Originally Posted by RedlegJake
totally agree with Bob. $300 a month on 20 grand is going to be a six year loan and lots of interest even if you qualify for a low rate, plus you'll be upside down on value until the very end of the loan making it hard to trade. You'll either need to up your payment or lower your sights this time for a good used vehicle and follow the plan Bob laid out.
If you're going to do a used vehicle, make sure you investigate the warranties offered and consider buying additional warranty coverage on your own. Having a car payment is bad enough, but having a car payment AND a constant stream of repair bills is usually more than most people can stomach.
Also, FWIW, most people I know who have had bad used car experiences have had their bad experiences with used SUVs. I don't know a single person who bought a lemon used car, but I know several people who have bought SUVs that have ended up taking them to the cleaners with various issues.
I'll echo another point made here -- I generally think leasing is a bad idea, but if you're in a position where your life is about to change substantially (via kids) in a few years, a short-term (2 year) lease might not be a terrible idea.