The other day I wrote about how my 2002 Subaru is becoming old and weathered, so getting a new car is somewhat on my radar.
I want to clear one thing up though first. Although a new car is on my radar, I plan on driving Suby as long as humanly possible. A lot of comments suggested that it’s a way better to have no car payment than getting a new car. I couldn’t agree more, but after my car had major problems last year and I dumped 5k into it, it raises a red flag that it’s possible I could be soon spending more money on car repairs, whereas that money could be used for a down payment on a new car. Since my car troubles, I started a car fund which now has almost 3k in it. My ultimate goal is to keep growing this and hope my car lasts a long time, so that I can have a huge down payment, or pay the car in cash (my guess is I’ll have to take a small loan).
I also, as of right now, do not plan on buying a NEW car, but more like a new(ish) used car.
I have to say though, that ever since my car broke down last year, I tend to look around a lot more on the road and check out cars I could see myself in.
My cars in the past have included a 1988 Ford Escort, which I got brand new when I turned sixteen from my grandparents. Yes, I was blessed/spoiled, and no, I do NOT think it’s a good idea to give a 16-year-old a brand new car. I didn’t take care of it very well, and I think it started having major problems around 64k miles. Of course back in those days Ford cars kind of had a bad reputation.
In 1993 I bought a brand new Saturn. She was a pretty great car, but I never realized until after I got my Subaru how low I sat in the seat, and how I had to strain my neck for years to see over the steering wheel. You can see by the picture that on the day I traded her in, I was very sad.
Something I didn’t mention in my last post was that I actually bought my first Subaru Impreza TS in 2001. In Spring 2002 I was driving down a busy road in Seattle and had come to a complete stop in a traffic jam. I heard wheels screeching and thought, “oh no!” I heard several loud bangs until my car was hit from behind, then I hit the car in front of me. All in all it was a 7-car pileup (no one was seriously injured) and my first Suby was totaled. So then I got the 2002 Subaru Impreza TS.
One huge mistake I made with the two new cars I bought is not having a big down payment, and financing both with 5 and 7-year plans. OMG! I guess in my mind I justified it with having a steady paying job, but in hindsight I would have done things totally different.
So what do I want for my next car?
I’ve personally always been a fan of smaller, economical-sized cars and either a hatchback or a sedan. I don’t like big cars and most SUVs intimidate me. I don’t even like moving my friend’s Ford Expedition on street sweeping days when he parks near my house because I feel like I’m steering the Titanic. The most important features to me are:
- Affordability (something under 20k)
- Good gas mileage
I’m going to be looking at 2013/14 cars because in theory, those will probably be the year cars I’m looking at when I can actually buy a new (used) car, let’s say in 2016. Of course who knows what may change in two years!
Here are my top picks based on some basic research in what I’m looking for in a car:
Do any of you out there have one of these cars? What do you think? Anything else I should consider?