On the other hand, a slightly used American car--let's say a Ford
Focus--is an incredible deal, with most of the big depreciation already
paid for and yet most of the car's life remaining.
If you can stand a Focus, a slightly used one is your best bet.
Most automakers are making pretty reliable and durable cars these days.
1) Regarding fuel economy, the EPA numbers for 2008 and later model years
should more closely reflect real-world numbers so you can compare. I do not
know if this is still the case, but in the past, Hyundais have had poorer
fuel economy than a comparable Toyota, Honda, or Nissan and tend to be a
little noisier. A friend traded in a Honda minivan for a Hyundai minivan,
and while the Hyundai has good performance and comfort, it is noisier on the
highway and gets noticeably poorer fuel economy.
I recommend that you test drive each candidate to see if they are
comfortable for you, if you like how they drive, road noise, convenience,
Also price all of the vehicles with the equipment that you want. Hyundais
tend to have more content than comparable Japanese vehicles.
2) Edmunds.com seems to have pretty good car reviews.
3) I would purchase the vehicle from the dealer that sells the vehicle new
because dealers that do not have that particular brand's franchise do not
have access to the factory training and equipment that the new car dealer
4) You will probably get a better deal on a 2008 than a 2009, and if you are
going to keep the vehicle for 12 years, depreciation won't make that much of
5) Factory and dealer demos (vehicles that have never been titled) are
generally available only through franchised dealers. A "used" vehicle is
one that has been licensed and titled, and are available pretty much
anywhere, although the vehicles in the best condition are most likely to be
at the franchised dealer.
The best time to buy a vehicle is generally at the end of the model year,
especially if there is a major model change like a new body style. Since
new models are introduced throughout the year, the end of the model year
will vary depending on when the vehicle was released. The 2009 Corolla is
new, so you will probably get a better deal on a 2008.
Besides the time of year, there is a best time of the month, generally the
1st or second working day of the month, when automakers have their month-end
close. If there are factory incentives on the vehicle, they will tend to be
better at the end of the incentive period because incentives are generally
stepped up towards the end of the period.
The Corolla is a very well put together car.
Here many are used as cabs, even to the airport.
I've been told by the cabbies they go about 200k miles before major
repair, the Camry goes about 150k miles for the same.
Unfortunately for me it needs a telescoping steering wheel as I sit far
back. The car is designed for drivers much shorter than my 5'-11".
Also unfortunately there are just too many of them here, mostly beige,
one would have trouble finding one's Corolla in the parking lots.
The best deals here are on off lease cars.
lots of discussion here, my additions:
at this point, it's clear that side airbags are a significant addition
to safety, i'd tend to make them a must.
diseases of japanese cars, toyota and honda included, tend to be more
age related than mileage related. as such, "easiest" way to own them
might be to buy new or maybe one year old, then sell around the time
of the "big service" where you have to change the timing belt. repeat
as necessary. as pointed out, the depreciation on toyota or honda is
pretty low, so a good deal on a new one is as cheap as a bad deal on a
one year old. either way, it'll depreciate less while you own it than
other makes, so a little more expense up front ends up saving you over
the long run.
if you are more into keep it until it rusts away, as with the 12 year
old Camry, that's obviously less of an issue. in which case, you might
want to consider a hyundai along with focus, mazda, nissan, because
the cost of entry is less for them. hyundai quality has come a long
Well, that gives the nod to Honda--with its Safety for Everyone
campaign, where every car gets every safety feature that was available
at the time the car was introduced. Where the manufacturer does not put
more safety features into the higher end cars and fewer into the lower
(There's a big discussion about run-flat tires on the Odyssey, though;
for years, many argued them as a safety feature, but since Honda has
since made them optional and not mandatory, I think that shows the lie
that people told themselves about it being a safety feature.)
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