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Old 28th July 2011, 21:35   #406
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Default Please recommend a first car for my first job! ($25,000 budget USA)

I just completed my masters and got a job. Time to buy a car now!
I am a big car fan but still a n00b. Have been a passive reader here at Team-BHP. I am considering buying a pre-owned car as there is very good market for them here.

Here are a few broad requirements:

1. I would prefer a Sedan.

2. I am based in CA (Bay area).

3. It should be a pleasure to drive. (25 miles roundrip to work)

4. Should be reasonable on gas. Something around 27-28 on highways and 20 in city would be sweet.

5. Can stretch the budget to $30,000 if needed.

6. Want something reliable and durable. Should not be very expensive to maintain.(Primary reason why I'm not inclined towards BMW's)

Cars I am looking at
I am really inclined towards the infinity g37 Sedan's but I read that they are gas guzzlers. I'm also considering the Audi A4. Also willing to consider BMW, Merc and Lexus models. Any other recommendations?

Dealers or private owners
Since, I am pretty much a car n00b, I had decided to go the dealers route. However, looking through craigslist there are some killer deals available with private owners! What do you guys recommend? If I buy from a private owner and get the car checked from one of the Pep Boys outlets should that be good enough?

Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate your help!
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Old 8th August 2011, 20:38   #407
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Hi all,

The question of moving to the US has come up, and though it is very early, I have already started thinking about cars - being a BHPian

Like many others, I'll probably be looking for something super-cheap to begin with, and play it by the ear. No point having a car of dreams if I'm going to have to return in 1 year or 2 years.

Here are a few questions that come up, probably they'll be useful to many people who come across this point in their lives.

For a typical L1 traveller who is scheduled to be there for a year or two, and my or may not be extended after that:

- Does it make more sense to lease? From initial calcuulations, it appears so - isn't it? If anyway the car has to be returned/sold after a couple of years, then why have the hassle of selling it later? With lease, we'll end up shelling out $300 to $400 per month. If buying, it will be $700 to $800. And get half its value back after 2 years.
(I guess the caveat here is, for Honda or Toyota cars, the resale value will be much much more than half, so it would make sense to buy).

- Looks like all the car companies look for credit history. How does it work for newly landed L1s with no credit history?

- What exactly happens if you take a 2 year lease (or 2 year loan to buy), but company decides to send you back to India after just 1 year?

- Any resources on procedures for getting drivers license, specific for L1 and H1 workers? I tried searching a lot, but there are a lot of general resources but couldn't find any specific article that addresses how it works for L1/H1 visitors.

- From initial analysis, it appears that Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2 / 3, Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus appear to be excellent value for money propositions. Especially the Ford Fiesta and Focus, knowing how good they probably are. Any particular thoughts?

- How does Ford Escape compare with Toyota RAV4? Each automobile website seems to say a different thing. Some say RAV4 is underpowered, while others say it is better than both Escape and Chevy Equinox.

- Anyone with experience on lease purchase, have any feedback on this method of buying?
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Old 8th August 2011, 20:54   #408
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Hi all,
Like many others, I'll probably be looking for something super-cheap to begin with, and play it by the ear. No point having a car of dreams if I'm going to have to return in 1 year or 2 years.

Quote:
- Does it make more sense to lease? From initial calcuulations, it appears so - isn't it? If anyway the car has to be returned/sold after a couple of years, then why have the hassle of selling it later? With lease, we'll end up shelling out $300 to $400 per month. If buying, it will be $700 to $800. And get half its value back after 2 years.
make up your mind, if you are buying a super cheap, you will not be paying 700-800 a month

Leases are designed for payments faster than the cars depreciate. So at the end of lease, it's often profitable to buy the car anyway. Also, with many leases there is a downpayment, and penalty for exceeding mileage limit. If you decide not to buy, you will be throwing way all the payments. if you buy, you will still be able to barely regain the remaining value. depreciation hits you both ways. Leases are generally good if you like new cars and do not want the hassle of buying and selling. And you are willing to pay premium for that. I know somebody who keep recycling cars on lease every 2-3 years.

