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Unread 03-03-2013, 01:30 PM   #1
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Cool My first car buying

Hi,

I am a newbie in car buying, and would like to buy a car in about a month. I only know what I need, please give me some advice and recommendations.

Specs:
1. Living in Albuquerque (a desert area, little snow), NM for 3-4 years. Will sell the car after finishing my PhD degree.
2. Not plan to drive too much, nor even spend too much time and money on maintainance/gas/insurance/etc.
3. A sedan may be good for me, as I would like to take some friends with me for shopping or traveling nearby.
4. My budget is around 4k, and can be flexible if there is really a good deal.

I have looked some posts in this forum, it seems there is a debate on whether it is worth to buy an expensive car or a cheap one, since there is a high risk to wreck the first car. I have a relatively flexible budget, but I am not confident at my driving experience later on. Hence I choose the 4k as my top budget slot. Crect me, if you have a better idea.

I also took a look at the craiglist, but no clue to pick any candidates. Especially, I found many cars with decent price usually along with a salvage title. I don't know if this type of title will affect the insurance and mantainance cost? Could you make a quick list of candidate cars in my area for me? Thanks.

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Unread 03-03-2013, 02:30 PM   #2
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I wouldn't recommend buying a salvage title vehicle for you - typically they're better for people who know what they're looking for. No offense to you, but it doesn't sound like you're an expert in this area. Salvage titles can have hidden problems, and are more likely to than regular cars.

What's your driving style? Do you like to have fun? Drive manual? If you like to drive spiritedly, seeing as there's no snow there, I'd recommend a Miata or something RWD. Miata only fits 2 people, though. If you're not concerned about that and just want to get from point A to point B, then FWD would suit you.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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Thanks, Mike. Ok, no salvage title. I should check VIN to make sure it is a clean title car.

I am sure most of my driving are for commuting. FWD should be fine for me. RWD seems needing extra cost. I would like to have 4 seats, actually.

My friends recommend me to consider Toyota Camry to lower down the maintainance expense, but it is a little expensive to buy it at the first place. I don't know if it is worth to buy a 90's or 2001 Toyota Camry with a price around $4k. Or maybe 2005's Ford Fusion around 6k. Or, much cheaper Honda, Kia and so on. Some Nissan cars are affordable to me... Any recommendations?

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Unread 03-03-2013, 04:16 PM   #4
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Here's some ideas -

97-03 Pontiac Grand Prix (GTP if price allows), WITH the 3.8L engine. GM 3800s run forever!
Oldsmobile Aurora - incredibly luxurious cars, about the most comfortable thing on four wheels, but excellently priced


You could also see if there's any decent 90s Thunderbirds in your area. 99% of these in my area either are chromed and have 24" rims and look stupid or are rusted to hell. They are RWD, and the V6 versions are very unreliable, so V8 only.
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Unread 03-03-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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Good to know Pontiac Grand Prix is such a reputable car! This is one $1700 car needing some fix among the 97-03 models. Other 97-03 cars seem having been repaired for some times. There are 04-06 Grand Prix cars in my area I can afford, with a milleage ranging from 12k, 14k (most, too high?) and 15k. Just one point which is not clear to me: you mentioned GTP in your post, but in the sellers' posts, there is no clear clue on which model they are. I noticed that there are basic, GT, GTP and GXP models for GP produced in different years. Is there a practical way to differentiate them? I think the values of MPG and duration are much more important for me than its power. Which model has a better performance in this sense? How about the noise level of the sporty GP cars?

Here is the link for GP in my area:
http://albuquerque.craigslist.org/se...rix&srchType=A

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Unread 03-03-2013, 09:08 PM   #6
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For Grand Prixs, forget 2004+ models. They're heavier, IMO uglier and get far worse mileage. 97-03 were the golden years for those.

Asnfor mileage, i wouldn't be too worried. My mom sold hers last summer with 220k on the clock, original engine and tranny, never touched.

from 97-03, the models are as follows -
SE - Most of these are the 3.1s, some can be 3.8s but not many. They have a funny looking front bumper. Cheap models.

GT - most common. All of these have the 3.8L. Good buy.

GTP - faster version. 3.8L Supercharged motor.

GXP didn't exist until like 2005.


1997 GRAND PRIX GT 2 DOOR TRADE/SALE
That looks like a pretty good price - it's a 2 door but I do'nt think that makes the backseat any smaller. Don't know if that's a bad thing to you or not. Still has a decent back seat in comparison to most coupes. Mustangs and Camaro back seats are reserved for amputees.

2001 pontiac grand prix gt 4 door runs great only 105k
Looks decent too, sounds like the body is in rough shape and has some nigglse but good price.

Those are both GTs. Typically they'll specifically say GTP if it is one.


Here's an aurora. Paint is a little faded..i'd imagine that's a common thing in New Mexico...other than that this car looks clean...
2001 Oldsmobile Aurora

Looked for Thunderbirds but came up with nothing. Only one 90s one and it's overpriced and a V6.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 01:55 AM   #7
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Thank you, Mike.
I tried to contact the owners of the Pontiac cars you mentioned. No reponse so far. Maybe they have sold them out. Do you think the following ones are also worth buying:
1998 Pontiac Grand Prix
97 grand prix gt
2002 Pontiac grand prix $2,500 obo

As for the Aurora car, it seems the gas efficiency is not as good as the Pontiac. Do you have any other recommendations beyond the sporty cars in the sense of gasoline saving?

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Unread 03-04-2013, 11:41 AM   #8
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if you are going for lower on price i dont suggest going for imports from europe or japan etc. the price can run up due to having to shipped over. would you interested in a hatchback maybe? they are a mixture of the coupe fun and sedan practicability and usually on the cheaper side. i hope you find what you need

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Unread 03-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSPearce View Post
if you are going for lower on price i dont suggest going for imports from europe or japan etc. the price can run up due to having to shipped over. would you interested in a hatchback maybe? they are a mixture of the coupe fun and sedan practicability and usually on the cheaper side. i hope you find what you need
I am not excluding hatchbacks. I just wonder how efficient it is... Good to know that. I will take a look. Thanks.

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Unread 03-04-2013, 12:50 PM   #10
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First one looks in pretty rough shape. Don't know how comfortable you are with buying something with a blown motor, and bad paint (the bra isn't on there for looks). Being as it's a 3800, it probably either has very high mileage, or was not maintained or was beat on. None of these are great.

Second one looks alright. It will ride harshly on those low profile tires though!

Third one I ignored because they give practically no details on the car. One line car ads I typically ignore. You're welcome to contact about it though!
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