost more for a brand new car, though?

The way I see it is if I buy a new car after graduation for like $25k then I'd be left with <= $5k in the bank. However, if I buy a used one next year for ~$3k and assume I pay $2k/year for insurance and assume $1k per year for maintenance and another $1k for gas per year for 3 years then that comes to a total of $3k + ($2k x 3) + ($1k x 3) + ($1k x 3) = $15k spent by graduation with another $15k in the bank.

What are your thoughts on this? Sorry if it's really off topic, I just want some input.

You have to insure, maintain and fuel the new car too, remember.

People's stigma about used cars usually are a justification to buy new cars more than anything else. Just look around you; there are million of cars, and the average car on U.S. roads is over 10 years old. So is everyone breaking down everywhere? Nope. Most people get where they're going just fine.

You have to be a bit smarter when buying used and avoid troublesome models, but you can snag an exceptionally reliable and very pleasing car. I echo the recommendation to spend a bit more, however. You'll often need 5K to get an older car in good condition, and 10k will buy you a 5 year old economy car that's lots of trouble-free miles left in it.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Kraftwerk posted:

Proposed Budget: $30,000
New or Used: New
Body Style: Any
How will you be using the car?: Commuting to work 5 days a week in salt heavy winter conditions and normal summer weather. Leisure driving and track days possible. No family, no kids so carrying 4 passengers would be nice but not required.
What aspects are most important to you?: Fun to drive. Reliability. Willing to compromise on mileage if other costs are lower. I want a good sound system and the ability to handle cold winter weather. I want the car to be able to stand the test of time as I plan to own it long term.

My problem is I'm comparing apples to oranges since I'm evaluating my purchase across a spectrum that looks like this Sport|-------------| Entry-Level Luxury.

I'm willing to compromise between either of these elements as long as my reliability and winter capability requirements are met. Both extremes would make me happy.

I feel like the Mustang might be the best considering your priorities, but you will need snow tires. The Hyundai is similar, but it's not received very good reliability rankings from Consumer Reports, and I've heard of some bad experiences from people trying to use the 7year/10,000 mile warranty. That's just anecdotal, though.

Thing is, there's no reason to buy a new Mustang, they depreciate like crazy. You can get a 2-3 year old V6 for half your budget, or a 1 year old 5.0 with $5k to spare. So consider that.

Golf would also be good for rust resistance, but I'm not sure how I'd feel buying the first of a new model year from VW.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Kraftwerk posted:

After year 1 I hear it depreciates by about 10k but this isn't an issue for me since I will own it long term.

This is not great thinking to get into, not least of all because if it depreciates that much in one year, why aren't you just buying one that's one year old? Depreciation is something you have to think about no matter how long you plan on keeping the car. Now actually, I don't think the Focus ST depreciates that much except maybe a loaded model, which can hit 30k. Options don't do well on the used market.

I've driven the Focus ST recently and I'd have hard time recommending it. There's a lot of issues with the clutch, and some issues with the turbo. The car is fun and fast but also has torque steer (the steering wheel moves when you're hard on the gas) and the interior doesn't strike me as particularly comfortable. The real problem, though, is the Mustang - it is better looking, more reliable, faster, more fun to drive, and it's not even much less economical with the V6.

As for the Fiesta ST, it can be hoot, but it's also based of a sub-compact economy car and has some baggage that goes with that. It's very small, a bit loud inside, and material quality in the interior isn't the best. You're also likely to have difficulty finding one on a lot, and people were saying their orders are taking 6 weeks last time I'd visited the Fiesta forum, which was a few weeks ago.

Camaro? I don't like it. Visibility is bad, interior is bad, engine is just okay with the V6. I'd pick the Mustang instead. Still, it might be worth a drive if you fancy its looks, because it can be a comfortable cruiser.

I've not pay much attention to the latest legacy so I'll not comment, but it's probably not much fun to drive.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



CaseFace McGee posted:

I will be test driving a Mazda 3 4door tomorrow afternoon. 2007, 53k miles, stick with the original clutch, 2.3 engine, purple :gay:. I know to look for rust in the wheel wells, but is there anything else that I should look for or ask about?

Also, how is the cost of ownership for a Mazda 3? I am no longer looking at Mini because it requires run-flat tires and high octane fuel, which brings up cost of ownership. How does Mazda compare for typical parts costs, etc?

Mazdas tend to be reliable and as inexpensive to own as a Honda or Toyota. There's not a lot to worry about except rust and the usual things you'd look for on any car that age.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



aslewofmice posted:

I've seen the 135i mentioned a few times and it looks like it fits the bill for what I want. What's the best year? I've read that the fuel pump is problematic but seems to be under warranty by bmw. Any other common problems to be aware of?

