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Unread 07-05-2014, 08:05 AM   #1
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Default First car, where/how to begin?

Greetings! I'm looking to get my first car, and I'm a bit puzzled as to how to begin the entire process.

On the financial side, these are the relevant facts. I'm a 27-year-old male Kansan. I have years of experience driving several family vehicles (i.e. as can be expected from my age, I'm not new to driving). I live with family (few expenditures there) while working as a full-time, insured, sales associate at Walmart, and make college loan and medical payments monthly -- in other words, I won't be able to afford much, especially when vehicle insurance is factored in.

On the actual vehicle side, I primarily need something to get me to and from work (~10 highway miles and maybe 6 city miles per day), though I would also make the occasional trip into town (near Manhattan, KS, so not very big) and the rare trip to Manhattan (maybe 20 miles or so away). Later on, I may return to college in Manhattan, so I would be transporting possessions in that case (fairly small ones, generally) -- hence, I definitely want a four-door with some actual leg room. I do want good gas mileage on whatever I get. Style-wise, I'm looking at sedans and hatchbacks. Automatic transmission. It needs to be fairly reliable, since I won't have much money for frequent repairs and don't know enough to do much of anything, myself. I don't have particular makes or models in mind, really, so I'm open to all suggestions.

So, where do I begin this whole process (not just car selection), and what makes and models do you think would best suit me?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Last edited by Beaverduck; 07-05-2014 at 08:35 AM.

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Unread 07-05-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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What is your actual budget? Are you planning on making payments or buying it outright? (I would recomend the latter)
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Unread 07-05-2014, 06:23 PM   #3
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If I go to a dealer, I'll get a bank loan and just pay the bank back. If I buy from an individual, I'd prefer buying outright, to avoid any problems. For payments, I should be able to do 500 a month on the vehicle and insurance combined (like I said... Walmart). The largest down payment I'd be comfortable making would probably be 6,500, which would probably also be the maximum I'd pay for an outright buy.

(Correction on distances: ~8 miles per day, with about half of it in-city.)

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Unread 07-05-2014, 07:31 PM   #4
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Well there's several guys on here who seem to like their cruises/Sonics with the 1.4 turbo. I testdrove one and liked it. If you don't mind financing it seems to be a good option. I've never paid more than a grand for a vehicle so I'm prolly not the best at giving advice unless you are interested in a good ol mpg getter. Lol. I'm sure someone will be around shortly to get ya a few recommendations.
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Unread 07-05-2014, 11:02 PM   #5
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Probably struggle to get any new car financed for under $500 a month including insurance unless you have a very long loan term and excellent credit.

I'd say something lightly used would fit you better.

Link your local craigslist and we'll take a look.
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Unread 07-05-2014, 11:06 PM   #6
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I'd already gathered that new was pretty much out of the question.

Local craigslist link

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Unread 07-06-2014, 07:58 AM   #7
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My sonic all in costs me $420 a month and I put no money down on it. That being said, never over extend yourself to buy a vehicle. It will always bite you in the butt down the road. That being said, a used sonic would be very much in your price range if you can find one. The turbo model is just over 2 years old and not many people are giving them up once they buy them.
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Unread 07-06-2014, 02:17 PM   #8
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The turbo model, as it happens, is not even in the used market in my area for anything under $17k.

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Unread 07-06-2014, 04:03 PM   #9
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Here are four candidate Sonics. Only one of them is the 1.4T.

$13.0k 1.8L w/ 69.6k mi.
$14.3k 1.8L w/ 35.0k mi.
$17.0k 1.4T w/ 15.5k mi.
$15.6k 1.8 w/ 40.1k mi.

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Unread 07-07-2014, 08:14 PM   #10
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You sure about that?

2012 CHEVY SONIC LTZ TURBO
2012 turbo sonic
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