Can I Use a Student Loan to Buy a Land Rover Discovery?
June 12, 2004 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I need a new vehicle and have been looking at payment option. I figure my current car is worth $6000 and I can effectively put another $5000 down in cash. The car I'm looking at (Land Rover Discovery) will be $20,000 total (including taxes). This means a $9000 loan. Since I am a student I qualify for student loans. Can I use a student loan to do this? What's the best student loan for doing this with? I'd take out a traditional loan but I figure seeing as how I'm a student that this would get me the best rates. And if anyone has Land Rover horror stories feel free to add.

The CPA at the company I work for says he did this, but that was back, before I believe, the French-Indian Wars. I was hoping someone else tried this as I really need a new car before the one I have (1995 Grand Jeep Cherokee) goes past the "point of no return". It is in immaculate condition interior-wise, but is beginning to show mechanical problems. I got a good offer on it and want to take it.

Yes I realize the environmental ramifications of buying a car with the aerodynamic properties of a box, but the "chances of me getting laid by hot girls" factor overwhelms the negative impacts.
posted by geoff. to Shopping (42 answers total)
Response by poster: payment options
posted by geoff. at 2:07 PM on June 12, 2004

You would take out a $6000 student loan to buy a Land Rover!?!?
posted by Marquis at 2:23 PM on June 12, 2004

Here's something to think about.

If you know someone who can loan you the money, you might be able to agree on a rate that's a good interest rate for you and also a good investment rate for them. Rather than paying your interest to some bank, you can pay it to your parents (or whoever).

Obviously, borrowing money from someone you know can be tricky. But it can also be mutually beneficial.

[Who are these girls who go for Land Rover drivers? Are you in the Outback or something?]
posted by scarabic at 2:30 PM on June 12, 2004

You can't use student loans to pay for cars and whatnot. You could argue this as transportation but it probably wouldn't stand up to scrutiny from the bank/feds. The promissory note I signed was subject to perjury laws since my loan was backed by the US Govt. If they make an example out of you, you could end up in jail where you'll only be subject to hot prison sex.

I have direct student loans and they were govt money paid through the school less fees and stuff. Your school does an assessment of your need for loans and your loan amount is based on that [they seemed to lowball the costs of room and board big time, but were generous with books and supplies]. Your school would have to be really expensive if you can net out $9000 after your tuition is paid for. If you're under a certain age [23 or something I think] your school will include money your parents can chip in to your financial need.

If you can afford school without taking out loans to pay tuition and reg fees consider yourself lucky. Get a traditional car loan if you need a new car --get the folks to cosign if necessary-- but don't take money out of the student loan program that is for students that really need the money.
posted by birdherder at 2:31 PM on June 12, 2004

Buying a new car is like throwing away money, look into something used. Even if you spend a couple of hundered dollars getting it thoroughly checked out by a good mechanic before hand, you are still saving thousands of dollars.
posted by Hackworth at 2:53 PM on June 12, 2004

Response by poster: I guess the main problem I'm running into is that my parents have made me financially independent (read, 18 you're out of the house), but being that I'm under 23 every place I go to assumes my parents (who unfortunately for me are in an upper tax bracket) will co-sign and such. This makes getting anything very hard (I had to jump through a lot of hoops to even get a credit card so I could establish credit).

If the CPA hadn't mentioned studnet loans I would have probably groveled to the bank for a high interest loan and constantly heard the "have a parent sign for it and you could get it so much easier".

On Preview: It is a used car I'm getting. 2000-2001 with around 20,000-30,000 miles brings it into the $20,000 range. I'd never buy new unless I was filthy rich and cared nothing about money.
Anyway don't get me started on how I hate that everyone assumes that a legal adult has parents to back them up. I had to forgo my top school choices (different city, more expensive living, no good job to pay for everything) because I simply couldn't take out the loans needed (way more than $9000 a semester). Which brings me to the student loan guy telling me I could possibly get my parents to pay for it by "doing some things around the house".

But I'll try a traditional car loan, or wait till I can afford to buy it in cash, which is probably the only alternative.
posted by geoff. at 2:56 PM on June 12, 2004

Response by poster: Whoa the "On Preview" thing really didn't go where it was suppose to.
posted by geoff. at 2:56 PM on June 12, 2004

Another vote for WTF are you thinking buying a Land Rover? Where I live, such wheels proudly proclaim "I have no penis".

