Author Topic: How much should I spend on a car? [RESOLVED]  (Read 2569 times)

Logic_Lady

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How much should I spend on a car? [RESOLVED]
« on: June 11, 2015, 10:34:54 AM »
I just found out that I have to buy a car soon (i.e., in the next few weeks). I have enough saved to pay cash for any car in a reasonable price range, but obviously I don't want to buy an expensive car just because I can. I was originally thinking of spending about $5000, but based on my research it seems like I might want to get a slightly newer car for more like $7000. I would be willing to pay more than that for a very reliable car that would last a long time and require less maintenance, but no more than $10,000. I drive about 50-70 miles a week in a city.

Any thoughts? Some of the models I am looking at are Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla, about ten years old. But I have never bought a car before so I'm not really sure where to start. If you have any suggestions for similar models that would help! Thanks!

Update: Jetta was a no go. Was considering an Acura TL but the odometer turned out to be faked. Now I'm considering a 06 Toyota Matrix, only 72K miles, asking $7500.

Update 6/15: Purchased the 2006 Matrix for $6700. Thank you everyone for all the advice!

« Last Edit: June 15, 2015, 07:18:01 PM by Logic_Lady »

Jeremy E.

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Re: How much should I spend on a car?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 10:43:09 AM »
+1 to Toyota Corolla, very reliable, efficient, and reasonably priced. KBB.com can give you a good price point, but most people won't sell their car for quite as low as the KBB price. a 2006 Corolla with around 100k miles could be had for 6.5k, MPG 26 city 35 highway

Mazda 3's didn't become very efficient until 2012, and to get something that new you are looking at about a minimum of $12,000.

Some other options,
2010 Nissan Versa,                       50k miles            8K               MPG 26 city 31 highway
2011 Kia Forte Hatchback,             40k miles          10k               MPG 25 city 34 Highway
2010 Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix    50k miles           10k              MPG 26 city 32 highway
2006 Scion XA                              80k miles           6.5k             MPG 27 city 34 highway
2006 Chevy Aveo(made in Korea)  80k miles           2.5K             MPG 22 city 32 highway
2010 Toyota Yaris                         40k miles            9k               MPG 29 city 36 highway
2010 Honda fit                             50k miles            10k              MPG 27 city 33 highway

These are the cars i've been looking at myself.
I recommend searching craigslist for the best deal on one of the cars listed above that you like, try to buy from a private seller as it's cheaper. Make sure to have them bring the car to a mechanic to do an inspection before you buy it. A lot of mechanics will do inspections for around $50-$200, just call and ask, preferrably get a mechanic from the correct dealership, example if you are looking at a corolla, have a mechanic at a toyota dealership inspect it.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 12:22:19 PM by Jeremy E. »

Exflyboy

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Re: How much should I spend on a car?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 11:08:22 AM »
We got out ours from Hertz (ex rental cars).

They won't haggle on the price, but the prices were way lower than asking anywhere else I could find.

Bought a 2 year old loaded Chevvy Cruze (full leather) for $12k... Bit pricier than your budget, but it was also only 2 years old.

snogirl

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Re: How much should I spend on a car?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 12:03:26 PM »
I bought my mom a very nice older Honda Civic for 6k not a lick of trouble with it. 
My sister has one from 1997 that hasn't skipped a beat & is still on the original clutch.
Another favorite of mine is the Pontiac Vibe which is basically a re-badged Toyota Matrix.
Got one of those for my brother for 6k too.  Very roomy when the seats fold flat.
You could move a house with that thing & most have a nice roof rack.
Yes I am the car shopper buyer seller in the family.
Good luck

Logic_Lady

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Re: How much should I spend on a car?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2015, 07:31:27 PM »
Anyone have thoughts about a 07 Jetta? It has 100K miles and the guy is asking $7400 which seems high. But I'm having a mechanic look at it Monday, I think I can get the price down some.

snogirl

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Re: How much should I spend on a car? [UPDATE]
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 09:39:48 PM »
Jettas eat brakes. Not a fan of many VWs. Older rabbits were workhorses IMO.

Jeremy E.

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Re: How much should I spend on a car? [UPDATE]
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 09:51:05 AM »
German cars cost a lot more to get repaired, you'll need a mechanic familiar with German cars to look at it. A lot of people say that they are more reliable and need worked on less so it evens out, but I've never had one so I can't say for sure. I think my previous suggestions are smarter choices, but either way, good luck!

MayDay

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Re: How much should I spend on a car? [UPDATE]
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2015, 10:42:02 AM »
Run away from the Jetta.

We''ve had zero problems with our Civic, highly recommend.