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Old 4th August 2012, 01:30   #1126
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

@ VLOCT.

It is nice to know that you treat you cars well. When I'm in the market for 2nd hand cars, I would certainly look for a seller like you. And garage queens - have really good resale value. We should have met up when you were in IL/OH. I'm really close to the OH border.

Anyway , I test the limit of my cars. Cars are designed to be outside, in the sun, in the snow and racking up miles. They are like an object, Like a bottle of fine wine.

I know comapnies who test their vehicles for as high as 500k miles,In the snow, in the desert , in the mountians and finally on the track. I trust their research (I'm also part of it)

I commute in my fun car, while the Corolla is the people mover. There are warranties & insurance if something bad happens while having fun.


For example last winter my car was like this.
It runs great this summer.

These are my views, people may not agree.
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Old 8th August 2012, 03:10   #1127
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Hello Guys,

I moved to Bay Area here in the US last week and now am looking for a car. I am confused between buying a new car and a used car. I'm here on a permanent position, but haven't decided about settling down. But I'll be here for at least 3-4 years. Does buying a new car make sense?

Here are my requirements -

If used -

1. budget is around 10-12k
2. Only sedans are considered

What can I expect in this price range?

If new -

1. Budget is ~20k
2. Only compact sedans like elantra, civic, mazda3, focus etc.

From the list above, elantra is leading the pack closely followed by mazda3. I believe Focus is out of my budget, but might consider it after test driving.

EDIT: In any case, I'll be taking a loan from a credit union in my area. Any tips around that is also welcome.

Last edited by Gandhi : 8th August 2012 at 03:12.
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Old 8th August 2012, 07:14   #1128
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandhi View Post
Hello Guys,

I moved to Bay Area here in the US last week and now am looking for a car. I am confused between buying a new car and a used car. I'm here on a permanent position, but haven't decided about settling down. But I'll be here for at least 3-4 years. Does buying a new car make sense?

Here are my requirements -

If used -

1. budget is around 10-12k
2. Only sedans are considered

What can I expect in this price range?

If new -

1. Budget is ~20k
2. Only compact sedans like elantra, civic, mazda3, focus etc.

From the list above, elantra is leading the pack closely followed by mazda3. I believe Focus is out of my budget, but might consider it after test driving.

EDIT: In any case, I'll be taking a loan from a credit union in my area. Any tips around that is also welcome.
The Elantra is probably your best bet if you are going for a new car. It has the most features etc. Also, while you are at it, you may want to checkout the 2012 Malibu which Chevy is clearing stocks of to make way for the new 2013 model. I have read people getting 8000$ discounts on it. It is a much bigger and nicer car for the budget of Elantra/Civic.

If you want to stick to the Elantra segment, I think the new Dodge Dart could be a very unique choice. It is also loaded with tech features and is based on a European car.

For used, you will have a lot more choices. 12k is a reasonable budget. Since you are in the bay area, you can go for RWD sedans also.
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Old 8th August 2012, 08:00   #1129
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

@Gandhi,

Before settling on compact sedans as your choice, ask yourself whether you intend to go visiting places in your car or would your rather rent to do that? If you intend to use your car, distances are long here and in small cars fatigue can set in if. you select the wrong car. So you might want to keep that in mind when you do some test driving especially, for thigh and lumbar support. Take some time to decide on what you want and think hard on what you intend to do with the car. Nowadays, the interest rates are so low, it will probably make more sense to buy new. It'll depend on your credit history and score, though.
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Old 8th August 2012, 08:41   #1130
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by vineethvazhayil View Post
Also, while you are at it, you may want to checkout the 2012 Malibu which Chevy is clearing stocks of to make way for the new 2013 model.

