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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-16-2004, 05:22 PM   #21
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

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I see so many people driving 4WD vehicles up here in the Northeast (Boston) and honestly, it's needed maybe 4 or 5 times out of the whole year for snow.
I lived in boston for 32 years and "enjoyed" some awful winter weather. From the moment I bought my first 4WD until I moved to california, we had extremely dry winters. The plow drivers pissed and moaned about the lack of overtime.

I told my friends when I moved that the reason why they had experienced good weather recently was because I had bought the 4WD truck, in a sort of "it rains right after you wash your car" line of thinking.

I offered them a deal...pay me to keep the truck sitting in my driveway at my old house after I moved, or suffer the consequences.

They passed. I believe the last 10 winters in the Boston area have been the worst of any decade in recorded history...
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-17-2004, 08:33 AM   #22
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

I too live in the Northeast. I have also lived in the Colorado Rockies. No, you don't need 4x4. All you need are some decent clearance and a great set of snow tires mounted on their own rims. That way you can swap them on at the first snow and swap them off as soon as you don't need them. You can get those delivered to you for $400 from Tire Rack.

As you said, what you're looking for is good utility, a decent ride height so that you don't feel like you're going to get crushed by all the monster SUVs, and decent foul-weather handling. You can get the equivalent sensation from a Scion xB, a Pontiac Vibe (aka the Toyota Matrix), or the Ford Focus wagon. All of these cars offer flexible cargo spaces and good ride height. Also, none of them have to be had with all-wheel drive, so you can save the $1200 and use part of the money on a set of snow tires. Another good choice is a used minivan. Yes, a minivan. That's what most SUVs are used for anyways. You can pick up a used one with 25K miles for $14K. Slap some snow tires on them, and you can pretty much go anywhere.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-17-2004, 02:02 PM   #23
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Actually the real problem with driving in snow isnt your vehicle and ability, its limited to the lowest common denominator thats in front of you.

Then next to you.

Then in front of you.

Then on the curb.

Then next to you.

Snow seemed to bring out two kinds of people. The ones who thought "heyyy...my 1967 firechicken with the bald tires could use a nice spin around the city in the middle of this 20" drop" to "snowwww...hmm...I think they told me in high school driving class to double my speed, tailgate and change lanes as often as possible when it snows".
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-18-2004, 10:43 PM   #24
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

You know, I drive pretty well on snow. Maybe because I drive SLOW. I remember during the last big snowstorm here, a towtruck driver was being interviewed on TV and he noted that he was towing mostly 4WD vehicles, whose drivers I'm guessing didn't have a lick of sense when it came to driving in inclement weather.

In any case, getting back to my original post... I've realized that I was letting others dictate my vehicle. I think people still equate the kind of vehicle you drive with how successful you are. My dad was burned on the last used car he bought (which I'm fairly sure he didn't get inspected), and while my SO isn't so picky about new cars, I have to wonder a bit because she can't afford one, and maybe she is trying to live through me. A bit disconcerting.

As for me, like most people I'd "like" a new or newer car but I don't like paying for one, and I want to pay cash! So I'll likely just try to get this one fixed, get the body worked on, struts replaced, noises fixed and keep on chugging for a year. It's got another year in it, at least
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-19-2004, 05:50 AM   #25
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

SO's can be hell(heh heh). A new GEO storm and a new Dodge Ram pickup. Both during the accumulation phase(i.e. both during the working years) - didn't dent savings that bad. Cut other things in the budget. But - in those days the plan was age 63 retirement not 49 as it turned out.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-19-2004, 01:08 PM   #26
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Quote:
SO's can be hell(heh heh). A new GEO storm and a new Dodge Ram pickup. Both during the accumulation phase(i.e. both during the working years) - didn't dent savings that bad. Cut other things in the budget. But - in those days the plan was age 63 retirement not 49 as it turned out.
Yeah, she even told me that I wasn't putting any more money into my car. Hmmph!

