Car shopping advice

Ricky Sargulesh's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,772

WSO,

I need some advice on car shopping. I've seen some older threads with great informative discussions that are a bit outdated or don't fit with my personal criteria. I'll try to make this as short as possible. Thanks in advance for any advice!

First, a bit of background:

  • I don't know ANYTHING about cars and have never owned one.
  • I also don't care at all about impressing people with my car. I just want it to be practical and somewhat attractive.
  • I think I'd like to spend about $10k but could go higher if its worth it, maybe ~$15k max.
  • I think I'd like a smaller SUV but could do sedan. I like the smaller SUVs for the extra room and trunk space while still being practical in a city (think CRV, RAV4, Escape, etc)
  • I plan to drive the car about 5-10k miles per year, mostly during summer weekends in mild weather. It will probably take some wear and tear from city street parking. I can park it indoors during severe weather.

Questions:

  • Should I stick with Honda or Toyota? Those seem to be the most popular and reliable used car brands, especially for people like me that need easy maintenance.
  • Should I finance it or buy all cash? If I finance, what's a good resource for used car auto loans?
  • What age or mileage is too old? Is there a "sweet spot" in terms of age/mileage I should target to get a good deal?
  • Should I stick with "certified" pre-owned cars? Or should I just make sure I get the car inspected by a 3rd party? (if so, how do I do this?) Any other methods to ensure I don't get ripped off?
  • What website or other methods do you recommend for finding used cars? Can I just go right to a dealership with lots of positive online reviews?
  • When searching websites, what filters should I be sure to select? Any red flags I should avoid?
  • Any good online forums to browse / ask questions?
  • Any other advice?

Comments (415)

Jan 22, 2018

For someone without experience you're a lot better versed than most and more importantly you know exactly what you want, so that's good.

1) Both fine brands and will accomplish what you're specifying
2) It depends, if you're able to secure a good rate, go ahead and finance, money now is better than money later, use your cash for something more beneficial
3) For the Toyotas, Hondas, etc. of the world you shouldn't have any difficulty finding 1 owner certified pre-owned cars less than 3 years old with under 40k miles for the number you're mentioning (sub $15k)
4) See 3
5) Cars.com to find comps you can use to negotiate and find cars to see, then just go to dealers
6) See 5
7) Meh, you got it figured out, it's not science
8) Don't stress about it, and go knock it out in one day. Doing the multi weekend, hard buy/hard sell BS, etc. is a nightmare. Just go in knowing what you want and how much you have, and do it.

    • 5
Jan 22, 2018

I make over $1/8m/yr. I have a 20 year old jeep, but I take the train to work.

Honestly, figure out what you like, and what won't get ruined based on where you live. I parked a Miata in Manhattan for years. (fine financially, but bad from a maintenance perspective)

Older American trucks/cars (like my 1967 4.0L Nash I6) can be the absolute lowest maintenance items out there, but they won't be efficient. Those Korean Kias and Hyundais can be the cheapest used deals. (Honda type reliability w/o Honda pricing) Mass transit is always the best deal.

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Best Response
Jan 22, 2018

WAIT.......you make 1/8 of $1M ($125k) or $1.8M?

either way, what a ridiculous lead in to a post.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

    • 19
Jan 22, 2018

my dude did you just say you made $1.8M a year in asset management? are you a PM in equities or something at some really big AM or what's going on here guy?

Jan 22, 2018

we basically both just commented on this at the exact same time asking the same thing

i really wanna know if this dude makes $1.8M in AM now lol

Jan 24, 2018

1/8M per year?

My brother, a recent graduate from a tier 3 public state school, makes 20% more than that working in software.

    • 1
Jan 22, 2018

No offense but who starts any conversation like that? Lol

You make 125K/yr, cheers mate.

    • 1
Jan 22, 2018

you want something more generic? I make over 100k, but under 250k, yr, not counting bonus. parking in and around NYC is shit. I am more than OK with having a car that is worth maybe $2k. It gets me from A to B. My compliance officer actually drives worse for the eight blocks to the train station, and he puts his kids into a very nice private school.

My boss has suits worth more than my car. That is fine with me.

    • 5
Jan 23, 2018

"In the driveway there's no rapper cars, just some shit to get from back and forth"
J Cole

    • 4
Jan 24, 2018
Whatever1984:

I make over $1/8m/yr. I have a 20 year old jeep, but I take the train to work.

Honestly, figure out what you like, and what won't get ruined based on where you live. I parked a Miata in Manhattan for years. (fine financially, but bad from a maintenance perspective)

Older American trucks/cars (like my 1967 4.0L Nash I6) can be the absolute lowest maintenance items out there, but they won't be efficient. Those Korean Kias and Hyundais can be the cheapest used deals. (Honda type reliability w/o Honda pricing) Mass transit is always the best deal.

Fucking love it.

    • 1
Jan 24, 2018

....... is your shop hiring right now? Asking for a friend

Jan 22, 2018

It's almost a cliche but you should stay away from buying a new car. Sharp depreciation as you drive it out the dealership is unavoidable and not worth the cost. If you're interested in something maybe a little more exciting than a perfectly ok and presumably reliable foreign sedan, you should consider buying your car at Carmax. Carmax used to have a pretty sick bumper to bumper policy you can purchase for less than 4k which I believe only expired after a ridiculous amount of miles. Theoretically you could purchase an otherwise expensive used car at a fair price and purchase this warranty to cover anything that could happen to it during the ~5 year period the warranty lasts. By that time, usually anything that could have gone wrong will have gone wrong and the dealer will have taken care of all the expenses. Something to consider.

