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Outshined_One
07-10-2006, 12:53 AM
Okay, here's the deal. I'm going to be looking for a car over the next month since I'm going to be moving to Cleveland and will need a car there. However, this is going to be the first time I've ever gone out and bought a car. I've been reading up on negotiations and such, so I'm not looking for much advice on that front.

However, I don't quite know what kind of car I should buy. I'm looking for something that's compact to midsize, gets good mileage, automatic transmission, good handling, has a reasonable amount of cargo space, and can perform well on highways. My price range is somewhat flexible, but I'm not all that willing to go higher than $20,000. My preference is for a new car due to warranties, but if I get a good deal on a used car, I'll go for it.

Some of the cars I've been looking at are Accords, Civics, Cobalts, Camrys, and Corollas. I might also look at some of the budget sports cars like the Solstice.

Any recommendations? Cars I should stay away from?

Reds4Life
07-10-2006, 01:03 AM
Selections are going to be pretty limited on that budget, I'd probably go with a Civic.

Jpup
07-10-2006, 04:33 AM
buy a Nissan or Honda. Toyota would be a 3rd choice. Stay away from domestic cars.

You can probably by a brand new one. Nissan runs financing between 0-2% all the time. Hondas are a little higher, but are probably worth the price difference IMO.

Don't settle, don't get in a hurry. If someone will not meet your price, go somewhere else. Edmunds.com is a good place to start researching for an auto. Remember to negotiate from invoice price not MSRP. Search the web, you can find great car buying tips.

I respect the opinion of R4L, but you can get a very good car for less than 20K.

cincyinco
07-10-2006, 04:35 AM
Look at a Subaru WRX.. entry level they're slightly above 20G, turbo, good highway performance, decent gas mileage, but not great. but its a helluva car, at a good price.

goreds2
07-10-2006, 12:38 PM
I have always had great luck with Nissan's (Two trucks since Nov. 1988, yes 1988).

My wife has a Scion XB (made my Toyota) that may fit your description. If you like the looks (some people think it is too funky), I recommend this. Also, The PRICE IS RIGHT. It gets over 30 MPG. Good luck and let us know what you bought.

http://www.edmunds.com/new/2006/scion/xb/wagon/compact/index.html

LawFive
07-10-2006, 12:46 PM
If you go with a Civic, get the 5-speed. The auto is, well, slow at best.

edabbs44
07-10-2006, 12:48 PM
Okay, here's the deal. I'm going to be looking for a car over the next month since I'm going to be moving to Cleveland and will need a car there. However, this is going to be the first time I've ever gone out and bought a car. I've been reading up on negotiations and such, so I'm not looking for much advice on that front.

However, I don't quite know what kind of car I should buy. I'm looking for something that's compact to midsize, gets good mileage, automatic transmission, good handling, has a reasonable amount of cargo space, and can perform well on highways. My price range is somewhat flexible, but I'm not all that willing to go higher than $20,000. My preference is for a new car due to warranties, but if I get a good deal on a used car, I'll go for it.

Some of the cars I've been looking at are Accords, Civics, Cobalts, Camrys, and Corollas. I might also look at some of the budget sports cars like the Solstice.

Any recommendations? Cars I should stay away from?
My father is a dealer (Pontiac, GMC, Caddy, etc) and one of my cousins just got a Solstice. He loves it. I'd be worried about that one in the Cleveland winters, though. It looks very light and probably doesn't handle well in the snow/ice.

PS: I take offense to the domestic car bashing...it put me through college. :D

NJReds
07-10-2006, 01:10 PM
I have always had great luck with Nissan's (Two trucks since Nov. 1988, yes 1988).

My wife has a Scion XB (made my Toyota) that may fit your description. If you like the looks (some people think it is too funky), I recommend this. Also, The PRICE IS RIGHT. It gets over 30 MPG. Good luck and let us know what you bought.

http://www.edmunds.com/new/2006/scion/xb/wagon/compact/index.html

My wife just bought a Scion xB, too. She loves it.

