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Looking to buy a second vehicle and need some advice. (Long read)

getrdone52

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So here is my situation. I just turned 18 in November and figured it would be a good time to start building my credit and I am in need of another reliable vehicle. I went to the bank and got pre-approved for a $7000 loan at 13.49% interest (high I know) but I don't have a cosign. I would want to pay this vehicle off fairly quickly and was thinking of doing a 36 month payment but pay an extra $100 or so a month an hopefully have the car paid off in two years. I would like to spend around $250 a month. I know that may seem like a lot but I have a pretty good paying job and I don't pay for any other bills. I will be paying for insurance on this though and may have to take the Ranger off insurance for awhile until things kinda even out. (My parents are going through a divorce right now so they are trying to save some money so they want to take it off if they can.) I have almost $3000 cash as a down payment so I was looking for vehicles with in the $8000-$9500 range, and it's been harder than I thought it would be. Any vehicle I buy has to be a 2003 or newer because that is one of the requirements for taking out an auto loan and the insurance has to be full coverage. I started looking around at some dealerships for used cars and found a couple I like but am just not about them because the reviews I read online are mixed.

The first was a 2006 Saab 9-3 2.0T 5 speed manual with 100k miles. It is at a dealership (not a cheap car lot) and they went though everything like new breaks, tires, fluids, and detail. The carfax was clean, it was a Texas car with one owner and I really liked the car. It drove very nice, had some good power and looked good. I was cruising at 70 mph with no problems but I couldn't get the cruise control to work. I don't know if it was user error or it just wasn't working but other than that no problems at all. They want $9,300 "out the door" which I think is a pretty good deal but has no warranty. I started to do some research online and read that some have been known to have electrical problems but was supposedly fixed in 2006. Also I am hesitant about the Saab because they are expensive to fix and many shops won't work on them. Other reviews say it is an awesome car and as long as regular maintenance is done it will run forever. Here is the link to the car
http://www.gocourtesyford.com/index.cfm?vehicle=2006_Saab_9-3&action=InventorySearch&subaction=SearchDetail_gamma&InventoryID=18852825&inventorytype=Used&preauctionsearch=&fromSearchList&PhotoType=1

The second vehicle I am looking at is a 2006 Subaru Impreza 2.5 5 speed manual with 100k miles. This is at a nice car lot and they have a service shop so it was looked over but it isn't as nice as the dealership. I don't know as much about this car, like what all was looked at in their shop because I didn't talk with the salesman for too long (had things to do) but it drove nice and had some good power just like the Saab but this car was a little more cosmetically beat up. It had a couple good dents in it but still looks good. I also didn't get a chance to look at the carfax, I pretty much just showed up, test drove it, and left. I didn't get an "out the door" price but the sticker price is $9,500 and he said he can go down a few hundred. One thing I like more about the Subaru is the AWD system which would be good for snow, it has a 3 month/3,000 mile warranty, and I can be sure that almost any shop will work on it. I heard the the 2.5 had head gasket problems but I'm starting to think it was on the older Subarus because I haven't read of many bad reviews on the Subaru but I have read a lot of good ones. Two of my friends have Subaru's and they love them and haven't had any major problems with them. Here is a link to the car
http://www.southhavanamotorco.net/2006_Subaru_Impreza_166603419.veh

Now I am not locked into getting a Saab or a Subaru I was even looking into getting a Honda Civic/Accord or a Toyota Corolla but when researching those they still have some quirks just like any other vehicle. I figured if this car is gunna be taking up the next few years of my life I want to get something that I like and not something I think is mediocre, but that may end up being the case. I need something 2003 or newer, under 100k or so miles, good city mpg, and preferably a manual for their reliability and they are just more fun to drive and it will be getting driven around 50 miles a day. I'm getting 10 mpg on my truck now and it is just getting beat up and parts keep going out.

Has anybody had experience with a Saab or Subaru? If not what car have you had a good experience with? Any other advice is welcome too. Thanks for reading and helping me out!
 
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alwaysFlOoReD

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I HATE being in debt! I would look at getting a loan for 3000 using the 3000 you already have as collateral. That should bring down the interest rate and you should be able to buy a fairly nice car from mid 90's and up. You aren't as extended with payments in case circumstances change and you still build credit. Also get a credit card and use it for small purchases, making SURE to pay it off EVERY month. This shows the bank you can make payments and you won't pay as much for deterioration and interest. Put the extra you have saved by going this route into savings too.
My .02

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getrdone52

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Ya I'm starting to think that as well. If it were up to me I'd fix up my truck and re gear to get back some mpg's but parents won't let me do that. I think an older toyota or honda will be good for what i'm looking for
 

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I have gotten a few Toyota Camry's over the years for the kids, these are heavier cars so ride nicer, good in the snow and have a little more protection in an accident(parents concern, lol).
The 2.2l 4cyl is still reasonably "peppy" and gets 21/30MPG.
Having 4 doors is also nice sometimes.

