Monday, March 3, 2008

Choices

The brakes don't work. The windshield wipers don't work. Sometimes the airbag light goes on for no real reason (what does that mean? Could the airbag just randomly deploy...?!?), it makes weird sounds and vibrates if idling too long, exhaust spews out the back (which I am trying to counteract by recycling but still am overridden with guilt....even though it does still pass emissions...not sure how, but it did). It is time to seriously consider looking for a new car. Oh yes, I forgot the most important thing, the headlights do not work. Not in a way that can be fixed, like chasing the bulbs, but in some weird way that no one knows how to fix. Really, driving at night, or in shadows is quite horrifying. Sooooo........what to do?

We aren't big enough to justify a minivan. However, we will be soon (not that soon, don't get excited). The gas would be too much, the price too much, and I just don't feel justified in that yet. We can't get a new car because we will likely need something bigger in the next five years or so and if we get a new car it has to last at least like ten years. So, we're in a pickle.

I have been looking at crossovers, which are like mini-van meets car type things (but way cooler than station wagons). For example the Mazda 5. I think the Mazda 5 is pretty awesome, we test drove one last year when we got the honda, but it was (and still is) too much money (though less than a mini-van which is what we are considering). Or I also like the Chrysler Pacifica.

However, Blaine and I both have it stuck in our brains that you have to buy either a Toyota or a Honda to get a good car.

And we are both scared to buy a used car because we won't know how to fix it, should trouble arise. And we are both scared of negotiating with car sales people. Scary.

So. Please tell me your opinion, what would you get...new or used? Van or crossover? Now or later? I am excited to hear your thoughts....

14 comments:

Kathrin Paul said...

Ok. First of all, Kristy, your blog makes me laugh out loud. Which at work is a little awkward for some people. Not me, of course. Secondly, I've heard RAVE reviews about the Honda CRV. . . . I don't know if that helps you.

Strong Family - said...

We got our van (used, but with low mileage on it) a few months before Zach was born and I don't regret it one bit. It was so nice when we were traveling to have the extra space...for me to be able to actually climb into the back to feed a baby cheerios and stuff (yes, while we were driving...then I got right into the seatbelt next to the baby). And as you know we definitely have filled it up. :-) I think we'll still probably have it for a while too. I don't know much about the crossovers but I know that having some extra space is nice if you're going to be doing long trips in it.

Jules said...

Um, I hope you aren't trying to imply anything about station wagon owners, otherwise I might be a leetle bit offended. Station wagons are way cool.

Anyway, we almost always buy used because they are a much better deal. Just make sure to get one with maintenance records and take it to a trusted mechanic for a total in depth inspection before you buy it.

Hondas and Toyotas are awesome, but they aren't the only decent cars on the market. Many of them are owned by the same people anyway (Lexus owns Toyota and they own Hyundai and most recently Kia- which explains why Kias have been getting better quality reviews/ratings and warranties the last couple of years) Check our consumer reports and some of the other annual car reviews.

Good luck!!

PS. As to the length of this post. You asked for it. :)

Gretchen said...

My 2 cents, comin' at cha.

I think crossovers are a waste of time. They aren't big enough to be worth anything. They're just station wagons no matter how much they pretend not to be with fancy jargon. If you want a station wagon, fine, get a crossover. Just realize that's what they are.

I swore I would never get a minivan, but now I love it. We got ours just before baby #2, so we definitely didn't justify it yet, but it seemed silly to get something else for a few years and then have to sell it and get something else later. I mean, you get the most out of a car by driving it into the ground. Can't do that if baby #3 comes along and you have to sell for something bigger, ya know? Also, it was questionable whether 2 carseats would fit in the back of our one sedan (M has to put his seat pretty far back when he drives) and we'd pretty much reached the "get us a 2nd car or put me on antidepressants stage."

Now I LOVE all the space. A new baby was SO much easier in a minivan and road trips are actually kind of fun now. (Don't forget the fact that a 4x8 sheet of plywood fits in the back and I don't have to stress about getting my stuff home from cannery trips.) I've also been amazed by our opportunities to serve others because we have a big car. It may not make economic sense, but it was one of our motivators.

We had it stuck in our head too that you have to buy a Toyota or Honda. But the Mazda's are good too. My advice is that IF you decide you must have a Toyota or Honda, buy VERY used, or just bite the bullet and buy new. They hold value so well you hardly get a deal for something a couple years old. Especially if you factor in a warranty on a new car.

Should you so happen to go new though, please, please, please don't get suckered into buying by walking into a dealership. Promise me you'll try our way? Email everyone and make them compete for you.

This comment is so ridiculously long! Just email or call me if you want to chat more and I'll tell you all about our decision process etc. I've already done that with Meleah and others...

Kristi said...

Okay in response to Gretchen:

I would LOVE a minivan, but when you factor in cost and gas mileage that is where I think the crossover would be a good solution!It is like a station wagon, but a lot cooler than the station wagons of yesteryear, right? Plus, it could fit four kids, which is two more than we have now....which is at least like 5-8 years of time before we "need" a van. We are afraid to buy really old and way to scary to buy new (price-wise and dealership negotiating wise).

I have been e-mailing the dealerships, but seriously Gretchen, I sound like an idiot. Maybe you could draft me an e-mail! I totally respect you and your opinion and thank you whole heartedly for your response as well as all of the advice about everything. I love you because you have well thought out opinions about stuff and I need someone to hash stuff out with (Blaine is just too easy going so we wind up just agreeing with eachother, even if it is not the best choice). Anyway! Keep the opinions coming!