Also, if you want your parents to stop having to co-sign things, you're going to need to bulid up your own credit. A car loan is a great way to do that.
posted by falconred at 3:03 PM on June 12, 2004

Where I live, such wheels proudly proclaim "I have no penis".

Where I live, hot girls will sleep with you if you drive one, or hot guys if you are a lady. If you can live in it, maybe you can count it as "food and lodging" expenses on your student loan? Otherwise, just get a car loan with low interest and pay it off double-fast to avoid crushing interest.
posted by jessamyn at 3:08 PM on June 12, 2004

Being English we have the joy that is Top Gear. Perhaps not to be taken too seriously but their review is here. It’s not good and not surprisingly. The Land Cruiser is a much much better off roader, the Shogun’s better value and the X5 ‘cooler.’ For a contrarian point of view Parker’s used car review is glowing but notes that depreciation is precipitous. I’ve seen a more than a few with rusting sills so watch out for that – they were old warhorses though.

On a side note though I fear that I should point out though that your the "chances of me getting laid by hot girls" factor overwhelms the negative impacts is breathtakingly irresponsible and makes you sound like a total wanker to boot.
posted by dmt at 3:28 PM on June 12, 2004

I'd never buy new unless I was filthy rich and cared nothing about money.

This makes zero sense to me. I bought a brand-new Saturn for under $14,000. You, on the other hand, are talking about buying a used car for $20,000. Now, what were you saying about caring nothing about money?

I'll never understand the American obsession with hot cars. To me, a car is a device to get me somewhere not accessible by subway. If a woman would sleep with me because I had a hot car, I would consider her so cretinous that I would lose interest. But YMMV (and you might consider the literal sense of that as well).

Yes, I'm American myself, but I grew up abroad, so I missed a lot of the indoctrination.
posted by languagehat at 3:37 PM on June 12, 2004

No,no,no. Don't do this. No good can come of it and aside from breaking a slew of federal regulations (trust me, this is the voice of expierience and I'm still paying for it fifteen years later) it makes little financial sense. Because the payments on the student loan are deferred it's not going to help your credit in the short term, you'll just be carrying more debt without paying on it.

Take out a conventional loan and work your ass off to pay it back quickly or better yet, take the 11k in liquid funds you have available and buy yourself a more practical vehicle until you can afford the one you want.
posted by cedar at 3:38 PM on June 12, 2004

Also consider after-purchase servicing and parts; surely those things are expensive for a relatively rare/pricey vehicle? Anyway, if I had to get a Landy, I'd go for the Defender.
posted by carter at 3:40 PM on June 12, 2004

All the legal issues aside, you'd hardly be the alone in doing using your student loan money for something you're not supposed to. I've known many people who actually needed X amount in loans, but they qualified for much more than that; especially in their last year of school, they took out more than they needed for expenses like buying a car, the post-graduation move, wedding expenses (I can go on and on).
From a purely financial point of view, if you're going to take out the loan anyway, you can't beat some of the federal student loans for interest rates. You can get some loans now in the 3% interest range which is a huge difference than most any other lender.
I'm not saying its okay to do; but once the schools disburse the money, there's not many people keeping an eye on it.
posted by dicaxpuella at 4:16 PM on June 12, 2004

I heard the other day that land rover has consistently some of the least reliable cars according to JD Power, but they come out near the tops in consumer satisfaction. The person that mentioned this described it as a triumph of the brand prestige. Even though they don't run well, people love owning them as a status symbol.
posted by mathowie at 5:13 PM on June 12, 2004

You're still a student and want to spend $20,000 on a gas-guzzling car? I think you have some serious problems with prioritisation. Use public transport or get a bike. The girls will go crazy for your shapely calves.
posted by cbrody at 5:20 PM on June 12, 2004

Amen, cbrody. And the girls will really appreciate your shapely credit rating when it comes time to get a mortgage and you don't have to explain (as your lil' willy shrinks into your abdomen) that you didn't qualify because of previous credit indiscretions.
posted by stonerose at 5:30 PM on June 12, 2004

Dude - you're in college. There are hot girls who'll sleep with you because you have beer and a pizza back in your dorm room. Maybe times have changed, but where is this mythical school where a girl who would sleep with you with the car, wouldn't if you didn't have the car? Seriously, I doubt the car will make any difference one way or the other. Save the money and buy the girls a nice dinner or flowers or something.
posted by willnot at 5:42 PM on June 12, 2004

Okay, tossing out all effort to answer the question....