I've seen a fair number of complaints about power steering issues on the BMW forums, and there were issues with turbos going out, though it seems to have been mostly with earlier models. You also have the typical "electrical gremlins" which aren't a myth, at least according to Consumer Reports. The 135i ranks below average in the electrical system, climate system and audio system areas. Not much you can do about that, though, except test everything to make sure it works before you buy and then cross your fingers.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



ZorbaTHut posted:

Proposed Budget: $1,000-$4,000, flexible if you can give me a really good excuse
New or Used: Used
Body Style: Likely 2-door
How will you be using the car? Commuting (not a long commute.) The occasional few-hour drive.
What aspects are most important to you? Stick-shift mandatory. Fun to drive, low cost of ownership. Replacing an '87 BMW that I dearly loved right up until some moron didn't realize wet roads are slippery. Low road noise would be nice. Greatly preferred if the power steering can be disabled. :v:

Help me out, I unfortunately need a replacement pretty dang quickly. :(

Look at early 90s Civics and Accords. They're not BMWs but still handle pretty well and have really nice 5-speeds. You're more likely to find an Accord in good condition than a Civic, for obvious reasons, and it'll be better on road noise.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



an skeleton posted:

I see-- well my friend who buys cars from auction recently got an Acura TSX 2004 with a euro-r body kit, a bunch of options and a really expensive sound system installed in it that he'll sell me for 4500 (I don't think he's actually making a profit off of it). The only downside is 169k miles. Assuming it was well taken care of, could this be a good deal? It's basically everything I want in a car besides the mileage, it's even black on black.

Sounds like he is convinced aftermarket goodies increase a car's value, which is rarely true. Edmund's says dealer retail is about $4,500 so...$4,500 from a buddy does sound a little steep.

With that said, the TSX is a pretty reliable car, and not bad to drive. I'd try to get him to knock a grand off, but I'd go for it at $4,000.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



an skeleton posted:

Homes in Texas, Houston in particular, are hella cheap (relatively). Not sure I'd recommend the move, though I've never lived in the Northeast. Really? You guys think that's a bad deal for 4500, even if it checks out with mechanics?

I'd say it's a problem of risk. Is it worth something if it runs well? Sure. Will it run well? Who fuckin' knows. I was actually at a dealer just today looking at a 2011 Mustang V6 with 40k miles, only $11,999. Is that a good price? You bet your rear end. But it also had an off-color rear bumper and a lovely aftermarket exhaust and god-awful wheels that were curbed in a thousand places. No way I'm going to take a risk on a very questionable maintained car even if it is cheap.

If you reaaaaaalllllyyy want it, at least have it inspected thoroughly.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Emasculatrix posted:

I'm looking to buy a car, and trying to decide if I should buy a used prius or wait for the new 2015 Honda Fit.

Proposed Budget: ~$15,000 or ideally less
New or Used: Either
Body Style: I'd mildly prefer a hatchback, but only if my 50lb dog will fit.
How will you be using the car?: I have a long commute, but not so long that I absolutely need a hybrid. I plan on keeping the car for as long as it runs.
What aspects are most important to you? Safety, reliability, low costs over the years, an input plug for my phone. My husband is 6'5" and it'd be great if he'd fit in the car too.

Currently I drive a beat up $500 Corolla, so at this point anything would be an upgrade.

I'd go with the Prius unless you care about "the driving experience." It's hard to beat, it will be quieter and more comfortable than the Fit, probably.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000




He means you should buy a Mazda3. They are fun and as reliable as a Corolla or Civic.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



kmcormick9 posted:

Aren't E36/46 considered to be pretty reliable aside from the plastic cooling system?

Only by people who service their own cars and don't understand why everyone else doesn't do the same. And even then...

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



ZenMastaT posted:

Proposed Budget: 15-20k
New or Used: Used
Body Style: Sedan preferred, hatchback, wagon and coupe would all be acceptable though.

I just was in the market with needs similar to yours, minus the mobile office. I drove a lot of cars you might look at, so here are my impressions. Note that I never drove a WRX because there's something about the look that seriously turns me off.

Focus ST: Will fit your price range if you buy used or get a screaming deal on a new base model. It's a very quiet car with lots of torque. But the interior feels much tighter than you'd expect. Too new for reliability to be certain.

Mazdaspeed3, 2010 or newer: Affordable, spacious, lots of room in the back, reliable. It's a bit of hooligan, though, and also rather loud on the freeway.