Carl Van Loon
Van Loon & Associates

    • 2
Jan 22, 2018

Told my GF to get a used Hyundai Tucson for roughly 16-18k cuz we needed to switch cars for our coming kid and instead she gets a brand new one for 21k which ended up costing like 23k after fees & taxes. I wasn't there and she's like "my Dad and Brother-in-law who works at a dealership in maintenance said it was a good deal, are you mad at me?". Of course I lied and said no. Sigh.

    • 3
Jan 22, 2018

GFs are always spending money like that SMH my dude we need to stop GF spending

Jan 23, 2018

This is nothing compared to the costs you have coming, that $5k is a rounding error when it come the daycare/school.

Good luck man, kids are hard, but awesome at the same time.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Jan 24, 2018

Pussy.

We know how this will end.

Jan 22, 2018

Where do you live?

Jan 23, 2018

Ok, so after doing some more research and setting the filters to 2-5 years old with under 50k miles, it looks like the CRV/RAV4 are usually about $15k and the accord/Camry are slightly cheaper, usually around $13k. Getting a certified car doesn't seem to add much to the price, maybe like $500-$1,000 total, so I should probably do that to protect myself since I'm not car savvy, right? The reason Im focusing on Honda and Toyota is because they keep coming up as recommended brands for practical used cars. Does this sound accurate? Is paying ~$13k for the sedan or ~$15k for the small SUV what the smart used car buyers of WSO would settle for?

Array

    • 1
Jan 23, 2018

Pricing sounds right if you are going through a franchise dealership/CarMax (which I would recommend). You might be able to get a better deal in a private sale but those come with additional risks.

    • 1
Jan 23, 2018

Have a look at the VW Jetta. Its pretty cheap to run and a good car to drive, it meets most of your requirements. I picked up a 2013 Jetta with about 24k miles and it cost around $9300. You could easily get a newer Jetta with your budget. I have done a few 5 hour trips of driving with it only after a few months and it does the job long distance. Let me know what you think or any questions

Jan 23, 2018

Cool, thanks. I'll look into that. Definitely open to cheaper recommendations closer to the $10k price.

Array

Jan 23, 2018
Ricky Sargulesh:

Cool, thanks. I'll look into that. Definitely open to cheaper recommendations closer to the $10k price.

Get a used VW wagon...hits your requirement for more space, while being cost effective and also fun to drive.

Jan 23, 2018

1/8 million for post of the year!!!!

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Jan 23, 2018

If you have to choose between Honda or Toyota, def go Toyota. Personally, I've only ever driven Mercedes. Very safe vehicles, albeit understandable how pricy they get.. Especially considering maintenance. Maybe you should even consider a Lexus.

Also, straight up cash is much, much better than financing - car payments suck.

Main advice would be to search and search until you find one you're comfortable with, I've made the mistake of buying what I wanted in the moment without hesitating and thinking rationally.

    • 1
    • 1
Jan 24, 2018

Before doing anything look at Kelly blue book prices for potential cars you're interested in.

Once you've found a car..

Ask about:
* mileage
* accidents
* outdoor kept / garage kept
* status of the brakes
* status of the tires
* did it receive standard maintenance (25k mile check up / 50k mile check / 100k mile???)
* Have they kept up on oil changes
* check upholstery
* check the under carriage for rust (especially in New York)

Would recommend looking at a 150 point inspection sheet to get more questions. Obviously if the car has pending maintenance, dents, and damage. Discount the price below market value.

Negotiating is a standard procedure:
Make an all cash offer 10-15% under his asking price, quote kelly blue book pricing, and start pointing out things you don't like about the car.

    • 2
Jan 24, 2018

@Wolfofgeorgestreet"
@Keysey Soze"

If I go for cheaper non-certified cars can I really just ask the dealer about the status of every component? Keep in mind I don't know any of the terminology....

Isn't there a way to have cars inspected by a 3rd party? Like can you tell the dealer you're 90% sure you want that $8k Jetta but would like to "test drive" it over to the indepent VW garage a few miles away for 2nd look?

Array

Jan 24, 2018

Everything I listed above are normal questions to ask. I wouldn't recommend you ask them about the status of the intake manifold or some shit, they'll look at you funny. Think main driving components that will cost you money to replace in the first 4-6 months of ownership.

If you really like the car and want piece of mind, you can ask them to take it to a garage for inspection. Usually this will come out of your pocket. Cheaper way to do this would be to visit a website called CARFAX.com Buying a report is like $40; granted its not a completely full proof history log but sometimes it will have good details.

Buying CPO will usually cost a premium, but is a generally a safe bet.

Important note: Also ask if the car has a branded title (this is usually a deal breaker for most). Will let you read up on the details of branded titles.

Jan 24, 2018

Yep absolutely, there should be supporting documents for most the claims they make. You can always bring one of your mates with you (who knows a decent amount with cars if you want, no harm in that what so ever). The car salesmen ultimately want your money asap for the car so they should be accommodating, if not thats when red flags come up. What keysey said is spot on as well. Let me know how you go.

Jan 24, 2018

People on WSO discussing Hondas and VW? pathetic. Take an autoloan and buy a used Porsche, you need it for prestiege.

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

    • 2
Jan 24, 2018

Buy an older used Toyota Rav4 - 2008-2010 or so. If you have good credit, go to CarMax and get their preferred balance sheet financing (6 year term/10yr T+25bps IR). Also look into their warranty programs which are awesome.

Jan 24, 2018

I'm Swedish so I will say this without hesitation: you want practical? Buy volvo. Want cheap? Buy volvo second-hand

    • 1
Jan 24, 2018

What if OP doesn't like Chinese owners?

Jan 30, 2018

You can take Volvo out of Sweden, but you can never take Sweden out of Volvo.

Jan 24, 2018

Waiting for @IlliniProgrammer to chime in...

