What kind of car do you drive and why?

What kind of car do you drive and why?

I am curious to see what kind of vehicles my readers drive and why they drive the vehicles that they do. Purchasing a vehicle is usually a pretty major decision/expense and depending upon what kind vehicle you buy, how you pay for it (cash, credit), and how you maintain your vehicle can really affect your overall financial picture.

People like Ramit advocate buying a new car and he’s trying to teach us how to be rich. I think conventional wisdom/opinion in the personal finance community is to buy a used car (of course we all know that knowing what you probably should do and doing it are entirely different things). Being able to drive that brand new shiny hot rod to work every day can be very tempting or even important to some people. So I’m just curious to see what year, make, model, mileage car everyone drives and why.

Anyway I’ll try to give my answer to this question tomorrow and hopefully provide pictures (if I get home before dark) and an explanation of why I drive the car I do.

Edit: See my pimp ride here

  • I drive a 2003 Mazda Protege 5. It’s my wife’s car from before we were married. She got it as a gift from her grandma. I sold my Honda Accord when we got married to save some money.

  • You’ll be seeing more posts on my site soon about cars, since we have too many and I made some stupid mistakes that cost me more than $10,000 over the last 5 years on cars.

    Right now we drive:
    1. 2006 Honda Ridgeline (mine)
    2. 2005 Chevy Malibu (wife’s)
    3. 1997 Pontiac Grand Am (shared)

    The first 2 aren’t paid off yet, but I’ll be tracking my plan to pay off the Malibu ($15k) at my site through September.

  • I drive a 2003 Nissan Altima with about 55k miles. I bought the car new in late 2002.

    I was fresh out of college with a new job, and had pretty much driven my old Toyota Corolla into the ground and was in need of a new ride. I looked at new and used cars… I came close to buying a used SUV but couldn’t come to terms with the salesman so ended up walking out. I ended up buying the Altima because the price was decent (about 20k), low interest rate (0.9%), and I couldn’t find a used car I was really thrilled with.

    Buying a new car probably wasn’t the most financially wise decision in my life, but I guess thats one of those mistakes most of us make. At least I didn’t get something totally impractical like the G35 Coupe I really wanted. My next car will almost certainly be used.

  • Joshua

    I drive a 1993 Honda Accord. I bought it for $2000 cash and it is the perfect car for this graduating college student. Currently, we’re running 208,000 miles, but I’m expecting to take it to 300,000!

    My expert mechanic works daytime at a Honda dealership but charges me next to nothing for awesome service. I fix everything on the car the instant it hints at breaking–even if this cost me $100 a month, it would be better than a car payment. The truth is that it has cost me approximately $20 a month in routine maintenance for the last ten months–not a thing wrong with it.

    Guess what! Because I drive a paid-for $2000 car, I actually have cash to invest and use…perhaps a little more useful than a new car!

  • edenz

    I drive a 1998? Grand Prix GT. Not my first choice of car, but I only had 2 days to pick out a new one after my previous car (1995 Neon) was totaled (I had to have a car before I went back to school). It was used – I bought it in ’04. It runs well, but the size is larger than I prefer. I paid cash (~5,000).

    I really have no interest in a new car. I just don’t see the point. My next car will probably be closer to new (closer to the model year), but I really don’t care what car I drive so long at it runs well and gets good gas mileage and is cheap to insure.

  • I drive a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer. I bought it used from my dad for $15,000 at the end of 2005. It think it had 12K miles on it when I bought it. It hadn’t been driven for about a year of that time, so it was a pretty good deal.

    My wife drives a 2006 Toyota Avalon which we bought new. It is also paid for.

  • I drive a 1990 GMC work van with no air conditioner or radio. I drive it because the payment is right…$0.00!

  • I drive a 1995 Chrysler Concorde – paid $2000 for it two years ago. No major issues that required fixing to date. Even now if I were to buy another car, I would want a late 90’s Grand Am because the one I drove for 6 years was my favorite car of all time.

  • Jack

    I bought a 2006 Acura TSX last November as the 2007 models were being delivered. The price was a little more than I wanted to pay, but the price was under invoice at just over $25K.

    *Costco program resulted in no haggling.
    *Financed through my credit union at 6%.
    *I’ve been adding payments to the principal every two weeks with the plan of retiring the loan in 48 instead of 60 months.
    *I plan to service the car at an independent shop that specializes only in Acura/Honda vehicles (I previously worked for the owner of the shop).
    *The TSX replaced a 1997 Nissan Pickup that I bought when my previous car gave out on me. The Pickup was a basic model with no A/C or other convenient features plus it had a manual transmission that I was getting tired of using. Plus all the latest safety features are lacking and the brakes are inadequate for panic stops.
    *I expect this car to last me from 5-10 years.
    *One last reason/excuse is I own shares in the Honda Motor Company which manufactures the TSX.