Ford Mustang, 2011 or newer: The V6 is as fast or faster than anything else listed here but offers decent economy (it'll beat the Mazdaspeed, at least), and the V8 is a monster. Both cars are quiet inside and extremely spacious for the driver and front passenger. Both are reliable. The trunk and rear seats are tight. The V6s are very affordable used, and a brand new base model will fit in your budget.

Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ: Surprisingly comfortable and good fuel economy, but there's not a lot of space in the seats or the trunk. Can be very loud on the highway. Fast in the curves, but a bit ho-hum in day-to-day traffic. Reliability is not certain, but there seem to be a lot of small problems so far.

GTI: Feels quick all the time, decent space, quiet on the highway, interior is great, fuel economy is good. But this is one of the more expensive options, and there are reliability concerns (water pump, coil packs) that are likely to leave you on the side of the road.

Honda Civic SI: Reliable, good fuel economy, plenty of space, okay on the highway. Feels fast when you get into it, but slow when you're just driving normally. Resell value holds up well, but that also means a late model will be towards the top of your budget.

I bought the Mustang. Admittedly I've always liked them anyway, so I was prone to enjoying it. But I recommend giving it a go, as you may be surprised by how quite and spacious the car is relative to the compact competitors.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Kraftwerk posted:

What do you need to do to get a car at invoice or below? Almost every dealer Ive been to is completely transparent about the profit they make on their cars. I paid for a report on the cars I was interested in to get invoice pricing and the margins are fairly slim. Volkswagen in particular refuses to negotiate at all. The others want to split their "profit" 50/50. Again I suppose if Im buying a 2014 Mazda3 there is no chance I will get a discount. Despite this I cant even touch invoice on a Ford Focus even with Ford's X-Plan. Are you all secretly family members of auto industry employees?

You'll need to shop around a bit. Look at the dealers who have the lowest prices in your area (Autotrader can be good for this, and Craigslist too). E-mail them or call them, and counter-offer with something below invoice, if the price isn't already.

Do this to a few dealers, and use the fact you're shopping around as leverage (i.e. the dealer across town said they'd sell it for $18,000, but I'd like $17,000. If you do that you'll earn my business). Emphasize that you're ready to buy as soon as you find what you're looking for.

Ultimately the deal you get will depends on competition in your area and how well a car is selling. Rather than just saying "I want invoice!" try Edmund's True Market Value tool. Remember that it's an average, so if you aim lower than what they say, you're getting a "good deal." But it's possible that deal will be way above invoice if your area has low competition and the car's inventory is low.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



BJA posted:

I've been window shopping cpo Mustangs, challengers, and genesis coupes, and I noticed on my local dodge dealer site that they have a new 2014 Chrysler 200 limited super s package with every possible option for like 23k.

Are they really that bad? I watched a review on YouTube and the only complaint was a somewhat soft suspension, but the Super s package is supposed to have a better suspension. Has anyone test driven or owned one of these?

The 200 is a good car in the same way almost every car sold today is a good car. It's reasonably comfortable, it's not that loud, it has enough power, it won't kill you. If it was the only car left on the planet you could make do. But it's not the only car left on the planet, is it?

You'd also be very unwise to buy a loaded new car known for high depreciation. Buying any new car is shoveling some money out of a window, but buying a loaded 200? My god.

Tragic Otter fucked around with this message at 03:41 on Feb 15, 2014

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Consumer Reports just listed the Taurus as the worst new car in the large sedan market. Reasons include MyFordTouch, cramped cabin, and very poor visibility, as well as a general lack of positives. Even the SHO only handles well "for what it is," that being a ~4400lb sedan.

Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



Ciaphas posted:

Quick question before I poke around too much, do sites like carsdirect.com do much more than point you in the direction of a salesman at a dealership? A friend said it was a good way to dodge the negotiation part of buying, but I don't really buy (:v:) that.

(Even so, nifty for actually finding the car you're looking for, I suppose.)

I've had better luck with getting a lower price by emailing or calling a dealer directly, and telling them "I saw price X, but I'd like to go down to Z, can you do that?"

Still, if you hate to negotiate, sites aren't bad. Just be content with getting an "average" deal.

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Tragic Otter
Aug 3, 2000



resident posted:

Set aside $500/mo in a savings account and drive your Geo until it dies. Also fill out the questions from the OP.

I don't agree with this. The downsides of a car as unsafe and unreliable as an old Metro are considerable.

Since you do not seem to care much about the car as more than a tool, I'd recommend looking at cars that are three to five years old. You can easily snag a 50k mile Camry, Accord, Fusion or comparable car for about ten to fifteen grand.

If you want to broaden your search then go buy a copy of Consumer Reports, check out the sedans, write down the ones that are most reliable and strike you fancy, and find those cars in your area.

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