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Jan 30, 2018

What city? If you get a decent amount of snow forget the BMW.

I'd be conservative financially considering you're a newer employee in an uncertain economy and in a volatile industry.

You have to consider other variables such as distance driven on average (gas $), cost of repairs for your brand/model car, general utility (will you use the car for hobbies and need something larger such as a SUV), etc. From your list I'd choose the Acura but depending on where you'll live/lifestyle I'd be open-minded to something even cheaper such as a Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord, Ford Explorer, etc. Keep it simple at this time.

I'm not a big proponent on spending disposable income on a fast depreciating asset such as a car. Rather gamble (aka invest long-term) some earnings in the markets.

Jan 30, 2018

I'll sell you my 2008 Camry 35k miles on it - sun roof, power seats, remote start - what do you say? 11k

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018
cold pizza 2:

I'll sell you my 2008 Camry 35k miles on it - sun roof, power seats, remote start - what do you say? 11k

Not a bad deal by the way, and close to what my recommendation would have been.

Jan 30, 2018

Ford Mustang, new $21k.

Jan 30, 2018

shows you're not on that yale thing...

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

Ford Mustang GT, used, $15K.

Jan 30, 2018

If you are living in a city that gets lots of snow I would definitely recommend an all wheel drive car. If not all wheel drive you want FWD as an alternative in the snow. Also, a small displacement engine (4cyl) will serve you better for fuel consumption when driving from light to light (or stop sign to stop sign) in the city. Finally, I would recommend a diesel car because diesel engines are mostly bullet proof and will last much longer with less maintenance issues than a gasoline engine. My .02

Did you fly over my helmet?

Jan 30, 2018

I'll sell you my '06 325i for $16k - black on black w/ navi 79k mi

Jan 30, 2018

My A4 is awesome in the snow. That being said, my A4 is awesome everywhere. If you don't drive alot, which being in the office 16 hours per day means you don't drive at all, I would recommend leasing a new A4 or A5. When you buy a used car then you have to worry about maintenance and breaking down. Just lease one so you don't need to worry about that BS. My local dealership offers to pick up my car at the office.

Jan 30, 2018

No need to worry about snow (not Chicago). Distance from work to home is pretty small (<5 mi) so no need to worry too much about marginal gas consumption.

Jan 30, 2018

Wow. If it doesn't snow buy a Mustang GT. The newer ones look great and are extremely reliable. I think you could even get a 5.0 for around 25k.

Jan 30, 2018

A4 is a great car. Also highly recommend a 2010+ GTI. Such a great package for the cash.

Jan 30, 2018

GTIs are great if you want to pick up dudes in skinny jeans

Jan 30, 2018
jack_donaghy:

GTIs are great if you want to pick up dudes in skinny jeans

LOL true.

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

S4. You can find 2004+ models (great cars) in the $20k-$25k range w/ around 50k miles, which is fine.

Jan 30, 2018

I would buy a brand new honda civic si, honda civic coupe, or a honda accord coupe brand new...all of these are under 25K, great reliable cars, with great mileage and won't fall in value nearly as fast as a mustang, audi, or bmw.

of course if you want to pick up chicks all day then go with the others.

Jan 30, 2018

i prefer a van/panel truck and "get your ass in the car." it works 1 out of 12 times.

Jan 30, 2018

My personal preferences for that range: 2006 Infiniti G35 [4-door] / 2006 BMW 335i

Conservative looking yet fun to drive.

Jan 30, 2018

John Cooper Works Mini Coopers are a blast, as well. Quickest model.

Jan 30, 2018

Your choice of cars just shows how pretentious yet broke you are at the same time

Jan 30, 2018
President:

Your choice of cars just shows how pretentious yet broke you are at the same time

this

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018
President:

Your choice of cars just shows how pretentious yet broke you are at the same time

President is spot on.

If you say your budget is $10-25k, it should probably be more like $10-15k. Don't be a douche - just get a newer accord or something similar. Then in 3 years, when if all goes well you can easily afford it, get a 2 year old version of one of the cars you really want. You'll enjoy the car more when you can actually afford it and you won't look like a tool buying a 9 year old "luxury" car.

Above is my practical advice. Realistically, I am not IP and I also enjoy nicer things, but worrying about how to pay the bills SUCKS. A few years ago I was at a small Ibank and got let go. Let me tell you, at that point I really wished I had a slightly cheaper lease, no car payments and a few of those fine dining tabs back. Thankfully, I got on my feet quickly, but my advice to younger guys is to do everything in your power to prevent that situation. Live it up, but also realize that in this business you could find yourself unemployed tomorrow.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Jan 30, 2018

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

rsx - no. what are you, too fast too furious? if in the northeast id say A4 (or anywhere with snow), bmw if you are in a warmer clime that you dont have to worry about snow. i have my subaru back home in CT and id never buy a non-AWD car in the northeast -- the fact you can take hard turns without any roll in your car as you take it going 60 is great.

vs a civic? id rather buy one of the new kia optimas or hyundai solara's. the genesis, even though its 34k asking, can be found for 28k NEW with .9 percent financing for 3-4 years

Jan 30, 2018

350z

Jan 30, 2018

'94 Alfa Romeo Spider, balling on a budget, only downside is maintenance/reliability, apparently the Italians didn't learn that from their Roman forefathers.

Seriously though, can't go wrong with a Japanese import, a Civic Si would be a fine choice.

Jan 30, 2018

Ew 350z? Gross.

Civic Si possibly.. Think I'm leaning towards the BMW.

Jan 30, 2018
goldman in da house:

Ew 350z? Gross.

