My Current Dilemma: What Car To Buy

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In the next month or two, I need to buy a car for work. My office is moving to a new location that does not have public transportation (seriously), and I need to buy a car.

If you need to know anything about me, is that when I need to make a decision on something, I kind of go in depth on researching a product. Buying a HDTV? I will study every factor needed to get the "perfect TV". Buying a new PC? I will know CPU, RAM, video card specs and every nuance of what i'm buying. Half the reason why it took me so long to buy a condo was that I was convinced the housing market was going to tank...and that mortgage rates would rise. I bought about 1 year too early on that, and the rates dove, I couldn't believe I was wrong on that.

Anyhow, back to my dilemma. I'm all over the place on buying a car. It isn't as simple, for me, to pick a basic car with high gas mileage and call it a day. When I bought Rocco, I considered adopting first, but at the end of the day I wanted a Frenchie as my first dog, and even he was, for the time, very expensive - but six years later he was worth every dime. There is NO buyers remorse with him.

So, the factors to be are this, in ranked order:

1. Enjoyment To Drive: I want a car that everytime I get in it, I have a big smile on my face. Growing up, and having a Jeep Wrangler (especially at 17), I can't tell you how much I fucking loved that car. Hat tip to great parents who provided me a wonderful life. So, I want a car that I like. Not a Prius or SmartCar that I wedge myself into to save the planet and get high MPG.

2. Keep Within My Means: I have always been a big proponent about keeping my costs down, and living within my salary. My biggest splurge each year is my shore house or Crossfit. Otherwise, I really don't spend too much money. I did the math, and a few factors crop up. I have $5,000 to put down. After that, i'd like to spend $400-500 a month on a car. Parking will cost me $185. Insurance will be ~$120. 5 years at 1.9% on 25,000 is $437 monthly on a car. So that kind of ballparks me to a $30,000 car, with a few nudges I could justify a bit more than that, like $33,500 would cost me 500 monthly ($5000 down, 28,597 at 1.9%, over 5 years).

3. Lease isn't a (real) option: I could write about 5 reasons here, from mileage to the simple fact that in 1 year I could find myself back in the "NYC office" again. Mileage is the biggest factor, i'm looking at ~50 miles a day, 20 business days a month, ~1,000 miles for work alone a month, not including personal use. My guess? I'll be at 15,000 miles a year. Sure, I could get a lease for 15,000 miles, but don't want to be locked in for 3 years. So lease is out.

4. Ford = a good deal: A friend of my family works at Ford. They will let me buy any car on the lot for $500 more than "holdback". It's a very sweet deal, I can get a car probably $3000-5000 off MSRP, depending on make and model (obviously on more popular cars, not as much savings).

5. "Needs": My car needs this: All Wheel Drive (AWD) or 4WD. The reason is that I have a job that getting to work is a MUST and its kind of in the higher elevations, so the potential exists that during winter months I may be driving on bad roads. Also i'm about 6'4 and I need a car with headroom, which is either a "full size car" or "SUV". Which brings me to my other need - I need a SUV. I can't stand driving behind other SUVs and I can't see the road, especially in New Jersey were people have no idea how to drive. Minor needs...i'd like leather seats. Believe it or not the MPG thing for me is minor. With gas prices in the next two years, my expectation is that fuel costs will be not as terrible as years past.

6. Other factor: Cost-to-Own. One of the problems with luxury cars is I certainly can afford a (certified pre-owned) Audi Q3/Q5 or BMW X3/X5 - but the ownership costs for little things, like oil changes or a minor ding/fix are very expensive. Oil change for a Ford is $30-40, Oil change on a Q5 is $100. So, my issue is that every mileage update and any basic repairs will cost more money than it's worth to own. Trust me, I love the Audi Q5 and its a very serious contender.

Here's the cars i'm considering:

Ford Fusion Titanium AWD. I have driven these before. Roomy. Comfortable. So-so MPG (25 or so). Probably can get a real good price here. Enjoyment factor: 6 out of 10.

Audi Q5: I have been in a Q7 before, but never actually drove a Q5. But falls into 'dream car', everytime I see one, I stare. I really love the styling and I get the same feeling about one as I had with my Jeep Wrangler, I really love this car. Downside is that I probably can only afford a 2 year old certified pre-owned. Also really worried about upkeep costs. Also in here is the Q3, but the only knock on a Q3 is the engine 0 to 60 is 7.8 seconds...a bit slower than what I want. If they had an engine option here for a V6, the Q3 would be a major contender.

Ford Edge: Haven't driven this, really like it. Problem is with options, new, 2016 Edge with AWD and either the Sport or Titanium, is around $37,000-40,000 if not more, even with the friend at Ford. What happens when I think about it - why spend that much on a new Ford, when I could get a Q5 which I love for $33-35k? This is where my Analysis Paralysis starts to kick in. If I get a "cheaper" Edge, then it really doesn't have the bells and whistles I want, like a good engine.

Ford Escape: The new 2017 Ford Escape has some new styling and features which I thought looks nice. Haven't driven it. This kind of falls into the Ford Fusion scale of enjoyment. I'd like to test drive one. Also with options and such would be a good price. I don't necessarily need a car as large as an Edge or Q5. Given the 2.0 liter engine it does 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds.

And...that's about it. I keep going back and forth between a Ford Escape, Audi Q5 and Ford Fusion. The Edge keeps peeking in there, too, but just seems to be too expensive. Oh, and Jeep Grand Cherokee waves at me, I really like the styling but it is too much car.

My heart says Audi Q5. My head says Ford Escape....or Edge. Fusion is there only because I have driven these before from Avis and they are a solid, dependable ride. I think if I got the Escape, I wouldn't be happy. Aren't we supposed to be happy? Then I go back to being fiscally responsible...don't spend too much, keep costs down....and the cycle continues. Very annoying.

Thoughts? Email me.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on March 2, 2016 12:37 AM.

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