Roy Tucker
07-10-2006, 01:32 PM
Don't be afraid of buying a used car. Find yourself a good mechanic and get your candidate cars checked out. You pay a lot of money for that new car smell.

goreds2
07-10-2006, 02:14 PM
Here are some good car buying tips from Clark Howard. This guy loves to save money. (like we all do)

Clark recently bought a USED Scion XB.

http://clarkhoward.com/shownotes/category/5/124/

15fan
07-10-2006, 03:27 PM
Clark is the man. He's out of the ATL. One of his big themes is to not buy a car that you can't pay off in 48 months. If you have to stretch the payments out over 60 months to get the car you want, you're buying too much car.

Read up on Edmunds.com.

When negotiating, don't do it in person. Do it via email. Negotiate first on price, and have the dealer include any taxes/fees for you so that you get a final walk-off-the-lot price. Once you have an offer, use it as leverage to work other dealers.

(ie, Thanks for the offer, but I presently have another dealer who is willing to sell me the same car for $500 less. Can you beat that offer?)

Once you get a price nailed down, then talk about loan terms. Get financing lined up ahead of time from someone other than a dealer so that they have some competition.

Whatever you do, don't walk onto a lot until you're ready to sign the papers and take ownership. Fill in a buddy on the deal and bring him with you - it's amazing how often "honest mistakes" happen when the dealer is filling out the paperwork. A second set of eyes is quite helpful for stuff like that. Print out & bring the email dialogue with you so that if the dealer tries to pull any crap, you can politely show them in writing what they agreed to.

Personally, I'm a Honda man. Do the scheduled maintenance, take decent care of it, and they'll run forever. You couldn't pay me enough to even set foot on a Ford/GM/Chrysler lot...

Johnny Footstool
07-10-2006, 05:42 PM
Watch out for dealer's documentation fees. Every dealer adds them, and they can cost you a few hundred dollars you weren't expecting. Ask the dealer in advance what kind of fees he charges and how much.

Falls City Beer
07-10-2006, 05:53 PM
Go for a Honda or a Toyota. Avoid Nissans. On the domestic end, the Ford Focus is actually a very reliable car. My wife drives one and we got it new dirt-cheap; I can't tell the difference in handling, reliability, or comfort (or features) between it and our Camry: and we paid $4,000 less for the Focus.

Don't be over-compelled by the foreignness of a car, necessarily. There are excellent deals among the right domestics (though I would avoid GM right now).

Plus, the Camry's been in the shop more than the Focus; and they're the same model year.

Yachtzee
07-10-2006, 06:08 PM
I got a lot of good advice in this thread:

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35058

The best advice I took away from my experience my car buying earlier this year:
1. If you aren't sure which car you want, you must go out and test drive them first. It's one thing to say you want a Honda, a Toyota, a Nissan, a Ford or whatever. But all cars, even cars in the same class, have their own feel and their own quirks. Find the car that you enjoy driving the most. That's your car.

But note...do not be tempted to jump on a car at this point. After you test drive the car, take the salesperson's card and tell them you'll think about it. Most salespeople are actually pretty nice about giving you time to compare other vehicles.

2. Get on the internet. Find out how much your future car is worth. I was pointed in the direction of edmunds.com and kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book). Both are invaluable resources in determining what you should pay for a new or used car.

3. Get quotes from multiple dealers. You can submit requests for quotes online. You can then use them to find out the best place to buy, or even use them as a negotiation tool.

Just a side note about buying a used car. As you are moving to Cleveland, Northeast Ohio has the dreaded "E-Check", where you have to have your car tested for emissions every two years. A new car will allow you to avoid E-check for a few years, whereas if you buy used, you will likely have to take it to E-check as soon as you register the car here (if you register it here).

