Tips for a first time car buyer

My current car, a 94 Honda accord, is on it’s last leg, so I am considering purchasing a new car within the next few months. I have had my eye on a ford escape, but I heard terrible things about the transmission slipping on those vehicles, so I took a look at the hybrid ford escape and found that it doesn’t have that problem. What concerns me, is that I’ve obviously never owned a hybrid, and I don’t know how often things go wrong with their batteries. Can anyone give me some advice on what to do? I don’t want to end up paying a crazy amount of money for an awful car, especially since I will be moving away from my family for the first time this year! I also looked at the Honda fit, but for the size and mpg, I just assume go with a 2011 ford escape hybrid. help please!

You might go buy the Consumer Reports car buyers guide, it has lots of information on all the cars, new and used.

What is your budget? A Honda Fit costs less than an Escape Hybrid and will be less troublesome. Your driving pattern determines whether you get great savings driving a Hybrid. Lots of city driving and many miles per year favor a hybrid.

How much space do you need? Today’s compacts are about the size of a 1994 Honda Accord. If you want a ride as comfortable as that, a Honda Civic would be your best choice. If you don’t drive a lot it is hard to save money overall by buying a Hybird.

Also, if you are used to the reliability of a Honda Accord, I would not recommend going to a Ford.

Why do you want a hybrid? You see a lot of hybrid taxis now but those drivers go 100,000 miles per year or so and are saving bags of money. If you only drive 10,000 miles per year it does not pay to drive one.

My wife has a number of single women friends; they buy compact cars that are comfortable enough on the highway and small enough to drive around town. Best bets are the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, and Honda Civic. Drive each one of those and you can’t go wrong.

The most reliable hybrid is the Prius; it’s the only one I would consider if buying a hybrid.

A used Escape hybrid would be a true “pig in a poke”!!!

I have a friend who has a 2005 Toyota Prius and a 2006 Ford Escape hybrid. The Prius has about 120,000 miles and he has had no problems. I think the Escape hybrid is well over 80,000 miles with no problems. I have ridden in both vehicles to band rehearsals–about a 25 mile round trip. His mileage is about 45 mpg on the Prius and about 26 on the Escape.
My experience has been that the newer Escape hybrids do better. I drove one from my institution’s fleet to a convention 150 miles away–300 mile round trip. I think we gout about 34 mpg and I really liked the Escape. I think the one I drove was either a 2009 or 2010…
However, Ford has discontinued the Escape hybrid in favor of some “ecoboost” system.
My research partner who went along with me to do our presentations has a Honda Civic, but has always wanted an Escape SUV or something similar. She has an elderly mother who doesn’t drive and believes that SUVs are dangerous and won’t ride in one. My friend recently had her Honda in for servicing and rented a Nissan Murano and said she really liked it.
I think that if you want a small SUV, maybe you should check the Honda CRV or the Toyota RAV4. My friend that has the Ford Escape Hybrid and Toyota Prius had a Honda CRV that he traded for the Escape. He had good service from the CRV. He traded because his wife was running for a political office and in our part the country, she needed a vehicle with an American nameplate. His CRV was a manual transmission and got about the same mileage as the Escape hybrid.

The replacement for the Escape hybrid is the C-Max, which is similar in size and only comes as a hybrid or plugin hybrid.

I’d second @Triedaq 's CR-V recommendation, giving the OP’s Honda experience.