If you want to stick to the Elantra segment, I think the new Dodge Dart could be a very unique choice. It is also loaded with tech features and is based on a European car.
What about resale value of these cars? Do I have to worry about that? I'm tempted to buy a new car, have never bought a used car earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
@Gandhi,

Before settling on compact sedans as your choice, ask yourself whether you intend to go visiting places in your car or would your rather rent to do that? If you intend to use your car, distances are long here and in small cars fatigue can set in if. you select the wrong car. So you might want to keep that in mind when you do some test driving especially, for thigh and lumbar support. Take some time to decide on what you want and think hard on what you intend to do with the car. Nowadays, the interest rates are so low, it will probably make more sense to buy new. It'll depend on your credit history and score, though.
Of course I intend to do long trips in the car. I was driving a Ritz back in India and have done trips which involve driving for 10-11 hours in a day, so I'm assuming a compact car here will be at least more comfortable than my Ritz .

I don't have any credit history yet as we just moved here. All I can show them is my transfer letter from company. Bank of America did approve a credit card (normal credit card with very good limit, not the secure credit card) for me on first day because of the company I work for, don't know if that would help me getting a low interest rate.
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Old 8th August 2012, 11:35   #1131
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

@Gandhi: I just moved to San Jose from India six months back so perhaps my thoughts and experience can help you.

First, I test drove a few cars and fell in love with Mazda3. When I drove it, the steering sharpness and handling was so impressive. I didn't feel it in any other car. Went for a new one - dont worry about loan, they will easily give you 5 yr loan if you show company offer letter. But interest rate will be 9%.

Next, I helped my friend in buying a new Accord. We got a brand new one for 18k. No regrets on buying Mazda3 after driving his Accord

But all that changed when the next friend sought my help in buying a BMW. I was like "dude what was I thinking?". We found a beautiful 2010 328i with just 30k miles, looks and feels brand new, for 20k. Happy for my friend but started feeling a small regret. Nothing against the Mazda (its still the best economy car I've driven so far) but BMW steering feel is out of the world.

Test drive a few enthusiast cars like BMW 328i (or better 335i), Infiniti G35, Charger RT (the one with V8) and even Mustang if you are single. If possible rent every one of these in weekends.
(personally Audis and Mercedes disappointed me). You could easily end up in one of these for the same 15-20k that you might spend on a Mazda/Nissan/Toyota/Honda.

Speaking from experience

Oh and we should sync up - where in the bay area are you coming? PM me..

Last edited by rajushank84 : 8th August 2012 at 11:38.
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Old 8th August 2012, 12:16   #1132
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

@Gandhi,

The only way to maintain a decent resale value is to buy a low mileage second hand car and put low miles on it. It's pretty difficult to do, if you don't have multiple cars.

One thing to remember about any BMW, Mercedes etc. They are very expensive car to maintain once, the warranty runs out. Personally, I would never own a BMW or any high performance vehicle for that matter, without a warranty. You won't find many cars that will drive like a BMW though.

My advice is to hold the big purchase until, you have a clear understanding on how long you intend to stay here. Cars are a black hole that'll just eat your hard earned money. Buy a cheap reliable commuter for the time being. Even if you're here for long term, you might want to test drive all kinds of cars and trucks, before you make up your mind. You might surprise yourself on what you like.
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Old 8th August 2012, 20:42   #1133
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandhi View Post
Here are my requirements -
If used -
1. budget is around 10-12k
2. Only sedans are considered
What can I expect in this price range?
If new -
1. Budget is ~20k
2. Only compact sedans like elantra, civic, mazda3, focus etc.
Two approaches to buying a car: (1) Decide a budget and buy the best possible vehicle within that $$ value. (2) Decide upon a car you like and then buy it as and when your $$ power enables you to make the purchase.

In my opinion the latter yields a higher ownership satisfaction than the former, but unfortunately not everyone can afford to buy what they like. (Unless your dreams constitute a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla, in which case it is easy to make them come true).

The former, while being a more practical approach from a $$ sense (as you seem to be inclined on taking), is more exhaustive (time, research effort, second thoughts, stress) and may end up being a compromise against what you really want.