SunDeck
07-10-2006, 09:26 PM
Don't be afraid of buying a used car. Find yourself a good mechanic and get your candidate cars checked out. You pay a lot of money for that new car smell.
Ditto that. Buying new just isn't worth it for me. I bought a used '05 Town and Country last year for about 11k less than a new one.
Anyway...

Have you looked at a Vibe? It's basically a Toyota Matrix and probably comes in around 20,000. And although I haven't ridden in one yet, the new Dodge Caliber looks pretty hip.

kearns and dunn
07-10-2006, 11:43 PM
I'd get an Accord, just get a used one if you want to. Those things will last forever, I've had one for several years(it's 14 years old) and it still runs great, it has a 4-cylinder engine and still goes 130mph and gets at least 35 mpg. They're great cars.

macro
07-11-2006, 01:59 AM
Although some have pointed out Edumunds for car pricing, be SURE you read the forums, where people post how much they have paid for various models:

http://www.edmunds.com/apps/townhall/welcome.jsp

Also, do some checking at this dealer in Maryland, which ships cars all across the US. They state their very good price right up front on their Web site, giving you something to compare to when negotiating:

http://www.fitzmall.com/

One thing I've discovered recently is that Edumunds' invoice prices are not always accurate. The dealer we ended up buying from was claiming that his invoice was about $600-700 higher than Edumunds. I thought at first he was lying to me, but after checking Fitzmall and other sources, I realized that he was telling the truth. We ended up buying a brand new Toyota Sienna minivan two weeks ago at $150 over invoice plus $1000 cash back from Gary Force Toyota in Bowling Green, KY.

Excuse me for joining in on the domestic bashing, but go with Toyota or Honda. I've owned three Toyotas, one Honda, and two Fords since 1985. The four imports gave NO problems whatsoever (144K, 85K, 212K, etc.), while the two Fords (77K and 80K have had multiple issues).

If you're tempted to trade something in, don't do it. We were offered $7800-8200 for my wife's mint-condition 2000 Mustang in 2003 by dealers, and turned it down. We listed it on Autotrader.com and the first people to come look at it (a VERY nice couple from Louisville, looking for a car for their 16-year-old daughter) bought it for $9500.

Outshined_One
07-11-2006, 02:51 AM
Have you looked at a Vibe? It's basically a Toyota Matrix and probably comes in around 20,000. And although I haven't ridden in one yet, the new Dodge Caliber looks pretty hip.

I'm going to look at the Matrix and Vibe at some point. Considering I'm going to be moving all of my stuff from Chicago to Cleveland, I'll happily take the extra cargo space.

The Caliber's engine really turns me off, though. Everything I've read about it has been disappointing.

Thanks for all the help so far, everyone! I'm doing all my research now before going out and checking these cars out in the next few weeks.

SunDeck
07-11-2006, 06:43 AM
Yeah, I think the Caliber is basically a Neon.
A person who works for me bought a Vibe and she said it was great when she and her daughter moved from one apartment to another recently. She couldn't believe the space inside the thing.

goreds2
07-11-2006, 06:48 AM
Yeah, I think the Caliber is basically a Neon.
A person who works for me bought a Vibe and she said it was great when she and her daughter moved from one apartment to another recently. She couldn't believe the space inside the thing.

As SunDeck mentioned, the Vibe has a Toyota engine which is a good thing.

Jpup
07-11-2006, 09:26 AM
Go for a Honda or a Toyota. Avoid Nissans. On the domestic end, the Ford Focus is actually a very reliable car. My wife drives one and we got it new dirt-cheap; I can't tell the difference in handling, reliability, or comfort (or features) between it and our Camry: and we paid $4,000 less for the Focus.

Don't be over-compelled by the foreignness of a car, necessarily. There are excellent deals among the right domestics (though I would avoid GM right now).

Plus, the Camry's been in the shop more than the Focus; and they're the same model year.

I have a Nissan and I'm very, very pleased with it.

