Car shopping

When your mechanic tells you it’s time to replace your car, take his advice.

We went to CarMax yesterday, me and Jodi and my mom, and sat in a bunch of different cars. I took an Aveo for a test drive, and while looking on their site today, found a 2003 Mazda Protege that I’d like to try also.

The Ford Focus doesn’t seem to be comfortable for Jodi, which is a real shame because I loved it. The Aveo isn’t bad, but Consumer Reports doesn’t think much of it. I might also try a “traditional” car lot, one operated by a rental agency. They seem to have a decent selection, though I’d have to negotiate a mechanical inspection by my mechanic; CarMax would let me do this anyway, and return it within five days if I don’t like what I hear.

We’re trying to spend $12k or less. What would you recommend, dear reader?



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13 responses to “Car shopping

  1. meander112

    My 99 Toyota Camry was listed as worth $8k a year ago, and it’s a very spiff car. I hear that Toyotas and Hondas are the spiff cars.

  2. magnoliafly

    I’ve had good luck with my Saturn and given the customer service they provide, I’d buy my next car new or used from them. Ringo got his used ’99 explorer through them and hasn’t had any major issues with it at all. Both me and my mom bought new Ion-2’s from them and love them.

    Might want to give the local Saturn dealership a shot.

  3. franthenut

    That they are. My dad swears by his Camry [he only got rid of his last one because he spotted a convertable one.] and I have a little 89 Honda accord that’s still running strong.

  4. franthenut

    Oh yes: Fords are notorious for being piles of crap. My mom had an Arrowstar and before the warentee was up near every peice but he frame and the seets had been replced. I’d avoid them unless they’ve been utterly gutted and remade.

  5. gardenwaltz

    saturns are always nice. i checked out one of the used car rental lots and the prices were a little higher because all the cars were loaded. they also had a fairly limited number of models because they try to standardize their fleets. that being said, you can get a pretty good deal if you’re looking for a loaded vehicle in the lines they sell.

  6. heathrow

    I love my base-model Camry. :)

  7. tregoweth

    FWIW, I’ve been quite happy with my Nissan Sentra; if you find a larger Nissan that you like, it might be worth investigating.

    Also, I hear Saturns tend to not hold up well. Shame, that.

    Finally: get yourself the Consumer Reports auto guide, posthaste.

  8. cardinalximinez

    If you’re not buying with cash, consider a new car. Most banks charge a higher interest rate for a used car than a new one, and very frequently, you’ll end up making almost the same monthly payments for used as you would new, and you don’t have a spiffy warrantee.

    A base MSRP for a Scion xA is just under $14k. For the xB is just over $15k. (And without a car seat, there really is more room in the back seat than it looks like!)

    We also love our Saturn LS2, though as it’s got over 50k miles on it, and is a first-run model, it’s been spending a bit of time in the shop lately. We’re still happy with it.

  9. anonymous

    We checked. Our credit union offers terms as nice as 5% for used or new cars.

  10. cardinalximinez


  11. heyharmony

    When it comes to cars, sometimes I think it’s really just about the car. I’ve only owned Fords and I’ve driven the heck out of them. And I don’t much find myself visiting a mechanic. Mine have been quite reliable and I’m still extremely happy– First there was the Escort, now I have the Escape.

    Okay, I did go to the tire store last week because there was a nail in my tire and it was losing air. But I can’t blame Ford for that. I blame the crap-ass dirt/gravel roads I was driving on the day before.

    My worst car? A Mercury Lynx.

  12. foozini

    Sorry, but every Saturn I have ever sat in has felt like a pile of junk to me. The interior has never been any good, and from the way people tend to drive Saturns on the road, I have a feeling (though I could be wrong) that Saturns tend to be somewhat underpowered.

  13. gardenwaltz

    we have an SL2 and an SW2, the ‘2’ makes a big difference.

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