CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Buying a new car? NEED MAJOR HELP!

I’m getting ready to purchase a new car. I have owned two cars in my seven years of driving. One of which was given to me on my sixteenth birthday by my parents, it was a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, it had 102,000 miles on it when I got it, and it was in good condition. I was on my way home from a friends house late one night when I was hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light, he totaled my beloved first car, just as I was getting ready to head off to cosmetology school. I decided that I couldn’t live by myself and not have a car, so I collected my insurance money, and went to one of those small used car lots, and not knowing anything about cars, I just picked out the car by color. I ended up buying a 1998 Acura Integra Special Edition (meaning it has 4 doors instead of 2), it was green and had 200,000 miles on it. I graduated from cosmetology school in the end of 2006 and I didn’t sell the car like planned, because it was just supposed to get me through school. I’ve come to the decision that its time to sell it, and move up in the car world. I’m really not good with cars, so some help would be appreciated. I need a car that is preferably 4-doors, and gets good gas mileage, and I’m only looking to spend between $6,500 to $8,000. If you have any ideas on what kinda car I should look at I’d really appreciate it, cause I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. And I apologize for writing a book.



Thanks,



Chanel

Given your budget and your desire for good gas mileage, I would recommend a Hyundai Elantra. It is essentially as fuel efficient as a Honda Civic, is reliable, and will cost considerably less than a Honda Civic of the same model year. In other words, for the same price, you can buy a Hyundai Elantra that is one or two years newer than a Civic, and this would likely also have a lot fewer miles on the odometer, since it will be newer. This would be a practical choice, IMHO.

I agree with VDCdriver. An Elantra is an ideal choice. Other possible vehicles to consider include the Hyundai Accent, which can be had with 4 doors, and given your budget, you can probably get an 06 or 07 Accent in good nick for $8000. Also, I’d look at the Mazda 3 or 6, as well as a Toyota Echo.

Of course, is there any reason you want to get rid of your Integra? If it’s still in decent condition and runs well, I’d just stick with what you have. It’s cheaper, generally, to repair the car you have than to buy a new one. You may be better off putting money into a high interest savings account than buying a new vehicle.

Thanks for your help, I’m going to go look at Hyundai Elantra’s today. =]

I appreciate your help,

Chanel

I’m going to look at Elantra’s and Accent’s today. I might stop and look at the Toyota Echo if I feel the need too, but I’m not to fond of the exterior of the car, but I don’t want to be too picky either. There is no reason I want to get rid of my Integra, I’ve had a couple problems with it the last couple months, such as the interior lights on the dash board all went out, and eventually they just came back on. The car was also leaking anti freeze, or at least that’s what I think it was, making the car over heat after being driven for five minutes. The problem has been fixed, but I’m just afraid more problems like this are going to start to happen. Oh, and the car is starting to rust.

Thanks for your help,

Chanel

http://www.carbuyingtips.com

Toyotas command a premium and will sell for more money than a Chevy or Ford of the same year. On that note, check out a Toyota clone like the Pontiac Vibe or Chevy Prizm. The vibe is a Matrix with a different front end and the Prizm is a Corolla with a Chevy badge on it and thus will be cheaper to buy used than their Toyota counterparts.

Nissan Sentra or Altima will do the job too…

Okay, so today I went out and test drove some Hyundai’s. And I got it down to two different cars to choose from. I know you guys recommended that I look at Elantra’s, so I did, but I was also wandering the lot when I came across a XG300, and I actually test drove that too, it doesn’t get as good of gas mileage, but that’s okay with me. Here are some facts about the two cars.

Black, 2005 Hyundai Elantra, 38,000 miles on it, its a 4 cylinder gasoline, and its a 2 wheel drive - front.

Blue, 2001 Hyundai XG300, 53,923 miles on it, its a 6 cylinder gasoline, and its also a 2 wheel drive - front.

I know the XG300 is older and has more miles on it, but I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that, I just want to make sure neither of the cars are like horrible, and I should stay far away from them, so please just let me know, its much appreciated.

Oh and the XG300 is $7,999 and the Elantra is $8,495.

Which means I’d save $495 which for me thats a lot of money.

Thanks,

Chanel

The XG300 was an early attempt by Hyundai to market a more luxurious model. Unfortunately, that model will deliver relatively poor gas mileage. And, probably more important, the XG300 does not have the same level of reliability of the Hyundais that came along a few years later, and is actually not a very reliable model.

Also, the relatively low odometer mileage on that XG300 means that it was driven less than 8,000 miles per year. That could indicate that the car was subjected to a lot of local driving (rather than highway driving), and that type of service is not good for a car, as it leads to increased engine wear unless the oil is changed very frequently and this also leads to early failure of the exhaust system.

Personally, I would avoid any XG300 in general, and especially that particular one.

I 2nd VDCdriver’s reply. Aside from the XG300’s poor fuel mileage, the earlier Hyundai cars definitely don’t have the same reliability of similar models from recent years. I believe their reliability curve began to turn around in the 2003/4 timeframe - but that timeframe is only my unscientific observation. I’m sure others will weigh in.

Remember the asking price is just a starting point. Research the price & negotiate it down.

Also note that the XG300 has a timing belt replacement (around $500) due at 60K miles. If I were to purchase this vehicle, I would get the timing belt replacement done as part of the deal, now, rather than 7K miles later. It appears the Elantra does not have a timing belt, so that issue doesn’t come up when you consider long term maintenance.

Agree; avoid the XG300, as per above posts. Parts for this car will be very expensive when you need them; it was a very slow seller, and no after market parts exist.

If you’re looking at the larger Hyundai line, look for a newer Azera, it came after the XG300

Vibe’s typically sell for the sam price ans Matrices. But Prizms are usually a lot less than Corollas.

If you can find an Azera for the OP’s stated budget of $8,000. or less, please let me know! From what I have observed, '06 Azeras (the first year of their manufacture) sell for somewhere above $14,000.

A front wheel drive V-6 will be a lot more expensive to maintain than a 4 cyl. I’d go 4 cyl if you don’t need the power. I have also had good experience with Mazda. A used Protege will get you great mileage.

Okay, sorry I’ve been doing a ton of car shopping this week/weekend, and I thought I’d fill you guys in on my new purchase. On Friday my father flew out to California to visit with me and help me purchase a car, because I told him I was having a hard time finding the car I wanted for my price range. So him and my mom talked it over and as my birthday present (my birthdays on the Sep. 4th) they were gonna pay for part of my car, so we did a bit of car shopping still in the Hyundai model, but I was stuck between which car I preferred. Well on Sunday, August 17th, my father and I headed into the Hyundai dealership and made a purchase of a 2006 Hyundai Azera. Its Dark Blue, and has 23,249 miles on it. I’ve realized that the gas mileage won’t be as good as a Elantra or my old 98’ Acura Integra, but thats okay with me, because I absolutely love this car. I drove it to work today, and had a lot of fun with it on the freeway.

I just wanted to thank all of you for your help, without you guys, I would’ve never had thought to look at Hyundai’s, so thanks for helping me pick my car. =]

Chanel

Enjoy your “new” Azera, Chanel! My brother has one and he is extremely happy with it. I have driven it, and I found it to be a very impressive car, selling for a reasonable price. There must be a reason why Consumer Reports favored it over the more-expensive Toyota Avalon!