Robin said...

Huh! We just walked in your moccasins, except backwards. Today we sold our 2004 Scooby Doo and bought a 1993 Toyota Corolla WAGON!!! It's called The Bogus. With a bulbous bum. Anyway, with two kids, the WRX was way too, um, fancy (and drank premium). But, like you guys, not ready for a minivan. Our plan is to take the savings from the transaction, squirrel it away, and cross-our-fingers-hope-to-die the Toyota doesn't have any major, expensive repairs needed in the next five years. THEN buy a larger vehicle. Sorta new.

Alison said...

Ok we love our Mazda 5. We bought it BRAND new, we were the first to drive it. It is good sized but with three kids the cargo space is not any more than you might get in a station wagon. It seats 6 and the back two seats fold flat. I have put 6 tiered caked in it with out any problems. I have also put 6 foot tables in it(with out kids). I am taking an extensive road trip in it this summer and will probably have to get some sort of roof cargo space because of the length of our trip. We plan on keeping it for at least 5 more years, but we'll see after we have another one wether it gets too cramped. The gas milage is good too. My husband knows alot about cars and he would advise you against anything made by chrystler. Honda, Toyota, Mazda, those are the best choices I think.

Sheyenne said...

If it was me, I'd buy used. But I'm a cheapo. I do have a minivan, and I really like it. I've got room to cart my kids and their friends around if need be. When family comes to visit it holds them too. And gas doesn't really kill me because I'm the only one who uses it and I don't put many miles on it. I'd rather have my car paid for, and then stash some money away for repairs if they come up, then buy something expensive that I'll have payments on for a long time, and then still may have mechanical problems. Also, don't go buying an expensive warranty because you're scared of mechanical issues coming up. We had the same fear and bought a warranty for our minivan. I have had one thing come up, and it wasn't covered, and now my warranty is expired. So much money just down the tubes.

kateworthi said...

Ditto to most of the comments. USED is definitely better- even if it's just a year old. Off the lot, you'll be paying for it. If you plan to keep the car forever, then I think it's okay - but even still, used is a lot less. And if you find something pretty new, with few miles, the deals are out there. We're in the same situation as you guys. Our little HOnda Civic is just WAY too small for our family. 2 carseats barely fit in the back, and the trunk space is outrageously small. And so we've done all the research on crossovers, and were obsessed with the Mazda 5. We thought it was the perfect solution for us, and you can get them used for about 14 or $15,000, which don't get me wrong, is still expensive. But then, we decided, we really couldn't keep it for more than 3 kids - it's still just not big enough. So, why not pay a little bit more, keep the car forever, and get a heck of a lot more room. So, we're waiting for the next kid to get a used mini van, hopefully we'll be able to afford it! :) I'm kind of set on a Sienna - because we've found them in classified ads for some good deals. My mom had a brand new Sienna and had terrible luck with it going out on her after just a couple years - and she bought it brand new. She traded it in for a Mazda CX-7, and have absolutely loved it. So, I just want you to know that H and T are not the only things out there - and even if you do buy a Honda or Toyota, it's not necessarily gonna be problem-free. Well, what car is anyway? I love vans. I'm excited to get one one day. I can't wait to be able to go to the hardware store and buy a dishwasher and NOT have to call my neighbor! Oh, and PS - research shows that you will get the most life out of a car, for your money if you buy a 4-year-old car! Something to keep in mind! Sorry for the length!

The G Clan said...

Hey Kristi-
My husband, Nick, works at the World Headquarter building for Ford Motor Company so I hear about cars ALL the time! Ford owns Mazda and so he could get you a pretty good discount on a Mazda 5 if you're interested. We are planning on buying one when we have another baby. The gas mileage and interior space are unbeatable!

Michelle said...

We had a Mazda Protege, it was awesome! We loved that car. I would get a mazda again. I truly loved it.

The G Clan said...

I have some info. for you...what's your email address?
Tara

Corbett Family said...

Kristi--

I love my mini van, but if that is not plausible for you, I would recommend a used Honda Accord or Toyota Camry (not always easy to find). I had a Camry before we bought our van. I had enough room for two car seats, all my stuff, etc. My double stroller easily fit in the trunk and we took many road trips in it and had plenty of room. Three car sets could have fit in the back, if necessary, too (especially if one was a booster). Mine was a 2001, and I think the newer ones have any more room. Oh, and it got awesome gas mileage. I commuted 40 miles a day for several years in it and I usually only had to fill it up every 2 weeks--it was even better on road trips, all the way from St. George, Utah to Phoenix on one tank. Just my "2 cents."

Shauna said...

I would also not recommend a Chrysler/Plymouth. We have a Plymouth Grand Voyager, and the transmission seems to have issues a lot. And the brakes. A lot. Not our favorite car, although as much as I put up a fight over the whole "van" idea in the first place, I have seen the light and now love having a mini van. Good luck with the hunt. We bought our first car from the Church. Did you know they sell their used fleet cars in the basement of the Church Office Building in downtown Salt Lake? And they have a lot of Toyotas. And they are all well maintained and have relatively low miles (on a count of they limit miles for missionaries, etc.). I abhor salesmen of any genre, and car salesmen are especially bad. But the Church fleet car salesmen are very low pressure. You could check them out while you are up here in Utah, maybe. Just another avenue to explore. Good luck!