How do I even begin to find the right vehicle for me?

Reply Mon 5 Feb, 2007 07:55 pm
I'll start off by saying that I am intimidated by this entire process. I have never bought myself a vehicle. My old car I just had a lump of cash and basically turned all the work over to a relative who had a passion for vehicles. I went along for the ride, nodding and saying yes or no.
He did good. Unfortunately, he isn't around to help me anymore.

So it's time to be a big girl and find myself something.
I need a vehicle.

So, where to start?
I've narrowed down the price range I can afford.
I don't need a truck or the gas costs that go with it (but love trucks).
I don't have kids.
I want something that won't need to be fixed every time I turn around, and where the parts are easy to find and not crazy expensive.

There is also a big car thieving prob in my city, ridiculously so, so I should probably consider that as well. I've heard that certain makes head the list of being stolen and broken into. Actually know friends whose van has been broken into 3 times in one year! The last time it was totalled after being taken on a cruise.

Do I go visit dealerships and auto centers? Start with auto listings?

How do I decipher all the information and what I should I be paying attention to?

Thanks for helping this dummy who genuinely wants to learn.
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Reply Mon 5 Feb, 2007 07:58 pm
I learned a lot from edmunds.com

you can research vehicles, get reviews, and see what you really should be paying.
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Reply Tue 6 Feb, 2007 05:04 am
Well, one thing you might want to do is think about your current car.
  • What do you like about it?
  • What do you love about it?
  • What do you hate about it?
  • What annoys you, that you wish was easier, higher, lower, louder, closer, farther away, more adjustable, etc.?

Ride with friends, or ask them about their cars, the same types of questions. Read the automotive section of the paper or check 'em out online.

Also, consider what's important to you, you might want to rank it somehow, as in, must have, nice to have, can do without, don't want, e. g.
  • automatic transmission
  • antilock brakes
  • sunroof
  • CD player
  • room for 4, 5 or whatever
  • good safety rating
  • haulage capacity
  • 4-wheel drive, etc.

We got a Saturn because I had read about them and liked what I read, and my brother had one and he liked his quite a bit. Before that, we'd had a tiny Chevy Spectrum and before that I'd just had used cars, but since we got the first Saturn, well, this is our third. We just like the car, for us it works because it's small, gas mileage is okay, safety ratings are very good for the price (I've been in accidents in this car, and it bounces back better than most cars within the price range), but Saturns aren't for everyone and I'm not trying to sway you.
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Lord Ellpus
Reply Tue 6 Feb, 2007 05:14 am
I'd go small but zippy, personally.

Mini Cooper?...........Vroom....

Honda Civic (one of the most reliable makes on the road).....Nice!

Or something similar.
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Reply Sat 10 Feb, 2007 08:00 pm
I appreciate the input. I never realized how much fun this could be. Smile

Going to browse and test ride some this week. Shall be fun.
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Reply Sat 10 Feb, 2007 08:05 pm

This web site should help you with pricing information
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Reply Sat 10 Feb, 2007 09:13 pm
flushd, have you tried the cartalk website?
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Reply Sat 10 Feb, 2007 09:17 pm
The most reliable cars are NOT american cars.

( cough cough )

Let me repeat that.. NOT american cars. hehehe

Toyota, Honda are the leaders.

And the cars that ARE toyotas are -
Lexus, Scion

Honda makes Acura.. and something else.. but I Dont remember.

So out of five diffrent makes, you should find something you like.
Toyotas have one of the highest gas mileage vehicles on the road.
Honda would be next.

Hondas are cheaper then toyotas and have a 'sportier look' to the 2 door cars then Toyota.

But, for sporty, small and great on gas, the Scion might fit your bill.

You can also find any of these cars used and save a couple thousand dollars and still have a great vehicle.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2007 03:31 pm
Any luck, woman? Er, I mean, flushd?
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Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2007 05:24 pm
There are much more knowledgeable car people here than I am, but I thought I'd throw my 2 Cents in anyway.

I can vouch for Toyotas. I tend to drive cars until they die, and my last one was a 86 Celica. Very fun to drive, and it took 16 years of no maintenance (other than oil changes) to run it down to nothing. Some kid bought it, and I'm sure with a little work, it's still going, somewhere. Seldom hear a bad word about Toyotas or Hondas.

I've also heard some satisfied owners of Hyundai. Apparently their quality has greatly improved in the last few years, trying to equal Toyota and Honda. Next time that I need a car, I'll probably start by looking at Accents and Elantras.

Word from friends who have had them is to avoid VW products. Very bad servicing (in Toronto, anyway). Actually, the only person I know who likes German cars is my brother, who is an Audi fan, but then he owns a garage that specializes in German cars and has 8 mechanics at his beck & call.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2007 05:59 pm
Avoid VW because of the reliablity, not service. I wouldn't want one unless it's under warranty.

I heard they're running great lease deals on the new Hyundai Sonata....

Like mentioned, Honda & Toyota are arguably the two most reliable brands, and Nissan isn't too bad either. Shewolf, Honda makes Acura, but that's it.

I just discovered today a website called leasetrader.com, and there are other sites like it. You can assume someone else's lease...just take over the payments. If/when I want another toy I'll definitely have to look into it. There's a local BMW Z4 for $260/mo!
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Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2007 06:39 pm
I went through car after car like water for chocolate (could have been saving up to buy real estate) until I landed on my Toyota Celica. I only gave it up after thirteen years because a friend had a great volve to give me for little money, when she was buying a Mercedes (new job, yadda yadda, but still, that was nice of her). Now that was a good car. I lived just fine after it was totalled with me in it.
But, alas, I think only older volvos had that massive frame, and consequential low mileage.

Toyota, Honda, and, I gather, Hyundai.
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Slappy Doo Hoo
Reply Sun 4 Mar, 2007 09:25 pm
I think the newer Hyundai's long term reliability is yet to be determined....the older ones weren't anything great. Seem like very good cars though.
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