Forum: Advice / Cars & Driving

First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By DeStijlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 04:34 AM
Edited by DeStijl (100082) on 2012-07-23 04:37:54

I've been driving a 13 year old Nissan Pulsar since I got my license. It was beat up when I got it and has now done well over 200, 000 km. Its old and weary. I'm pouring money into it just to keep it on the road through old wear and tear and its just not worth it anymore.

Next year I'll be turning 25 and I've decided its time for an 'adult' car. I wont be purchasing until April next year, and my budget is sitting at approximately 20- 22 grand, and there are a few things I want.

1. It has to be a four door automatic.

2. Its going to be the only car I own probably for the next 15 years since I see this as a huge once off investment. so I'd like it to be accommodating for future baby seats and medium sized dogs. ;)

3. I live in a small city, but my partner and I travel off road a fair bit onto dirt tracks down South , so I've been looking at 4WD'S. However, I am much more comfortable driving a smaller vehicle, so I'm looking at smaller ones (I've had my eye on the Suzuki SX4, for example) - I cant see myself driving something beastly and huge, but being able to handle some rough terrain would be a major plus.

I'm not really into cars. It is exciting to be thinking about not driving my beloved bomb anymore, but I don't really know what else is on the market that might suit what I'm looking for. Any suggestions?

I'm not totally hooked on the idea of purchasing it brand new, either. I know that new cars decrease in value the moment you drive them off the lot, and I don't really know how to justify that. I'm open to looking at a second hand car with low milage from a reputable dealer, but again, I'm kind of 'meh' either way, so any advice there would be good too.

Thanks in advance!

14 Replies to First 'new' car - need your suggestions!

re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By SLBdancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 02:31 PM
I'm the same age as you and also thinking about buying my first car. I have a Honda Fit in mind, it may meet your standards as well. Take a look at it :). . . .
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By Spiorad
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 04:59 PM
I'm not a car expert or anything but I just wanted to say that last month when my brother, grandfather and I went on vacation we rented a Honda Fit and absolutely HATED it.

Especially me since I had to be in the back. It is so flippin small that putting four doors on it is a scam. It really should have just been two doors for the amount of room that is actually in the back. I'm pretty short (5'1) and I had NO leg room and it was just super cramped and uncomfortable.

Obviously you'll test drive it and all I just wanted to throw my opinion out there.

I'm looking for a car too actually. It is such a pain in the bum!
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 05:04 PM
I've heard very favorable reviews of the Toyota Camry. My sister has one and adores it. They're actually a little tough to find used, because they're indestructable (or so I'm told...)

My cousin drives a Honda CRV and is pretty convinced it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to her life. And she has bad luck, accident wise, and the car is still in good shape.

I currently drive a Chevy Equinox, which can comfortably house a car seat or a dog, does alright by gas milage (it's not great for city, but if you're driving for distance, it does much better), and they're evidentally long lasting, because everyone that I know that's ever driven one has kept it a long time.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By Meganmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 05:25 PM
One thing to think about in the new vs used debate is warranty, too. I ended up getting a new car because it came with a pretty comprehensive 5 year warranty, and my father wanted me to have things fixed easily without him around. So when I had brake issues and whatever in the fourth year of owning my car, it was fixed for free and that was awesome. However, some used cars, if you buy from a dealership, may have some warranty on them too, so that's worth checking into.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions! (karma: 1)
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 05:58 PM
You can buy a used car with a warranty. And the most cost-effective way to buy a car is to look for a used car from this season or last with very few miles on it. Even if you buy it brand new, you can save a lot by looking for last year's model (it's best to do this as soon as the new models are delivered). My only other suggestion is NOT to finance your car through the dealership (seriously!!). Get your own financing though a bank or credit union. Here's a link that should answer most of your questions.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 06:00 PM
I'm not familiar with all the cars available in Australia. I will presume the major Japanese brands are there. We, of course, have never seen a Hobart.

I drive a Toyota Camry and my daughter has had two of them, each with a couple hundred thousand miles of good service. She now has a Toyota Sienna...essentially the same thing but a "kid hauler" in a mini-van configuration. Also based on the Camry mechanics is the Toyota Highlander SUV which my wife drives...also intended to be a "kid hauler" for whenever we have our grandsons. The Highlander DOES have the four wheel drive feature. We've never used it off-road, but we've been through some heavy snow storms with it. Toyota also make a smaller SUV called the RAV-4. I've never been in one. (Some of these model names may be different in the USA than they are in other countries and some models aren't marketed here at all. We saw, for example, Toyota Ago, a very small car, but essential in a place (Iceland) where gas is US$8.00+ a gallon. I'm not aware of any 4WD Camry sedans. Mine is front wheel drive. I have a 4 cylinder but they also have a 6 cylinder as well as a gas/electric hybrid. I've had 14 Toyotas between my wife and myself over the past 35 years and I would not have bought that many if I hadn't liked them. About the biggest problem I ever had aside from something either self-induced or expected maintenance with them is that the knob fell off the clock on the first one I owned. With digital clocks now, they don't have knobs.

re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By J1ll
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 06:39 PM
The Ford Fusion is the lowest priced car with AWD on the US market.
Aside from that only luxury sedans offer them. My husband just bought an Audi that he loves. It had 4,000 miles on it because it had been used as a loaner through the service department. However because of that 4,000 miles he paid $10,000 less than sticker.
For small SUV's the Toyota Rav 4, Honda CRV and VW Tiguan are good reliable go to's. The new Jeep is built on the Mercedes platform so it has nice styling and detail. By the time you're ready to buy you may find a Used one in your range.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By Tansey
On Mon Jul 23, 2012 07:46 PM
I absolutely love my Toyota Camry and would highly recommend. It's fine on dirt roads in the country. Not sure what your dirt tracks are like. I also love the Toyota Highlander. As Jon said, it's the SUV version of the Camry. Drives just like a Camry but has 4WD. Highlanders have a higher clearance underneath so if you're really off-roading you might prefer that. My Camry would bottom out if I tried anything rougher than a dirt road.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By oz_helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:23 AM
Our Mazda 323 held up quite nicely doing some off-road driving in Tasmania, so I don't think it's necessary to get a 4WD unless you're going to be doing a lot of hard core off-road driving. The rego and insurance on a 4WD is also a lot higher than a regular sedan, so that's going to be an ongoing cost you need to consider.