    *One caveat on buying a new car is the cost to make desirable upgrades such as tinting and front end clear film protection may be higher than you expect.

  • Shane

    I drive a 2006 VW Passat that I purchased new. I would normally say never buy a new car which I abided by for years. I drove three different American cars (Chevy Corsica, Oldsmobile Cutless
    #1 and #2) and had the transmission go out in all three. I would not consider myself a lead foot but regardless, it was a $1500-
    $2000 expense each time. Thankfully, I had some help from my parents but after having the last one totaled, I went on a mission to find a car that had a reliable transmission. I spent about a month researching cars and finally settled upon a VW Jetta based upon the extremely reliable history. Although VW’s are a little more to repair when something does go wrong, they are an absolute blast to drive and will go forever. I took the Jetta to about 130K miles and drive about 3500 miles per month for work. I decided to finally get a Passat for the needed room in the back seat and because my drives were getting quite a bit longer for work. The combination of all the features with it have made the drives much more comfortable. I get about 28 mpg and bought for around 23K fully loaded. It is paid for. I plan on driving for 300K miles

  • Jenny

    I had a 1991 chevy cavalier that rusted apart in 2004 (it was my college graduation present in 2001, inherited from my mother) but then I went and bought a new car, a Mazde 3, for about 18,000. Since I never had to make a car payment on the old car (thanks mom!), I had enough cash saved up for the new car.

    Here’s why I got a new car: It’s under a full warranty, and I plan on driving it until it dies (it should last at least 10 years). So, yeah, I spent more money up front, but with the basic recommended maintenance I should have no problems keeping it up. And since there were no previous owners, I didn’t have to worry about somebody else abusing the car.

    So far I’ve spent about $150 a year on maintenance (basically, just oil changes and rotating the tires) and a couple of small things that did come up were fixed for free by the dealer. The car is reliable (consumer reports loved it), has good gas mileage, and it doesn’t look like a POS so if I have to drive clients around (which has been known to happen) I don’t feel like I have to apologize for it. Incidentally, it’s a hatchback, so I can fit christmas trees, furniture, etc in the back if I need to but I still get good mileage.

  • tim

    2004 BMW 325i. bought it new with 6yr/100k warranty. It’s paid for. it comes with free maint. for 6yrs/100k, which includes brakes. why the extra warranty? we bought the extended manufacturer warranty for $1900 which was tough not to do considering repair costs. knowing that we would be living overseas after 2 from when we bought it, leaving our vehicle with my parents for the time overseas, the extended warranty was justifiable to us since we’d be driving it in the latter portion of the warranty period. For the 2 years we drove the car, we had $0 maint costs.

    we bought the bmw simply b/c we’ve had great experiences in reliability in the past with bmw and my wife wanted it. oh, i also appreciate the fact that the dealership gives me a free loaner car, free krispy kreme donuts, free starbucks coffee, free juice, and free wireless internet access for those times I just want to wait and read the newspaper. I disgruntlingly sold my 1984 bmw 318i in 2005 with over 200k miles when my wife and I only needed one car since she started working from home.

    while overseas, i’m driving a toyota land cruiser. if i were going to buy an SUV for rough conditions, i wouldn’t hesitate in buying a land cruiser. it’s a fantastic vehicle. I’ve owned a Land Rover, and it was perhaps the worst purchase decision I ever made.

  • JohnR

    I drive a 2004 ford ranger and my wife drives a 2001 Mercury Mountaineer. I’ve always heard that the best financial choice is to buy a used car (when you can afford it) that is a couple years old and then drive it till it falls apart. So, thats what I’m doing.

  • Jon

    1995 Escort Wagon. I bought it 3 yrs ago for $950, have put nearly 60K miles on it in this time. It is cheap to run (33-38mpg, just over 40 if you can keep it under 60mph) and has plenty of space. I can carry a climber, bow or rifle, boots, various bits of gear, AND a 130lbs buck (or doe) in the back. Yippee. And the A/C works, too. I’m on 2nd set of new tires, and did have to put a water pump/timing belt in it – cheap driving. I’m sold on small wagons. Escorts are good. Get the 5spd for better mpg and performance. I’m hoping to get 300K out of it.

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