Civic Si possibly.. Think I'm leaning towards the BMW.

sir please justify your repsonse. I have a civic r 98 coupe and let me tell you as much dependable that is, nothing is. But sadly, if you also want to get laid civic wont cut it. BMW are nice, 1M is amazzzzing, i think clarkson shot a load here:

but bmw's maintenance is a bitch, but if youre leasing you wont have to pay a dime

but 1M aint cheap brother, you might stick with 325i or 318i etc...

But if you want affordable and want to get some action, go with 350z i would have said rx8-7 but the mileage kills you and it looks like a chick mobile.

Jan 30, 2018

how is an RSX pretentious?
smh

Jan 30, 2018

I would seriously consider leasing and limit the contract to two years or so. As said, no need to worry about maintenance and so on, and it will probably be cheaper than just buying a used car.
Two years from now you can still upgrade.

Jan 30, 2018
cheftony:

I would seriously consider leasing and limit the contract to two years or so. As said, no need to worry about maintenance and so on, and it will probably be cheaper than just buying a used car.
Two years from now you can still upgrade.

Leasing is always a terrible idea. It's paying for rental when you can pay slightly more to own the damn thing and resell later.

Jan 30, 2018

leasing is almost always a bad financial decision.

Jan 30, 2018

Pick up an e46 M3. Never goes out of style.

Jan 30, 2018
goldman in da house:

I changed by mind about how much I want to spend on a car as a first year analyst.

I'm going to be living in a city that requires me to have a car. Which should I buy?

I've been thinking:
2004 Acura RSX - $13k
2006 BMW 325i - $16k
2007 Audi A4 - $18k

None of those cars. They are all at the point where they should be giving you problems and the maintenance costs on those vehicles suck. Not too mention the body styles look old. I'm not too sure why you would spend that much on a used car. For name? performance? The performance on those vehicles sucks.

Jan 30, 2018

There are alot of people who troll these forums to give their opinions . Some of them have graduated college and don't even work in our industry. These people have no idea what we go through on a daily basis(all nighters, breakfast/lunch/dinner at our desks, 6 days per week of work if we are lucky) . 3 year old Accord guy.... forget him. We don't work 100 hours per week to drive something your building's janitor drives. The guy up top who says leasing is a "terrible financial decision".... forget him. You know what IS a terrible financial decision? Missing a meeting and having to tell your MD that you couldn't get there because your car sucks. In a lease you MIGHT lose a couple thousand bucks, but miss a meeting because you drive a POS and you'll lose your job.

To sum things up: lease a nice car with a pick-up/drop-off service policy, focus on work, and don't feed trolls.

Jan 30, 2018
jack_donaghy:

There are alot of people who troll these forums to give their opinions . Some of them have graduated college and don't even work in our industry. These people have no idea what we go through on a daily basis(all nighters, breakfast/lunch/dinner at our desks, 6 days per week of work if we are lucky) . 3 year old Accord guy.... forget him. We don't work 100 hours per week to drive something your building's janitor drives. The guy up top who says leasing is a "terrible financial decision".... forget him. You know what IS a terrible financial decision? Missing a meeting and having to tell your MD that you couldn't get there because your car sucks. In a lease you MIGHT lose a couple thousand bucks, but miss a meeting because you drive a POS and you'll lose your job.

To sum things up: lease a nice car with a pick-up/drop-off service policy, focus on work, and don't feed trolls.

I have no idea what it's like to have to take cars to maintenance while working 100 hours a week, so I guess leasing may have its merits even though it's NPV is lower... I'll look into it.

Jan 30, 2018

get an e46 bmw 330i with the zhp package for 16k.

i promise you won't regret it.

Jan 30, 2018

^ Relieved I wasn't on the receiving end...

Anyway, if you're going to consistently work 100-hour weeks why even bother splurging on an expensive lease? Getting a fancy car with 700 miles a month is pointless. I'm not the biggest fan of Honda's or Toyota's but they're probably as reliable, if not even more reliable then slightly more premium models such as BMW's, Audi's, Benz's, etc.

For a first year analyst working during an uncertain economy some frugality is warranted. Don't rush to buy entry-level class luxury cars. Have patience for a few years and if all goes well then get that S550 or 7-series BMW.

Jan 30, 2018

leasing is a bad deal because the NPV is almost always higher for buying and reselling

Jan 30, 2018
ivoteforthatguy:

leasing is a bad deal because the NPV is almost always higher for buying and reselling

I vote for this guy

Jan 30, 2018
ivoteforthatguy:

leasing is a bad deal because the NPV is almost always higher for buying and reselling

not if you get into an accident.

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

Get a new 2010-2011 Kia Forte koup

Jan 30, 2018

^ i was responding to jack, not you. i think we are both in the positive NPV camp. i like my work but i love vacation.

Jan 30, 2018

IVoteforThatGuy is scoring serious IP points today.

Jan 30, 2018

Get the Bimmer!!!

Jan 30, 2018

^ "almost"

Jan 30, 2018

Not sure of your definition of best, but I would say:

1995 Honda Accord
1995-1999 Toyota Land Cruiser

Depends on the mission you need it for. Not the most stylish or "show off" cars, but dependable on or off road respectively.

Jan 30, 2018

350z is for women

if you're asian def lease this shit:
http://www.subaru.com/vehicles/impreza-wrx/sti/bui...

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018
cold pizza 2:

350z is for women

if you're asian def lease this shit:
http://www.subaru.com/vehicles/impreza-wrx/sti/bui...

That's the ugliest $35k POS I've ever seen

Jan 30, 2018

^^ lol at the idiot standing in the middle

Jan 30, 2018

If you're going to buy an audi, buy an S class. If you're going to buy a BMW, buy an M class. I just bought an 05 S4 and I love it ($20K), do not waste your money on an A4. Highly recommend the S4.