I'll never understand the American obsession with hot cars.

Hot cars are the same as fine wine, sleek laptops, and exquisite guitars: there's an esthetic to the way they look and the way they drive. They do the same job as plain models, but with added style and performance. There is a certain zing to them. I will agree that Americans take the enjoyment of this esthetic to an unhealthy degree. And unlike guitars and wine, hot cars have more dire environmental consequences than ordinary ones. I long ago retired any interest in them as puerile. Probably somewhere around geoff.'s age. Take on the car payment, geoff., see where it really gets you, and I suspect you, too, might decide it's not all worth it.

If a woman would sleep with me because I had a hot car, I would consider her so cretinous that I would lose interest.

Sure, if that were the only factor, but if you haven't ever taken a woman you already have a wonderful sex life with on a very fast drive down an incredibly windy road that you know and she does not... you may be missing something! It's probably about as important to include in your time on Planet Earth as a go at fucking in oil on latex sheets, which is to say: not very. But it's there!

All of that said: SUVs are not "hot cars." At. All. I think geoff. is already quite fuckable, being a cool and usually quite smart guy (we'll overlook this thread).
posted by scarabic at 6:06 PM on June 12, 2004

Do not buy Land Rover.

I've recently done a ton of research into purchasing an SUV, and the Land Rover has a terrible reputation for quality, astounding depreciation, horrendously expensive repairs, and doesn't have the comfort, handling, and features of other vehicles.

In other words, you're going to pay a premium to lose the maximum amount of money.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:50 PM on June 12, 2004

Response by poster: While I was away I scrapped the student loan idea, on the legality aspect. I was hoping to save a few bucks.

I think a few things were missed, such as the fact that I was not buying over my head. The student loan thing was not for deferrment but for a lower interest rate.

Basically someone offered me good value on my jeep ($7000 vs $2000 at the dealership -- which obviously didn't want to buy it) because they knew that I kept it like fine jewelry and that it was the best they'd get for the year/miles. I was afraid that if I kept it longer it'd start to show serious mechanical troubles as there's only so much I can do to a car before having to take it in.

Anyway I was looking at my situation, how much I had saved up, how much disposable income I have ontop of paying everything and it came out to about $250 a month, saw that Land Rover Discovery's were slightly less than $20,000 for the year/miles I wanted and thought "A car I always loved! At a price I can afford!" and start jizzing all over myself.

But you guys really brought me down, a lot better than my friends who declared it "really cool, you should get it now". Now I'll probably get the same car I have, only newer. It's ultra-reliable, I know how to work on it, and I might be buying a brand name but not so much as a Land Rover.

Who needs shallow, hot girls when you're debt free?
posted by geoff. at 6:58 PM on June 12, 2004

You should be looking at the Jeep Liberty, which is the only mini-SUV with true offroad capability (but at the cost of lousy on-road comfort; and it does tend to drive high and tippy).

But better yet, you should be looking at the Ford/Mazda Escape/Tribute, which are the best-ranked of the mini-SUVs, with excellent road manners, good safety features, and enough of the creature comforts to stand out from the CRV/RAV4 line.

Or, at least, that's been my decision. CRV and RAV4 are solid choices, too.

Other cars worth looking at include the newest iterations of the Nissan Pathfinder and the Toyota Highlander.

But you very likely don't need an SUV. Hell, I've been hundreds of kilometers up gnarly logging roads in my little T-top Nissan NX, which is basically a fun version of the Sentra. No freakin' ground clearance to speak of, but with care and skill I can get it to do amazing things.

So unless you're heading out backpacking a whole lot, or want to go mudding, you can probably do quite well with an ordinary car.

In which case you might want to consider a fun convertible four-seater. The new Beetle is apparently one of the best-handling cars on the market, and comes convertible; the Miata has always won rave reviews; the PT Cruiser comes in a convertible this year and has enormous storage capacity (I think).

