I am thinking about buying a new car in a few months, wondering about model, when to buy, and planning around a trip in June. Advice/Tips/Opinions/Tales/Fact or Fiction Appreciated! (Much more inside)
posted by token-ring to Shopping (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry, it might ramble a bit. I have looked over past posts, loads of helpful advice in them, but I would also like current info and opinions.
I absolutely love my 1995 Acura Integra Coup, but it is showing is age both aesthetically and in repair cost. In the last year alone work on the Integra came to about half of its value, I doubt the cost will be that high again for a while, but it’s still a shock. The paint is badly oxidized, and the interior is stained in places. A year ago I started a professional career, that combined with increasing repair costs, has driven me to start saving for a new car.
My savings goal has been to put $400 a month away in a savings account for a new car, when I reach $6000 I will use that money as a down payment. I hope to have payments in the low $300’s, so that the car payment + insurance increase will stay below the $400 a month I have been putting away. I reach this goal around the end of May. I am going on a family beach trip on June 15th. If I try to buy a new car at the end of May or beginning of June will I have enough time to get the car, break it in, and have the plates before my trip? If I was going to buy a new car this summer I think it would be awesome to have it for the drive to the beach and show off to my family members… and make the drive much more enjoyable.
-My target price range is ~25,000. I could be tempted to go a bit higher if the right car came along.
-I would like new, not used. If I am going to spend a bunch of money, I want all the features that cars can offer that I have been going without; I want to feel like I am driving a car from the future, not just cleaner looking better painted car then I have now. I have always owned used cars, and love the savings associated with them, but I have a new job in a new city, and I would love to have new car features and new car smell.
-Coupe and/or hatchback
-Good gas mileage
-As much or more fun than my Integra
-It would be nice if it was faster than my Integra
-Great safety record
-Push button start (it’s gimmicky, I know…)
-Remote start, but I don’t think any manual transmission cars come with remote start for obvious safety reasons
-Traction control, but with on off switch
-Loads of air bags
The car that I have been looking at the most right now is the 5 Door 2013 Mazda3 Grand touring i. It lacks the backup camera and cooled seats, but seems like it would be the most bang for my buck in my price range. The reviews I have read make me practically salivate over it, but every so often I run across a forum post or review claiming catastrophic problems and awful customer service. I try to take those with a grain of salt, I’m sure every car type has some dissatisfied owners who post on the internet. The problem is I am bad at buying anything, especially big purchases that I will be paying for over the next five years. I waffle a lot; it took me 3 hours and three employees at Best Buy to settle on a TV. Anyone have some tips on how I can feel confident or at least less anxious and less apprehensive about buying a new car? Or about spending money in general? For the most part I always end up happy with things I buy, but the research and purchasing process is full of so many unknowns I end up very stressed.
Before I buy a car I need to feel like I have weighed all the options, so here are some other cars I have considered, input on these or other cars I might have missed would be greatly appreciated:
Mazda3 Grand Touring S – I like that it has more power than the i type, but I don’t know if 11 more HP is worth the 10MPG loss. Has anyone test driven the Mazda’s with the 2.0L Sykactive and the 2.5L? How big was the power difference?
Subaru BRZ – I love the rear wheel drive and the horse power. But it’s a bit of an unknown in terms of reliably; I think it might be a tad on the small side for people and storage. To get one with more of the options I want it flies above my price range, and I’m worried the cost of ownership will be much higher than the Mazda. It also seems like a super fun car to drive, but not to own if I was planning on keeping it for 10 – 15 years.
VW GTI - Better horse power then the Mazda, but I think the feature list is a bit lacking compared to the Mazda, and adding on more features puts it out of my price range. Also its storage volume is worse than my Integra’s, and I think its trunk is too small. I am worried that the cost of ownership will be too high compared to the Mazda, but that could just be my preconceived notions about German cars.
Civic or Accord – I love Hondas, my family has been buying them for generations. But recently I feel like they have been coasting on their reputation and the cost of some of their cars outweighs the build quality and long term reliably. I also am worried an Accord or Civic, while good cars, might feel too milquetoast for me (RT podcast reference right their). I think other cars might meet the as fun as /more fun than my Integra requirement.
Sorry if I am rambling and not making much sense. I have managed to already overwhelm myself with comparing options and prices, and the thought of making a decision on buying something that could cost up to $25,000 is stressful. But for some reason I want a new car, especially a Mazda3, I just don’t want to regret buying one, or regret not spending a bit more and getting something different.
TL;DR – I want a new car, ~$25,000. Thinking about a 5 Door Mazda3 i Grand Touring, is that a good buy or will I wish I got the ‘s’, or something else? Can I buy a car at the end of May/Start of June, and take it on a 5 hour drive to the beach June 15th without ruining it? What other options do I owe it to myself to look at? Buying a car is scary and I’m bad a buying stuff, help!
Bonus Question: Tips and antidotes on the car buying process (ie: test driving and negotiation), and breaking in a new car. I know newer cars only claim to have a break in period of 600 miles, but will a 5 hour freeway drive the first month kill it?