Yeah, not bad for a City College boy. I bought my way in, now all these Ivy league schmucks are sucking my kneecaps.

Jan 30, 2018

Kids never learn. Go ahead, get into a 6-8 year old BMW or Audi and tell me what the mechanical expenses cost you. Once you hit 80-90k miles, shit starts breaking.

If your budget is around 20k, don't get a luxary car. Hop into something practical like a new Altima or Sonata that has a full warranty. Leather seats/premium sound system is doable at that price also. Trust me, you'll be happy later when you're not paying out the ass for repairs. Get the Bimmer when you can actually afford it.

Jan 30, 2018

deleted

Jan 30, 2018

go with the flow, I have driven one - my friend owned a nice bright orange one LOL.

all in good fun bro. a skyline would be bad ass not even gonna lie.

in fact, I would be happy with any car that can go faster than mine - fucking camry....

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

Good thing i'm at 65k miles and had two mechanics inspect the car prior to purchase. I'll pass on the new Sonata and Altima (which is a waste of money-those cars will depreciate at much faster rates than an Audi, nonetheless an S4) and stick with my car.

Yeah, not bad for a City College boy. I bought my way in, now all these Ivy league schmucks are sucking my kneecaps.

Jan 30, 2018
REPEAnalyst:

Good thing i'm at 65k miles and had two mechanics inspect the car prior to purchase. I'll pass on the new Sonata and Altima (which is a waste of money-those cars will depreciate at much faster rates than an Audi, nonetheless an S4) and stick with my car.

Like I said, kids will never learn. If you have to buy a luxary brand w/ 65k miles on it, then you shouldn't be owning one. Tell me how your car depreciates once you get near/over 100k miles.. also tell me how much you spend replacing stuff. Yeah, yeah my mechanic checked out my 3 series w/ 70k on it also, but he couldn't forsee the 5k worth of shit I had to replace @ 90k miles.. and that was just the beginning of my troubles.

Jan 30, 2018

I am in no way saying that leasing a S550 is a smart idea for an analyst. And at no time did I say Honda's weren't reliable. I am just trying to state that the difference in lease vs. buy will be small coin in about 3-5 years. I have no skin in this game so I don't care. My only word of advice is to get something new(later than 2010) and make sure its reliable. Good luck shopping!

Jan 30, 2018

just paul walker it.

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

The price range you listed is quite wide so it kind of lacks focus on what you are looking to get. What I think is that you can easily afford a $10K car and can stretch it to $25K for something nice to reward yourself. From my personal experience I will advice you to forget the used Europeans, they will break down with no warnings. It's not the money on repair and maintenance, it is the time commitment that you don't have.

I have owned a BMW 330CI from new to 118K miles. It won't start by the 3rd month because the damn electronics won't shut off on it's own and completely drained the battery over the weekend. I had to wait 1.5 hours for the damn BMW support guy to show up to jump start it. Thank god I didn't have anything important scheduled that morning so I can afford to be late. Like they say, if you have an important meeting and your car breaks down, you are fucked out of a job. At 55K the damn radiator reservoir exploded on my way home and it needs to be towed in. At 75K the front suspension arms need to be replaced as they are designed to wear out around that mileage count. At 90K the alternator went out and 10K later, the damn fuel pump gave out.

All the issues above completely disables the car and require it to be tow in. I am in SF so the repair rates are ass rapage so the total repair bill came out to be around $4.5K and more than 2 weeks out of commission. I never owned an Audi, but my friends that did are envious of how little problem my BMW has compared to their Audi.

You should either buy a CPO Japanese car that is known for reliability or get a 2 to 3 year lease on a European.

Jan 30, 2018

'04-'06 Z71 Chevy Tahoe. My first car and regret the day I let it go. Great choice if you'll be living in TX

In the war against you and the other qualified candidates out there, the best arsenal is to prove that you have outdone yourself.

Jan 30, 2018

The original pink panther car looks good!

Jan 30, 2018

Definitely go with the older BMW 3 series. I've had a 2000 323 for 5 years and I couldn't be happier with it. It's treated me well and I'd have to imagine a 2006 would still run like a dream.

Jan 30, 2018

I'm def leaning toward a BMW now

Jan 30, 2018
goldman in da house:

I'm def leaning toward a BMW now

nothing like german engineering

Jan 30, 2018

Your Jan 1, 1986 birthday makes you 25. I'm not sure our age difference, or lack thereof, entitles you to use the phrase "kids will never learn". At 25 soon to be 26, you're as much of a kid as I am at 22 soon to be 23.

Actually it does, chief. The guy's got 3-4x the professional experience you do.

Jan 30, 2018

I have a family member with a 2004 or 2005 S4 (same model). Never had any issues, and it's fun as hell to drive. V8 baby.

The S4 is a legitimate recommendation because of it's power. For plain ass 3-series and A4s, though, you might as well just buy a 7th-8th gen V6 Accord. Cheaper, more reliable, and about the same performance (stronger than some 3/A4 models).

Jan 30, 2018

340 HP, 4.2 L V8, AWD. Put some snows on there and you'll embarrass any SUV come snowfall.

Yeah, not bad for a City College boy. I bought my way in, now all these Ivy league schmucks are sucking my kneecaps.

Jan 30, 2018

Definitely steer clear (pun!) of American, French and Korean cars because they are crap and plasitcy Can't really go wrong with the B-mers, V-Dubs and Mercs.

Jan 30, 2018

who belongs to the B.M.?

If I disagree with you, it's because you're wrong.

Jan 30, 2018

I second the e46 m3 comment. Recently sold mine with 30k miles and an imola red interior for 23k. A fun and timeless car.