Or get a MRSF riding lessons and a motorcycle...
posted by five fresh fish at 7:23 PM on June 12, 2004

I call bullshit on everyone of you non-Land Rover owners posting your uninformed opinions. I've owned a Land Rover for six years, and it's the only car I've ever owned that I recommend without reservation. It's no more untrustworthy than any other car on the road and I have half a dozen friends who've bought them on my recommendation who'll say the same thing. Why not answer the guy's question - which, I'll remind you, was about financing a car - and leave the brand criticism to somebody people who actually drive one of the fucking things?
posted by JollyWanker at 8:15 PM on June 12, 2004

Don't buy an SUV. SUV's are for wankers who killed my car.

I'm still bitter.
posted by contessa at 9:27 PM on June 12, 2004

Man up, buy a fucking Kia.
posted by Hildago at 9:46 PM on June 12, 2004

Students loans that are used for tuition? What? Coming from GA where Hope Scholarship pays for public college (with GPA>3.0), I also know plenty of people who take out the loans to pay for other things such as rent, utils, cars, drugs, alcohol, etc, and have never known anybody to get in trouble.
posted by jmd82 at 10:36 PM on June 12, 2004

I heard the other day that land rover has consistently some of the least reliable cars according to JD Power, but they come out near the tops in consumer satisfaction.

When I was looking into either buying a new car and sticking with the corporate gig or taking the startup route, I took some time to speak with the Land Rover dealer. It seems that the larger Rovers (Discovery & Range Rover) qualify as commercial vehicles. That means that business owners can buy a big rover and depreciate it over 1 year rather than the usual 5 years for cars.

If your company is actually generating income, then the cost of your new Rover is actually the sticker price less your business tax rate (probably 40-50%). So the shiny new $40k rovers *really* cost $20k. It looks to everyone else like it costs $40k, but $20k is your out of pocket. So you keep it for a year or two, and then sell it at a profit for $22k.

If you do it properly, you effectively get a free car.

If you want hot chicks who care only about your car, then go buy a mid-80s Mercedes. The cost will be in the $5k range, and as long as you don't get an SL, they will run forever with minimal maintenence.

If you need to do ocassional offroading, go get a mid-80s subaru for $500. It might last another 2k miles, but that's probably all you need. And it's $500!

Oh, one other thing: The age demographic for the Discovery is people in their 40s-50s. For the Range Rover it is 50s-60s. Grow a beard if you want to look older!
posted by Kwantsar at 10:53 AM on June 13, 2004

mini-SUV with true offroad capability

ROFL! you give me that liberty for a weekend, and it won't have one lousy bit of the 1/4 ton of yuppie plastic fenestration that makes up it's "true offroad" exterior left on it. and it will look like shit. oh sure, you gonna drive it up 100 foot wide power line right-of-ways, great. but if you're going anywhere near actual forest, you better get yourself a supply of plastic screws and bolts, cuz that byotch is comin' apart!
posted by quonsar at 11:55 AM on June 13, 2004


at the risk of answering your actual question:

i sold cars for a little while. have you test driven the land rover you want? do you love it?

buying a car should mean never having to say "man i should have bought that other one instead". you'll want no regrets.

that said, if you look at the numbers and you simply can't afford car X, then find a car Y that'll make you as happy in the price range. you may have a lingering "well, i wish i could afford car X" but that's okay, because you have something to look forward to when you're in a better position to buy a more expensive car.

also. if you're 18 years old, and have a credit card like you said, i'm going to assume you're responsible and you're making good payments and establishing good credit.

a car loan is the best way to establish more credit. if this is your first car loan, and you're a student, the dealership you'll go to will most likely have some sort of special plan. students often get special rates and/or benefits.

even if you're without a co-signer, your rates aren't going to be in the 27% range. if you have respectably clean credit, and you make enough money to justify the car you're purchasing, you should be okay getting approved. especially if you have ~$5,000 to put down on the car.

in this sort of situation, it helps to go to an actual Land Rover (or whatever) dealership, as they tend to have a little more flexibility. whereas a generic used car dealership will just go through some local banks and don't have as much interest in sealing you as a future customer.

hope this helps. if you have more questions, feel free to email me.
posted by christian at 12:25 PM on June 13, 2004

If you want hot chicks who care only about your car, then go buy a mid-80s Mercedes. The cost will be in the $5k range, and as long as you don't get an SL, they will run forever with minimal maintenence.

