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I need a car...
Old 04-11-2005, 11:00 PM   #1
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I need a car...

Was wondering what people would recommend.

My 95 Maxima is on its last legs, and unfortunately I live in LA where it is hard (darn near impossible) to function without a car, so I am in the market for one. I will have to finance.

This car I get, just like my Maxima, I want to last for about 10 years, and I want to keep it that long. Believe it or not, I am 22 but my dream car is a Buick. I was looking at 1-3 year old Buick Centuries, which depreciate like crazy and can be had pretty cheap. They seem pretty safe, and thier upkeep (repairs, insurance, etc.) seems to be quite cheap. But don't nkow how reliable domestics are, so that is a point of concern.

Another idea I had was maybe a brand new Hyundai, if nothing else cause of the warranty.

For safety concerns along with my 6 1 height, I am looking for at least a midsize. I have always liked the big american cruisers (hence my love for Buick) but don't know how practical those would be.

Any suggestions are appreciated, thanks!
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-11-2005, 11:37 PM   #2
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Re: I need a car...

Honda Civic.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-11-2005, 11:59 PM   #3
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Re: I need a car...

Hondas are great- still, if you like the Buick, check the gas consumption. If it is ok for your needs go ahead. Consumer Reports gives Buick a very high quality and repair rating. And there is no dobt at all that if one were to be in a wreck, better to be in a Buick than a Honda.

Regarding your 6-1 height, I don't think that would be a problem in either car. At least in my Acura Integra which is similar to the Civic there is a lot of headroom and legroom in the front seats.

Mikey
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 04:13 AM   #4
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Re: I need a car...

My new personal policy is not to buy anything other than a Honda or Toyota (Acura/lexus if you have money to burn). Last year I thought I could save a couple bucks by buying a mazda but even in this 2004 model, the quality just isn't there (probably Ford's influence). I'm selling it shortly before the warranty is up...never again.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 05:13 AM   #5
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Re: I need a car...

Chevy Impala.

Plenty of room, lots of power.

Excellent rating from Consumer Reports.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 05:30 AM   #6
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Re: I need a car...

Visit your local library and check out some of the Comsumer reprots. Also check out edmunds.com.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 05:31 AM   #7
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Re: I need a car...

Butt Ugly

That's how I like them - 10 to 20 twenty year old Detroit, dinged up with rust spots. Befriend a jackleg mechanic or two, never drive anyplace you wouldn't be ready to hitch hike home.

Of course I'm eleven years into ER, have a 'bought new' 1999 Silverado sitting in the front courtesy some screaming and yelling from the SO -"your not going to take it with you" and a few other catchy phrases.

My daily driver is a 200,000 mile 1994 GMC 4 banger Sonoma - free from Step Daughter in spare room and I have a free 1992 Geo Storm (not running) to keep my jackleg buddies occupied since I'm not too mechanically inclined.

Like recyling dryer sheets - it's an acquired taste.

Heh, heh, heh - to each his own.

P.S. - Dickies coveralls and a Golden Retriever go well with my driving set-up.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: I need a car...

I love my "No Payment". Try to save up enough to buy a "No Payment" before that Maxima gives out. Also with a relatively old "No Payment", you can usually forgo the comprehensive/collision and just self insure.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 07:01 AM   #9
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Re: I need a car...

Remember the adage, be proactive.

Just keep thinking $3.00 a gal. Here's a chance to stay in front of a problem before it's actually here.

Last auto I bought was a Toyota Camry, 2 years old, and I love it.

In general, I agree with those who recommend getting an older car that you can live with. Car Payments will exceed a lot of gas and a lot of repair bills. I used to have a rule to keep the car until the auto mechanic's payments amounted to $1000/year. Now, I've upped that to $2000. If it starts costing more than that, I'll get another one.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 07:15 AM   #10
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Re: I need a car...

I have had excellent results with Japanese cars in general. But have not owned any recently except for a couple of older Miatas (toys basically). Currently own 2 Jeeps and a Dodge pickup, which makes me look like a
real Chrysler fanatic, which I am not. Once again, I like
unclemick's style and it would fit in well out here in the
boonies. Alas, my sense of style will not allow me to drive a "rust bucket", nor allow DW to either. I do have
a "shade tree" mechanic about 7 miles down the road.
I told him once I hoped that I die before he does.
No kidding!

Here is another view, unclemick style......In January
I visited a neighbor from Illinois who is also a Texas snowbird. He told me he had a "ranch", but that was
all I knew. It was very impressive (he had the hat and the cattle ). Anyway, the guy was obviously very
wealthy. But, we went to town in his 1980s era
rusty, dirty, "butt ugly" S-10 pickup. It wasn't a
"Southfork" ride, but it fit his rancher lifestyle.

JG
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 07:53 AM   #11
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Re: I need a car...

I can't tell you what to get, but I can tell you STAY AWAY FROM VW! My stupid Passat has cost me a bundle, if I followed Eagle's rule of $2000 per year, I would have gotten rid of it when it was 2 years old! Been lucky over the last year, but yeesh!
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 08:07 AM   #12
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Re: I need a car...

