growing up - getting a car

in General Discussion edited January 2014
My graduation from college has forced me to do what I have put off for a long time; get a car.

In Texas one is also expected to have a car, people look at you as if you are missing a limb or two if you tell them you have no car. I view them as overrated (in terms of necessity) and overpriced, but life breaks us all.

I am a public transportation guy, and were it not for other people's aversion to using it, I would live my entire life using public transportation. I have always loathed the idea of owning a car to drive everywhere, but my job prospects are forcing me to consider the option.

Give me some recommendations people. I am looking under $20k, not necessarily new but with lowish mileage. I would like to get to 60mph in under 5 minutes, as well.

So far I am thinking 2002ish Accord or new Civic.



  • Reply 1 of 146
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    Better yet, don't go for image, blow 4-5K on a 8-10 year old Civic---Honda engines sound like sewing machines, but they run FOREVER.

    ....don't be afraid of going into the 150-200k miles range.
  • Reply 2 of 146
    johnqjohnq Posts: 2,763member
    I feel for ya groverat.

    I'm 36, never owned a car and only ever drove once. Boston is a great place for public transportation (as far as omnipresence not quality or frequency but that's what books are for).

    Never needed a car. Can't understand the obsession.

    Actually I do love cars themselves. If I ever become the Omega Man and can drive around empty cities, maybe I'd think about getting a car.

    Has had zero effect on love life too, by the way. Just have been lucky to be with women that hate the car-obsessive lifestyle equally. City dwellers do pretty well without cars.

    But if ya really really need one...what the heck.

    My roomate swears by his Accura.

    Have you though of moving?
  • Reply 3 of 146
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    I am afraid of going into the 150k-200k mile range. I am not going to get a car I will have for 3 years. Any car I buy will have to last at least 10. I know that Hondas and Toyotas are bulletproof, that's why I am looking for them.

    It is certainly not about image. My dream car is a Volvo wagon. I wouldn't even know what image to project.
  • Reply 4 of 146
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    John Q:

    I am moving... to a worse situation. The fiancee (wife in October) has a great job lined up in Houston for next May.

    Houston is worse than Austin for public transportation, I think it is the 2nd largest city in the US land-wise and you must have a car. It might even be worse than LA like that, maybe not.

    I like the Acuras, too, but those are too spendy for me.
  • Reply 5 of 146
    tmptmp Posts: 601member
    LA's not that bad. I leave my car at hoem most of the time. Even on weekends, the time I spent waiting for a bus is time I would have spent fighting for parking on the 3rd street promenade or the Grove. Of course, the pitying looks I get from people looking as I am waing at the corner of Santa Monica and Alta......

    How much driving do you intend to do? You can get a early 2000-ish Volvo for less than 20k, looking at the Houston Chronicle website's want ads.

    I've got a Civic, but I don't consider it my dream car- it's reliable, and good in city traffic, but darty and and not well planted on the freeway.

    Just don't get a VW. Their quality is in the crapper.
  • Reply 6 of 146
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    The social pressure to get a car is ridiculous.

    I am with you on the VW. Those things look cool as hell but I would rather buy a Hyundai. The fiancee's dream car is a loaded Passat, maybe that would be more reliable than a bug or the Jetta.

    I'm almost dead set on a V-6. I drive hard.
  • Reply 7 of 146
    kraig911kraig911 Posts: 912member
    Dude, I just bought a corolla from Champion Toyota on the motormile?®! for 12,500 its good yeah yeah I know but seriously you don't need a v6 here in Austin, everyone says they drive hard, but if you're aren't hauling big crap around you just don't need one plain and simple. Sides I get hella good gas mileage. Anyways I kind of like it, after everything I financed like 13,7 so it wasn't a bad deal. I'm not big into cars like you, but I grew up in places where there wasn't public transportation (i.e. West Texas) so I rode a bike with flat tires everywhere in the winter up hill while carrying 60lbs, ok so I'm exaggerating but dude check them out, I get a referral fee I'll split with you or spend with you over some beers.
  • Reply 8 of 146
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    I went to Champion and Howdy Honda earlier today and checked out their used stuff. Champion's used selection is crap. Two Camrys and a pale blue Matrix, lame. Didn't check out the new car section.

    If you really get a referral fee I will keep you in mind if I get something from there.

    I'm going to hit up a bunch of the used car lots like Chapman Motor Sales and such. And yes, I will tell them Kimmarie Lynn sent me. (inside Austin joke)
  • Reply 9 of 146
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    I hesitate to make any suggestions to you since my wedding photographer debacle. Here goes anyway. I drive a Ford Taurus, with which I am pretty satisfied as being a ?good value for the money? car. It is an especially good value used.

    Pros are its low purchase price (again, used), very good handling (for a large car), full standard features, comfortable (firm) ride, reasonable gas mileage (on the highway) and reasonable reliability.

    Cons are that its reliability is only reasonable ? compared to the excellent reliability offered by Japanese cars - and its crappy gas mileage for city driving (it is just too heavy to be efficient in stop and start traffic). It also may be a bigger car than you want/need at this point.

    Japanese cars are great, but I find that their used prices are outrageous and are not worth the money even when you factor in better reliability. Also, I generally don?t like the handling of Japanese cars on the highway. Most European cars seem to have great handling and ride all around, but are no more reliable than most U.S. models and are overpriced. I agree that you should stay well away from VWs: made in Europe pricing for a made in sweatshop quality.

