Buying a car

BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseurThere's no place like
edited October 2006 in The Pub
I've started to save up so I can buy a car a year or two from now, but I'd really like to know now any tips, strategies, suggestions or just how to avoid getting pwned by the salesperson. I also need suggestions on cars.

Car suggestions. I'm currently driving a 1994 Nissan Sentra with around 130k miles on it. Transmission (auto) has been rather fussy these past few months.

The car goes through a tank of gas as if it were going out of style. A 60 mile drive to the south of the island will pretty much use half a tank. Has lost alot of power and the automatic aspect (or overdrive, idk) of the transmission just flat out sucks. Some roads and freeways here have this certain degree of incline that the car just stays around 40mph. Disabling O/D does nothing and pusing the peddle does even less. You need to floor it, but once you've floored, you can literately see the gas meter drop to empty.

The biggest problem of them all is that I use this car to make deliveries across the island and all this crappy gas mileage is killing my wallet.

From my understanding, fixing up the car is pretty much gonna cost more than the car is worth, so I'm looking for a new car.

Things I'd like:

Non domestic
4 doors and/or wagon
Power (a must on this island)
Spacious (I'm 6'1'' and I'm fat)

I ask for suggestions cause I really have no clue what's out there for me.

Up to now the only car I've looked at is the Mazda3 Sp5. 160hp and it's very comfy inside. What I'd really want is the MazdaSpeed3 but I guess that depends on how much it costs and how much I save up.

For any car suggestions, add around $6-8k to the MSRP (damn taxes)

As for me, to my knowledge there are no negative marks on my credit. I do have a hefty balance on one of my credit cards (car stereo) but I plan to eliminate that within the year. Most of the loans that have been to my name are paid and were maid at a co-op bank so I think I have some money in shares there. I'd have to check out what kind of deal they can give me on a loan and car insurance.

Any tricks or schemes I should look out for.

I'd like to make this clear, I'm not buying the car now and I don't plan on rushing into anything. I'd just like to know what I should need to know early on and not get raped like a lot of people here (PR). I plan on making a large down payment and I'll be getting insurance to protect that (non-mandatory here). Not sure how much insurance is here so I'd have to check that out too.

On with the tips and suggestions and thanks in advance.


  • jhenryjhenry California's Wine Country
    edited October 2006
    I've always had a thing for the Toyota Matrix...

    It's a 4dr wagon that has avail. 4WD...

    The base / XR models have a DOHC 1.8L L4 that puts out about 126hp... They stopped making the XRS, which had the Celica GT-S's 180hp engine... They're still around, produced from 03-06. However, the 126 isn't anything to scoff at. My cousin has an 06 Corolla with that engine, and I drove it and gave it a thumbs up on pepiness...

    $15,260 MSRP

    Matrix XR
    $16,740 MSRP

    There's my daily Toyo plug... Today S-M gets it!
  • fatcatfatcat Mizzou
    edited October 2006
    get an used Matrix, XRS style if you want power. Be warned though, you will get addicted to the 180hp going to the front tires and probably have to replace those tires sooner than the rear ;) Don't ask me how I know that, my '03 XRS is pleading the 5th.

    I've owned Honda's and Volkswagen's and recommend both also.
  • LeonardoLeonardo Wake up and smell the glaciers Eagle River, Alaska
    edited October 2006
    I would look for a slightly used Toyota. They are very well built, tough, reliable, and last a long, long time. The new car smell isn't worth the extra 5-10,000 dollars when the car, like a Toyota is going to run for 150,000+ miles easily anyway. I don't buy new - period. That new car emotion, which lasts only for a couple months, just isn't worth the $$$. Before you buy any car, make sure you check insurance rates. Some smaller, inexpensive cars' rates are higher than it would seem. I would also talk to a couple mechanics to get an idea on parts, too. Some imports' replacement parts are very high.