My usual suggestion to first time buyers who are budget conscious is to buy a used vehicle as a first vehicle and grind it to the ground. Assign primary priority to this vehicle (work commute, kids school drop off etc), and derive as much benefit you can from the $$ invested (=sunk, as VLOCT rightly says) in this first car. There are always rental vehicles to use for that occasional trip to Grand Canyon/ Las Vegas/ Yellowstone, or to visit your cousin in Seattle.

By the time you are ready for the next one, you have a much better idea of what you want in your 'real deal' vehicle, and hopefully you are in a better $$ position to make an upgrade. Jump to that new BMW or Cadillac you've been eyeing for the last 2 years

As a word of advice if you are going to go the 'used' way, stay away from used European vehicles. In my opinion, any American or Japanese used vehicle manufactured in the last 6 years is at par as regards initial quality. Final quality (when you go purchase the car) depends on how the car has been used. Point being, a well driven Ford Fusion could be a better buy than a not so well driven Toyota Camry.

As for compact v/s mid size or full size sedans, my vote will always go for the bigger cars. Your experience with driving a Ritz for 10 hours in India may not exactly match up with driving a Chevy Aveo for 12 hours at a uniform 75 mph in the US. Driving fatigue levels are certainly lower in bigger cars compared to smaller ones. If mpg matters to you (gas was $4.29 for regular at my place yesterday), then you may be better off in a smaller car.

That being said, some good used vehicle choices in my opinion are:

Midsize: Anything around or newer than 2007: (~50/60K miles on it, $12/13K budget)

Honda Accord
Chevy Malibu
Ford Fusion
Toyota Camry
Nissan Altima
Mazda 6
Subaru Legacy

Compact: Anything around or newer than 2007: (~50/60K miles, 10/12K budget)

Ford Focus
Toyota Corolla
Honda Civic
Subaru Impreza
Nissan Sentra
Mazda 3

Hope this helps.

Last edited by NinadJoshi : 8th August 2012 at 20:51.
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Old 9th August 2012, 00:21   #1134
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandhi View Post
Hello Guys,

I moved to Bay Area here in the US last week and now am looking for a car. I am confused between buying a new car and a used car. I'm here on a permanent position, but haven't decided about settling down. But I'll be here for at least 3-4 years. Does buying a new car make sense?

Here are my requirements -

If used -

1. budget is around 10-12k
2. Only sedans are considered

What can I expect in this price range?

If new -

1. Budget is ~20k
2. Only compact sedans like elantra, civic, mazda3, focus etc.

From the list above, elantra is leading the pack closely followed by mazda3. I believe Focus is out of my budget, but might consider it after test driving.

EDIT: In any case, I'll be taking a loan from a credit union in my area. Any tips around that is also welcome.
Used options are below

2005-2007 Nissan Maxima
2007-2009 Nissan Altima
2003-2006 Acura TL/TSX
2004-2007 Toyota Avalon
2006-2007 Dodge Charger
2005-2008 Chrysler 300
2006-2008 Buick Lacross
2006-2008 GTI Hatchback (the dark horse)

You may see that i haven't mentioned a accord, camry or mazda6 in used section. Please check for the reason below

New options

2011-2012 Accord, Camry and Mazda 6, Malibu and many others are available for $20k since it is clearance. You may not have control on colors, options available and you may have to hunt hard for the same

So my reasoning is this. If you can have a full size pre owned sedan in your budget of $12k, why consider smaller ones which you can get brand new in your budget of $20k?

2012-2013 Corolla, Civic, Mazda3, Sentra, Jetta, Focus and many others available and most will be top of line at $20k.

Get pre-approved from credit union. That way you can get a ball park of where you stand with regards to your budget.
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Old 9th August 2012, 00:32   #1135
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Default Buying a 5 year old car & My score card

It's been 3 years and 25,000 miles since I got my 2003 Malibu V6 & I am in the market looking for a replacement. Usually, I buy pre-owned cars to keep my total cost of ownership under control. Below are the considerations for the potential Malibu replacement,

Price - $7000 to $12,000
Year - 2007/2008
Should be fun to drive
Should have enough space to accommodate the junior and her accessories (car seat/stroller etc).

