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My dad is helping me pay and I am pretty sure he won't let me get anything but new. Not that I need a new car, but the warranty thing is enticing. I'm thinking under 15K, coupe or sedan. I like the hyundai accent or the Scion tC.

THe things I don't know a crap about are engines, wheels, what material is better than others, hp, gas tank capacity... basically everything mechanical. Dad really doesn't either. Why why why why WHY am I single at a time like this? I need a mechanic-y boy. Can I rent one so I don't actually have to do the research?

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when i get my money from SSD i'm planning on hitting my grandparents up for help buying a focus. they're cute little cars, and my grandfather used to work for ford so he gets the discount.

if you can afford even a used honda, get a honda, i had one last to 220,000 miles. the thing was a tank! it just kept up! i had another honda just like it after that one, and it lasted to 200,000. so they'll really last and be worth the money.

edited to say- in 2000 i paid $1,200 for the first honda when it had 160,000 on it and i paid $400 for the second honda in 2004 when it had 180,000 on it, so i'd say i got my money's worth out of both.

right now i have a 17 year old corolla that is a piece of trash, but it is at 170,000, so i can't be too picky. it is a toyota, not a honda, so that explains it ;)

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with those two, i think the scion tC is a much better car. the only thing better about accent is a 10 year warranty vs. 5. but i think the engine in the scion is way better than the accent and still gets comparable gas mileage, and generally toyota (scion) makes a much better car in that price range than hyundai.

my budget is minimal but im trying to get a toyota yaris, its not as good driving as that scion tC but it gets really good gas mileage (40 highway) and i thought it looked cool

edited: i might be biased cuz i used to have a 97 accent and it sucked big time.. ;)

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Supergwen: One of the first things you should investigate is safety. You're going to be out on the highway with all those big SUVs, so check out this website and see how safe the cars are that you've been considering:

Car Safety link

Then, there's "Cartalk." These two guys have been obsessed with cars for 60 years. Go to their website and see if they have tested one of the cars you're thinking about. They aren't owned by any corporation and they don't try to sell any particular brand:

Cartalk test drives

Click on "actual car information" and then click on "test drive notebook."

It's also good to listen to people here, and hear their experiences. I've had a lot of cars in my 30 years of driving, and if you take care of your new car and get it serviced (and don't drive like a maniac ;) ), it should give you many years of service.


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I think the starting point is boils down to two things: Your budget, and whether you want flash or economy. Oh, and three: fuel economy.

If money is no object, and only the newest will do, go to a dealer and buy new, and spring for the extended warranty.

A good used car is the best bargain. Something 2 -5 years old will have lost most of the depreciation and still be in excellent mechanical shape. Friends and relatives can be a good source for direct purchase, saving dealer's markup. The advantage of buying one from a dealer is that they have had at least a basic going over and cleaning.

Personally, I'd rather save the cost of extended warranties, which are usually limited in time and a gamble if you'll ever need them. If you take your car in for regular service that usually takes care of the big things.

I'm unusual, but I drove my last car for 18 years. I was pumping about $1000 - $1200 per year in repairs into it, but consider that it had been paid for years, and that represents about $100 per month in expenses, vice a new car loan of around $300 - 700 per month.

Don't try to overthink this..Engines, fuel tanks, tire sizes... Carefully consider your true needs versus ego, your purchase and operating budget. Most any car will give you miles and years of service if you take routine care.

Good luck,


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I myself am a big fan of Subaru.

I have flattened 2 of those puppies and walked away from both.

One of those I managed to have to have pulled from a ravine with

a crane and still walked away. Before falling into the ravine, I cartwheeled

across a freeway, went over the railing, plummeted 50ft upside down onto

a concrete culvert, then went end-over-end down the rest of the ravine, took

out 2 trees, bounced over a fence and landed into some hippies backyard.

I totally walked-away. And the car was still running. It wasn't going anywhere,

but it was still running.

So, yeah. Big fan of Subaru.

And them both used.

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just googling

the yari IS cute

I love the idea you could sleep in it if you had to

"Reasonably pleasant to drive and relatively roomy, but unimpressive fuel economy for the small size and poorly equipped unless you spend extra"

sounds though that the Scion kicks arse in the extras for no extra cost dept

AND a freaking moon roof

oh yeah

I personally hate any blind spots

(say you are looking to back out of a spot is your 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock

view blocked?) if any of this makes sense...

looks from the online pics that the tC would have better visibility

reviewer: "The tC sports a rigid chassis and good balance, but during hard maneuvering body roll becomes increasingly evident"

I personally luv Toyotas

i thought allll cars went well over 200k

even after being rolled

but that's cause I have a toy, i guess

also both oldest kids have rolled and hit trees in a toyota p/u and walked away

if i had money I'd buy toyota stock just for this reason

edited to add Olga's recommended car talk guys link


Sonata '06

Good: value, standard equipment, warranty,

large interior, easy to service

Bad: engine noise on acceleration,

strong new-car smell, uncomfortable seats

I'd lean toward the Scion for you, Melissa.

RAY: You can't get much more trouble-free than Toyota, which makes the Scion. We drove the xA and loved it. It's a perfect little car for a city. It's economical, fun to drive and even pretty versatile. It's got four doors, plus you can open the hatchback and fold down the rear seats, and move your stinky futon sofa every September for the next few years until you settle down.

RAY: Whereas the Scion is not only more reliable, but it's brand-new and comes with a new-car warranty. So you're all set for the next three years -- actually, five years, on the major engine components."

ah well that was fun

if when you have time and are able

I'd say the real deciding factor

is a drive in both

but doing that and contending with a salesman

who won't let you leave without signing a freakin' contract

good luck

how about calling folks that are advertising their last year models for sale

ask them which they'd choose?

oh and

how cool to be even in this discussion

someone having to make a fun decision

ps as a woman I LIKE warranty's you're paying up the butt anyway

might as well add a few months payment

for any future hassel

it's nice when you can get your car repaired without having to figure out where the money's coming from

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For us the main thing is reliability. Car repairs are one of the most stressful things in our life. Whether it's the car dying on you or the expense of the repairs. Reliability ratings would be most important to us unless you have the money to buy a new car every two years (which is sounds like you might).

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The only reliable car I've ever owned is my current one. It's a 96 Chevy Lumina that I bought from my parents around 5 years ago. If you can, buy from someone you trust has taken care of it. There are a lot of cars that can last a long time if taken care of correctly. BTW, previous cars I owned or drove that sucked, Plymouth Sundance, Honda Accord, Chevy Caprice, Chevy pickup. The common denominator was they were all well used by the time I bought them.

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Hi Gwen,

I am in the same place as you. right now i dont have a car. my car was sold as a part of my divorce. plus it had turned into a POS thanks in lot to a jealous ex-bf. long ass story for later.

so, yes, i have been looking for a car since this summer. and i had settled on a 2007 mini cooper. 1. because i would be able to make a huge downpayment. 2. it makes me look cute. 3. its small and good for squeezing into tight places in los angeles.

and then i became pregnant. a 2 door is not really practical for a baby & all the baby car crap. so, i think im gonna get a mazda 3. my prior car was a mazda protege and i LOVED it.

im hopefully gonna buy new because i will feel more confident knowing i have a warranty. and since i havent driven in more than a year...i need all the positive reassurances i can get. and it works with my budget.

good luck & happy buying,


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