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Car Shopping Thread

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Theatregirl1122, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Theatregirl1122

    Theatregirl1122 Enjoying Vicarious Voids!

    I didn't see another car thread, but if there is one, admins feel free to merge.

    So it turns out I have to buy a car. I wasn't quite prepared for this, but my 12 year old car gave me a scare yesterday which convinced me that I don't want to spend this entire winter wondering if now is the time my car dies and leaves me on the side of the road.

    I've never bought a car before and I'm having trouble figure out where to start and what to test drive. The only car I'm sure I'm interested in is the Subaru Impreza 5-door. I do need cargo space, so I'm not interested in a regular sedan. Four wheel/all wheel drive is important to me since I live in New England. Like everyone, I'd like to get good gas mileage. I just got done with school, so I don't want to spend too much. I'm looking at around $20,000 +/- $2,000. And, of course, I'd like a car that is going to last well.

    I figured that FSU would have some good general car buying advice as well as potentially some suggestions on what cars I should research further or where to start looking. And that there might be other FSUers who will also be car shopping soon. ;)
  2. Rogue

    Rogue Sexy Superhero

    I've been happy with the Honda CRV. My first one lasted over 9 years and 150K miles and would have easily lasted 3-4 years longer if it hadn't been rear-ended. I've had my second one for over 5 years and 90K miles with no major issues. I've been getting 25 MPG city and 30 MPG highway. I had AWD on the first one, but didn't for the second, since almost all my driving is city driving.
  3. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Go to the Kelley Blue Book website. They have a simple/advanced car search engine that gives you a lot of choices to find your ideal car. It's not a bad way to narrow down your choices based on what's important to you. Then you can research the 2-3 cars more specifically and test drive them.
  4. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

    Do you live in a hilly part of New England? Do you have really snowy winters? I live in Southern New England, and in my experience, you really only need a good set of snow tires, but I also don't have to navigate steep hills.
  5. flyingsit

    flyingsit Well-Known Member

    Do NOT even look at a Mini Cooper. I love mine, but the thing is terrible on snow; it's so lightweight that it gets no traction, even with its traction control system.
  6. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    I'm on my 2nd Subaru. The first was an Outback that was totalled at 100K miles (and it would have lasted for another 100K). Now have an '05 Legacy. Bought used, fresh off its lease, it had 35K miles and was serviced at my dealership (they showed me the service records when I looked at the car). It's at 71K and it drives like a dream. Took it camping with 3 teen boys and it held us, the cooler, a tent, 4 bags, chairs, and our clothes. MPG on highway is about 35, city about 25 I think.

    The Outback was a bear in the snow. I once drove home from a concert in a snowstorm at 2 am. SUVs were all over the road, mine just kept going. Legacy is a bit low to the ground, so I've actually been stuck in my driveway (my fault, I pulled into a drift). :shuffle:

    Love the AWD, love the Subaru quality, and what I love the most is the reliability. I just replaced the 7 year old original battery. :eek: My mechanic said to me that if everyone owned a Subaru, he'd be out of business.

    I'm in love with the new Foresters, and even the new Outbacks look sporty (nothing like my old tan & green wagon :lol: ). Don't hesitate to buy a used one, just get a carfax and the records if possible. Subaru also sells certified used cars.

    When I'm ready, this one goes to my son. He'll be safe and I'll be in another Subie. Side note - They do wonders for the environment, and are a very ethical company. I hope to never drive another brand. :)

    Edmunds.com has a great forum with prices paid and dealership experience.
  7. AxelAnnie

    AxelAnnie Well-Known Member

    I just had to get a new car (hubby can no longer drive, so we sold his, and my lease was up, and I needed enough space in the back for his "fancy and huge" walker). So I turned two cars into one.....kinda like the loaves and fishes but backward.

    But my brother and his wife have a great technique (my brother put himself through college and law school banging fenders - which is what the people who fix your car after a crash call it- and restoring and fixing really expensive cars) so he knows a thing or two about cars and general. Here is what he does.

