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Old 03-19-2014, 12:10 AM
Lyzelle's Avatar
Lyzelle Lyzelle is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,826
Default Help me find a new car!

I think it is getting to be that time. I was going to look while we were in CO in a couple months. Zoom and Nolu seem like totally fun people to work with on this sorta thing.

But I don't know what I want!

Financially speaking, I'm not entirely sure what I can afford. I was going to trade in the Buick (Regal, 2004) which trades in for around $2500 I think and I definitely need to keep my payments at or under $200. SO with that being said, we're definitely probably looking used. LOL.

What I need:

- Good Gas Mileage
- Fairly easy to take care of if anything goes wrong, reliable. That sorta thing.
- Storage Space. Zander is huge. +NewPuppy. +We travel a lot.
- ....I like pretty things. Not gonna lie. I like the looks of Buick Enclave, Hyundai Santa Fe, etc. Something smooth and sleek looking.
- I'm a small person. Maybe 5'2'' and not a whole lot of legs. So I need something that I can physically drive, too. Without sitting on books or anything.
- Auxiliary would be nice. And other nifty features. But not required.

I think that is about everything. Other wants and stuff are cool, but that is about the core of it all.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:36 PM
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FransterDoo FransterDoo is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 139


They last forever and are reliable as all get out. Ours has 100K+ and just had it's first major expense (head gasket)
Thanks to Adrianne for my Avatar pic of Hank at Splash Dog nationals in 2010!!
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:58 AM
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Zoom Zoom is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 40,739

I'm going to probably come across like a giant condescending b*tch here, so forgive me, but I have to put all this out there, at least once. I get a ton of customers each day coming in looking for what essentially amounts to a "unicorn" aka "it doesn't exist" aka "Pretty car with low miles, all the features I want and I can only pay $200/mo". That usually is followed with "What do you mean I can't get that payment on a 2011 with only 20K miles on it?"

If you need your payments to be around $200/mo, that means that your total amount financed needs to be around the $10,000 mark, maybe under depending on your credit and what APR you will qualify for. So accounting for taxes and fees (if bought from a dealership), the cars you're going to want to look for are going to be around the $8000 range.

It's HARD/nearly impossible to find a good car in that range that doesn't have a ton of miles on it or some other issue. And because more miles means more risk for a bank from a lending perspective, most of them do have a cut off as to what parameters they are willing to finance. Typically this means a vehicle that is 8 years old or newer (2006-2014) and less than 100K miles. Your APR is tied to the age/miles of the vehicle as well.

Trade-in values: Please forget that Kelly Blue Book exists; use NADA instead. And realize your car is most likely "Fair" trade in value at best. "Good" means it has low miles for the year, new tires, no body damage, non-smoker/non-pet, no damage on the windshield and you'd feel 100% comfortable selling the car to your best friend at this very second. "Excellent" means it's been sitting on a showroom floor since 2004 and only been outside in good weather to go around the block a few times to keep the oil moving.

If you can get the full $2500 for the Regal, then you can look for cars in the $10-12K range, as that will take the amount financed back down to the $200/mo level. Now, some makes don't hold their resale value as well. Hyundai and Kia are notorious for this, as is VW, so it makes it easier to find a newer year, lower mileage vehicle. However the trade off is that they tend to need a lot of repairs. Domestic brands (GM, Ford, Dodge) have sh*t resale values, too, so sometimes you can find a good deal there, though again you run the risk of more repairs.

Sometimes you can get lucky and find a Nissan, Honda, Toyota or Subaru that has been sitting on a lot for a while because it's got something cosmetic going on with it (minor hail, a small dent in a fender/door panel, small scratches) that made other people overlook it. Maybe it's an "off" color--I had an amazing 2010 Legacy last summer with low miles, perfect interior that was the Harvest Gold color aka "Grandma Gold" and it took FOREVER to sell. Those types of cars can sometimes be had for a lot less than they should be selling for because of those reasons. If you can overlook small things, you can sometimes end up with a screaming deal.

With all that being said: I have no idea what your credit is like, but if it's fairly decent, it might be worth looking into a lease from Subaru, Mazda, Toyota or Honda. Sometimes Nissan. Do your research and see if there is a body style change coming up for any models, because that usually means the outgoing style is going to be heavily incentivized to get them out before the new ones start rolling in.

DO NOT LEASE ANYTHING DOMESTIC OR I WILL SLAP YOU. They sound like great deals but you will get bent over at the end.

So with all that said and done: define what you means by storage space? I think Subaru Legacy's have a ton of storage space, but it's not necessarily of the cubic variety. Do you need/have to put crates in? Does Zander ride loose? What about new puppy? Does it have to be an SUV or are you open to a sedan type? What, to you, is good gas mileage?

TL;DR: Just come buy this: 2009 Toyota Scion xB
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:31 PM
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Lyzelle Lyzelle is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Colorado
Posts: 2,826

Regal has around 80k miles on it, some body damage. Hood needs replaced, basically. Because deer. Otherwise mostly good. It is pretty spacious already, but Zander takes up the entire back seat, and while the trunk is also huge, it does make travel tough. I think I have maxed out on sedan space, so an SUV or at least a hatchback is needed. I don't need a TON of space, just more open space, if that makes sense? A Santa Fe, for example, would be more than plenty with seats down. NewPup is small, nothing near as huge as Zander. One small crate would be nice. But Zander is so big loose is the only way to go. Regal gets about 30+ mpg, I think. I am a bit spoiled on only having to fill up my tank maybe twice on a 8 hour trip, and I fill up at the 3/4 mark. I've never had to spend more than $35-$40 to fill it up, either. Credit is about 700ish.

I would like a few nice features, but they are bonus, not required. I couldn't imagine going older than what I have though. I know I am probably looking at 2004-2009. I just need to be able to drive it, depend on it, and use it to tote dogs around. Mileage isn't an issue if they are typically reliable, for example. Or easy/cheap to fix. Looks...I mean, if I had a choice mini vans and Scion-types are out. But I could get over it.

Link to thread with hood damage. Nebraska deer are huge. Plus highway speeds. But it is a Buick, so luckily damage was on the low side compared to what it could be. Checked everything else, and nothing else is out of place or damaged.
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