I'm debating on buying a new car. Suggestions?

Mae

New member
I currently have a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am. It's just slowly biting the dust, in many areas. ;)

Preface: I'm a college student, so I'm not looking at a Lincoln or anything. :eek: Not too pricey. Perhaps under 20K? 22K? I'd be buying new from the dealer. Obviously it must be safe and preferably it gets along with car seats. :p I have a RF Radian, too ...

I have strong connections with Ford, so I would really prefer a Ford. Four door is about the only requirement. Oh, and good gas mileage. The Hybrid ones are nice in theory. I love the Ford stereo systems as well, so that's drawing me in too.

Maybe the newer Ford Focus? Ford Fusion (Hybrid)? What's out there from Ford that is safe and car seat friendly? Or just in general, what's a good car?
 
ADS

cantabdad

New member
If you really want to stick with Ford, the Focus was listed as a "Top Safety Pick" by IIHS, starts around $16K, and gets about 27 city / 38 highway MPG. For a little more money you can get a hatchback version. Sounds like a pretty good combination, though I have never driven one.

There is an online series called "Carseat Check" that looks at how easy it is to install carseats in various new cars; the Focus did OK but not perfect:
http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2011/11/2012-ford-focus-sedan-car-seat-check-.html

It's hard to tell how much space you might need -- do you have more than one child? Carry lots of equipment? You may be fine in a smaller car, but the Escape is also nice if you want the flexibility to carry more kids & their stuff (or if you do outdoorsy activities with lots of gear).
 

Mae

New member
Good to know! I don't have kids of my own; I nanny two kids. Not too outdoorsy where I would need room for a lot of stuff. My biggest concern, really, is just the installing of car seats! LOL.

Good to know that the Focus was a top safety pick! Are there any websites in particular to look at regarding safety stats?
 

T4K

Well-known member
I like the look of the focus wagon. I noticed it the other day and thought it would be very practical for me.
 

2BunniesMommy

New member
I have owned 2 Focuses...Foci, whatever...Anyway, I loved them. Obviously loved the first enough to get a 2nd. Old ones, well my first was a brand new 2000, so not old then! No idea if the new ones are better, same, or worse, but I loved the 1st Gen of them and would bet I would love a new one too.

I went through 2 Ford vans since then. Well, DH had one and I had the other. Both got new to us cars in the last few months. He now has a 1997 Ford Expedition, he wanted a truck or SUV, had to have 4 wheel drive, we found this for a great deal with only 85,000 miles! So, did keep up our Ford trend. I got a 2010 Honda Insight. A big reason I wanted to get away from the vans was gas mileage. When I saw the deal on this car, just had to jump on it for the gas mileage. I had never had a Honda before, and I have to say I am quite happy with it so far.

The cars that were at the top of my list before we came across the Insight were Honda Accords, Mazda 3, Hyundai Sonota, and Kia Optima. All because they had decent safety ratings, good gas mileage, and were pretty much in my price range.
 

NVMBR02

New member
We have been happy with our Fusion. I have been able to get good installs with all the seats I have tried and can do a few different 3 across. It has a big trunk and drives smoothly. The hybrid came out the year after we bought ours. We were hoping to be able to wait for it, but our other car died before then.

Dh's cousin has a Focus she bought the same week we bought ours. She has also been really happy with her car. We were already expecting our 3rd kid when we bought the Fusion so the Focus wasn't really a consideration for us at the time.
 

Guest

New member
The new Ford stuff is arguably better than anything Toyota puts out. Neck and neck with Honda. Reliability has shot way up too.

The problem with hybrids is they tend to greatly inflate the EPA estimates. For the price, you're prolly better off just going with the regular gas version.

I'd get a Focus or Fusion. Prolly a fusion if you can get a good deal. Tons of room and trunk space. To me, the smaller you go, the less "value" it is because the smaller size tends not to come with a similar price drop. The small ones (like the Fiesta) are still quite pricey. Since the volume Ford models tend to be the Fusion and Focus, better deals tend to be had there which can make up or nearly make up the price difference between the smaller model. Same thing at Toyota and Honda.

And no, for you, I wouldn't get a crossover. Not for a college kid on a budget. First of all, you're purely buying for looks. Crossovers don't offer any real advantage over a sedan. Because of safety, even the theoretical luggage advantage is actually a negative. Throw in the gas mileage penalty and the safety disadvantages of higher rollover and less handling and the only reason to get a crossover is for looks (perfectly fine reason as long as you accept it's purely superficial). If your parents buy it for you, that's a different story. If it's your own money, don't get a crossover/suv.
 

SavsMom

New member
The focus and fusion are both great. My parents have a 2012 focus as their run around car and love it.

I too wouldn't look at a Hybrid. I do drive a Prius and get right at the EPA estimates in terms of fuel economy which I love but I leased it as the lease terms at the time were amazing. If I were purchasing I would look at a Focus, Corolla, Civic as they are safe, reliable, fuel efficient and budget friendly.
 

Mae

New member
So the Hybrids aren't even worth it? Really? I didn't know that! The Focus is claimed 26/36. They don't have a Hybrid; just an electric (which is a no).

The Fusion is claimed at 22/24, whereas the Hybrid is 47/47. My car now gets roughly 25 to 28, so it would suck to go DOWN in gas mileage, yk?

But in a sense, would a lower monthly payment even out what the extra in gas would cost? But in the long run ...
 

