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Maybe a new car

Our Toyota Camry, 1995, is having transmission issues. It’s still being checked out, but if the fix is more than 1.5K, I think we’re going to be looking around. In fact, I already am looking around.

We don’t really want to spend more than 18K, so the forst question is new or used? Our other car, a Subaru, is a 2005. We don’t want to be having to replace two cars within four years of eachother. I wonder if an '08 is as good as or better a choice than an '09.

Is this a good time to buy a used or new car? Should we wait?

How come cash purchase doesn’t make as much difference as it used to? The Toyota guy said cash isn’t king any more. And I thought Toyota was nervous.

I also thought a bigger car was a better insurance deal than a small one, but the GEICO quote showed that a Forester is not noticeably different from the Outback Sport, or even the Toyota Matrix, for this area.

I’m beginning to think that we should just choose some car that is fairly well-reputed and not worry a whole lot about the rest.

We’re not really looking at American cars, but I’m starting to hear some complaints about Toyotas. Should we re-think it?

We want all the stuff everyone else wants: low miles, good fuel economy, good safety ratings, below average maintenance expense, and not too much money to buy.

We want AC and safety features and cruise, but don’t need stuff like moonroofs, spoilers, fancy sound systems.

I hate shopping for cars.

Dealers always like to finance, they make money on it. As for what car, buy the car buyers guide from Consumer Reports, review it, see what you like. Lotsa cars for $18k.

I agree with Texases. Stop by the bookstore and pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide. That’ll be your best first step.

Happy test driving.

I agree with Texases. Consumer Reports is a good place to do research regarding vehicle reliability and real-world fuel mileage.

There are LOTS of good used cars in the $18K range. You should have no problem finding something that suits your needs.

The Toyota salesperson said “cash isn’t king anymore” because he wanted you to finance. They make money on the financing, but in this climate, I GUARANTEE you, cash is king, and you shouldn’t believe what the salespeople say.

Car dealers are DESPERATE for cash, and if you have it you can make a hell of a deal. NEVER believe anything a car salesperson says. I say this because I’m a former car salesperson, and I’ve seen the way it works.

It’s YOUR money, and it’s your job to keep as much of it as you can. The car salesperson’s job is to get as much of your money an he or she can, by any means. They have been trained to do this. You have NOT been trained to resist, but you must if you don’t want to be taken.

This is a GREAT time to be shopping for a car, new or used. Sales have fallen through the floor, and you can, if you’re lucky, get the deal of a lifetime. Just DON’T believe what the salespeople say. They will act like nothing is wrong, even though they haven’t sold anything in a LONG time. Don’t fall for it.

YOU must control the transaction. YOU have the money, which puts you in control. Don’t let them take control away from you, which is what they are trained to do.

The Forester is a whole different animal from the Outback and even the Matrix.
Ford has come a long way in recent years, as has Hyundai. A new Focus or Elantra can be had, brand new, for under 18k. You could probably negotiate a new Fusion or Sonata to 18k since it’s a buyer’s market.

With $3500.00 cash back on a ford Fusion it puts it right in your price range $16500- $17500 and also seems to meet all your criteria. Its basically a Mazda.

I have thought seriously of buying one to retire my 95 Stratus. It will be a manual transmission one if I do decide to Buy.

I’m with texases and mcp.

After three months of searching (driving around and using the internet) I found a vehicle I was looking for, but I thought the price a little high for a 2004 Toyota Matrix XR.

After test driving on rough side roads and highway for almost an hour, I went back to the dealership.
The salesman was all excited because I had been gone so long.

Toyota wants the salesperson to ride with the customer due to insurance reasons. Oh well.
Anyway, during the course of conversation, the question of payment came up.

Like has been mentioned in other posts here, they asked if I wanted to finance.
Nah, I haven’t financed anything since I paid off my house mortgage 12 years ago.
He never even batted an eye. Until I told him I wasn’t about to pay their asking price either.

He says the price has already been slashed by $600.
That’s fine, I said, now slash it by another $600 and I’ll take it.

Wait a minute, we can’t do that! Oh, ok, I reckon I’ll have to look around some more then.
I got up to leave thanking him for his time, as I did he asked me for my phone number. Why? I’m going to talk to the manager and see what I can do.

I said fine, but I’m still going to leave, you can leave me a message on my home answering machine, and I walked out.

This dealer is almost an hour away from my place and according to the machine message, I was about 1/2 way home when he called.

They said they would only come down $100 more. OK, nice talking to you and hung up.
Now, I’m thinking, lets see how long it takes. IF hungry, it won’t be more than a few days.
Four days later he called again and said I had a deal at my price plus taxes.

I gave him a bank draft for the full amount and drove off happy. During all the time I spent researching, I compared the vehicles for options, mileage and price so I had a good idea at what I might wind up with.

They still made money and I saved, so we were both happy, even after he said I was a tough customer.

I told him it was MY money and up to me how I wanted to spend it.

Moral of the story? Money talks. Don’t let anyone fool you.

That was two and a half months ago and the car runs like new and the best part? THe wife loves it!

You can shop on line at most, if not all dealers. You should be able to find a new compact or a new mid size car with spartan trim for $18,000. Look at or for new car pricing. Once you find a car appointed the way you want, you willalso have an idea for or what people are actually paying near you for similar cars.

When you go for a test drive, tell them that you are interested in buying a car, but don’t act sold on that particular one. If you tell them it’s the only one within 200 miles that meets your requirements, they’ll want you to pay MSRP. Don’t talk price first - let them do it. You can mention other cars you like and will compare it to. Unless it’s a very popylar car, you should be able to get it for a couple hundred over invoice and maybe less. Remeber to find out if there ae any rebates or dealer incentives. You should get rebates off after you negotiate the price. You must include dealer incentives in you rnegotiation. They ae delaer money, not customer money.

Personally I would buy a 2006/2007 used car that has had a large amount of depreciation already done. Some (decent) vehicles with around 40k miles lose around 50% of list price in that time period.

It is a buyers market. Remember the most expensive thing about a new car is depreciation.

Thanks for some GREAT advice, people. and its community rock.