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Old 20th May 2008, 05:59   #1
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Default Help me in choosing a car - S Carolina

Hi,

I have recently relocated to Greenville, S Carolina, USA and planning to buy/lease a new car. I will use the car for daily office commute as well as occasional long drives. Hence I need a car that can take all of that, reliable and fun to drive. My budget is around $15K and I will keep it for around 18 months.

I am looking for a sedan and not looking for a Toyota, Honda or a Nissan. I need a car which would be fun to drive in that budget. I have shortlisted the following 3 cars:
Mitsubishi Lancer 2008 (low resale value)
Mini Cooper (over budget)
Mazda 3 i Sport (its gradually growing on me)

Guys, need help in choosing a car. I am also getting a Merc C230 Kompressor, done 85K miles for around $10K. Not sure if it would be a good idea to go for this, considering the maintenance issues and costs.

I also need to decide whether I should buy the car or lease it. Need your inputs that will help me in deciding. You may suggest any other car that fits the bill.

Mods: If this is not the right section, please shift this thread accordingly.
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Old 20th May 2008, 10:06   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Hi,

I have recently relocated to Greenville, S Carolina, USA and planning to buy/lease a new car. I will use the car for daily office commute as well as occasional long drives. Hence I need a car that can take all of that, reliable and fun to drive. My budget is around $15K and I will keep it for around 18 months.


I also need to decide whether I should buy the car or lease it. Need your inputs that will help me in deciding. You may suggest any other car that fits the bill.
Do you expect to sell the vehicle and recuperate some amount of the money you are going to spend now?

If you need a car for only 18 months, you can look at a lease transfer (this assumes you have credit history). Look for a BMW which was used for 1 year to 18 months out of their 36 month lease and transfer it to your name with the condition that you will only pay monthly installments. I see lot of people looking for buyers who can assume lease with 0 down payment. Leasing a car for short periods will get very expensive but you will have the safety and security of driving a new luxury car under warranty.

If you are not against a Civic, I would suggest you buy it. They have excellent resale value, so you get all your money back after a year. They sell quickly so you dont have to put it on market for months and lose money. Third and final, they are excellent cars to drive.

If you are fine with used cars, you can buy a 2003 BMW sedan for around 15 K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
I have shortlisted the following 3 cars:
Mitsubishi Lancer 2008 (low resale value)
Mini Cooper (over budget)
Mazda 3 i Sport (its gradually growing on me)
Mazda 3 is a good car.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
Guys need help in choosing a car. I am also getting a Merc C230 Kompressor, done 85K miles for around $10K. Not sure if it would be a good idea to go for this, considering the maintenance issues and costs.
I am assuming this will be 2002 - 03 model? Throwing your money into toilet is a better idea than buying a 2002 C class. I am talking from experience here.
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Old 20th May 2008, 10:16   #3
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If you want to have fun for the money you want to spend, you should buy the mazda. The resale value might be a little less than Civic but its a zoom zoom.
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Old 20th May 2008, 13:24   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayavi View Post
Do you expect to sell the vehicle and recuperate some amount of the money you are going to spend now?

If you need a car for only 18 months, you can look at a lease transfer (this assumes you have credit history). Look for a BMW which was used for 1 year to 18 months out of their 36 month lease and transfer it to your name with the condition that you will only pay monthly installments. I see lot of people looking for buyers who can assume lease with 0 down payment. Leasing a car for short periods will get very expensive but you will have the safety and security of driving a new luxury car under warranty.

If you are not against a Civic, I would suggest you buy it. They have excellent resale value, so you get all your money back after a year. They sell quickly so you dont have to put it on market for months and lose money. Third and final, they are excellent cars to drive.

If you are fine with used cars, you can buy a 2003 BMW sedan for around 15 K.


Mazda 3 is a good car.




I am assuming this will be 2002 - 03 model? Throwing your money into toilet is a better idea than buying a 2002 C class. I am talking from experience here.
He is Spot obn go for a civic, maybe an eclipse or a used 3er / lease tfr on a 3er
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Old 21st May 2008, 06:06   #5
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Well Saurabh, guess what...I am in the same boat as you !!!!

Assuming you are looking for a new car at 14k MSRP. (Tax title and reg will cost you another grand), there are not many choices in the C segment. None of the 3 that U shortlisted come for 14K.