I did buy my wife a nice (new) 04 Jetta Wagon Diesel. *Total costs so far are just the 10K mile service at the dealer. *I let the dealer do it cause i'm too nervous to let a cheapy autoshop mess with a new Diesel german car... might throw em off.

It gets lower 40s for gas mileage.

Supposedly VW's do have a bad track record... guess i just got lucky. Just passed one year ownership and its been just about perfect (one minor defect that I know of).
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 08:19 AM   #13
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Re: I need a car...

Well I should add I've heard great things about their diesels, and any of their older air cooled engines, plenty of 60's era bugs/super beatles on the road! The problem came when VW group started part sharing between audi and vw. My passat has the audi A4 engine in it, down to the symbols on the hoses. These water cooled, microchip driven engines give a lot of performance, but if they get just a little out of whack it kills. I've also had a problem with interior parts. My power window controls have had to be replaced, most plastic parts in the dash and doors have started to peel, bulbs burning out in the dash etc. My only solace is it feeds my need for speed
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 08:24 AM   #14
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Re: I need a car...

VW *was* good. After my dads passat experience I would suggest passing on the brand. The reliability is poor, maintenance is hideously expensive and the local dealer is a crook. I did the "30k maintenance" on his passat; when he took it in with an engine control computer failure without asking they replaced the spark plugs I put in saying they were the wrong ones...except they werent. After 30 minutes of very irritated conversation with the service manager about the problems surrounding the performance of unnecessary and fraudulent work without a customers approval, they did take that charge off the bill. Grudgingly.

I'm with the crowd on the choices...either a severely depreciated piece of american iron with the intention of trading repairs for initial purchase cost or a recent model japanese car.

If you buy something 'off' like a hyundai or a kia, only do so if you plan to drive it into the ground. While you'll save money up front, you will not enjoy the bath you take when selling it.

Oddball choice? Get a 3-4 year old Infiniti fresh off a lease. The depreciation on them rivals american cars, the reliabilty is good, and they're nice cars. If you like the styling. And dont plan to try to resell it. I bought a 4 year old Q45 with 50k miles on it for $19.5K, drove it for ~4 years and 35k miles without much more than maintenance, and sold it last year for $12K. I didnt see much difference between it and the Mercedes and BMW's I used to drive as far as ride quality and comfort. If you like the maxima, you'll probably like the mid-size infinitis, they're made by Nissan with many of the same parts as the maxima is made with.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 08:34 AM   #15
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Re: I need a car...

My step mom loves her infiniti! She bought hers 4 years used and it's now 8 years used and still looks and drives great, no repair costs yet! My other friend bought a used lexus and has had no problems either.
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 08:50 AM   #16
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Re: I need a car...

I liked the LS400 I looked at, but it was $28k and that was a pretty good deal for a 4 year old one with 50k on it. I couldnt find the $8k+ extra value in it vs the infiniti except I knew I'd get it back on the resale.

Service on the infiniti's is also good. You get a free rental car for the day for most warranty and scheduled maintenance and they kiss your butt pretty well.

I had heard of people buying the new Q45's (different styling than mine, and a rocket motor under the hood) for huge, huge discounts...the list is in the mid to high 50's and I knew two people who paid under $40k new. The problem with being #5 or #6 "in the mind" of new luxury car buyers...
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Civics, Camrys, & Altimas.  But not Fords.
Old 04-12-2005, 09:40 AM   #17
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Civics, Camrys, & Altimas.  But not Fords.

We've been happy with our eight-year-old Nissan Altima and its manual transmission. First grownup car we've ever owned.

The Ford Taurus wagon has been fine too, but it's at the point where every pin on every interior door panel needs replacement. I've been mentally avoiding the thought of walking into the dealership for that special order...

It seems like every other Hawaii car is a Civic-- and most of the rest are Acuras. Camry has been high on our list when we've been shopping but they just don't seem to have a lot of resales, which is probably a good sign!
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 06:05 PM   #18
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Re: I need a car...

I have bought only 2 cars in my life. My 1st was a Honda Civic wagon. It was a great little country car. I kept it for 8 years. My next car was Toyata Camry. I have had it for 13 years and hope to keep it for another 5 or more years.
I was thoroughly happy with both.

Although I only did 225K miles between the 2 cars, outside the normal maintenance, the repair costs was negligible.

I hope that the 2 auto makers continue to produce reliable cars for a long time.

MJ
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Re: I need a car...
Old 04-12-2005, 09:57 PM   #19
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Re: I need a car...

My current car is a Pontiac; my last one was an Olds. Both were pretty reliable up to around the 7-8 year mark. I've had gasket/water pump problems with the Pontiac, and oddly enough, the Olds had some gasket problems, too...
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Another vote for the Camry
Old 04-13-2005, 06:00 AM   #20
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Another vote for the Camry

I'd echo the Camry recommendation. Just retired mine after 14+ years -- I think it would go another 14 but I wanted the airbags, ABS breaks, and, as a woman driving alone most of the time, I also wanted the peace-of-mind that goes with a newer vehicle.

This car has never given me one minute of trouble. The Camry is also roomy enough for you and has good gas economy. You can't go wrong with this car.

Best of luck, whatever you choose!
Caroline
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