Not buying a new car today would save money

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Jan 24, 2013
10:06 AM EDT
But over time running an unreliable ride could cost you more in the long run, and sooner or later you will have to upgrade.

Switching to a more reliable and efficient ride now will cost more than doing nothing. But should save piles of money in the long run.

Jan 24, 2013
10:16 AM EDT
Bad analogy.

Most people make terrible decisions WRT new cars, trading in old rides just because things that are designed to wear out (brakes, clutches, mufflers, shocks) go bad.

I don't mind too much, although the environmental impact of rapid turnover is pretty high (35% of a new car's lifetime CO2 emissions have already taken place by the time it shows up at the dealership). I get to buy their mistakes and have a nice ride for years without any car payments.

Sweet deal, that. Little depreciation, lower sales tax, lower insurance rates, too.

And you know what? I've never been stranded.

Jan 24, 2013
10:38 PM EDT
My 1995 Miata's engine threw a rod during the holidays and I missed a trip to see family when I had the time off. That was when I knew it was time for a new ride. My 2013 vehicle gets better mileage, is fun to drive, and is under warranty for a bunch of years. If it breaks down at all (far less likely than with the old ride) both roadside assistance and a replacement vehicle during repairs are covered. The piece of mind was worth the cost.

Jan 25, 2013
12:22 PM EDT
My very first off-the-show-room-floor new car was a 1976 Pinto.

That should set the stage for you as to how my car buying skills are....but the Pinto wasn't a lock. The Chevy Vega was in the mix as well.

Jan 25, 2013
12:29 PM EDT
@caitlyn --

There absolutely comes a time when, unless you enjoy working on cars and have the ability to do so, you call it quits. For the most part, blown engines in 17 year old cars not named Ferrari, Porsche, etc is one of those times.

New cars are nice and I don't begrudge anybody's wanting one. It's just funny to look at the decision-making people make to avoid saying, "I want a new car, Da**it!"

Jan 25, 2013
12:37 PM EDT
@helios --

Don't be dissing that old pinto! The Mustang II was built on the same chassis. Can you imagine paying the extra money to get more or less the same POS car?

And --- OK, it did have this little "hot piece of tail" problem, but compared to the vega (which also caught my eye when it came out), minor. No problem with aluminum engines that used engineering not-so-magic to avoid the need for iron liners (for a little while, at least). No philosophy or rustproofing that went along the lines of "Once it rusts completely away, it can't rust any more, right?".

Fortunately for me, I couldn't afford a new car when they came out. By the time I bought my first (used) car, after the demise of my inherited Pontiac, I was smart enough to buy an Opel 1900 (nee Manta a couple of years later). A little soft on the go pedal, but set up with decent Pirellis and stiffer shocks, able to put a handling scare into 2002's and shame anything made in the US that didn't rhyme with "your bet".

Jan 25, 2013
12:54 PM EDT
I'm driving a 2013 Fiat 500 and I absolutely love it so far, a month and 890 miles in. It has plenty of get up and go, even merging onto the interstate with it's 75 MPH speed limit on a stretch where nobody goes that slow. I always choose a manual transmission and I always seem to do better than EPA rated mileage. My Fiat is rated 32 city, 34 average, 40 highway. My real world numbers so far are around 37 average, 44 highway. It also has more gadgetry on a low end car than some high end cars have, like a really functional Bluetooth system, a nice stereo, cruise control, etc... The only downside: it's a Microsoft/Fiat Bluetooth system.

Oh, and yeah, I'm old enough to remember when Fiat meant "Fix it again, Tony." That was then. This is now. Also, at least the engine is made in the USA. That wasn't true for the Chevy and Ford vehicles I looked at which were entirely foreign. The new Dodge Dart is a rebranded Alfa Romeo. Only the Ford did a bit better on rated mileage. None of them were as well equipped.

I considered a 2013 Miata. Gorgeous car. The $31K price tag took my breath away. $15.5K for mine was quite enough to spend.

Jan 25, 2013
1:47 PM EDT
$15.5K? US?

That ain't bad.

We've been eyeing the little 500s, although I have to admit it's the Abarth (not 15.5k) is the one that's got my attention.

Not buying new cars these days, though, so...sigh.

Jan 25, 2013
1:57 PM EDT
Yes, US dollars, after rebate and a minor discount from the dealer. Sticker was $16.2K.

Jan 25, 2013
6:34 PM EDT
I'm driving a second hand Suzuki Swift, we traded down to it from our Hyundai Elantra, so we could tow it behind the bus.

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