Jan 30, 2018

or you could make it rain (or flood i should say)
http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/cto/2677981942.html

Jan 30, 2018

gonna second the used GTI. despite what people may think of your "image" you are definitely not getting better value for your price bracket. theres a reason why auto mags/shows all around the world love it

Jan 30, 2018

Been driving a BMW for 9 years now. When the warranty finished I just upkept it myself and it has been comparable to servicing my 4 yr old Toyota 4Runner . Fixing cars are a hobby for me though so I can't expect others to do repairs themselves especially with crazy work hours.

The BMW is a very fun drivers' car though. Track a M-car and you'll understand. The 1-series M is a wonderful, wonderful handling car! Too bad it is in limited quantities in the U.S. and I believe most brand new ones have been accounted for (not sure).

Jan 30, 2018

just saying... a tuned 335 will murder an m3. That is common knowledge in the BMW world. That being said if you are patient and smart you can get a killer deal. I bought an 08 335i coupe fully loaded with 40k miles and full bmw service package to 100k miles for 25k ..then again i got a ridiculous deal and bought it from some lady who I don't think knew how much it was worth other then what the dealer offered her for trade-in. Deals can be had my friend!

Jan 30, 2018

I'm thinking 06-07 328i or 335i for ~$20k if I can find one.

Jan 30, 2018

You can find a 335 for that but it would be an 07 with higher miles

Jan 30, 2018

F_ck it, I bought an Aston Martin. I think of it as an LBO of myself.

Just kidding of course.

Jan 24, 2018

Anybody have experience with CarMax? It's been mentioned a couple times here and looks like a great option. Their cars aren't manufacturer-certified but they put all their inventory through a 125+ point inspection and offer some warranties including a free 30 day warranty.

Array

Jan 30, 2018

Also interested

Jan 30, 2018

I would not even bother getting a used BMW. If you're simply going to need a car for commute, why not buy a car that is gas efficient. You would save much more money on that. I know you want that luxury on your name, but just by looking at your budget, you should seriously reconsider about the BMW. Their parts are incredibly expensive and take quite a bit to be shipped since it's import.

You could get a brand new honda civic for 18k

Jan 30, 2018

If cost is a true concern I'd always steer clear of Euro stuff. Maybe an IS250/IS350 if those are available in that price range?

Jan 30, 2018

I should have added some more info... I've been frugal as hell my whole life and this is one of the few items I will be splurging on...

I luckily will not have any debt when I graduate and have made a good amount of money throughout college through a small business, with about $60K in the bank... Not patting myself on the back, just trying to give you an idea of where I'm coming from financially (just don't want to give off the impression I'm a young kid in a ton of debt and trying to add to it so I can drive a certain vehicle).

Regarding the expensive parts, that is definitely a concern, which is why I want to stick with a vehicle with relatively low miles and hopefully not have to deal with these issues.

Jan 30, 2018

Do you seriously need a BMW as a first year analyst? Why not save yourself 60,000 miles and get a regular car.

Jan 30, 2018

JSkilling, I don't necessarily need a BMW, but like I mentioned this will be one of the few things I have ever splurged on.

FWIW, I paid cash for my first vehicle and have had the same vehicle since I was 16, a little over 6 years now.

Jan 30, 2018

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

    • 1
Jan 30, 2018

I understand where you're coming from as I've been there myself. The cost of ownership on that BMW is going to be a lot more than other cars (insurance, gas, maintenance). For reference - the oil change is $150 (but you only need it every 10-12k miles I believe), the run flat tires are real expensive, and other parts are very pricey as well. A coworker of mine just sold his 06 3 series, I think it was a 330 or 335 xi. He said every 6 months he had to go to the dealer and drop $300.

Also, while BMWs are cool, an 06 328 really isn't a great splurge.

It seems to me your options are:
06 328 with 60k miles or
something like an '11 accord for 3 years and save, then buy the new body style 3 series in a few year. Maybe set a goal of getting a '13 3 series in 2016 or something.

I'd choose the latter, but really it's just personal preference.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Jan 30, 2018

Buy/Lease a new Hyundai. For 20K you can have a new Sonata. Its not sexy, but you don't have to worry about maintenance or gas mileage.

Full disclosure--I drive an Audi and I'm seriously considering a Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Jan 30, 2018
jack_donaghy:

Buy/Lease a new Hyundai. For 20K you can have a new Sonata. Its not sexy, but you don't have to worry about maintenance or gas mileage.

Full disclosure--I drive an Audi and I'm seriously considering a Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Good choice. Loving the 2013 genesis coupe.

OP - Do not invest in a BMW that has over 40k miles. You'll be making visits to the shop more often than you think. If you're going to buy a used car, go with a Japanese/Korean car like the link you've posted. They're cheap and durable.

If you REALLY want to get a BMW/Lexus/Audi, lease one. You can probably pick up a 3 series for less than $350 a month, which is not bad of a deal. Especially if you're not sure you want to stay in Charlotte/Dallas for the long-haul.

I'm personally not a big fan of buying used cars, so I'd go with the leasing option or buying a cheaper, lower end car. And let's be honest, you're not gonna be spending much time in your car anyways. If you're planning on living 30-40 minutes away from work, that's another story. But you shouldn't be living 30-40 minutes away from the office as a first year analyst anyways.

Jan 30, 2018

have 60k in the bank? buy a new redesigned 3 series, or ur 60k doesnt exist

Jan 30, 2018

deleted

Jan 30, 2018
1styearmonkey:

Starting at a mid major (think Charlotte, Dallas) and will be commuting to work.

I'd like to spend in the $15-$18K range. I'm leaning towards a 2006 or 2007 range BMW 3 series, hopefully without a ton of miles (<60,000).