No kiddin'! You'll get a whole carload of hot chicks if you get an even earlier one (real wooden dash, etc.) and spend some time restoring it to top notch. Or even better, buy a cheap car (i.e. subaru above) and a cruiser style motorcycle. And a stick to beat 'em off with.

All of the above say that you've got either a big dick or have a nice balance of needing a penis attachment and being confident enough to drive something that isn't "cool". Range Rover says that you're trying to compensate for something. Don't do what I've done (sportbike and sports car) ... it's an instant ego-warning sign to any girl unless she's interested in cars as much as you are or already knows you from elsewhere.

Oh, and what everyone else said about the offroading abilities of the current generation of jeeps.
posted by SpecialK at 12:34 PM on June 13, 2004

Any women here who would like to deny being manipulated like Pavlov's dogs by the sight of a car? Hello?
posted by Hildago at 12:56 PM on June 13, 2004

The Jeep Liberty can make it through the Rubicon trail. That qualifies it as an off-road vehicle, IMO.

And do keep in mind that it is also capable of highway driving. Something that the real hard-core rock-crawlers don't do. (For starters, the specialty tires would fly apart.)

For most people, a beater Chevette would be capable of hauling their asses up any road they're likely to ever get brave enough to explore. For most of the rest of them, any SUVish vehicle would do the trick. There aren't many people who are doing monster mudding or bouldering.

Personally, though, I wouldn't own one. Premium price for a vehichle that isn't particularly road-adept. It'll do highway and city just fine... until that moment you need to cut an emergency maneuver and it falls over.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:28 PM on June 13, 2004

bombast aside, fff, i know that of which you speak. i drove a little 1994 saturn sl1 into and onto the damnedest places. 5 inches ground clearance. a body impervious to impact. i used to have some web pages devoted to it. :-)
posted by quonsar at 2:02 PM on June 13, 2004

quonsar is a fellow Saturn owner! w00t!
posted by languagehat at 2:28 PM on June 13, 2004

posted by quonsar at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2004

Hildago -- Speaking as a man with a lot of female friends who've taken me aside and told me gently that what I drive sends a message that they didn't think I'd like ... I think that there are a lot of people who consciously or unconsciously look for clues about a person's personality in a person's posessions and how they care for them. Think about how you react to a man in a well-cut suit vs. how you react to a bum in a dirty t-shirt. I don't think there's a reliable pavlovian reaction to automobiles in most cases, but I do think a choice of transportation reinforces certain things about a person's personality or sends certain intentional or unintentional messages.

Re: Saturn: Sorry, kids, but those things handle like american piles of crap. Having driven a japanese car for most of my life, and now being stuck in a Saturn L200 for a couple of weeks while the dealership sat on it's thumb about an issue I was having with the transmission, I can safely say that it's no fun to drive. The brake response is mushy as all hell, the power steering is overamped (and keep in mind that I drive a twitchy sports car... ), the engine's weak and the transmission shifts in the weirdest places.
After driving a friend's S1 for a few days and this L200 for a few weeks, I don't think I'd ever buy a Saturn. In my family, the Saturn brand has earned the nickname "Shaturn".
posted by SpecialK at 4:05 PM on June 13, 2004

Yes, I can just see geoff. forgetting about the late model Land Rover and going for Saturnicus ...
posted by carter at 4:42 PM on June 13, 2004

One chick's opinion here just in general about guys and cars. Some it is directed towards your situation, some not.

I am turned off by SUVs in urban areas. It makes me think that you're a wasteful, vain person. The last time I checked, the interstate between the burbs and here was paved.

I am turned off by people who absolutely have to buy a new car because they think a used one is beneath them.

I am turned on by anyone who buys a Chilton's manual and does their own work.

I like guys who don't care about what they drive in a cosmetic sense, but keep up with the maintenance, oil changes, tires, etc.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:13 PM on June 13, 2004

Any women here who would like to deny being manipulated like Pavlov's dogs by the sight of a car? Hello?