MUTigers

New member
It's not a ford but my mom has a Chevy cruze that she loves! I think she typically gets in the upper 30 to lower 40 mph (mostly highway with some city). She has the eco one that gets better mileage. I'm not too sure on price but I know my parents were looking for something between $20 and $25K when they got it.

Just another option!
 

Mae

New member
It's not a ford but my mom has a Chevy cruze that she loves! I think she typically gets in the upper 30 to lower 40 mph (mostly highway with some city). She has the eco one that gets better mileage. I'm not too sure on price but I know my parents were looking for something between $20 and $25K when they got it.

Just another option!

Oh, I forgot about that! My good friend back in IL has one. I just won't get a good deal with Chevy (I have strong connections in the Ford world).

Do you know how it does with car seats? Trouble seats, like the Radian, for example? I have a RF RN.
 

Guest

New member
So the Hybrids aren't even worth it? Really? I didn't know that! The Focus is claimed 26/36. They don't have a Hybrid; just an electric (which is a no).

The Fusion is claimed at 22/24, whereas the Hybrid is 47/47. My car now gets roughly 25 to 28, so it would suck to go DOWN in gas mileage, yk?

But in a sense, would a lower monthly payment even out what the extra in gas would cost? But in the long run ...

What care do you have now. If you can, try researching on forums to see what real world gas mileage is like for those cars. Typically, the combined mileage is generally right around what the EPA city mileage is for the gas cars. The hybrids do get better mileage, but generally nowhere near what the EPA sticker says also.

It takes some research, but you basically have to consider how many miles you drive, and whether it's more city or freeway. Then, figure out the real world mileage btw the gas and hybrid models. Then, figure out the price difference to see how long it'd take for you to break even.

The one final thing to consider is what a replacement battery pack will cost. Battery warranties tend to be pretty long. Say 8 yrs/100,000 miles, but if you keep the car a long time, it might be another cost you'll have to consider. Perhaps that worry or added cost so far down the line isn't worth it to you? Maybe you intend on getting rid of the car by then so it's not something you have to worry about. Just throwing it out there so you can consider everything.

Also double check insurance costs. The more expensive the car, the more expensive it usually costs to insure.
 

Mae

New member
What care do you have now.

Is that supposed to say what car do I have now? Or really, what care do I have? LOL.

If it's the first, I have an '04 Pontiac Grand Am.


If you can, try researching on forums to see what real world gas mileage is like for those cars.

Thanks for the tip!


The one final thing to consider is what a replacement battery pack will cost.

Wait, what? Battery pack? :eek:



Also double check insurance costs. The more expensive the car, the more expensive it usually costs to insure.

Oh, good point. Forgot about that aspect!
 

tl01

New member
What care do you have now. If you can, try researching on forums to see what real world gas mileage is like for those cars. Typically, the combined mileage is generally right around what the EPA city mileage is for the gas cars. The hybrids do get better mileage, but generally nowhere near what the EPA sticker says also.

It takes some research, but you basically have to consider how many miles you drive, and whether it's more city or freeway. Then, figure out the real world mileage btw the gas and hybrid models. Then, figure out the price difference to see how long it'd take for you to break even.

The one final thing to consider is what a replacement battery pack will cost. Battery warranties tend to be pretty long. Say 8 yrs/100,000 miles, but if you keep the car a long time, it might be another cost you'll have to consider. Perhaps that worry or added cost so far down the line isn't worth it to you? Maybe you intend on getting rid of the car by then so it's not something you have to worry about. Just throwing it out there so you can consider everything.

Also double check insurance costs. The more expensive the car, the more expensive it usually costs to insure.

Just to add to this... With a hybrid... Find out if they only replace the batteries under warranty for a defect or if they do it for a battery that isn't holding a charge due to normal age and use. I know on our electric car... They only replace for defects... But not if it just slowly stops holding a charge. I know someone with an older Prius and it is basically a gas powered car bc the batteries hold almost no charge now.

We leased our electric car because we didn't want to be stuck with poorly performing batteries.
 

MUTigers

New member
Oh, I forgot about that! My good friend back in IL has one. I just won't get a good deal with Chevy (I have strong connections in the Ford world).

Do you know how it does with car seats? Trouble seats, like the Radian, for example? I have a RF RN.

It does pretty well. I've had a key fit in it (not hard, but still) and it was super simple. I've also had a RFing radian with angle adjuster. The AA is a must. There isn't much room for the front passenger when it's outboard passenger but I can sit there (5'9", long legs). If its center my DH is the only family member who can't drive (but he's 6'9", the next tallest is maybe 5'10"). No one can drive with it behind the driver (maybe my dad who is about 5'6" and has short legs). It installs really well with latch and is just a little difficult with seatbelt (but totally doable).

I hope this helps. Is probably go with the ford if you can get a much better deal, but definitely test drive a cruze, they are so much fun to drive!
 

Guest

New member
Hybrids use a battery pack to run an electric motor. That's how it saves gas. It's half electric car, half regular gas car. However, all batteries eventually need to be replaced. As tl01 points out, the warranty can be a big difference b/c if it's just for defects and your battery runs down through what they deem to be "normal wear and tear", then you're looking at a huge repair cost that ruins your estimate of whether a hybrid is worth the cost.

One of my best friends bought a Nissan Leaf (full electric). After just 1 year, he was only getting about half the mileage. Nissan wouldn't replace as defective. Said it was "normal". So, he took a big loss and got rid of the car.

My brother in laws are Toyota mechanics. They've seen some hybrids go years and tons of miles. Some don't last long at all. It's a gamble, which is why I said it may not be worth the risk to you. Gas cars are a known quantity.
 

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