Here is the list of 10 cars that sticker under 15K in ascending order. (source C&D)
  • 2008 Chevy Aveo (10.5K)
  • 2008 Hyundai Accent
  • 2008 Kia Rio
  • 2008 Toyota Yaris
  • 2008 Smart Fortwo
  • 2008 Kia Spectra sedan
  • 2008 Nissan Versa
  • 2008 Suzuki Reno
  • 2008 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2008 Mazda 3(14.6K)
Out of these only the Mazda and the Elantra/spectra are proper C segment sedans. Which ever way you look at it the Mazi3 is killer value for this price. You will get the base model 2.0 liter engine with manual transmission and basic options...but that itself will run rings around many a 25,000 dollar sports car. Get one in black and it will look killer too. Both my sis and a close friend have one and everybody thinks its an expensive car.

The new Lancer has mean styling but doesn't come close to the Mazda in dynamics or VFM.

If you are willing to spend a grand more look at a base Rabbit 2.5 ...although its a hatch its a killer value because it drives like a 35000 dollar German luxury car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayavi View Post
If you need a car for only 18 months, you can look at a lease transfer (this assumes you have credit history). Look for a BMW which was used for 1 year to 18 months out of their 36 month lease and transfer it to your name with the condition that you will only pay monthly installments. I see lot of people looking for buyers who can assume lease with 0 down payment. Leasing a car for short periods will get very expensive but you will have the safety and security of driving a new luxury car under warranty.
Can you suggest any websites where I can look for such offers. Saw a couple and wasn't impressed.
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Old 21st May 2008, 08:29   #6
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Can you suggest any websites where I can look for such offers. Saw a couple and wasn't impressed.
I bought all my cars from Craigslist. In case you haven't heard of it before, here is the URL: craigslist classifieds: jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, events, forums. Select the city you are in and go to their 'Cars' section. I don't know where you live but here in Phoenix I see lot of Lease transfer ads.
I just noticed that you live in Chicago area, here are couple that I could find

Mercedes 35 months left Mercedes - Lease transfer
Lexus IS 350 21 months left 2006 Lexus IS 350 : Takeover My Lease, Monthly Fee
Accourd Coupe 26 months left LEASE TRANSFER: 2007 Honda Accord EX Coupe - *$3,000 Cash Bonus*

These are not the best deals if you are looking at long term owner ship, but if you are in for the short haul and looking to live it up then these are best deals.

If you want new cars, I saw a new BMW 328i lease and they had it on offer for $4000 down and $238/mo for 2 years lease with a 10,000 mile/yr limit. My friend is planning to return to India in 3 years so he leased a newer C300 for ~450 a month. After 3 years he would have ended up paying ~20K and no car in hand but compared to outright buying it is not a big loss, plus he will have carefree fun for 3 years.

Last edited by Mayavi : 21st May 2008 at 08:36.
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Old 21st May 2008, 10:44   #7
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I totally agree with srishiva and mpower. Get the Mazda 3.

It's one of the most fun to drive cars in its category, and miles better than the Civic (although at the cost of slightly lesser gas mileage). It's more comfortable, handles better, looks better, is more powerful and almost as reliable as the new Civic.

Although I would strongly suggest getting the 2.3L with the stick shift, since the low end torque on that four banger is amazing, albeit at the cost of a few mpg's.

On a separate note, instead of buying a new car, you can go with slightly used cars (2-3 years old). In this way you don't pay for the depreciation but you can still take advantage of the factory warranty if anything goes wrong. A few options for you could be:
  • 2006 Ford Focus ST (with the 160bhp engine I think)
  • 2004/05 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart (162 bhp)
  • 2004/05 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS (165 bhp, non turbo, AWD)
  • 2004/05 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V (175 bhp)
  • 2004 Dodge SRT4 (220 bhp, might be over budget though)
  • 2003/04 Ford Mustang V6 (190 bhp, REAR WHEEL DRIVE)

Last edited by sujaylahiri : 21st May 2008 at 10:48.
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Old 21st May 2008, 12:26   #8
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Ok i am posting this ad without reading the previous replies.

I have bought and sold several cars over the years in the United states and hence i am able to comment on this issue. I would highly recommend getting an E46 BMW. there are several reasons for picking this car over your choices.

1) If you pick a lancer you will certainly have low resale value as you suggested. Mitsubishis in the USA do not have a very good rep, they constantly require repairs, I would not recommend a lancer unless its an EVO and even with an EVO be ready to pay the HIGHEST insurance in the nation.