    But those are just my assessments. I strongly recommend that you get the annual automobile issue of Consumer Reports (I think that this is now on the newsstand) and make your own evaluation.
  • Reply 10 of 146
    in huston you will need all six cylinders, and then some. that place is nutty. driving around in an under powered 4 banger will just get you run over. nothing wrong going used, especially the jap cars, however, you might get a pretty good interest rate on a new one seeing how your going to be a recent graduate. by the way, my condolences on you having to move there.
  • Reply 11 of 146
    thttht Posts: 3,931member
    As an ex-pat Minnesotan living in Houston, groverat, I empathise. You will absolutely need to get a car if you will be living in Houston. The metro bus system and the just-born light rail (ie, still not very useful) will get you from place to place, just not very comfortably. If you live and work in the right places, it just may work.

    The big problem with Houston is that from May to September, the weather is 95 deg F, 70+% humidity, and random showers. Walking the mile or two between bus stations will be very unconfortable, possibly dangerous. Where I work, we even offer to drive people from the office to their cars if one is parked close.

    Mazda 3s: 2.3L I4, 160hp w/5 speed manual, $17k. Like a Civic or a Corolla, but not boring.

    Mini Cooper S: 1.6L I4 supercharged, 163hp w/5 speed manual, $20k. The non-S version will be ~$2k less. Handles like a BMW, but the 4 seater really is just a 2 seater.

    If you buy used... there are too many options to list.
  • Reply 12 of 146
    gongon Posts: 2,437member

    it'd be nice to hear more about this "social pressure" to have a car... if you mean something else than that your new home doesn't have good public transport.

    I've been looking at cars myself, features roughly in this order: reliability-price-performance. Subaru and Honda are very good in these respects, they are near the top of the list in German TÜV reliability rankings along with the likes of Porsche. Even if you don't go for the top-of-the-line engines but settle for a little less, you'll keep up with traffic no prob, and save a lot. If 4WD's are of interest to you then any Impreza should be good.

    Basic questions - do you want auto or manual? FWD/RWD/4WD? Why a V6? (okay, you say you drive hard, but for instance the Civic Type R and Impreza WRX give you power/weight = acceleration *far* over most V6's... meanwhile, base model Civic with VTEC would save a lotta gas) 2 or 4 doors? 2 or 4 seats? What kind of cargo space / car form factor?
  • Reply 13 of 146
    thttht Posts: 3,931member
    By the way, are you aware of the insurance costs here? If they are worse in Austin, my condolences to Austin residents.
  • Reply 14 of 146
    hardheadhardhead Posts: 644member
    Groverat, it is possible to be something of a car nut and also a responsible citizen. I use public transportation (what there is in the greater Los Angeles area...) as much as possible, which I admit, isn't very often. However, in So Cal, if your any kind of businessman, you HAVE to have your own transportation. Unfortunately, fact of life in this part of the country.

    That being said, and having owned over 30 cars in my life from the US and various countries, my '87 Honda is the MOST reliable car I have ever owned. It's the car I have kept the longest.

    It's economical, handles well and has some guts! Never have to worry about jumping on the freeway with California's speed obsessed driving public. My next new car will be another Honda.

    Ps. The Z comes out from under the cover in the garage about 1 month's worth out of the year. High maintainance and upkeep cost's for a poorman's version of a "supercar"...
  • Reply 15 of 146
    fellowshipfellowship Posts: 5,038member
    Just got home from the Acura dealership. Trading in the gas guzzler for an Acura RSX Type S. Lovely car! The dealer is having it shipped in from another dealer for the color I went with. Black on Black leather. I have decided I wanted a car with at least twice the fuel milliage of the Dodge Ram truck and that is what I have done with the Acura RSX Type S. The car is a true drivers car. I have known other people who love their Honda cars and Acura is the same company as Honda. I can't wait for the car to come in.

    I got a great trade in value for my Truck and came way off Retail MSRP on the Acura.

    Grove I saw above in one of your posts you think you want a V6 for a lot of power etc...

    Let me say the 200 HP VTEC engine on this small car is much more than you would ever expect in this car. The Type S has a 6 speed stick and does it drive like a rocket or what!

    Regular "Non" Type S RSX cars start new at about 19,000 I believe. Great for the money.

    Best wishes Grove.... My 2 cents is... if you are not too thrilled to have to get a car is to get one that is a pleasure and a blast to drive..

    I would direct you to the Acura RSX Type S

    Take a look at this Link to the RSX Type S

    When you get there be sure to click the link labeled "click here" to see more about the Type S version of the RSX.

    Peace Brother and Best Wishes on your car hunt!

  • Reply 16 of 146
    kraig911kraig911 Posts: 912member
    if you have to buy used dude, check out apple leasing's used selections. All the cars supposedly are 2 years old, and coaxed to perfection as they provided free oil changes and carwashes. After two years they sell them 500 above list supposedly.
  • Reply 17 of 146
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Hondas are very overpriced. Explore your options, do research. The last thing we need is another boring Civic on the road with a driver who paid too much.
  • Reply 18 of 146
    baumanbauman Posts: 1,248member
    I say Honda - They are bulletproof. I currently own a 270k mile '86 Accord, and it does me just fine. I don't even worry a cent when driving the 600+ miles back home.

    Secondly, I had a friend who thought he needed a V6, and got a Camry V6. Now, he's regretting it. It guzzles gas incredibly quickly. Small cars really don't need a V6... just so long as they have a half-decent engine.
  • Reply 19 of 146
    kennethkenneth Posts: 832member
    I will be graduated from college next year and currently not owning any car.

    I like the Acura TSX... well..

    anyway.. back to subject.

    How about the Scion xA? It should be pretty good in the city. The Nissan Sentra is not a bad choice of the Scion is not yet available in your area.

    what's that? "I would like to get to 60mph in under 5 minutes, as well."
  • Reply 20 of 146
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    What? No one wants to buy an American car?

    Where's the patriotism? :eek:

    *ducks away from angry crowd*

    (For the record, I own a 95 Jeep from when Chrysler used to be an American company and the latest car someone in my family purchased was from GM).
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