Good First Car?
 
 

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Good First Car?

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    09-17-2011, 07:20 PM
  #1
Foal
Good First Car?

I'm about to start driving, and I was thinking about what kind of car to get for a while.
My friend has an '01 VW Jetta for $3200, and it is a good price, but I don't know the condition of the car or how good it is on gas. I don't want to buy a cheap car and end up having it fall apart on me, and I don't want to be spending a fortune on gas.

My mother thinks it would be a good idea for me to get a car with 4 wheel drive, and I don't blame her because we live in New England and get a lot of snow. I think the Subaru Impreza WRX is my top choice if I were to get a 4WD car, but I don't know the gas mileage, or how expensive they can be.

I like the Toyota Prius as well, because it has amazing gas mileage (46 MPG!!). Yet, since they are such good cars, they can be expensive. They are only 2WD, though, like the Jetta.

Any suggestions for first cars? What was yours?
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    09-17-2011, 07:35 PM
  #2
Weanling
Most of my friends had either a Sunfire or some form of K-car, so your first car sounds a lot nicer than most. I think that's a decent price for an '01 Jetta at least where I'm from, but if you really searched you could probably find one closer to 3k. You can usually search for the gas mileage (highway and city) if you just google the car's make and model. If you're really concerned about gas mileage some really economical (and affordable) cars are Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta, VW Golf and YES VW Jetta).

Other things to look at might be whether the car is automatic or standard (standard is cheaper to buy and if you know how to use it, can be better on gas) how many litres, etc etc. Here's a decent website!

Fuel Economy
     
    09-18-2011, 04:31 PM
  #3
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetxsour35    
I'm about to start driving, and I was thinking about what kind of car to get for a while.
My friend has an '01 VW Jetta for $3200, and it is a good price, but I don't know the condition of the car or how good it is on gas. I don't want to buy a cheap car and end up having it fall apart on me, and I don't want to be spending a fortune on gas.

My mother thinks it would be a good idea for me to get a car with 4 wheel drive, and I don't blame her because we live in New England and get a lot of snow. I think the Subaru Impreza WRX is my top choice if I were to get a 4WD car, but I don't know the gas mileage, or how expensive they can be.

I like the Toyota Prius as well, because it has amazing gas mileage (46 MPG!!). Yet, since they are such good cars, they can be expensive. They are only 2WD, though, like the Jetta.

Any suggestions for first cars? What was yours?
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Just an fyi, because the Prius is built entirely in Japan, the car is more expensive than if you bought a new Ford Focus. Because you are paying for the transportation to the US, the fuel spent with that, and to have a foreign car. With that in mind, to make the Prius cost efficient, you'd have to drive it for 30,000 miles to make it even with the cost of the Ford Focus. Keep that in mind. It may be efficient to drive, but in the end, you'll be paying more.

If you are looking at a Jetta for being in New England, I can tell you now you'd not be sitting so well in the winter. Around here the snow hit last year, and a Jetta in front of me on a hill, starting sliding backwards towards me, because it didn't have the horse power to keep going up the hill, and another time I passed one sitting in a ditch after sliding out of control on a flat icy road.

And with that, I'd suggest a Ford Focus, Ford Taurus, Chevy Cruze(it gets 34-38 mpg and up to 42 hwy mpg), or Chevy Cavalier. They mostly all are 2WD but they are reliable and efficient and safe cars.

First off, let me say this, I live in Colorado, right next to the Rocky Mountains, so I know all about heavy snow and winter driving. I have a 2002 Ford Taurus, it has a 5 star crash safety rating, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It gets 22-24mpg(26-28 hwy mpg), handles snow, torrential rain, and other weather wonderfully(If the weather gets terrible, I just throw studded tires on for the winter, it helps add a lot of traction). I've had mine for a month and have put over 500 miles on it since then, only used maybe 4 tanks of gas if that. I also got it used for 6k.

Don't look ONLY for fuel efficiency when getting a first car. It's better to be safe and reliable than anything else. Remember, new drivers have more expensive insurance, and if you get a new car on top of that(foreign car's make your insurance higher than american cars too), it costs easily twice what you could be paying if you went used, and an older car that is more reliable.