But this is assuming you want a new car. The equation totally changes when you think of used cars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
I just completed my masters and got a job. Time to buy a car now!
I am a big car fan but still a n00b. Have been a passive reader here at Team-BHP. I am considering buying a pre-owned car as there is very good market for them here.
it's possible to make mistake if you are a noob. either go for a new/certified car, or get a cheaper car first to get used to your likes, dislikes etc before spending big money. You can even rent cars on monthly basis to see if a particular segment suits you. Priorities totally change one you get used to driving. SUVs, convertible, coupe, sedan, van... different people develop different tastes. I am not asking what's your requirement because quite likely you don't know yet.

Last edited by vivekiny2k : 8th August 2011 at 20:59.
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Old 8th August 2011, 21:09   #409
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

some of your question are the ones exactly that I had.

Firstly the lease is not raelly a viable option. You have to make a initial payment of $4k-$5k for the car you choose, and monthly payments. The lease cannot be broke in the midway, you will be charged hefty for that. The car will have a mileage limitation per year, say you can drive only around 10,000 miles every year. The car has to be returned in mint condition back to the dealer at the end of tenure, if there are any dents or stuff you would be charged or have to get it repaired. Though lease looks tempting, i strongly suggest to stay away from it.

For the license, The first thing you would require is your SSN.
Required documents depend on the state you are going, you will have to give them some address proof, photo id, visa stamping and sometimes your SSN. The validitiy is usually the tenure of your visa.

Typically people go in for Toyota, Honda or Nissan. These are true VFM and also easy to resell before you go back to India. Fords are may also be easy on maintenance but you will have a tough time to sell it.
Yaris and Fit are hatchbacks, instead you could opt for Corolla, Civic, or Sentra. But again based on your budget you can decide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Hi all,

- Does it make more sense to lease? From initial calcuulations, it appears so - isn't it? If anyway the car has to be returned/sold after a couple of years, then why have the hassle of selling it later? With lease, we'll end up shelling out $300 to $400 per month. If buying, it will be $700 to $800. And get half its value back after 2 years.
(I guess the caveat here is, for Honda or Toyota cars, the resale value will be much much more than half, so it would make sense to buy).

- Looks like all the car companies look for credit history. How does it work for newly landed L1s with no credit history?

- What exactly happens if you take a 2 year lease (or 2 year loan to buy), but company decides to send you back to India after just 1 year?

- Any resources on procedures for getting drivers license, specific for L1 and H1 workers? I tried searching a lot, but there are a lot of general resources but couldn't find any specific article that addresses how it works for L1/H1 visitors.

- From initial analysis, it appears that Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2 / 3, Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus appear to be excellent value for money propositions. Especially the Ford Fiesta and Focus, knowing how good they probably are. Any particular thoughts?

- How does Ford Escape compare with Toyota RAV4? Each automobile website seems to say a different thing. Some say RAV4 is underpowered, while others say it is better than both Escape and Chevy Equinox.

- Anyone with experience on lease purchase, have any feedback on this method of buying?
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Old 8th August 2011, 21:49   #410
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Default Re: Please recommend a first car for my first job! ($25,000 budget USA)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyme View Post

Here are a few broad requirements:

1. I would prefer a Sedan.

2. I am based in CA (Bay area).

3. It should be a pleasure to drive. (25 miles roundrip to work)

4. Should be reasonable on gas. Something around 27-28 on highways and 20 in city would be sweet.

5. Can stretch the budget to $30,000 if needed.

6. Want something reliable and durable. Should not be very expensive to maintain.(Primary reason why I'm not inclined towards BMW's)

Cars I am looking at
I am really inclined towards the infinity g37 Sedan's but I read that they are gas guzzlers. I'm also considering the Audi A4. Also willing to consider BMW, Merc and Lexus models. Any other recommendations?

Dealers or private owners
Since, I am pretty much a car n00b, I had decided to go the dealers route. However, looking through craigslist there are some killer deals available with private owners! What do you guys recommend? If I buy from a private owner and get the car checked from one of the Pep Boys outlets should that be good enough?

Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate your help!
With $30,000 as your budget, you have plenty of options in USA, especially pre-owned ones. They are going for super low price and you can get best deals with them.

