Last post on Dec 08, 2013 at 7:13 PM
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Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#3507 of 3640 Help finding my first car
Aug 25, 2013 (8:59 pm)
Hey all. I've had a lot of trouble deciding on what I want for my first car, so I was hoping you guys could maybe help me out. I'm looking for mid to full-size used sedan in for around $5000-6000. I am an 18 year old guy so insurance is a factor and I can't go for anything too sporty.
So far I've looked at some Pontiac Grand Prixs and I really like them, but my mom's very worried about the safety ratings on them (she's the one paying for most of the car). The frontal driver crash ratings seem ok, but the side impact crash ratings are pretty poor from what I've seen (link title). I'm kind of new to the car market so I'm not really sure how important these ratings are. Of the other cars that I've looked at I've also liked the Acura Integra, Nissan Maxima, Chevrolet Impala (although I've heard that these don't hold their value too well and while I like the exterior and the way they drive, I don't really like their interior), and Infiniti G35. I've also been inside an Audi A4 and I really like those as well, but they're probably a little too expensive for me to maintain at this stage in my life as I will be a college student next year. While I've liked all these cars I also haven't really found any that click like the Grand Prix. I also really really like the Pontiac G8 (outside my price range), so if there's a car similar to it that I have overlooked, I would probably like that as well.
So down to the more specific criteria. As far as styling goes I like cars that have kind of sporty exteriors like the G8/Impala and sleek interiors like the Audi A4, G8 or Grand Prix. Fuel efficiency doesn't matter too much as I won't be driving the car very far all that often, but I don't want a real gas hog either. I also don't really want car older than a 2000. The car also needs to be fairly reliable as I can't afford to spend too much money maintaining it. It also needs to be pretty safe as I've mentioned before. Finally I should mention that I'm going to avoid any Volkswagens right now as my family has had a bad experience with them in the past.
Thanks in advance for any help in narrowing down my choices. I'm having a lot of trouble.
#3508 of 3640 Re: 05 Sonata 108k miles [isellhondas]
Aug 25, 2013 (11:17 pm)
Hey Craig - how are ya? You know that I hold you in high regard and my observation is that you are an honest straight shooter. If you were still in the business and nearby, I'd probably be doing my Honda buying/leasing from you. What I have found these past 5-10 years is that the better dealers have established and operate effective Internet Sales Departments. The ones that only go through the motions and try to put on a face are easily exposed by the way they interact with customers. You know from your experience that it is difficult to conduct negotiations over the phone and all too many dealers put on the hard sell while you are at their location because they know when you leave you may not return. I prefer to work my way to a target price via email now - there might be a couple phone calls along the way but I won't go to a dealer until the numbers are nailed down and I have written confirmation in hand. And as I say, after you've done this for awhile, it is fairly easy to pick out the good Internet depts from the not so good (the way you were probably able to distinguish the buyers). I realize that the way you've described the store you worked at, it sounds customer friendly. But for the most part, dealers still put buyers through the wringer (especially the inexperienced ones) if they show up unprepared.
Thanks for listening,
#3509 of 3640 Re: Help finding my first car [asparagus33]
Aug 26, 2013 (2:28 am)
At that price point your first criterion is a trouble-free car that runs well. Of the vehicles you mentioned, I would suggest an early 2000s Maxima. Those are great cars but they do require premium fuel. But you might take a look at a Toyota Camry or a Buick LeSabre. They are not the most exciting to drive, but they will run forever and parts are plentiful. Any car at that price will have around 100k on it, so have it checked out very carefully before you buy.
A smaller hatch you might look at is the Pontiac Vibe.
#3510 of 3640 Re: Help finding my first car [asparagus33]
Aug 26, 2013 (4:38 am)
Besides the Impala, everything you listed will likely be expensive to insure. The grand-prix might not be terrible but sometimes just "looking" sporty will cost you big money. I have no clue what state you're in or what other factors you have for insurance, but since you mention that cost is a factor, I think you should discuss this with your (moms) insurance agent.
Buying a $5k Acura/Infiniti/Audi is likely a very bad idea anyway due to potential repair costs and it doesn't sound like you're ready to self-mechanic. Those can be ok investments if you're handy with tools and have access to salvage parts, but otherwise you'll spend a fortune paying someone else to do it.
I actually like the Impala idea if you like it. They're relatively reliable and cheap to buy/operate.
#3511 of 3640 Re: Help finding my first car [sebring95]
Aug 26, 2013 (11:40 am)
If you find yourself interested in the Vibe or Toyota Matrix (same car basically) then avoid a manual transmission. Your price point would buy you one ready to blow up as they were a poor design. I have been unable to confirm if Toyota Corolla uses the same manual transmission as the Vibe, but suspect they are also to be avoided.
The autos in all 3 were fine.
But these are a bit on the small side given your size requirements.
In order to help keep insurance costs in check, avoid 2 door coupe types, and basically any model that many young drivers are drawn to. Statistically, there are more insurance claims with those types and the premiums reflect that. It was good advice to check with your insurance agent prior to a purchase. Any offer to purchase should always have a clause along the lines of "subject to my financial ability to insure".
#3512 of 3640 Re: Interesting debate choice...preowned ls430 vs newer accord??? [jgwaltney]
by Kirstie@Edmunds HOST
Aug 26, 2013 (9:01 am)
I rarely feel comfortable telling someone else what choice *they* should make. After all, I'm not sure what your financial situation is, and I'm not sure what would make you happier, and I'm also not sure how long you intend to keep the vehicle.
However, if I were looking at those two options, it'd be the LS430 all day long. This is simply because I'd be perfectly happy with a used vehicle at a lower purchase price, and from everything I've seen (and those I know who own that vehicle), they tend to last forEVER. The Accord probably will too, but at a higher entry price.
#3513 of 3640 Re: Interesting debate choice...preowned ls430 vs newer accord??? [Kirstie@Edmunds]
Aug 26, 2013 (9:14 am)
Sounds like we have similar perspective, don't care about "new" just quality long lasting reliable where most depreciation already out after 5-6 yrs. have a 99 ls 400 MINT only 84k mi (just did major timing belt idler pulley svc, and new plugs etc ) we love and need a 2nd veh for myself if I give the 99 to my wife. Drive about 12-15k per yr Tend to think 04-04 ls 430s last great ls before cost cutting etc and agree with sac they should last loooong time
#3514 of 3640 Re: Interesting debate choice...preowned ls430 vs newer accord??? [Kirstie@Edmunds]
Aug 26, 2013 (11:14 am)
Thanks for the help guys.
I think I'm gonna go for an Impala or a Toyota Avalon. There's one in my price range nearby that I'm going to go look at.
What do you think of an Acura Integra/RSX?
#3515 of 3640 Re: Interesting debate choice...preowned ls430 vs newer accord??? [asparagus33]
Aug 26, 2013 (11:20 am)
"What do you think of an Acura Integra/RSX? "
Nice cars. Great for kids who's parents can afford the high insurance premiums. I had a relative that bought one for his 16yo son and I remember he ended up buying some cheap beater car to put as his primary car because the rates were sky high on the RSX.
#3516 of 3640 Re: Interesting debate choice...preowned ls430 vs newer accord??? [sebring95]
Aug 26, 2013 (12:35 pm)
Ok cool thanks for the help.