    1. Find the car you like (look on line, test drive)
    2. Go on line and build the car you want so you know exactly what you want...or make a list....or whatever
    3. Get a list of all the dealers in your state who sell that car
    4. Send each a fax (without the name of any dealer on it - that way they don't know who is getting it, and who is not). Have them reply by fax. (for $3.00 you can get a callwave fax number which will send a fax to you via email) if you don't have a fax line, or ask them to reply to an email account you set up for just this purpose,
    5. The fax has the following: A. What car you want and what features B. You are sending this fax to many dealers. C. You will buy the car from the dealer who offers the best deal :)

    My brother and SIL have done this twice. and Twice they have had amazing offers within 6 hours, and made the deal and had the car delivered! TA DA!

    Good luck
  8. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

    I am partial to Mazdas.
    I have an MX-5 (which is obviously not what you need), and a Mazda 3 hatchback. The 3 is really a nice car, with the hatchback it is quite roomy for a small car.
    We both love how it drives, it got a great 'drivers feel'. It sure doesn't handle like my MX-5, but it does handle and is geared better than most other cars in that class I have driven.

    I haven't tried the CX-5, but I would take a look at that for your needs. (though it looks like it MSRPs just over 20k)

    we usually end up buying cars that are about 2-3 years old - you can get many low mileage cars and the worse value loss has happened already. The CX-5 is new, so not a lot of used ones, but the Mazda 3 has been around a while, a quick look at Kelly Blue Book gives me lots of used 3's hatchback in the 15k-18k range, 2008 or newer.
  9. Impromptu

    Impromptu Well-Known Member

    Ditto with the Mazda love. My Mazda is fairly elderly now, a 2001 Protege (which they do not make any longer, but when I eventually get a new car, I'm eyeing the Mazda 3). The Protege has gone through 10 Minnesota winters without any major issues (fingers crossed that I can get through at least one more, as I don't intend to replace it until next year).

    I don't have garage, the poor car has been through a LOT, but only once has it gotten so stuck that I needed help to push it out (and that was after we had over a foot of snow, and then the plow went by and buried me but good).
  10. NancyNC

    NancyNC Well-Known Member

    We have been really pleased with our Honda CR-V, and the all wheel drive seems to do well on the little bit of snow we get down here. Decent gas mileage, plenty of room, Honda reliability.
  11. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    The only thing I will add is that if you are a AAA member there is a new car discount program available. Even if you don't want to buy the car from whatever dealer in your area will honor that price, you can use the certificate to negotiate with other dealers. I think they may have a program for used cars as well. The key thing is, though, you have to know exactly the car and options you want.

    Good luck! It's so exciting to buy a new car!
  12. Marilou

    Marilou Well-Known Member

    Mazda love here too. We have a 6 which isn't what your looking for, but I would defintitely look at the 3 hatchback. We have been VERY happy with the mileage, ride etc.
  13. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    Toyota Rav4.

    Are you looking to buy new or used?

    Bostonfan's Kelley Blue book recommendation is excellent. Get a sense of what you want then shop locally.
  14. Twizzler

    Twizzler Well-Known Member

    Take a look at www.truecar.com

    They give the average price paid for a particular model in your geographic area. So when Mr. Salesman gives you a crappy offer, you pull out your iPhone, show him the webpage and say "Take a look at this. Why are most people in this area only paying 'xyz' for this same car. I'd like to think that I'm at LEAST an average customer. Personally, I know I'm BETTER than average!"

    It works.
  15. Theatregirl1122

    Theatregirl1122 Enjoying Vicarious Voids!

    Thanks for the help, everyone! I definitely used Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds extensively (as well as the Honda Fit). After seeing what options I would need on the impreza and looking at the estimated montly payment, I ended up lowering my budget to under $18,000. I'm hoping to close the deal on a Honda Fit today. I cannot wait for this process to be over as it has been really stressful for me. I never intended to do all of this alone or so quickly! As long as I can get them to sell me the car at the deal they offered me last night (and not try to pull anything else), I'll be happy with what I've accomplished.
  16. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    Does anyone have a good source for analyzing the difference between all weather capabilities and all terrain capabilities? Because I drive on sand down at the beach. I need an all weather car (AWD), but I also need at least 4WD high gear and it is hard to find analysis on which crossovers can actually lock in the differential. Honda Pilot can, but I was hoping for something a little smaller.