You do need to change the timing belt every 70-90k, but not that hard to do.
That's pretty much all I ever had to do.
The ones I got were automatics and never had an issue.

All around a very reliable and popular car; and lots of spare parts in the auto recyclers if you ever need something, lol.

Toyota Nation Forum is a good place to read up on toyota models
 

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If I were in your situation I'd put consideration to just buying an early Focus outright, I don't know what prices are around your area but up here you can get an 01-05 Focus for around $3k, the oldest of those fetching under $2k with high miles. Or what Richard said and use your $3k as collateral. You can get a Focus with a manual transmission...

Or a Ford Fusion, a little more money but you could get V6/AWD for snow traction and still get 25 mpg but you won't get AWD and a manual transmission. To get a manual you have to get 4 cylinder and FWD. My wife has had two and like them (although she liked her 2010 more than her 2012 she currently has). I drive it too sometimes and it's fine for commuting. Good on fuel, 4cyl, FWD, auto and gets about 30 mpg doing 80 mph on the Interstate.
 

getrdone52

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I have gotten a few Toyota Camry's over the years for the kids, these are heavier cars so ride nicer, good in the snow and have a little more protection in an accident(parents concern, lol).
The 2.2l 4cyl is still reasonably "peppy" and gets 21/30MPG.
Having 4 doors is also nice sometimes.

You do need to change the timing belt every 70-90k, but not that hard to do.
That's pretty much all I ever had to do.
The ones I got were automatics and never had an issue.

All around a very reliable and popular car; and lots of spare parts in the auto recyclers if you ever need something, lol.

Toyota Nation Forum is a good place to read up on toyota models
Thanks for the advice! Multiple people have suggested Toyota Corolla/Camry as well so I am going to look into them. Which ever car I get I'll take it to a shop and do a full tune and have them change the timing belt and anything else major that needs replacing. I figure that's another thousand but sounds worth it.

If I were in your situation I'd put consideration to just buying an early Focus outright, I don't know what prices are around your area but up here you can get an 01-05 Focus for around $3k, the oldest of those fetching under $2k with high miles. Or what Richard said and use your $3k as collateral. You can get a Focus with a manual transmission...

Or a Ford Fusion, a little more money but you could get V6/AWD for snow traction and still get 25 mpg but you won't get AWD and a manual transmission. To get a manual you have to get 4 cylinder and FWD. My wife has had two and like them (although she liked her 2010 more than her 2012 she currently has). I drive it too sometimes and it's fine for commuting. Good on fuel, 4cyl, FWD, auto and gets about 30 mpg doing 80 mph on the Interstate.
My mom has a 2011 Fusion and it's nice I love driving it! I was looking into getting one of those as well but they have good resale value around here lol. I was looking at the ford 500 too but I'm thinking a toyota may be the way to go just because there are so many of them and I haven't heard any bad experiences with them. Thank you for helping!
 

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Civic with a manual drive it till it falls apart.
 

94 lngbd

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Honda's before 2000 have timing belts & if they break you might as well get another vehicle as it will destroy the engine as its a interferrence timing belt .so when it breaks the valves hit the pistons.
 

rusty ol ranger

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Honda's before 2000 have timing belts & if they break you might as well get another vehicle as it will destroy the engine as its a interferrence timing belt .so when it breaks the valves hit the pistons.
Interference, Yes.

Guarantee'd to **** everything up, not at all.
Had a friend blow a camshaft in an early-90s civic, and didn't bend anything.

That being said, its always best to service your timing belt before it goes.
 

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I have had very good luck with Volkswagens.

I have owned two golfs, and my friends have owned 3 other golfs and a jetta, and all six of these cars have been great to us.

A nice part of the golfs and jettas is they are both practically the same car, and they are a pretty common car, so the JYs are filled with them.
 

19bonestock88

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For that 3k, you could probably find a decent older Saturn and but it outright, or you could find a decent ION somewhere... All were available with manual trans... If you bought outright, look for a 99-02 SL/SC/SW2 with a stick... Might get lucky and find one with less than 125k miles... And they get close to 40 mpg on highway going 75-80...
 

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for $3k you can buy any number of good used cars. my friend spent $1800 on a 91 nissan 240sx with 118k miles on it. civics are about the same as well as corollas and older camrys. just try to find something that was driven by an older person so you know it wasnt beat to hell and find one with some service history.
 

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