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Thread: Gettin' A Car

  1. #1
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Default Gettin' A Car

    Any advice? Right now I have enough cash saved to buy a midsized sedan either new or used. My biggest problem has been finding time to actually go car shopping! This is the time of year when there are cash incentives to buy new. On the other hand, I'm not really addicted to new car smell, and would be quite happy with something 2-5 years old if there were good deals available. I'd prefer something under 50 000 km though. I plan to drive it into the ground (eg 10 yrs +). I'd like something that is comfortable even for back seat passengers and has a decent sized trunk. Right now I'm thinking maybe Honda Accord.

    So my questions are:

    New or used and why

    Are private sales a good or bad thing?

    Advice for getting the best deal (I hate haggling and have never done the dealership thing. I've heard it's best to get several bids faxed in after deciding what make and model you want and communicate directly with the sales manager over the phone rather than going in person.)

    Any particular opinions on make/model. I think I would like something that could comfortably accommodate four passengers and their stuff on a longer trip. I also have a lot of instruments that I frequently am hauling around, so it's nice to have some space. I don't feel like I really need an SUV and can't really justify the extra fuel consumption etc. I'm not against the idea of a hatchback, as it would make it easier to haul a keyboard, but don't want something too teeny tiny, or stick shift. I like the idea of a CVT, but it's only available on the 2013 Accords (and has much better reviews than the Altima's CVT). If I were to go second hand, I think I could get a nicer trim, heated seats etc as opposed to going new but may have to budge on the mileage if I do that. I've heard good things about Sonatas, but have also heard from several people that their paint jobs don't last so well, even if they are spacious and have a lot of nice features. I liked the Altima I rented one summer, but some have complained they use a lot more gas than a Honda or Camry. I used to think I wanted a Camry but I don't like the way they redesigned them and the reviews all suggest they are overpriced for what they are right now. They also don't have very good incentives for them when I checked it out online.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bamboo's Avatar
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    With a new car there is very quick depreciation, as in 30% or more the second you drive it off the lot, but you also get a dealer warranty.

    In my opinion, it's not worth it. I'd stick with used.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    The best advice I can provide is to
    1. Buy a used car - The reason is you get a lot more value for your money. You lose thousands driving a new car off the showroom. Most of my cars have been used though I have a new one right now because I didn't want any hassles. Reliability, service/warranty and low risk of purchase was more important to me than $.
    2. Shop online but buy the car at the dealer - You can do some very effective comparison shopping online. Then when you walk into the dealer, you are extremely well armed so that you don't get taken financially. I'd be careful in looking at the deals that are too good to be true. The car might have water damage or something.
    3. Don't buy from a private party - This is probably my weakest recommendation because I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I did this once. It was a Mercedes and it was such a beautiful car. It was also the worst piece of junk I have ever owned in my life. The only explanation I can think of is they turned back the odometer.

    I've had a Camry, Accord and an Altima at different points. It's hard to tell the difference between these things. The Accord was a long time ago but that was a very good car.

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    I'd go with new. Wouldn't it be worth it to pay for something that has never been touched and therefore is perfectly clean, germ free, and has never been hotrodded? Also, you're more likely to get the most advanced features on the market if you buy new, such as things like ambient lighting and rear cameras and other stuff that I've probably never even heard of.

    Don't get a used Honda, please. Chances are the previous owner put in a new exhaust system so that it sounds like it's farting down the highway.

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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Ü View Post
    Also, you're more likely to get the most advanced features on the market if you buy new, such as things like ambient lighting and rear cameras and other stuff that I've probably never even heard of.
    Most features aren't worth much. There are two things that I think are useful from a features standpoint. First, safety features are important. Examples are Volvo's adaptive cruise control or blind spot detection systems. Also, a USB connection for your iPod is very worthwhile and the aftermarket systems aren't that great.

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    unscannable Tigerlily's Avatar
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    I always buy preowned for the reasons @highlander and @Bamboo listed.