GIK
07-11-2006, 09:45 AM
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty every once and awhile, go used. Either way, good luck!

gonelong
07-11-2006, 12:04 PM
Don't buy a model that isn't in at least its 3rd year of production. It takes them a few years to work everything out.

GL

RFS62
07-11-2006, 12:08 PM
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty every once and awhile, go used. Either way, good luck!


Boy howdy.

I always look for a two year old car with low mileage, in the 20K range if possible.

The price savings will be incredible over the same car bought new.

And never, ever shop when you're desparate. If you can be patient, you'll find a good buy.

macro
07-11-2006, 12:29 PM
Don't buy a model that isn't in at least its 3rd year of production. It takes them a few years to work everything out.

GL

Very true, and this goes for the first of a new generation of existing models. Ford completely redesigned the Explorer in '02 and we bought one. As the problems occur with it, I find posts on message boards from other people having the same exact problems.

Falls City Beer
07-11-2006, 12:30 PM
I have a Nissan and I'm very, very pleased with it.


How old is it? I've heard models made up till around 99 are fine, but I have several friends that complain ceaselessly about their Nissans. Their profile has taken something of a hit in the last several years while Subaru's profile has improved, as I understand it.

Jpup
07-11-2006, 05:54 PM
How old is it? I've heard models made up till around 99 are fine, but I have several friends that complain ceaselessly about their Nissans. Their profile has taken something of a hit in the last several years while Subaru's profile has improved, as I understand it.

2005 Nissan Titan.

a simply amazing truck.

WebScorpion
07-11-2006, 10:47 PM
Make sure you test drive a Prius...it's an amazing machine, but with options it will run a little over $20,000. Although they advertise 60mpg, you'll probably get a little over 50mpg. It has a $3,150.00 tax CREDIT in 2006...not $3,150 off your income, that's $3,150 off your TAXES! :eek: That should bring you back below $20K. :D Anyway, I'd also recommend the Navigation System if you can handle the price bump (probably not, but it's REEALLY invaluable) If not, at least get the skid control and the side airbags...it will help with insurance and you'll be safer. The electric motor combined with skid control makes it jump off the line quicker than any conventional car. The car unlocks when you touch the handle and the key is within 3 feet. It's also Bluetooth compatible, so if you have a Bluetooth cell phone you don't need a headset, you talk through the mic and car speakers and voice dial by hitting a button on the steering wheel.

If you must buy American, get a Saturn...they're the only ones whose maintenance record is even close to a Toyota or Honda.

bucksfan
07-11-2006, 11:43 PM
I am quite happy with my Nissan (Frontier) and our Honda (Pilot), though those are not exactly what you are looking for. We loved our Nissan Pathfinder too (1994-2005).

FWIW, if judging by the fact we quoted the glass (but did not win) for the Vibe/Matrix at the same time to the same vehicle manufacturer (Toyota), they are probably pretty much the same thing with different badges. However I cannot confirm any details for sure.

Good luck in your search!

goreds2
07-12-2006, 08:06 AM
How old is it? I've heard models made up till around 99 are fine, but I have several friends that complain ceaselessly about their Nissans. Their profile has taken something of a hit in the last several years while Subaru's profile has improved, as I understand it.

I had a 1987 Nissan pickup that I owned from 1988-2001 (I still see it around town). My current Nissan Frontier CC I have owned since Dec. 20, 2000. It has over 135,000 miles.
"No runs, no drips, no errors".

beb30
07-12-2006, 10:22 AM
The Caliber's engine really turns me off, though. Everything I've read about it has been disappointing.


Have you seen the Caliber SRT4 probably going to be around $22k or so and its a 300HP turbo beast.......looks sweet if you ask me....I may look into one

cincyinco
07-12-2006, 09:41 PM
How old is it? I've heard models made up till around 99 are fine, but I have several friends that complain ceaselessly about their Nissans. Their profile has taken something of a hit in the last several years while Subaru's profile has improved, as I understand it.

