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New car?

I’m moving from NY to Miami at the end of the week and have no idea what kind of car to get. I’ve always driven 240 Volvo sedans (I’ve had 3) but they are just too old and too expensive to maintain at this point. So now having been carless for almost two years, the market is wide open and I need some help figuring out what to get.

I’m in a very aesthetic field where image is important and as a California girl I know you are what you drive, so the look and feel of the car has to be just right. Many have suggested a Prius, which fits in my budget for purchase (under 15,000) and maintenance (as little as possible), but just doesn’t feel quite right. I’m amenable to the Prius if I end up with a sedan, but am also partial to the look of a Jeep, a European hatchback or sedan (Volvo, Audi, VW–but too expensive to maintain?), or a small SUV. Help! I need direction!

California girl ?
Mustang.
Beach babe ?
Jeep . cj or wrangler open top.

Mustang convertible, or Camaro convertible. Go for a V6 motor, have plenty of power and decent mpg.

Forget the Jeep (impractical in Miami, as ‘neat’ as it might be, not very reliable) and the Euorpean brands (you already know they’re expensive to maintain). What are your needs? Do you need a small SUV to carry stuff? If so a front wheel drive Rav4 or CRV would work.

You might buy the April Consumer Reports (car buying guide). Lots of info about cars, new and used.

What about a Toyota Camry Solara convertible? You can get a 2007 for around $15,000. It’s exceptionally reliable. It was built in a Lexus plant and the interior looks more like a Lexus than Toyota. My choice would be the SLE, but see what you can find. Try looking on line at dealer stock in Miami to get an idea of how many are available and how much they want for them. Private sales should be under $15,000 with around 70,000 miles and dealers should accept around $16,000. This is a wonderful boulevard cruiser. In Miami, you could keep the top down all winter. But you might want to keep it up in the summer. Downsides are 2 doors and seating for 4 at most. Another possibility if you are into convertibles is a VW Eos. It will be priced like the Solara, but won’t be as reliable.

One of the best and sexiest cars for the money is the new Hyudai Elantra. Great Italian styling and you can get one loaded for around $20,000 or so. Compared to your previous Volvos, which were anything but fashion statements (and screamed no makeup and natural fibers), this car is a real eye catcher.

Mazda 6 if you need room for passengers. A Miata if you don’t

Imo, the most appealing ladies are the most practical…only the driver cares what they drive and no one else gives a hoot. Florida is a little different . Make sure what ever you get, it’s white, silver or some other light or reflective color… I recomend any stout 4cylinder like a Camry, Accord or Fusion…lthe no brainer and easy to recomend type cars. They are reliable, comfy and roomy cruisers and traditionally do better then 30 mpg highway. There are many more to find in your price range. Cars are overrated as personality indicators in these more practical times. I recomend you save money for partying and buy one of the more reliable and practical cars then your choices. At $15k, I would put the “I am what I drive attitude” on hold till you can afford it.