Car question for the people here...

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lostmind
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Car question for the people here...

Postby lostmind » Sat May 12, 2007 1:45 pm

So my wife and I own two vehicles. I drive a 2006 Subaru WRX STi - very sporty, big gas guzzler, require ultra premium. She drives a 2004 Acura TSX, comfortable car, still drinks a lot of premium gas. Both cars are paid off.

We've recently moved a bit farther away from town. I've recently started to work in downtown as opposed to working from home. We do carpool, and that works great, but even then we are paying a lot of money for gas and insurance, maintenance etc.

We've been considering buying a smaller, more economic car, like a yaris, fit or versa. All of them seem to be pretty decent cars. All are absolutely a dream on gas. All are cheap to maintain and insure. If we traded either vehicle in for one, we'd walk away with money in our pockets that we could potentially put into a savings account or drop onto the mortgage.

The biggest problem we face is seemingly the social aspect of the car... cars are such a status symbol that even just discussing this with people we know is causing some, admittedly fairly light; ridicule? I guess is the word. Even our parents think we are nuts. I don't really understand it... I mean I guess I do, as cars are supposed to be sexy and fast and all that... and the three cars we are looking at are a little odd looking, not fast and most definitely not sexy.

Honestly, I've even considered trading in both vehicles for 2 yaris's or something similar... I mean there'd be some advantages... beyond all the savings on the car insurance/gas/maintenance we'd be able to comfortably park both cars in our little garage... we'd have a bunch of cash in the bank to be invested/saved or whatever... we'd be doing a little bit more for the environment. At the same time, we'd definitely take a hit on depreciation. I went a little nuts when I sold my condo and bought the STi brand new (at least I used cash right? lol). So that would hurt. The acura we bought second hand about 2 years ago. We both really enjoy our current vehicles... but aren't sure enjoyment is a good enough excuse.

We are thinking about having kids in the next year or two and are wondering if driving the cars we currently have shows any form of responsibility or not...

Anyone here done something similar?

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Postby jer » Sat May 12, 2007 2:27 pm

I am very much not frugal when it comes to cars. Ever since I was a young lad, I've wanted to drive a fancy, fast, flashy, expensive sports car. Now that I can afford one, ain't nothing gonna stop me. It gets paid for first, and it's the last thing I'd give up if money were a problem.

I couldn't give less of a crap about owning a house; just a big headache and waste of money if you ask me. What do I need it for anyway? Without a house, I can just pack a tent in the car and wander the country, blissfully happy. I do it every year for a long vacation, and the "open road" is the one place I truly feel at home. Driving is a way of life for me. If I didn't have to work for a living, that's where I'd be.

Does this describe you? I doubt it. If it did, you wouldn't be asking this question. So I'm guessing that "nice car" isn't at the top of your priority list.

If it's your image you're concerned with, you're looking at it all the wrong way. Yeah, the WRX has a certain credibility and image to it, but only to a point. The Acura? Same car everyone else is driving, basically. Now think of that Yaris. Get the liftback model -- it's the coolest-looking one. Get two of them, one for each of you. Get the funkiest colors you can find. Now work it! You've got the most unique cars in your peer group. Don't go around telling people how much money you're saving, that's not cool, just work it. I guarantee your image will only improve. :) And that's coming from a bona-fide car snob.

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Postby lostmind » Sat May 12, 2007 3:24 pm

hahaha, nice one Jer.

I am sorta like that... to a degree. I mean, the STi is the car I've wanted since high school basically (when I saw my first subaru impreza and researched it, before that I wanted an RX7). I am signed up for my very first track day in june. I do participate in some local car clubs/forums and have a few minor mods done to my car.. I had a whole list of stuff I was going to do, before I sat down and asked myself what I was doing... not like I can drive fast up here in BC with the Gestappo police fining you for going 8km over the limit... and is 5 more HP worth $800 when the car already has 300hp?