FCB, buddy.. you're right Subaru stock or reputatin has improved..

I own a 02 WRX, which I recommended the buyer check out in an earlier post. For me it was simple, especially living in Colorado. AWD for the snow? Check. Turbo to get up and go? Check. Affordable? Check. The only thing that sucks is gas prices here have gone up soooo much - but thats true anywhere you go. I still get pretty good gas mileage(about 25-30 highway) tho... I've never had any mechanical problems with the vehicle in 4 years - first car i've ever owned i can say that about.

Nissans are overrated and Scoobie's are underrated. Check out the Subaru's.. even if you can't afford a WRX, you can still get a nice Impreza 2.5RS for under 20G's. And it still comes with AWD. :)

dabvu2498
07-12-2006, 10:00 PM
One word: Honda... I know a salesman who has put over 1.2 million miles on 3 total cars (84-99 models).

I had 150k on my 98 Accord when I traded it in and he called me a wuss.

Outshined_One
07-13-2006, 12:52 AM
Thanks for all the help so far everyone!

A heck of a lot of people have told me to check out the Subaru WRX so far, especially given Cleveland's winter conditions.

I'm going back and forth between getting a new car and a used car. I'd like to have a warranty and everything, but at the same time, a used car will be cheaper and less problematic in certain regards. I've put together a mental list of cars that I want to look at and will probably start looking within the next week or two.

I'll welcome more advice and suggestions until I make my decision, too! :D

Yachtzee
07-13-2006, 12:22 PM
Thanks for all the help so far everyone!

A heck of a lot of people have told me to check out the Subaru WRX so far, especially given Cleveland's winter conditions.

I'm going back and forth between getting a new car and a used car. I'd like to have a warranty and everything, but at the same time, a used car will be cheaper and less problematic in certain regards. I've put together a mental list of cars that I want to look at and will probably start looking within the next week or two.

I'll welcome more advice and suggestions until I make my decision, too! :D

Just another note about Cleveland and cars. If you choose a "sporty" model, make sure they put tires on the car that are suitable for the area. If the car comes with any kind of "high performance" tire, have them swap the tires for some good all-seasons. The "high performance" tire may do great on dry pavement, and even on wet, but forget about snow. Zero traction. If you're going to Case, you'll probably be living on the East Side of Cleveland, which gets more snow than the West Side. School is expensive enough without having to buy a set of snow tires.

Outshined_One
08-05-2006, 02:56 PM
Updated!

It turns out that while Civics have been selling really well, the Accords for some reason have not been moving much. All the Honda dealers I went to wanted sticker price or just above it for the Civics.

So, I started looking at Accords and found it a hell of a lot easier to haggle. I got myself an Accord EX today for $20,700. :)

StillFunkyB
08-05-2006, 04:06 PM
Okay, here's the deal. I'm going to be looking for a car over the next month since I'm going to be moving to Cleveland and will need a car there. However, this is going to be the first time I've ever gone out and bought a car. I've been reading up on negotiations and such, so I'm not looking for much advice on that front.

However, I don't quite know what kind of car I should buy. I'm looking for something that's compact to midsize, gets good mileage, automatic transmission, good handling, has a reasonable amount of cargo space, and can perform well on highways. My price range is somewhat flexible, but I'm not all that willing to go higher than $20,000. My preference is for a new car due to warranties, but if I get a good deal on a used car, I'll go for it.

Some of the cars I've been looking at are Accords, Civics, Cobalts, Camrys, and Corollas. I might also look at some of the budget sports cars like the Solstice.

Any recommendations? Cars I should stay away from?

I had a pretty much brand new Cobalt as a rental car. Only had 3000 miles on it. It was garbage. It feels alot smaller than it looks. It had absolutely zero power as far as acceleration.

Have never driven any of the others your looking at.