2) Mini cooper? really? kinda effeminate for my tastes, not to mention the low resale value and small size. The upside is you will be able to identify ANY SUV just by looking at their undercarriage.

3) Mazda 3 is a good choice, fairly good resale value, but is still not a BMW.

4) Mercedes have a much much lower resale value than BMW's, additionally the E46 is more of a looker than the c class.

5) I would never buy a Kia or a Hyundai, crappy quality, crappy cars, low sex appeal, in short you will never get any love from the fairer sex if you are seen in one of those. But the upside is that your car will never get stolen because no one wants those.

6) I agree with sujay, an impreza is a good choice, make sure its an STI, but then again insurance will be high.

At the end of the day in my book the E46 BMW is the winner. Not many known problems with those except the bushings which are inexpensive. They have an excellent resale value, you might be able to get almost the same price at the end of your 18 months or maybe a thousand or or so lower. Not a bad price to pay for 18 months of use. As far as craiglsist goes, i have bought all my cars from there also. BUT beware of scammers, several scammers, if it looks too good to be true it probably isn't. ALWAYS get the car inspected by a certified mechanic before you purchase it. Again, I would put my money into a BMW you can't go wrong. if you need any other help regarding pricing, negotiating feel free to PM me. Good luck.

P.S. I am in the process of selling both my 300zx's and either getting an E46 M3 or an E39.

Last edited by spawnofsatan : 21st May 2008 at 12:30.
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Old 21st May 2008, 13:16   #9
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Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Can you suggest any websites where I can look for such offers. Saw a couple and wasn't impressed.
Vcash was telling me about such a site & he was very impressed with it. I'll ask him to post the link here.
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Old 21st May 2008, 13:19   #10
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Originally Posted by iraghava View Post
Vcash was telling me about such a site & he was very impressed with it. I'll ask him to post the link here.
When you lease a car, you will never see the money you pay every month. When you buy a car you can get a lot of it back when you sell.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 03:33   #11
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Many thanks for all the suggestions. I have dropped the idea of going for a used Merc. I am regularly looking up Craigslist to get a good deal.
I totally agree with Sujay in that its no point paying for the high depreciation of a new car for an usage of 1.5 yrs. Instead, I am also looking at used Mazda 3s, not older than 2005 and having around 45K on the odo. Getting a few of them for around 12-13K. Guess these ones should be reliable.

Whatever I buy, it will definitely be a stick shift. Let me see if I can get an used 2.3L. I dont mind paying a little extra on gas, for the slightly lower mileage.

@spawn: Its difficult to get an used E46 but, I will be on the lookout. I also have an used Impreza 2.5 in mind.

All said and done, I will probably end up buying a Mazda3. Since its going to be an used car, I wont have much control on the colour, but, the black one is a killer.

@MPower: I am certainly not keen on getting a Hyundai or a Kia. No way. For websites, I am using cars.com, edmunds.com and craigslist.org
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Old 22nd May 2008, 05:12   #12
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@ Saurabh - If you are having toruble finding a used E46 then Mazda is a very good next choice, I have always like it so even if you get the Mazda you will be fine. Try Used Cars, New Cars, Buy a Car, Sell a Car, Car Dealers - AutoTrader.com for your search too, I have found it a bit more useful than cars.com. Goodluck
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Old 22nd May 2008, 05:57   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sujaylahiri View Post
  • 2006 Ford Focus ST (with the 160bhp engine I think)
  • 2004/05 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart (162 bhp)
  • 2004/05 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS (165 bhp, non turbo, AWD)
  • 2004/05 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V (175 bhp)
  • 2004 Dodge SRT4 (220 bhp, might be over budget though)
  • 2003/04 Ford Mustang V6 (190 bhp, REAR WHEEL DRIVE)
There never was a 2004/5 2.5 RS sold in the US. The last RS was made in 2000.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 06:33   #14
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There never was a 2004/5 2.5 RS sold in the US. The last RS was made in 2000.
Never mind. Must be only in Canada then.

The Canadians are proud of their Subarus and Subaru knows that.
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Old 22nd May 2008, 07:00   #15
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If you are getting the manual then 2.0 should be just fine...no make that better. Its the sweet sounding short stroke engine from the Miata that is only 8 hp short of the 2.3.

The 2.3 is used in all family cars and Fords and makes more torque but I think the 2.0 will be more fun to toss around.
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