Infiniti G35/37 are real good cars, you will enjoy driving it a lot. Quality interiors, performance, ride and handling. Everything is top notch in this sedan. it will easily fulfill your 20/28 requirement. I can confirm this because my roommate owns a G35 sedan and we often compare mileage of ours.

other cars you can look at - certified bmw 3-series and audi. make sure it is covered in warranty. you can look at 2008 or later models since it would have 5-year warranty going on. If you are going for bmw or audi, please stick to dealers, it is not advisable to buy from owners since they are not in the best condition and will require expensive repairs.

if you want to get from owners, do look at acura TL/TSX, infiniti g35/g37, lexus is250/350 or gs350. you can get awesome deals for this preowned. you can also get an infiniti m45 for $30k but it will be horrible on gas.

and if you plan to stick to new ones, you have accord, sonata, mazda 6 and camry as brand new options which are tried and test and you can't go wrong with them.

when getting audi or vw cars, please make sure they are free of electric glitches. it is one of major problems with vw stable and have lots of problems.

regarding dealer and private owners debate. i would say, its your choice. but be ready to pay upto $3000-$5000 more on any car you buy with dealer. Also don't forget to haggle a lot. They have cars sitting in lot and are not flying off the shelf so they need your business.

Here is an example, i was looking for a mercedes slk (2008) was put on a dealer's lot for $19k, i asked that price but the sales guy didn't remember, he bought a sheet to look for the price and i saw the sheet said $13500 as a the final deal price. so imagine the profits.

You didn't mention if you like American cars or not. That would open whole lot of options for you like charger, 300 and many more.
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Old 8th August 2011, 21:58   #411
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Thanks, @vivek and @kraft.

One other thing I forgot to add: I've been browsing a few sites like cars.com and though I find many used cars in the market, I noticed two things:

- All the cars seem to have very high mileage! This is what makes me hesitate to go for a used one. Is this usually something to think about, or is it normal?

- All the cars (5 or 6 yrs old) seem to be overpriced, at around 70% of the "new" price. Is it just like Indian used car websites wherein online prices are inflated? Or, is it like these cars really command such high resale value?

Actually I enjoy driving a hatchback more than a sedan, that's why I have Fit and Fiesta in mind
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Old 8th August 2011, 22:53   #412
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Look at kbb.bom for current evaluation of a used car, mileage is an important factor in tat. Expect 10-20% higher prices for dealer owned cars, may be worth it if they have a warranty just in case you find something wrong later.
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Old 8th August 2011, 23:53   #413
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyme View Post
Cars I am looking at
I am really inclined towards the infinity g37 Sedan's but I read that they are gas guzzlers. I'm also considering the Audi A4. Also willing to consider BMW, Merc and Lexus models. Any other recommendations?

Dealers or private owners
Since, I am pretty much a car n00b, I had decided to go the dealers route. However, looking through craigslist there are some killer deals available with private owners! What do you guys recommend? If I buy from a private owner and get the car checked from one of the Pep Boys outlets should that be good enough?

Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate your help!
For $30k budget you can look at BMW 3 series with company warranty which is definitely an advantage with German cars. and like Chevelle said Lexus IS150 is a cool car to own.
When you are spending $30k its better to pick from the dealers though you may have be spending a couple of thousands more its worth it. Especially if you need to take the warranty etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Thanks, @vivek and @kraft.

One other thing I forgot to add: I've been browsing a few sites like cars.com and though I find many used cars in the market, I noticed two things:

- All the cars seem to have very high mileage! This is what makes me hesitate to go for a used one. Is this usually something to think about, or is it normal?

- All the cars (5 or 6 yrs old) seem to be overpriced, at around 70% of the "new" price. Is it just like Indian used car websites wherein online prices are inflated? Or, is it like these cars really command such high resale value?

Actually I enjoy driving a hatchback more than a sedan, that's why I have Fit and Fiesta in mind
You can check autotrader.com for classifieds. Also as Vivek mentioned, you can check kbb.com for valuation.
Like I said earlier, based on your budget you can look for lower miles on Jap/korean cars.
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Old 10th August 2011, 23:19   #414
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Here's another thought that struck me: The (comparitively) "powerful" family cars like Mustang V6, Camaro SS or the SUVs give around 15-20mpg in the city. The more "economical" cars like Civic & Corolla give around 28 to 30.

How much of a difference does that make? Let us take an example of a used Civic and a used Mustang V6.

Civic (in city): 28 mpg. Price of gas = 3.8 per gallon. If the car runs 28 miles on that, then the cost of travelling one mile = .13 dollars = 13 cents.

Mustang V6 (in city): Let's say 15mpg. Cost of travelling one mile works out to 25 cents by the same calculation.

Difference betwee Mustang and Civic = 12 cents per mile.

Suppose I travel 1000 miles per month, I end up spending $120 more on fuel if I use a Mustang than if I use a Civic.