Besides, in the STi I can already beat my business partners' 2002 porsche carrera (AWD version, C4?) up to 120km/h or so... after that he passes me but hey, that's plenty fast already :)

Now, the yaris liftback is exactly what we'd buy I think cuz we both like the look better then the other two options. And we both would like to do a few things to them. She wants white, I want black, we'll both be lowered and drop in exhaust all from TRD to retain our warranty... I'm still researching but I think there are more options out there to be found...

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Postby brad » Sat May 12, 2007 3:44 pm

It sounds like you might want to keep the Subaru for fun and replace the Acura with a Yaris. I don't know if you've test driven a Yaris yet, but friends of mine who have said it felt remarkably zippy and was fun to drive, but you certainly won't be beating any Porches with it.

It's hard to give up a car that you love or that you've always wanted, although your tastes may change. In my 30s I had a couple of 1970s Land Rovers (including a Series IIa that only had syncromesh between third and fourth gear, so you had to double-clutch the others) and really loved driving them and working on them, but I did get tired of getting 7 miles to the gallon, spending a fortune on parts, and spending my summers underneath them doing repairs instead of going to the beach.

But really you should make your decision without considering what other people will say or think. It's your life, your car, your decision; who cares what anyone else thinks? And you'll have the last laugh anyway when gasoline goes up to $2.50 a liter ;-)

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Postby morydd » Sun May 13, 2007 8:29 am

I'll present the other point of view. I don't like cars. I understand that they're usefull, and for some people, vital. We own one, but before we moved, we seriously considered giving it up. I use public transit most of the time. I would say, unless you're in a career where the appearance of affluence can directly affect your income, keeping a car that's expensive to keep and run over a car that saves you money and you're comfortable with, just for maintaining apperences is kind of silly. If you get the more fule efficient car you can always return any ribbing you get with a "Well, when I last gassed up three weeks ago..."
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Postby Yoree » Sun May 13, 2007 10:54 am

Just buy a smart car.

- It's a mercedes brand, so you can always say you're driving a Benz.
- It is super cheap on gas. Or should I say diesel? Cause yes, it runs on diesel.
- Easy to park and cheaper to park (some parking companies have discounts for them)
- Extremely trendy these days.
- Just a fun car to have.

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Postby JerichoHill » Mon May 14, 2007 6:36 am

My fiancee and I *had* two cars. She had an older model Saturn station wagon and I a Honda Accord.

I sold my Accord, and got a Kymco People 150cc
I am selling her Saturn, and she got a Kymco Bet and Win 150cc

We use the scooters for most everything around town. They're quick, we have storage on em, and they get 100 MPG, and insurance for both is less than 100 dollars a year.

For longer trips, we have a brand new, paid for in full when bought, Toyota Rav4. It has a trailer, so we can haul the scooters.

I care about a car that gets from point a to point b and doesnt cost much.

I honestly dont think families need more than 1 car if you live in a metropolitian city.
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Postby squished18 » Mon May 14, 2007 7:06 am

lostmind,

You live in Vancouver and you get ridiculed for considering these options? I thought that's where all the Canadian eco-mentalists (a Jeremy Clarkson term) lived.

All kidding aside, I'm not sure if my situation counts regarding your questions. I drive a '04 Corolla and my fiance drives a Chevy Aveo. One thing I have to say about the Aveo is that it is extremely space efficient. My future in-laws own a Buick land-yacht. About a year ago, they bought a new fridge at the local Costco. They tried putting it in their land-yacht but to no avail. Guess how they got the fridge home? You guessed it - in my fiance's Aveo. That big box at the back of it can fit just about a lot of large items you might have trouble with in much larger cars.

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Postby jdroth » Mon May 14, 2007 8:01 am

Stephen, I'm jealous of your scooters! We used to have one, and I often wish we still did.

Kris and I each have a car. She has a 1996 Honda Civic. I have a 2000 Ford Focus. I think the Civic is in bad shape, but she's happy with it. It only has 60,000 miles on it, so there's no real reason to upgrade it. Kris insists that she'll drive it until it dies and then replace it with a Prius (or something similar).