    As for what make/model, I love my VW tdi. Inexpensive to fill up, and I only have to fill up every two weeks. I can't see myself ever driving a petrol car again.

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    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Don't forget that most people here don't have any concept about driving in 6 months of harsh Canadian winters (no judgment, just that their priorities aren't considering important factors that affect your life and should be on your radar). Some features make a real difference. An extra inch of tires, for instance. And a weightier car. You don't need the V6 or SUV, but get a not-tiny car.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

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    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Thank you all so far! For the most part I agree about cars losing value as soon as you drive them off the lot. The only thing that gave me pause was seeing some 3 year old cars adding up to similar amounts as a 2012 would be. I don't really care about the warranty - too many stipulations for it to remain valid and if you buy a decent car in the first place, it shouldn't be a big issue. I sort of see it like buying the extended warranty they are always trying to offer up at Future Shop.

    One feature that I kind of have a soft spot for is heated front seats. I've never had them before. I know it sounds wussy and extravagant, but on a frosty -40 morning, it's sure a great thing. The other thing I'd like is command start, although I've sometimes found that you get a better quality one if you get it installed yourself (more distance it'll start from). Again, it's the whole Prairie climate thing. Any thoughts on that?

    What is the quickest way to expedite the haggling process at the dealership?

  9. #9
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    I've been fairly happy with Honda for the past 14 years, having owned a Civic, Accord, and Odyssey. (The Accord was traded in for the Ody, and it had over 250k miles. It was still running excellent, but it needed a new exhaust system.) Surprisingly, there have been several recalls for issues with the Ody. The positive side of that is that Honda notified me of the issues before I even had a problem with them, and they fixed them for free.

    Having said that, I just checked, and Consumer Reports rates the Camry higher in owner satisfaction and predicted reliability (based on past models). Camrys drive more like a luxury sedan, and Accords drive more like a sports sedan. I do nearly all of my own maintenance and repairs, and I'm impressed with the Honda engineering. Honda's general approach (which I confirmed when I happened to meet a Honda engineer in person) is to copy Toyota, but try to improve whatever feature they're copying. They also try to make changes gradually so that there aren't as many surprises in reliability.

    Based on CR's reliability reports, I'd favor the Camry slightly over the Accord. But, they're both worth considering and test driving. My info might be slightly outdated, but the Achilles heel of the Accord has been sporadic transmission failures and related issues, while the Camry appears to be very sensitive if it doesn't get frequent oil changes, resulting in issues with engine sludge buildup. The Camry issue is more easily preventable.

    Even knowing cars well, I'm very reluctant to buy used, even from a dealer. If you plan to keep the car for a long time, depreciation becomes irrelevant, and the higher cost of new offsets the higher and sooner maintenance costs of used. My only used car was the Accord, but that was purchased from a Honda dealer.

    Edit after reading your last post:
    Heated seats and side mirrors are a great feature in winter. I don't have either, but heated side mirrors would be more important to me. Also, fabric seats aren't as shockingly cold as leather.

    In general, there isn't much room for haggling with Toyota and Honda dealers as long you know what the fair retail price is and what other dealers in the area are offering. Know what extra costs are typical, as they try to add vaguely-worded line items. I used CR's price report. Also, they'll try hard to sell you extra stuff like extra rustproofing coatings and payment protection insurance. My opinion is that the standard factory rustproofing is adequate, but that might be different for your climate. I haggled for several weeks with multiple Honda dealers trying to get the best price on the current model year at the end of the year. I think I saved something like $3,000 off of what CR says was typical retail, but all of the dealers were offering to sell for withing $600 of that price because it was the end of the year and they only had a few in stock. I finally went with the dealership which was asking $100 above the lowest price because it was where I had purchased my previous cars, it was much closer, and it was the same salesperson I had worked with the other times.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I always get a new one and then trade it into the dealership I bought it from new, they can sell it second hand and usually it permits me to operate with a single dealership changing my car every time my mileage becomes too high.

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