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Old 04-23-2009, 09:01 PM   #1
tekhna
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Default First car-need suggestions!

So, I'm moving to Santa Cruz in September to start grad school, and I need to buy a car. I live in NYC at the moment, so obviously I don't have a car. I'd like to spend less than 8000, which rules out new (unless Honda offers 0% financing or something crazy and I stretch my budget).
I don't know a damn thing about cars, but my three most important criteria are reliability, fuel economy and comfort (I'm 6'4").
My thinking is it's gonna be hard to go wrong with a 2002 Civic or something like that, but I'm open for suggestions. I'd love to buy a Honda Fit, but I think it's out of my price range. GM seems like a steal these days new, but I don't think I want any of their cars.

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Old 04-23-2009, 09:06 PM   #2
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Not sure what car to suggest, but you are on the right track buying used.

You can fit into a Civic?

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Old 04-23-2009, 09:06 PM   #3
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Honda Civic is a great choice IMHO...although I'm a bit biased since I just bought one . I was able to pick up a 2003 in perfect condition with a recently replaced transmission for $7800. If your total budget for a car is $8000, including registration and taxes I think a 2002 would be perfect.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/cto/1123713629.html

At your size, an Accord might be a better fit...but you would have to settle for something a bit older.

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Old 04-23-2009, 09:11 PM   #4
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I have a Civic. It's small, but they hold their value like crazy and we've had no issues in four years. Toyota Corollas, too, you might find one a wee bit cheaper and that's a car I'd have zero problems buying used, too.

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Old 04-23-2009, 09:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoHeadsBrewing View Post
Honda Civic is a great choice IMHO...although I'm a bit biased since I just bought one . I was able to pick up a 2003 in perfect condition with a recently replaced transmission for $7800. If your total budget for a car is $8000, including registration and taxes I think a 2002 would be perfect.
(Displaying my ignorance here..) what does registration and taxes usually end up running? Obviously it varies by state.
I also see you're in CA, so maybe you know something about this. A friend of mine who almost took a job in CA was told by the HR department at this company that if you purchase a car, and then move to California within a year of the purchase, they have to pay California taxes on it. Seems a little impossible to enforce, and sort of illegal.

Edit: As for my height, maybe an Accord would be better. Oddly enough one of the most comfortable cars for guys my size is a Ford Focus. Any thoughts on them?
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:29 PM   #6
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I've got a 2003 Civic Si (hatchback) and my wife has 2008 Civic Si (4dr). The hatchback is actually much more comfortable. My in-laws have a 2004 Accord, and I still think the hatchback fits better. If you're going for just the normal 2dr, for comparison sake, I've been in a few RSX (acura version of civic) and they seem to be only slightly smaller than the hatchback as far as my comfort.

Hope that helps.

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Old 04-24-2009, 12:22 AM   #7
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Buy AMERICAN. Not to be an @ss but this economy needs as much help as it can get. I am an avid Ford driver so I can't recommend anything but a Fusion or a Focus or something along those lines.

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Old 04-24-2009, 01:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekhna View Post
(Displaying my ignorance here..) what does registration and taxes usually end up running? Obviously it varies by state.
I also see you're in CA, so maybe you know something about this. A friend of mine who almost took a job in CA was told by the HR department at this company that if you purchase a car, and then move to California within a year of the purchase, they have to pay California taxes on it. Seems a little impossible to enforce, and sort of illegal.

Edit: As for my height, maybe an Accord would be better. Oddly enough one of the most comfortable cars for guys my size is a Ford Focus. Any thoughts on them?
Not sure about your registration, it will depend on the vehicle. But taxes are 8.25% of whatever the purchase price was. If you can find someone cool, then they can write in something a bit lower. That's illegal, but unenforceable for the most part. As far as a focus goes, I've heard they are good cars with decent performance. I personally don't go by where the car is made, but what the quality and reputation of the manufacturer. Honda and Toyota are kings in this department IMHO, so that's who gets my money. Styling is also an issue, and early 2000's Focus is butt ugly IMHO. The Fusion is not too bad I suppose. But again, the Civic isn't much of a looker...but she gets the job done!

If I was going to spend a few grand more I'd get a VW Golf GTI, a Civic si, or an Accord Coupe V6.
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Buy AMERICAN. Not to be an @ss but this economy needs as much help as it can get. I am an avid Ford driver so I can't recommend anything but a Fusion or a Focus or something along those lines.
Well he said he's going used so it really doesn't matter if he buys american or not as the money isn't going to an auto maker.

But to the OP's worries about being taxed twice...I can't speak for CA, but when I moved to LA from OH, I had to "import" my car and thus pay taxes on the value of the car. It's sorta strange, but at least there is some reciprocity between some states (OH was included for me) so you get a credit and don't have to pay full taxes. As for your concern about enforceability...lol...that my friend will be enforced when you go to the DMV to register your car.

One other word of advice that is purely from a negotiation perspective. Factor in the cost of any upcoming major repairs/service that may be due on the car according to mileage as well as remaining tread on tires, also note wear on all 4 as uneven wear can reveal other potential mechanical problems. You can use those to obtain a better price on the car.

Good luck and enjoy CA!
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:49 AM   #10
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Look around for an early '90s Civic wagon. Plenty of head and leg room for my 6'3" friend. Donated my '89 at 204,000 miles. It never broke down. Never even had a flat tire and got a solid 35 mpg, sometimes as high as 43.

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