Personally I would not recommend a 4 wheel drive vehicle for a beginning driver. It's one thing to learn how to handle a car in slippery road conditions, or in snow. It's completely another to learn how to handle a car in those conditions with 4 wheel drive. Besides that, it teaches you the false pretense of knowing how to handle the weather because you're relying on the 4 wheel drive, and doesn't give you the experience of handling it yourself. Also, 4wd takes a toll on your gas mileage, once you have a 4wd vehicle, expect it to drop at least somewhat than the 2wd version(if there is such of the car you are looking at).

Remember, you can always get your car you have your eyes on, later in life.
     
    09-18-2011, 04:44 PM
  #4
Yearling
I'd also like to add, 4WD is not always the best in the snow as with power going to all 4 wheels makes the entire car slide. The best ratio you can have for a car in the snow is 2WD, front wheel drive. Not rear. So that if you start to slide, your front tires pull you in the direction you want to go.

Where as rear wheel drive will simply be pushing you aimlessly forward.
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    09-18-2011, 10:53 PM
  #5
Green Broke
Volkswagon parts are normally expensive, so any repairs could potentially be costly.

Toyotas are notoriously long lasting, even when they are older.

Go older, but not too old, or you end up putting more repairs then anything.

Personally, I love my Oldsmobile Cutlass. Its a 95, but was an awesome car to learn how to drive in snow. Its slightly heavier since its not made with the same materials new cars are, so it seems like it goes through snow better.
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    09-18-2011, 11:16 PM
  #6
Trained
My first car was a 2000 Toyota Corolla. LOVE that car. It's super small, but a total beast in the snow. Mine had an engine fault, however, that caused it to burn copious amounts of oil on the highway. (Note: This is not a defect in all of them, just a small percentage and mine was farrr worse than any other similar issues I've heard of.) It still got 30mph on the highway and about 25 in town. It should have just blown up at some point, but never did. My friend had an '86 Corolla that just would not die until it sat for several months.

I drive on the highway too much for that Corolla, so I bought a 2009. My brother inherited the 2000. My new Corolla averages about 30mph in town and close to 40mph on the highway. I've only had it since July, so I don't know what it's like in the snow yet. I was told by the salesman when I bought that his sisters both have this model Corolla and they do just fine.

Either way. I really like Toyotas. They don't die and their fuel economy is nothing to complain about.

I know they are mentioned above, but Chevy Cavaliers are also a good way to go. They're so incredibly common that getting parts, especially body parts, isn't hard at all and not expensive.
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    09-18-2011, 11:43 PM
  #7
Yearling
My opinion: a good ol' ranger. Its like having a truck but minus the gas bill. 4WD vehicles are EXPENSIVE to fix. You could find a nice little pickup for what your friend has his car up for. They're good on gas, although its not the 35 mpg like most of the other cars discussed. And, parts are cheap. If you need them.

I personally drive a ranger and he's beat up. Yes, my truck is a boy. I've driven him through mud, sand, snow, ice, rain, you name, he's been there. And he's only a 4 cylinder. He's a tough little truck with almost 200K miles on him and I still have him running good. A plus side is you have all that bed room to put feed bags, saddles, buckets, tack, dogs, friends! A ranger is kind of an all around. They do good in any kind of weather as long as their taken care of, I.e. Daily, weekly maintenance.
You could probably find a nice, used V6 ranger in your area for around $3200.
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    09-18-2011, 11:44 PM
  #8
Yearling
They're great with moving feed. I put about 800 lbs. Of feed in mine once, performed great.
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    09-18-2011, 11:46 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Haha well you are darn lucky to have the option to look at such nice cars. My first current car is an 88 honda that has multiple problems and no AC. I only get to drive my moms dodge on horse errands but my friend is offering to let me use his ford ranger once it is all fixed up and he teaches me how to drive stick more efficiantly haha. So all in all I would agree with the front 2WD as being your best bet since that is what my friends up in washingtons cars all are except their truck its rear I believe.
     
    09-19-2011, 05:43 AM
  #10
Green Broke
To me, small trucks are iffy. They are light in the backend, and if not weighted down, can fishtail.
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