I'm not just concerned about denting my retirement savings, but also the short- and mid-term economic situation. Buying even an inexpensive new car for cash would cost me almost a year's worth of living expenses.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-27-2004, 02:49 PM   #27
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

I drive a Subaru. I like it a lot. It feels like a tough little car and is awesome in snow. I have a WRX wagon (hey I like sporty cars, ok) which is not the most fuel efficent thing out there but is a hoot to drive. If you're looking at Foresters take a (manual) XT for a spin - I'll bet they're great. And if you do get a Subaru get a Subaru credit card - 3% back on all purchases that is redeemable at dealers - I've never paid a cent to service my car because of this.

FWIW, I wouldn't touch a used rental car with someone else's 40ft pole - I might have rented it, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who thrashes the nuts off rentals. Shudder at the thought of buying one.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-27-2004, 03:32 PM   #28
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

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I have a WRX wagon (hey I like sporty cars, ok) which is not the most fuel efficent thing out there but is a hoot to drive.
That WRX is a very nice car. I have an Acura Integra GSR. I love it; my only problem is not getting busted. Cruise control is a big help here, especially late at night when I might forget how fast I am going.

It would help me to have a pickup, but I don't want two cars and I can't bear the idea of giving up my 'Teg.

Mikey
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-27-2004, 06:52 PM   #29
 
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Since I fully retired, I have owned several cars and trucks.
My favorite was the Mazda Miata (I owned 2).
Sporty, economical to buy and own, low maintenance,
and fun to drive. Of course, I needed a second vehicle for the winters here. Still, I no longer own a Miata
I really miss it.

John Galt
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-28-2004, 01:35 PM   #30
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

One of my favorites too John, except I could only drive it with the top down else I'd have had to cut a sunroof in it for my head to poke out!

The good news is that the bay area weather meant that in 7 years of ownership I only had to put the top up 3 times when caught by unexpected rains.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-28-2004, 03:47 PM   #31
 
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer


I drove and repaired my first car (which was an early 1970s model) for 300,000 miles. That car died, but I'd saved enough for a new Honda Civic.

My philosophy is:
- Buy a high quality reputable cars NEW
- Do your research (consumers reports, Edmunds, Carpoint), and shop for the best deal you can get
- Drive for 200,000 miles +
- Maintain it myself, keep it in excellent condition
- Never use the dealer unless it's for warrantee work
- Go for a high deductible insurance policy, skip collision after 3 years if you can afford to to replace the car in case of a disaster that's your fault.

The reason why I take this approach is:
- High quality cars don't depreciate very fast anyway -- you will not save much buying a used Honda/Toyota
- Cars that do depreciate fast are generally cars I don't want to own.
- With a used car, I don't know what it's been through -- accidents, engine work, problems...
- The fewer drivers a car has, the longer its likely to last.
- The extra premium for a good new car is small after 200,000+ miles.
- I get to drive the car when it's the most comfortable, and has the least problems - the first 50,000 miles.
- Compared to a high quality new car (Honda/Toyota) used cars carry significant risk. It's just not worth it for me.
- I get the full warrantee

I've owned a Subaru, and Hondas. In my experience, Honda's are higher quality, and more reliable. THat said, the Subaru was acceptable.

I was amazed at how well my Honda Civic held it's value. After 80,000 miles (with no work exept oil changes) the car was totalled in an accident that was not my fault. The insurance company gave me 80% of the price that I paid new!

I'd only get AWD if you frequent the Cascades during the winter. Significant snowfall is Seattle is very rare. The extra weight, compexity, and cost of AWD isn't worth it unless you drive in the snow.

If having a nice (what I'd even call fancy) car is important to you, then I'd go for a new Honda CRV or Forester.

If saving money is more important, then I'd go for a Civic, or Toyota Matrix.


I'd also suggest looking into the Honda Element and Toyota Scion. It looks strange, but I like the Element, it fits my lifestyle very well.

Any way you go, I'm certain that you'll be glad to be out of that Saturn.