We bought our car new (was previous year's model and heavily discounted) almost ten years ago and it's still going fine, though we'll probably have to replace it in 3-5 years. The new version is the Mazda 3 and apparently is a very good car. Unless you're going to have three kids in baby seats at the same time, a small to medium sized sedan is plenty large enough for a family.

re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By xBallet_babex
On Tue Jul 31, 2012 03:51 AM
A small jeep might work for you, but I'm not the biggest jeep fan. I think by "new jeep" they meant Grand Cherokee which is fantastic, but that is NOT a small vehicle, its a full sized SUV. The Compass, Patriot and the Dodge Caliber are the small ones and basically the same vehicle with a different exterior. They do come with 4wd option though. Other stuff has been mentioned, but I haven't seen Subaru yet. They have relatively small vehicles and have AWD options. I know someone that really loves their Impreza Wagon, but I think it's younger more trendy vehicle that you might not like the styling of 10 years from now. It's worth looking at their other models though.

I like Honda in general and I hated the Fit. I felt like there was a big lag from the time you punched the gas pedal to when the car started going. Also, if you are looking for a car to last 15 years, you don't want something super funky and trendy because in 3 years you might not like the "cool" styling or trendy colors anymore. That's why I didn't buy a Ford Fiesta either.

Ford is doing really well right now. Everyone I know that has a Fusion really likes it. It shares a platform with the Mazda 6 I believe so you could look into that too. I'm partial to VW (and audi) because the interior is just amazing. They are expensive to repair when things do go wrong though. There are pros and cons for all cars, but you'll know you've found the right one when you sit in it and it feels like home.

Definitely get a used one that's 1-2 years old and low mileage. Someone else takes the hit for depreciation and you still get the warranty. I did that with my last car and I plan to do that with all my cars from now on.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By pokomember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Aug 23, 2012 06:56 AM
These days, because cars depreciate so's not always the best option to think of them as a long term investment. But it all depends on your current situation etc, but just keep that in mind.

* Avoid manufacturers where parts are hard to obtain in Australia, or servicing costs a bomb...i.e VW, Audi, etc.

* You'll always pay more for an automatic.

* - A good site to compare cars, their value etc on and what their average KMs are for when you're buying second hand.

* I think brands like Subaru (They have a heap of great AWD options, the boy and I are currently looking into the Forrester Wagons...not SoccerMum looking, but practical for lugging our football gear and BMXs around), Hyundai (They're i30s are great, and have released a heap of great 4WD which are really economical), and Toyota/Honda are also great choices, both known to be very reliable.

* If you're looking for a Small 4WD, a Rav 4 is a great option. My mum has one, and Ive driven it a lot over the last 5 years and it's great! Zippy, good on fuel but rugged enough to handle the speed bumps, off road (to a limit) and heaps of room inside.

I bought my first "adult" car last year however I'm selling mine...It was a great deal I got it for, and was good for when I literally drove it 5 minutes to work each day....but now I'm lugging event gear, bikes, football equipment...and it's just not practical for my little car. Car shopping is heaps of fun! Enjoy :)
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By Gioiamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Aug 24, 2012 02:00 AM
Look through lists at places like KBB, edmunds and consumer reports to see what cars were top rated. Consider buying right when the 2013 models come out (this is about the time of year that happens), you can get 2012 models with no previous owners at a large discount or slightly used models at really great price. I got my Hyundai Santa Fe that way and will go that route when it is time for my next car, nothing beats the value. Speaking of, I really do love my car, but there is really nothing special about it worth recommending.

I know that the Toyota RAV4 tops the consumer reports list of small SUVs. It is a great car, but it was too expensive for me when I was shopping around. The Nissan Xterra is very popular for some offroading, but gives you more versatility than, say, a Jeep Wrangler. You might find this list helpful . . .
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By imadanseurPremium member
On Fri Aug 24, 2012 02:25 AM
I just took a financial seminar and we were flirting with the idea of getting me a newer car and after being given about 20 reasons why that was dumb we have done a complete 180, so I'll pass on the biggest reasons that we reconsidered.

First lesson we learned is to NOT buy depreciating assets on credit. You pay a ridiculous amount of extra money (basically throwing it away) when you finance cars. A car will depreciate between 30% - 40% in 2 years.

We figured out that if we invested the amount of money we'd pay in interest we'd be much further ahead. In the meantime that means sacrificing awhile while we save cash for a car, and I may not get my dream car. Having more money on the back end for investments and retirement at our age is far more important.
re: First 'new' car - need your suggestions!
By SLBdancermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Aug 24, 2012 03:45 AM
Just out of curiousity, why did you all NOT like the Honda Fit?

I am still pretty set on it, I have looked at quite a few cars already. I test drove the fit and loved it, and I am in love with the blue raspberry color. It will be my first new car, and it will just be me in it the majority of the time. But I will probably not buy yet, because my old accord that we have had forever drives just fine and I love it too. I just wanted to know the reasons you all didn't like it to decide if it would change my mind at all. Thanks!


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