So for someone who travels around 1500 miles per month (which is more than the average if what google results tell me is true), per month I will spend $180 more for owning a sports car.

Considering 2007-2008 Civics and 2007-2008 Mustangs seem to be priced at the same level, why shouldn't someone travelling from India drive a car of dreams by paying that $150-$180 per month more? Expecially a BHPian?

Is my thinking correct? Any major flaws?
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Old 10th August 2011, 23:30   #415
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

^^ It depends on what your priorities are.. If you go for any V6, the city mileage would be in the range of 15 mpg and highway would be 21 mpg. If you buy any V8's it will be 2 to 3 mpg less than V6. When i was looking for a car, i was looking for a brand which is not in India and the engine should be at least a V6. Finally settled for a infinity I30. I know a few guys who keeps two cars, one for mileage and one for pleasure.. The choice is yours.. :-)
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Old 11th August 2011, 00:13   #416
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Civic (in city): 28 mpg. Price of gas = 3.8 per gallon. If the car runs 28 miles on that, then the cost of travelling one mile = .13 dollars = 13 cents.

Mustang V6 (in city): Let's say 15mpg. Cost of travelling one mile works out to 25 cents by the same calculation.

Difference betwee Mustang and Civic = 12 cents per mile.

Suppose I travel 1000 miles per month, I end up spending $120 more on fuel if I use a Mustang than if I use a Civic.

So for someone who travels around 1500 miles per month (which is more than the average if what google results tell me is true), per month I will spend $180 more for owning a sports car.

Considering 2007-2008 Civics and 2007-2008 Mustangs seem to be priced at the same level, why shouldn't someone travelling from India drive a car of dreams by paying that $150-$180 per month more? Expecially a BHPian?

Is my thinking correct? Any major flaws?
Well both are different, Civic is a sedan with 4 doors, smooth engine, smoother ride, better mileage, longer engine life and most of all easy resale.
Whilst Mustangs are fun to ride, coupe, hard ride. Fords are very difficult to re-sell. I'm not against buying Mustangs, but V6 is no fun, and for a family its not the best choice. (BTW I own a 2001 V6 )
Mustangs are RWD, very difficult to drive around in winters depending on the place you are coming too.

I suggest you fix a budget and then move on with the options, cuz there are plenty of options here and makes us go nuts by the time we narrow on one
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Old 11th August 2011, 03:46   #417
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
How much of a difference does that make? Let us take an example of a used Civic and a used Mustang V6.

Civic (in city): 28 mpg. Price of gas = 3.8 per gallon. If the car runs 28 miles on that, then the cost of travelling one mile = .13 dollars = 13 cents.

Mustang V6 (in city): Let's say 15mpg. Cost of travelling one mile works out to 25 cents by the same calculation.

Is my thinking correct? Any major flaws?
You are quite correct, but you also have to consider insurance premiums too. You haven't considered maintenance for both. You won't spend a penny for civic apart from oil changes, in mustang, after 70,000 miles, not as reliable as civic. So the difference will be bigger over a period of time. I also read that you may return after couple of years, at that time it will be harder to sell mustangs. civic will fly of your parking lot very fast.

if you want to have fun like a v6 and have reliability of civic, look at mazdaspeed 6, evos, infiniti g35/g37, acura tsx-s. these are some hot to drive sedans that will make you smile each time you take them out for a spin and be good on gas and maintenance and a little easy to sell too.
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Old 11th August 2011, 23:04   #418
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Ah, well. Insurance. Any idea what is the normal insurance amount for these cars (economy & sport)?
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Old 11th August 2011, 23:52   #419
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Ah, well. Insurance. Any idea what is the normal insurance amount for these cars (economy & sport)?
Insurance amount is calculated on your driving experience in US and year and model of the car. I pay around $100 for my 2001 Mustang, I guess its the 3rd party insurance, which covers body injury, property, motorists, rentals etc.

I guess the price goes up even for a coupe be it civic or mustang.

Last edited by kraft.wagen : 12th August 2011 at 00:01.
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Old 11th August 2011, 23:54   #420
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Default Re: Buying a car in USA. New, used, etc.

The insurance will depend on whether you buy a new car or a used car and the type of car [hybrid or not, amount of mileage etc] and obviously on the amount of coverage you get. I currently pay ~500$ for 6 months for a new Toyota Camry.
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