Rating criteria used :

This is purely my personal feel/experience & doesn't really indicate how good/bad a car is. For example, VW GTI is a very good car, however, it doesn't have a trunk, making it difficult for my family, so, GTI will score less in useful features, similarly Audi is an excellent car, however, I will have to shell out more money to maintain an Audi - so the COO score goes down.

Note: Most of these cars are 2007/2008 Models, except Audi A3 and GTI, both were 2011, had to test drive due to dealer's pressure. I had gone to test drive a GLI and it was sold few Hrs before I showed up.

Now, talking about the score and overall experience - the big surprise was the 5 cylinder Jetta. Probably this is the only car in the world with a 5 cylinder motor, it is very peppy, gear shift is extremely smooth, excellent brakes,nice interiors, very economical to maintain, not too big, not too small. It is amazing how this 150hp car gains momentum. So far, Jetta 2.5 leads the race, looking forward to test drive Jetta 2.0 Turbo.

On the down side, the big Dodge Kahuna ( Charger), makes a lot of noise from its huge V8, but that doesn't transfer to its wheels, it may sound good on paper, however, I felt like the engine and transmission are struggling to work together, also I felt it is too big of a car. Btw, Charger sounds so nice when you floor the pedal, I loved it. Best sounded car in the league.

Saab 9-3 is another big one I am waiting for, already read a lot of great reviews about it, still searching for a manual 9-3 to test drive.

Below is the score card, (Max point is 10 in each category)
Note: Nissan Maxima is 3.5L CVT (not SVT, please excuse the error in the attachment)
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Last edited by raneeshvijayan : 9th August 2012 at 00:33.
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Old 9th August 2012, 00:41   #1136
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Default Re: Buying a 5 year old car & My score card

I suggest you post in the "buying a car in North America" thread for more relevant answers.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/what-c...-used-etc.html

BTW, are you getting the Audi A3 TDI within your budget? Last time I checked the Golf TDI pricing, decent models were to be had for 18-20K range. The A3 should be significantly higher.
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Old 9th August 2012, 00:51   #1137
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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**Update**

Drove following cars and the initial impressions are listed

2013 Genesis Coupe Grand Touring (MSRP - $33K)

2012 Camaro 1LT ($27k)

2010 BMW 335i Coupe ($35k)

The above opinion is strictly mine. Please don't take offense.
Here is another small update for my hunt. Did following test drives

2009 and 2012 VW GTi


- FTD Hatchback
- Good interior quality for the price. Soft touch plastics abound.
- Comfortable seats. - The plaid seats again are great to look at too.
- Good handling and ride quality for a FWD
- Power is adequate. Switching from G35, felt a bit slow.
- Too much turbo lag till ~2000 rpm. Then it goes like a pocket rocket.
- FE a concern in DSG. Reason. In D, it upshifts fast for better FE. Switch to Sports mode and it doesn't go into 6th gear which is over drive mode and keeps holding revs at higher rpm. So may lose FE when doing spirited driving. I know that's what it is suppose to do but i was shifting from drive to sports mode lots of time in order to go into higher rpm to improve FE.
- Hatchback not what we want.
- Competition is getting better and better WRT power, handling and stuff.
- The flat base steering is awesome. I loved the way it look and the feel from it.
- Visibility is great. Loved the alloys.
- Quiet at freeway speeds upto 80mph. Something i like.
- Good sound quality from the OEM stereo.
- Major concern is the reliability. I read on GTi forums and many have spent more time in repairs then on road. Since this will be almost a daily driver this is a little imp.
- Options are very pricey on new ones. Adding a NAV and Sunroof pushed it to $29k at which point there are better alternatives. The base model with DSG is very good VFM at $25700. I am seriously considering it as they are giving 0% interest and possible $1k-$2k off.
- Something that is holding me back is the new Golf to be revealed soon.

