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Old 06-26-2014, 11:52 AM
straw straw is offline
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Default Car folks... buying a new car!

I joined a car forum hoping to learn a bit more, since I am definitely not auto-savvy. For those of you that are, maybe you can offer me some input?

I'm planning to buy used, ideally no older than 2004. Also looking for <100,000 km. I could probably do $250 as a monthly payment but my budget's $8k absolute max - I'm looking for a cheap little car. Based on my first couple searches this doesn't seem unrealistic but correct me if I'm wrong.

This will mostly be for driving around the city, trips up to the cottage (short drive but snow and dirt roads), and a bi-weekly/once-monthly visit to the man (4 hours round trip). I intend to look after the car well BUT I'm a total beginner. So I'd like something that's relatively easy and inexpensive (haha) to maintain.

Here's what I'm looking for:

+ 4 doors.
+ Small/medium in size.
+ Good mileage. I'm a pretty gentle driver and I'd like to see between 8 or 9 litres/100km as a 'lifetime' mileage. I'd expect slightly lower on highways.
+ Reliable. Or, good warranty - I want to know the company is good about taking care of its buyers.
+ Would prefer manual, but it's not a huge priority.
+ AWD a bonus for those cottage roads in winter, but also not a priority.

I'm not too picky about hatchback vs. sedan. Venice will most likely be riding in the back seat on a hammock anyway so I don't need trunk space for her. Decent storage space in the trunk is a bonus though. I don't need tons of power. As long as it can get me up the 500 meter steep hill at the cottage (in summer) I'm ok. And my boyfriend's 2002 Cavalier that HATES hills can do that.

I really like the look of the Mazda3 and there's plenty available in my area. What's the storage space on the hatchback vs sedan?
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:17 PM
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*blackrose *blackrose is offline
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(I'm interested in this, too!)

While I'm looking for newer and lower mileage, I've also been leaning heavily towards a Mazda3. The storage space is one of the questions I have as well.

I will say I loved both of the Civics I had. (A 2011, then a 2013.) I had no issues with them whatsoever, and my little 2011 Civic pulled me through some really tough snow/ice spots. I've had nothing but good experiences with Honda as a company.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:56 PM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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DH has a 2012 Mazda3 sedan that he adores. The trunk capacity is impressive for a small sedan; he's used it to haul bales of pinestraw and bags of mulch in a pinch! So far it's been very reliable and easy to maintain. Gas mileage for him sits around 38mpg in mostly highway driving.
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:22 PM
iriskai iriskai is offline
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I have a friend who likes their Mazda 3 as well. I have a Honda Fit/Jazz that I love if you'd prefer a hatchback.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:10 PM
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ACooper ACooper is offline
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My son has a 2012 Mazda 6....he loved it until it left him stranded because of the key/immobilizer system (anti theft). It suddenly/randomly stopped recognizing his key as if he were trying to steal it. Total system shut down, not even a 'click' when you turn the key.

He came home on a leave (army...upstate NY) and of course it was a holiday, and of course he had to be back on base (11hours away) the next day when all this happened.

His car was just a bit of mileage out of warranty (warranty was 36k and he has 40k) so it cost him nearly $400 to be towed to dealer, new key and reprogram.

It's not an uncommon problem with Mazda. Do a google search, read threads in their forums before you decide on buying one.
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Old 06-26-2014, 02:26 PM
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I'll ask this question here, too: anybody know anything about the Chevy Sonic, or Chevy Cruze?
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Old 06-26-2014, 05:21 PM
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noludoru noludoru is offline
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Congratulations, you're looking for the car EVERYONE is looking for. 60k miles or less, $8k or so, good on gas, 10 years old or less... The market may be totally different in Canada if you're finding a lot of these at that price point. Here that's the car 1/3 of my customers come in looking for.

Since you're a first time buyer, do you have a co signer? If you don't, I'd go to a bank or CU or even a dealership and have them see what you qualify for, and then start looking within those parameters. I had a year of credit history and was a first time buyer 2 years ago. Tried to buy an 8 year old car, no problem, APR was sky high and I had to put $4k down to be approved. That car fell through, and I got a 9 year old one. Surprise! APR was the same but I needed to pull $8k out of my ass to get it approved because it was older therefore worth less and a higher risk loan.

Once you know what you're approved for and what your payment will be, look online and sort through cars that are in the year range and mileage that is approved.

If you want some more typical advice, as opposed to the "I work in the industry and I've been in your shoes" advice, Mazda3s, Protégés, civics, corollas, etc are all a good sort. Anything Scion is a good decision. Subies are good, on some if the older ones you can expect head gasket repairs. Which isn't a big deal, just pricy.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:34 PM
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I just bought a new truck (2009 ford F150 with 20 miles ... only one owner) the other day from carmax (the place I got my old 2002 Sierra, I had a really good experience with them the first time around and decided to go back) and i needed a co-signer because they said I didn't have enough credit :/ ... banks are such assholes sometimes.
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