    The poster above mentioned the Matrix. My sister has one. It's a very good car, unless you have the misfortune to sit in the back. The goofy rear passenger window/door designs.... It is though, a very good car. In Puerto Rico, I'm sure you'd want air conditioning, but make sure you know the cost and resale value of other options, like AWD/4WD. It adds weight, raises the price of the vehicle, and reduces fuel mileage, even when not engaged. Maybe you drive unpaved mountain roads and need it - I don't know. I simply cannot get home or to work in the winter without 4WD, but I don't need A/C! :cool:
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC
    edited October 2006
    Matrix is good. The Pontiac Vibe is the same car with more plastic trim. IDK if Pontiac has the 4WD option for theirs, but you'll get the same car cheaper because it wears a Pontiac badge vs the Toyota badge. I wouldn't call the stock model powerful by any stretch, but it's economical.

    Other cars to maybe consider would be a diesel Jetta, the Yaris/Fit/Versa small cars, and perhaps the Audi A3/ VW GTI. Also, by the time you're ready to buy, the Volvo C30 should be out. If it's priced low enough, it'd be worth a look. It's underpinnings are similar to the Mazda 3, but the word is that it should have better handling due to better weight distribution.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited October 2006
    Get a Mustang, end of story, best car EVER made.
  • GargGarg Purveyor of Lincoln Nightmares
    edited October 2006
    If I bought a new (affordable) car right now, I think I'd be most intersted in a Suzuki SX4. AWD for cheap. If I had 30k, I'd get one of the last Lincoln LS's before they're gone forever (they're selling with about 8k off MSRP right now). The mid-20k market is really crowded and has lots of options, and I don't really know what I'd get.

    Some thoughts on cars I drove recently:

    I didn't like the Mazda 3 with the 5spd. The clutch was awful (had a longer travel distance than my 40-year-old Volvo!), and the model still sitting on the dealer lot already had a broken switch inside.

    I also wasn't impressed with the Mustang I got from the rental car place. The interior was just rediculously cheap and there wasn't even a keyhole on the passenger side to unlock the door. The base stereo wasn't any good, either. The V6 engine puts out good numbers on paper, but not on my butt dyno. Sure, the rental company probably got the cheapest model that can be had, but all that means is if you want to actually enjoy your Mustang, you have to spend some money on options or a nicer package. Which, in my opinion, puts it in a price range where there are much better options. Sorry Clutch, maybe the last generation of Mustangs were better cars (I never drove one like yours). I'm just not impressed with the current gen, other than the exterior styling.
  • jhenryjhenry California's Wine Country
    edited October 2006
    My driver training school had 03 Mustang v6's... They sucked very hard.

    The area we went through was slightly hilly, and I had my foot down the whole time trying to coax some power out of it. I had the urge to drop the shifter into second to get it to downshift, but I didn't think that would go over well so I just floored it and waited for the response... It never came.

    The problem with the mustang in this thread, is the OP wanted at least a 4dr with some room... A mustang has room for barely the driver and a cup of coffee... and maybe a toothbrush in the back seat.
  • ClutchClutch North Carolina
    edited October 2006
    lol, yeah jhenry I saw he wanted a 4dr but I have never owned any other car but a Mustang, so I'm a little bias, hehe.

    I'm sure the rental company did have a real stock model for you to drive Gargoyle, and yes no keyhole on the passenger side makes it look better IMO, keyless entry rocks. But you guys have tested out the v6's. If you were to drive my GT compared to those pre-school v6's you could tell a difference, hehe.

    If you can find an Nissan Altima to test out that might be something you could try. My sister had one and it had loads of room and pretty good power. She had a 2005, so I dont know if the older models where the same, but I'm sure they keep them about the same.
  • GargGarg Purveyor of Lincoln Nightmares
    edited October 2006
    Yeah, Altimas are pretty good. A friend of mine had a 5-spd and while it handled like a boat, it had plenty of room and decent power. Nissan makes a hell of a V6 in that VQ motor.
  • edited October 2006
    If you are looking for an older car that is excellent on handling and decent on gas, see if you can scare up a Nissan 240SX. Mine averages 25-30 mpg with me driving and it handles really great. Of course I would also recommend it have the 5 speed instead of an auto. :D I think the last year they were imported in the US was 98, but I don't know about PR.
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