Still hunting for test drive of BRZ and FR-S. No one has it in stocks. Understandable since not many coming and most are already booked.

2012 Challenger SXT and R/T

- Looks, looks and looks. Can't stop drooling.
- v6 is very lazy for this heavy muscle car.
- v8 on R/T is FTD.
- Exhaust on R/T was awesome.
- Good steering feel for such a heavy car.
- Heavy car so not a good corner carver. Handles and rides great in a straight line.
- Not so good outside visibility. Just like camaro
- A little bit more interior space i felt.
- Not so good interior quality
- Gets pricey with options
- SXT needs to pushed in order to extract performance.
- Quiet at freeway speeds. Very essential for me.
- Seats were comfortable.
- Needs 8-speed auto asap. Was not very happy with the 5-speed.
- Didn't check rear seat room or boot space.
- No longer considering. So it is out of being a contender.

Still hunting for a good deal on corvette. That's my target. Till then i will keep test driving other FTD cars.
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Old 9th August 2012, 02:08   #1138
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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- Major concern is the reliability. I read on GTi forums and many have spent more time in repairs then on road. Since this will be almost a daily driver this is a little imp.
Two of my friends have GTi's (2007).Both have owned those for 2 years. The have put atleast 1000-1500 miles per month. They did not have any major repairs yet.Both are stock.

I think it is the tuned Gti which is prone to breakdown.

Looked at Jetta GLi?? Gti in a sedan form



Quote:
Originally Posted by chevelle View Post
Still hunting for a good deal on corvette. That's my target. Till then i will keep test driving other FTD cars.
There are quite a few Corvettes in the following link.

C6 Corvettes for Sale - Corvette Forum

I would wait till Dec 2012 Or jan 2013 for a C6 'vette. Once the new C7 Corvette is revealed I would expect amazing deals on a C6 'vette. Even now the vendors on the Corvette forum have new 2013's on a 10K discount.

Last edited by Jomz : 9th August 2012 at 02:21.
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Old 9th August 2012, 02:29   #1139
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Default Re: Buying a 5 year old car & My score card

You are right, Audi A3 TDI is like $34k, I took the test drive just because dealer insisted. He did not have the car I wanted to drive (Jetta GLI). Also, 2007 A3's doesn't have diesel option, TDI's made available sometime in 2010 for A3s.

Last edited by raneeshvijayan : 9th August 2012 at 02:30.
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Old 9th August 2012, 02:31   #1140
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Default re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Two of my friends have GTi's (2007).Both have owned those for 2 years. The have put atleast 1000-1500 miles per month. They did not have any major repairs yet.Both are stock.

I think it is the tuned Gti which is prone to breakdown.

Looked at Jetta GLi?? Gti in a sedan form

There are quite a few Corvettes in the following link.

C6 Corvettes for Sale - Corvette Forum

I would wait till Dec 2012 Or jan 2013 for a C6 'vette. Once the new C7 Corvette is revealed I would expect amazing deals on a C6 'vette. Even now the vendors on the Corvette forum have new 2013's on a 10K discount.
I am still doing more research on problems faced in GTi. It is really appealing. Especially a 2009 GTi certified with 33k miles on odo that i have come across. The dealer is asking $20k and 1.9% interest. Not a bad option for something that costs $26k. Again new or used dilemma is confusing me.

The GLi doesn't appeal to me. Its coupes only for me. If its Gti i want to have the 4 doors because of ease of access for rear seats. For everything else, its a coupe.

As for the corvettes. i am looking at 2008 or newer. Don't need a Z06 and yes i am monitoring the forums and dealerships for some good deals. I missed a couple as i was late. By the time i reached there it was already sold.

I am in no hurry and since its summer time, prices are a bit high on coupes, convertibles and such. So i am willing to wait. It will go down in couple of months.
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