I once ditched a terrific boy for a friend of his, as I look back, probably pretty much because the friend had a car (at all). But boy oh boy did I learn my lesson. Which I guess is what being a teenager is all about.

I still like cars, and I think they "matter," but that's because they can be such profound markers for values. I feel like I know a lot about a guy once I see his car, particularly once I experience him driving it. There's a world of difference between a spotless - especially clean-room quality - Z car and a messy '58 Ranchero. Someone with an unusual car who drives and treats it as if he understands what it was built for will definitely pique my interest on some level - just as any sincere expression of enthusiasm for some area of great interest (geology, astrophysics, software design) is likely to do, whether I share that interest or not. (Someone who has an expensive car with a big engine but doesn't know how to drive loses points, big time. I don't think I'm being terribly cryptic here.) (And by the way: No points off for having no car at all - as long as he's not mooching rides all the time.)

I think the plain old conspicuous consumerist approach is logical, too, though. Many people acquire things for image reasons and consider image issues an important aspect of all their major decisions, such as selecting a spouse. For those people, demonstrating what they consider important in a car (or what kind of car they think is important in - uh, around? - a prospective mate) is a sensible part of a strategy for finding an appropriate companion. I do not wish to marry such a person, but I think such people should be commended for seeking each other out.

geoff., I guess if you really believe you want the Land Rover chicks, one option is to do some investigation to discover what they think the Land Rover actually means, and then buy one once you know you can deliver on that. You know, if you still want the Land Rover chicks after you get that answer.
posted by caitlinb at 6:30 PM on June 13, 2004

What a person owns does reflect on him, but speaking as a woman, a car is not that far up on the list. I would say clothing is the most important, followed by food and drink prefrences, because these are often what people see first.

A car may be up there for some people, but only if it's really spectacular, like a sportscar. I do, however, second the convertible New Beetle because a.) it's cute b.) If any car can get you laid, it's got to be a convertible c.) it's actually an awesomely reliable and safe car -- a friend of mine got in an accident where a pickup slammed into the side of his Beetle, the pickup truck was pretty much totalled, the Beetle barely dented. It's an awesome, awesome car.

And as a just-graduating-from-college-girl, a Land Rover is a middle-aged person's car and therefore the exact opposite of sexy.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:35 PM on June 13, 2004

I don't care what kind of ride it is, but in the immortal words of one LL Cool J:

Girlies wanna ride with a brother like me
Cos they be hear me gettin funky frequently
They tell me don't drink and drive, I say what is this
Mind your business
Now pass it around
Laid back, hypnotized by the funky sound
People in the street see me bobbin my head
While I'm checkin out the rapper and the rhyme that he said
I'm frontin, and I don't care if you know
The backseat of my car is like a disco show
You would think I was a good friend of Al Capone
Crazy air freshener, who needs cologne
Bottom to the bottom to the top to the top
Cruise - it's 3 o'clock
The girlies, they smile, they see me comin
I'm steady hummin, I got the Funky Drummer drummin
My trunk be shakin, vibratin and rattlin
Pumpin so loud, all the shorties be battlin
A right-hand man's here without the swing
Every chance I get I'm showin off my rings
I can keep it up until the break of dawn
Cos I'm frontin in my ride and my word is bond

Aww, yeah.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:19 PM on June 13, 2004

Response by poster: Update in case anyone cared. I really liked Land Rovers but ended up getting a Mercedes C280 with the Lorensi (sp?) sport package. It gets really good gas mileage (as long as you don't kick it into 4th gear or pretend you're cool) so I feel as if I'm helping the environment. I pulled a few strings at the bank and got a loan on my own pretty easy (my credit rating just went up before I bought it apparently, well I had no credit rating 6 months ago so all it could do was go up).

I still love the Land Rover and the whole SUV thing, I know I'm going to really miss it when winter comes along, and next weekend when I go up to the farm, I'm used to being able to go over tree stumps and the ilk.

Thanks for everyone's advice, as for some reason, this feels like a huge step in my life. You know one of those moments where you go "Well, looks like I'm an adult now". The sucks.
posted by geoff. at 7:29 PM on June 26, 2004

« Older Eczema treatments   |   Typography Reference Books Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.