I have had quite a few Chevy Malibu Maxx (hatchback), and I have liked them. Good ammount of space, good leg room for the driver. The V6's I have had were decent when it came time to need a bit of umph to pass someone, etc...

Hope that helps you out.

EDIT: haha, just noticed you said you got something.

Yachtzee
08-05-2006, 05:09 PM
Updated!

It turns out that while Civics have been selling really well, the Accords for some reason have not been moving much. All the Honda dealers I went to wanted sticker price or just above it for the Civics.

So, I started looking at Accords and found it a hell of a lot easier to haggle. I got myself an Accord EX today for $20,700. :)

Good choice. I've heard nothing but good things about Accords. :thumbup:

Caveat Emperor
08-07-2006, 02:33 AM
I swapped cars with my parents over the weekend -- took my mother's Buick Rendezvous up north to move stuff out of my apartment and she took my old '93 Jeep Cherokee to do her errands and whatnot for the time.

Her first words to me when I got back in tonight were: "You're going car shopping this weekend, you'd have to be insane to keep driving that death trap of yours" :laugh:

And here I thought it was normal to have to mash the break pedal in all the way to get the car to stop or to hold the steering wheel at a slight angle to keep the car from drifting off into the divider.

I hate car shopping -- being as tall as I am (and as broke as I am) options are *extremely* limited.

Ltlabner
08-07-2006, 07:57 AM
I've had pretty good luck buying used cars as someone else has mentioned. I look for one with low miles but enough to have brought the purchase price down significantly. Be sure to do a lot of reasearch on mechanical issues to avoid buying someone elses problem.

Negotiate the best deal possible. Finance it through the dealer (see why later on) Get the purchase price as low as possible to minimize the amount you are financing. Don't worry about the interest rate at this time as dealers tend to back off discounts/rebates if you are hounding them on purchase price and interest rate.

I say finance it through the dealer and focus on getting the lowest price because after purchasing the auto, I march over to my bank, credit union or other lender and get the lowest lending rate possible. Be sure that you can pay the car off early without penalty so you will be able to do this.

The reason I wait to refinance after purchase is that if the dealer knows they are financing the auto they will be more willing to lower the purchase price (because they know they can make it up through the financing). So you get the best of both worlds, a reduced price and a very low interest rate if you are financing.

The other thing I'd recomend is that you pay extra on your car payment every month. Whatever you can afford, even if it's only $10. Auto loans are simple interest loans. This means that every month they recaluate the interest portion of the loan on the remaining ballanced owed. Every $1 you lower the remaining ballence owed saves you big money by reducing the amount of interest you will pay.

It also shortens the length of the loan considerably. We pay an extra $100 per month on each auto and it cuts the length of the loan nearly in half. It also cuts the amount of interest paid nearly in half.

Ltlabner
08-07-2006, 01:13 PM
I had a Ford Fusion as a rental reciently. It was downright horrible. The Constant Velocity Transmission was dreadfull. Because it uses belts instead of gears the "feal" of the car is totally different. The engine revs to 3000, 4000 and even 5000RPM before it "shifts" the the next gear range. Makes you wonder about the wear and tear on the engine and if it will explode. I was in Denver and the car just seemed to want to pull over and die most of the time. Zero, and I mean zero acceleration or pep from the engine. The interior was cheap, plastic and very bland.

I was not a fan of the Dodge Caliber. To me, the interior was far to plastic and brittle. The door pulls looked like they would break off after 30 pulls. The back deck in the hatch is plastic and very flimsy. It looked like it would colapse if you put a fully loaded cooler with ice on top of it. The seat was adjustable, but you had to pump up little air pumps to adjust it...no motors or anything. Overall, a very cheep feeling car that seemed like it would be worn out in a few years. It's prob a cool car if you are in your late teens/early 20's but other than that there would be little appeal.

Hoosier Red
08-07-2006, 02:27 PM
Oh great. So now I see this thread. I bought a used car this weekend.
Mitsubishi Gallant, '05.