Good luck.

--John
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-29-2004, 04:34 AM   #32
 
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

I bought my last new vehicle (Chev. S-10 pick up)
in 1993, just before I semiretired. I have sworn never
to buy "new" again even though I loved the S-10
and got a great deal when I bought. Also, I have never
"run the numbers" so I don't really know if I came out better buying new, or not. When I "backslid" and reentered the
workplace briefly, I returned to my old ways and went
through 2 Cadillac Sevilles (bought both used). Excellent
vehicles in both cases. Currently I drive a '97
Dodge Ram and my wife a '91 Jeep Cherokee. I've
been thinking about this set up lately and expect we
will keep them until the wheels fall off.

John Galt
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-29-2004, 08:14 AM   #33
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

The Car Talk guys ran the numbers on how much it costs to buy new versus used, depending on how long the car was kept; including depreciation, insurance, taxes, repairs, etc.

The cheapest strategy by far was the "heap" strategy where you buy a bucket of junk and run it until it dies.

The interesting thing was that there wasn't much difference in cost between buying a new car and keeping it for nine years, buying a three-year-old car and keeping it for six, and buying a six-year-old car and keeping it for three. The longer you keep it, the lower the yearly operating costs get.

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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-29-2004, 08:45 AM   #34
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

I've had three Honda Accords since 1984. Bought new and only got another one when the previous one hit the 110,000 mile mark. They go and go and go and probably would have kept going had I kept 'em. Now we're thinking of going down to one car (we each have an Accord). Can't see the need for two vehicles in ER.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-30-2004, 07:11 AM   #35
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Quote:
If saving money is more important, then I'd go for a Civic, or Toyota Matrix.
I'm actually looking at the Pontiac Vibe, a rebadging of the Matrix. Same reliable car under the hood, different styling, and a nice GM rebate.

The one thing I don't want is a car that I will outgrow, get sick of, or have to chuck out $$$ in repairs in a few years.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 04-30-2004, 08:49 AM   #36
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Actually, you don't want a bucket of junk, you want a vehicle that is good mechanical condition but is socially unacceptable. That gets you the most mileage for the lowest price. Dents, bad paint job, non-trendy make, Grandma's old Buick, etc.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 05-01-2004, 04:49 AM   #37
 
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Vehicles, as with many other things, illustrate the adage
"there is no accounting for taste". From a purely
numbers point of view, you can make a case for driving
a rust bucket. My sense of style will not allow that.
Thus, our vehicles are older but well mantained.
I made up my mind that I could do ER and still keep
a sense of style in my life. Of course, I have scaled way
back, but that does not mean eating road kill and
living in squalor.

John Galt
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 05-01-2004, 05:30 AM   #38
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Retired Army motor pool sargent. Has a bicycle and takes a cab when needed. Knows the cost of transportation. The only holdout at the old pharts gathering at the doughnut shop. The rest of us have vehicles. He's looking at motor homes but the 'itch' to travel is overwhelming - yet.
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 05-01-2004, 02:37 PM   #39
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Quote:
Vehicles, as with many other things, illustrate the adage
"there is no accounting for taste". From a purely
numbers point of view, you can make a case for driving
a rust bucket. My sense of style will not allow that.
Thus, our vehicles are older but well mantained.
I made up my mind that I could do ER and still keep
a sense of style in my life. Of course, I have scaled way
back, but that does not mean eating road kill and
living in squalor.
Whats wrong with living in squalor?

Now I'm going to have to reanalyze everything in my life. Someone who drives a 97 Dodge Ram is looking down their nose at me because of my lack of style. The Agony!

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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer
Old 05-01-2004, 03:11 PM   #40
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Re: Automobiles and the young dreamer

Whack,

Your Saturn still has some life left in it. I bought an SL 1 (red, with a sunroof) in 1992 and it went fine until 170,000 miles. At that point, I spent $1700 on some engine work and drove it another 80,000 miles. It was still running fine when we traded it in ten years after we bought it.

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