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First time car buyer!

Hello, Im gonna buy my first car pretty soon and I would like some pointers and things to look out for. The car that I would really like to get is a Nissan Xterra , my family doesn’t have a lot of money so we cant drop like 10k on a car like that so i would like to keep it around 6k. The thing is my brother says that I shouldn’t buy an Xterra because of the gas. I know they are SUV’s aren’t the most economical but I would prefer an smaller/mid size SUV other than a smaller car like a civic. Are there any other cars like an Xterra that are a bit better on gas that still are smaller SUV’s. I would like to have that kind of car to go out or offroading. Thats just my preference so I would like help, Thanks!

A nationwide search for a $6,000 Xterra returns 10+ year old vehicles with 80+ thousand miles. Most of them are considerably older and have higher mileage than that.

If you don’t have much money, and you spend 6 grand on a car because that’s all you can afford, you will not have any money to fix the inevitable problems that will crop up with a used car which is that old.

I recommend you get cheap, reliable transportation at this point and save your money for a future Xterra.

Listen to your brother.

On an older car, you should budget about $1000 per year for maintenance. And don’t forget insurance and taxes which could be another $1k.

“better on gas” ? do you mean better fuel economy ? unless you put on a huge number of miles, that’s only a few hundred dollars per year, much less than repairs would be. So go for reliable, not fuel economy.

(12k mi/year at 25 MPG is $960 per year. improving to 30 MPG is $800 per year, saving only $160)

On your budget, you should look for the SUV that is in the best condition for the money you want to spend. The brand is not nearly as important as condition. Midsize SUVs include the RAV4, CR-V, Escape, Equinox, and a few others.

There is not an Xterra in the world that will get 25 mpg with a teen age driver. Besides off roading is not a cheap hobby. As long as you live in your parents home they are the ones you need to be having this conversation with.

Forget the Exterra. You need a small economy car with low miles. Look at Hyundai Accents, Mazda 3, Kia Rondo, If you are on a budget get the simplest car to avoid repairs on expensive extras like 4 wheel drive and complex electronics.

Your brother has more experience and gas consumption will be important if you plan to drive a lot. The major reason for avoiding the Exterra is its complexity and maintenance costs.

Like the others say.
and -
You’re contradicting yourself by saying two completely opposing statements in the same paragraph about having little money but wanting so much more vehicle. ( champagne taste on a soda-pop budget )
so . .IF . .you need your own transportation right this moment and have little money . .buy a little car.
but . .IF . .you want that Xterra real bad . .wait and save up.

Save up more than the purchase price of any vehicle because there’s the insurance cost ( different for each vehicle ) routine maintainence, and future repairs ALL to be considered.

My first bass guitar was 100 dollar Fender jazz bass. Hated its long scale but had to get working.
NOW I have my 1500 dollar Ibanez 5 string and it’s kept me going for thirty years.

Listening to your brother is a good start. You also reference going off-roading and need to realize that alone is going to translate to more maintenance and repairs; some of them potentially very expensive.

Call an insurance agent and ask for a quote on an Xterra with you as the owner/driver. That may widen your eyes a bit.

The older Xterra’s get really poor mpg, your brother is correct on this one. Do you need to go off road, or do you just like the idea of going off road? A basic Toyota Corolla will costs less, and get 3X the mpg so you can actually afford to drive it.

Truly, and Xterra will get just barely over 10 mpg city driving and will not get over 20 mpg on a pure interstate highway trip. The overall mpg is about 12 to 14 mpg.

My first car that I bought w/my own money was a 4WD truck, and I have to say I definitely enjoyed all the places that truck took me that I couldn’t have gone otherwise. And I still have that truck. Besides the other good ideas above, OP might consider a used 4WD truck with a camper shell too.

I actually did need an off road car in my early 20’s and ended up restoring a 1940’s Jeep Willy’s. I made money selling it later.

I agree with others, listen to your brother/family. Start saving your money for something better later in life.

Don’t ask me. My first car was a 1960 Morris Minor I paid $125 for. It was a great education. I learned where all the English parts places were in Minneapolis, how to order parts mail order, how to deal with a body shop, and how to be a good salesman when I sold it.

@Bing … just curious, since you have experience with the MM, and you probably heard the recent puzzler, do you think one would make it across the cape code peninsula powered only by the starter motor? I know that’s a pretty narrow strip of land, so maybe you’d only have a go a few miles to traverse it. And the MM fairly light weight; but still it seems like trying to drive a MM using only the starter motor would cause it to overheat pretty rapidly.

I didn’t hear the puzzler but I doubt you’d be able to go much more than a couple blocks or a half mile with a starter motor. Actually I did it in our 58 Chevy station wagon in our driveway. It moves but very slowly and the battery wouldn’t last that long and the starter would over heat. My view anyway.

Lets just say I’m also dubious … lol