Any other vehicles I should keep in mind in this price range?

Get a V6 accord or something if you want something fun to drive don't waste it on a BMW..

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 30, 2018

2006-2011 Civic, easy. Incredibly reliable, you can get one for 15k or less with few miles. I have one and average about 32 MPG combined mileage.

A used 3 series isn't cool anyways so just get the civic or something comparable.

Jan 30, 2018

You guys are telling this kid to get a Civic when he's clearly trying to stunt like Birdman..

Get that beamer and haul ass on those DFW freeways...life is short.

Jan 30, 2018
pacman007:

You guys are telling this kid to get a Civic when he's clearly trying to stunt like Birdman..

Get that beamer and haul ass on those DFW freeways...life is short.

must be a new one or ur still wasting ur life

Jan 30, 2018
pacman007:

You guys are telling this kid to get a Civic when he's clearly trying to stunt like Birdman..

Get that beamer and haul ass on those DFW freeways...life is short.

I want to be stuntin' like Birdman too! Can you teach me how?

Jan 30, 2018

A BMW is going to be a money pit, I can promise you.

What about an Infiniti? They're semi-respectable and very reliable. (Made by Nissan, so the parts aren't expensive)

For that matter, also consider a Lexus. Much cheaper than a BMW and also quite reliable.

Jan 30, 2018
Downeasta:

A BMW is going to be a money pit, I can promise you.

What about an Infiniti? They're semi-respectable and very reliable. (Made by Nissan, so the parts aren't expensive)

For that matter, also consider a Lexus. Much cheaper than a BMW and also quite reliable.

I was under the impression BMWs were pretty reliable???

I don't know about Lexuses being much cheaper than a BMW either?

Jan 30, 2018

Just bought an 09 328I. Stuntin all the time now.

Jan 30, 2018
PetEng:

Just bought an 09 328I. Stuntin all the time now.

old shit 328i stuntin no balls

Jan 30, 2018
PetEng:

Just bought an 09 328I. Stuntin all the time now.

So you drive a Mazada Miata with BMW badge on it, good work kid.

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 30, 2018

Perhaps I should stick to my frugal ways and get something like this, http://nashville. craigslist.org/cto/2941753013.html

Cheaper than the "luxury" brands and far less miles...

Jan 30, 2018

new Kia Optima
used Certified Pre Owned VW Passat CC(has 2 years of warranty on top of whatever is left of the original)

Those would be my top choices.

Jan 30, 2018

Split the difference between BMW and a Toyota

http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/default.html?A...

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

Jan 30, 2018
happypantsmcgee:

Split the difference between BMW and a Toyota

http://www.carmax.com/enus/view-car/default.html?A...

Acuras are chick cars unless youre Mark Zuckerburg

Jan 30, 2018

OP: what's wrong with a used entry level bmw 3 series? they are sleek

Jan 30, 2018

personally if i was given 16-18k and was specifically told to buy a used bimmer... i'd stretch the budget and go e46 m3 with smg tranny if I could find one. Parts are always an issue with euro cars, but do your research and you'll see this car is one of the best performing models ever built by bmw. a family member of mine has one and it is down right incredible to drive. (im a driving enthusiast, not a "baller")

Jan 30, 2018

Not sure if showing up to work as a first year in a BMW or Lexus is a great idea...

Save yourself some cash, get a ~'02 Camry for under 10k. It'll last you until you're VP. Then get that Aston. ;)

Jan 30, 2018

I would spring for an A4 in that price range. You can get a sweet CPO for that price. BMWs are so played out it's not even funny.

Jan 30, 2018

If you're debating between a Lexus and a BMW in your price range, you need to go with the Lexus because the BMW will eat you alive in maintenance expenses. BTW, this is coming from a person who just bought a 335i convertible a few days ago and is madly in love with that car. But don't take my word for it; look up used cars on Consumer Reports. The 2006-2007 BMW 3 series is one of the most unreliable cars ever made, and we're not talking things breaking that you replace in the Pep Boys parking lot. We're talking electrical system problems that necessitate the entire system being replaced at a cost of $6,000. The difference between the 06-07 and the 09+ are night and day in terms of reliability. I love my 335i, but I only went with it because I got an 09+ and got it with BMW's extended warranty. That warranty isn't available for cars in the date range you're considering. You can always buy a third party warranty, but for an 06-07 3 series you'd be looking at more than $5,000, so you'd be better off just buying a car that was $5,000 more expensive to begin with. The Lexus IS 250 is still a great car and very reliable, and still a hit with the girls. You'll still love it.

That said, if you want my real advice, do the right thing and buy an early-mid 2000s Honda Civic. I drove these for years and my auto costs were essentially nothing. They never broke down, they all got better than 30 mpg on 87 octane, and insurance was almost free. Save the depreciating assets for when you have a truly disposable income and feel like you've "made it". That's what I did and I'm happy I did it that way.

Jan 30, 2018
WBuffettJr:

If you're debating between a Lexus and a BMW in your price range, you need to go with the Lexus because the BMW will eat you alive in maintenance expenses. BTW, this is coming from a person who just bought a 335i convertible a few days ago and is madly in love with that car. But don't take my word for it; look up used cars on Consumer Reports. The 2006-2007 BMW 3 series is one of the most unreliable cars ever made, and we're not talking things breaking that you replace in the Pep Boys parking lot. We're talking electrical system problems that necessitate the entire system being replaced at a cost of $6,000. The difference between the 06-07 and the 09+ are night and day in terms of reliability. I love my 335i, but I only went with it because I got an 09+ and got it with BMW's extended warranty. That warranty isn't available for cars in the date range you're considering. You can always buy a third party warranty, but for an 06-07 3 series you'd be looking at more than $5,000, so you'd be better off just buying a car that was $5,000 more expensive to begin with. The Lexus IS 250 is still a great car and very reliable, and still a hit with the girls. You'll still love it.

