Saturday, May 20, 2006

Need new car: Fighting the urge to keep up

Cell phones and (dumb) drivers just don't mix. While mostly everyone has been annoyed by another driver on a cell-phone, I was never affected directly... until last month. Some knucklehead crashed into my beloved 1994 Nissan Altima with 150k miles on it forcing my hand into needing to replace this car. Turns out, the guy was looking for his cell phone and didn't notice the red light, thus plowing into the side of my car and royally "effing" it up. Now, I love nice cars as much as the next person and this being the first real car that I will have to purchase... I was not nearly as p.o.'ed about losing my Altima as I should have been.

So what to buy? The first thought that came to my mind was a nice German-engineered car ... something like the BMW 3 or the Audi A4. Being in San Diego, I spend a lot of time on the freeways and thought that I should drive something enjoyable. Plus it has to look good right? But then, I decided to make a spreadsheet comparing the price/horsepower/enginesize/MPGs for various cars and to my complete disappointment, it seems that the best values (for my price range <$35k) are either a Toyota Camry, a Honda Accord, or a Honda Civic. But c'mon, I'm in my early 30s and a Camry is just not the car that I envision myself driving AND having fun doing so.

The urge to keep up with the jonezez and go for a nicer car versus pursuing the most "bang for my buck" are completely in conflict. Boring-ass Camry that will likely last 10-15 years versus nice-looking Audi/BMW/Lexus/Infiniti but pay an extra $5k-10K? Man... in the end.. all I really want is my Altima back!!! I still haven't gone for a test-drive but will keep posting how the car-buying process goes.
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Blogger Gay Yuppies said...

Don't overlook the Acura TSX. Legendary Honda engineering and reliability, fun to drive, great fuel economy (19,000 life to date of 29MPG), and a fully loaded sticker around $30,000 ($28,000 without navigation).

I drove the A4, 3 Series, MB C230 and the Subaru Legacy GT. The BMW is a fine car, but from a value perspective the TSX wins, at least to me, hands down.

Give it a try.

7:42 AM, May 20, 2006  
Blogger Jonezez said...

thanks for the tip. I am looking at the same range of cars (minus the benz), but am very impressed with the gas mileage and price you more stylish than a camry!

8:19 PM, May 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like the Audi, buy a Volkswagen. I considered Audi a few years ago, ended up going with a Jetta with many of the same features. They're designed by the same company and share many components (you may already know that). I am thrilled with the purchase. It's an Audi in VW's clothing (and price range). Oh, and it has that German engineering you wanted.

6:37 PM, June 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for a 2006 Honda Accord EX-L 4-cylinder. I bought one a couple of months ago for a little over $22k including tax, tag, license, etc...

It's Carbon Bronze Pearl with an "Ivory" (tan) leather interior. 6-disc changer with XM satellite radio. The 4-cylinder engine is very quick, and gets about 28-29 mpg. I spend 60 miles a day (2+ hours) in my car, and the Accord was the best buy for the money. Colleagues of mine who own Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, etc... and have the payments to go with those cars are envious of the fact that I bought a car with everything theirs has (with better reliability) for less than 2/3 what they paid!

Trust me on this one. You owe it to yourself to test drive the Accord EX-L. Don't waste your time or money on a BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, or even the Acura TSX. The Accord isn't a "driving machine" like the TSX, but it is pretty close and costs $8k less. Don't know about you, but $8k in my pocket making me money is more important than a car that can take a corner a little faster....

6:01 AM, July 19, 2006  

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