For my part, I loathe my car and wish it would die so that I had an excuse to get something I liked. But I'm such a cheap bastard that I can't bring myself to get rid of it early. It's paid for. It gets okay gas mileage (though not great). And I understand that running a used car is cheaper than buying new.

I've told myself that when I get all my debt paid off, I'll follow Dave Ramsey's "Drive Free" plan, saving a "car payment" each month and then trading in the Focus and using the cash to buy a used car after a couple of years, then repeating this cycle. My ultimate goal is a BMW. I, too, have always wanted a nice car.

Of course, there's a good chance that by the time I have this money saved, I'll actually be working from home and won't need a car. Maybe I'll buy a scooter instead! :)

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Postby JerichoHill » Mon May 14, 2007 8:28 am

JD, if you're wanting the BMW status symbol, might I suggest a Volvo or Lexus (used) instead. They're much more unique and carry the same edge and flavor
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Postby plonkee » Mon May 14, 2007 9:14 am

A BMW is not a nice car.

But I have car class prejudice. :roll:
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Postby onebigmortarboard » Mon May 14, 2007 9:55 am

My family is full of world-class Toyota adherents, largely in part to immediate and extended family members walking away from potentially fatal car accidents.

So I was really excited about the Yaris.

And then I sat in one.

I find the center console, seating slope, and general positioning uncomfortable and unintuitive. And an auxiliary jack for my iPod just isn't going to make up for that.

If I were going in the really subcompact direction, I'd end up breaking ranks and buying the Honda Fit.

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Postby fontraid » Mon May 14, 2007 10:11 am

I'm a pretty big Toyota fan. See my post on squished18's car journal thread for proof on just how much I love my Matrix.

But like onebigmortarboard, I am NOT a fan of the Yaris. When it first came out, I was pretty stoked about it... then after some research, I found out that Toyota had just taken the Echo and renamed it. There is a reason why Toyota pulled the Echo ... crappy engine for one. More importantly, its safety ratings are nowhere near as high as those for the Corolla. And for those reasons, I do not recommend it. I've even gone as far as to dissuade my aunt from getting it. I would steer clear of the subcompact category; slightly better gas mileage is not worth more than safety.

... and the disclaimer would be that I'm not a car aficionado, but I do enjoy extensive research on cars I'm interested in, and the Yaris was one of them. And I had such great hopes for it, sigh.

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Postby SJean » Tue May 15, 2007 6:18 pm

My boyfriends "dream car" is a Honda Fit. I just want a hybrid, but the premium is too high (and I'm not really in the market for a new car anyway)

Okay, so I'm not into cars so we don't talk about it much--it's probably not his TRUE dream, but it's the next car he wants to buy. But not brand new. Looks like I've found a fiscally responsible guy!

You already got some good suggestions, and being not into cars, I have nothing to offer.

I'm just surprised that it would affect you socially. I must be naive because I'm young, and don't hang out with many "established" people yet! Also I live in the midwest, perhaps when I move to LA things will changed

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Postby Gnashchick » Wed May 16, 2007 11:49 am

I have to share this, and this seems a good thread to do it in.

I park in a large multi-story garage where I work. As I'm a creature of habit, I tend to park in roughly the same place every day. For many months, I've noticed an old Ford pickup truck parked next to me or near me. It was probably white at one point, but it has spots of rust, the paint has yellowed, it's seen some years. It has a rubber bed liner, and the type of things you'd expect to see in the back of a truck - sticks of firewood, a discarded soda can, leaves, etc. I have always imagined the driver of this truck to be one of the building maintenance guys - tough and sturdy and reliable, just like his truck.

Yesterday, I was walking to my car and noticed the truck's owner was in the driver's seat, talking on his cell phone. As I walked by, I realized that it was one of our company directors. It would be safe to speculate that he is extremely wealthy, if not a multi-millionaire, and he drives a beat-up old 1966 Ford. At some point, he obviously stopped caring what people thought about the car he drives.
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