That said, if you want my real advice, do the right thing and buy an early-mid 2000s Honda Civic. I drove these for years and my auto costs were essentially nothing. They never broke down, they all got better than 30 mpg on 87 octane, and insurance was almost free. Save the depreciating assets for when you have a truly disposable income and feel like you've "made it". That's what I did and I'm happy I did it that way.

I'm not the OP, but how old are you, if you don't mind me asking? I'm in a similar position as OP, and realistically I should wait till I have a bunch of cash but also don't want to be 35 with a coupe lol

Jan 30, 2018

WHILE YOU FOOLS SCRAMBLIN OVER YOUR USED BMW'S I'LL BE DRIVING BY IN MY CITROEN GT LOL GG.

Jan 30, 2018

I'm a graduating senior going into my FT analyst position, and I just traded in for a 2012 Accord. It's a great overall vehicle as far as ride, comfort, and gas mileage. It's a great way to keep your gas costs, insurance costs, and monthly payments down. I'd recommend something along these lines so you can use your money more wisely (saving or going out). I plan on running this thing into the ground, and then I'll upgrade to something fancy at the associate/VP level.

Jan 30, 2018

Thanks for all the responses ... Still kicking some ideas around, more so on the less prestigious brands.

I ran across a Ford Fusion that was a couple years old that was pretty cheap relative to the others we have discussed. Any thoughts on those?

Jan 30, 2018

Looking at the same price range as you. Currently considering 06-08 Audi A4's, 06-08 BMW 3 series, 07-08 Acura TL, 06-08 Lexus IS250, 07-08 Infiniti G35. Definitely concerned about the lack of reliability with BMW/Audi though...

Jan 30, 2018

brutalglide,

What are your thoughts on the Acura TLs? I ran across some that caught me eye that were in the price range as well.

Jan 30, 2018

I'm thinking about leasing a new 3-series BMW for $400 a month (they have a special going on right now for a 3-yr lease). Is it that unreasonable for someone who makes $4k a month after taxes? I'd get so much pleasure from driving that thing around on the weekends.

Jan 30, 2018
randomwench:

I'm thinking about leasing a new 3-series BMW for $400 a month (they have a special going on right now for a 3-yr lease). Is it that unreasonable for someone who makes $4k a month after taxes? I'd get so much pleasure from driving that thing around on the weekends.

Not unreasonable.

Jan 30, 2018

Put simply, I'd be OK with any of the cars I listed as I think they are all very solid, given the price is right. TL/G35/IS250 will be harder to find though. If you asked me to rank em though in reliability I'd probably say IS250, G35, TL, 3 series, A4 though you could easily argue that...

Jan 30, 2018

Was just trying to decide between an S4, a WRX STi, and a VW GLI. Went IllinoisProgrammer style with the GLI. I'll get a V8 after b-school.

Jan 30, 2018

you chose a GLI over an S4... troll?

Jan 30, 2018

I did, and I love S4s. But the GLI has a much lower cost of ownership, and for the same price you'd get a newer model with less miles. I was pleasantly surprised by it's performance, as well. But really, it comes down to me being able to shove more $ into my personal account.

Jan 30, 2018

I can only speak for Mercedes but the stigma of "expensive German cars" has been exaggerated in general and in this thread. Perhaps I've had good luck but the cost of maintenance doesn't exceed domestic or Japanese manufactured car by very much.

Oil changes are more expensive but it is synthetic oil - which needs to be changed much less often. The difference in insurance is neglegable. Tires might be more but hey, live a little. If you want a BMW, get yourself a BMW.

If the car becomes a money pit, you can always sell it to some other poor sap. Not the end of the world.

Jan 30, 2018

This interpretation is good on paper, but there are restrictions on the right engine temperature actual products. Cooling system equipment, seals, oil and other parts of BMW

Jan 30, 2018

Ducati

Jan 30, 2018

bump

Jan 30, 2018

wow

Jan 30, 2018

Great idea! I'd add gold spinners, lift kit, and a Jamie Dimon bobble head. This is GUARANTEED to impress the ladies and is not too outlandish for a first year analyst.

    • 1
Jan 30, 2018

Im fully serious here. I assume you are being sarcastic, what would you get then for max $30k?

Jan 30, 2018

I suggest watching old videos of MTV's Pimp My Ride...should provide you enough inspiration to make a sound choice.

Keep it together and you will go far..

Jan 30, 2018
HORUS:

I suggest watching old videos of MTV's Pimp My Ride...should provide you enough inspiration to make a sound choice.

My thoughts exactly..

Just get whatever you like driving since you'll be the one driving it everyday. Just go with a Mustang, just don't get a gold wrap or Lamborghini doors.

P.S. My sister has a 2016 Mustang, the backseats are pretty much nonexistent.

Jan 30, 2018

Aren't you the same kid who posted this a few months back?

"My name is Ryan and I'm currently 16 years old and going to be a junior in High School outside the U.S.A. I am planning to go to a target school ( Wharton for undergrad preferably) and then get into investment banking and exit into hedge funds , Private Equity or what ever is big when I get to that point."

Stop looking at cars and focus on getting into Wharton.

    • 1
Jan 30, 2018

Wait until you see what car your manager has, then buy the newer model of that.

Jan 30, 2018
Comment
Jan 30, 2018
Jan 30, 2018
Comment

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 30, 2018
Comment

The answer to your question is 1) network 2) get involved 3) beef up your resume 4) repeat -happypantsmcgee

WSO is not your personal search function.

Jan 30, 2018