Car Search: The Beginning

I am beginning my new car search.  I do not expect to buy one for a few months, but I have decided that I should get a jump on the search.  When I bought the Yaris, it was a quick thing.  Test drove it, could afford it, and signed the paperwork.  At that point in my life, I had horrible credit and had no leverage.  This has gotten better since then and I make significantly more money.  However, this does not mean that I want a car payment that was as high as my last one.  Even a Yaris can be super expensive when you have no money down, no trade-in, and terrible credit.

The main question is what am I looking for?  And to be honest, I really do not know.  With my drive to work (I go 70 miles one way), I definitely need something that gets great gas mileage.  I also traverse not one, but two mountains that can be treacherous during the winter, so something that goes well in the snow is a must.  I might want a 4×4 or AWD.

The plan is to test drive a bunch of these in batches at the dealerships.  Maybe I will write about them each time I do it.  That might be interesting.  Good way for me to remember how I feel about each vehicle.  I am still undecided on whether or not I should go new/used.  Also, not sure if I should go automatic or standard.  I do enjoy a vehicle that has cool gadgets and features inside.  So that might trump some other things.

I would love it if people gave me their own insights into my car decision.  Are there any vehicles I should check out that are not listed?

I have decided to break this down into a few categories.  Instead of by manufacturer, I will go with type of car:  Traditional Car, Sporty Car, Weird Car, SUV/Truck.

Traditional Cars

Honda Civic.  You see a ton of them on the road, and they always seem to get favorable reviews and ratings.  They get pretty good gas mileage and if possible, I would love to be able to bump up to the hybrid (this is true of any vehicle, I drive far enough for work where it would be worthwhile).

Mazda 6.  My old roommate had a Mazda 6, and I drove it a bunch.  It was a nice car to drive.  They look nice and are about the same in the gas department.  Might be a little more pricey than I would want.

Nissan Altima.  I drove Lindsey’s mom’s Altima when my car’s engine exploded and I definitely liked it.  It was easy to go fast and not even notice it.  Probably a bad thing for me.

Scion tC.  Every time I see one of these on the road, I am slightly jealous.  They look pretty fun.  They get okay gas mileage, but not nearly as much as I would probably want or need.  I will not rule this one out though until I test drive it.

Toyota Camry.  I have seen the commercials for the new Camry and they have me intrigued.  I would try it out just because I like my Yaris and feel that I should continue with Toyota (even if mine almost exploded and survived a bear attack).

Toyota Prius.  These are a bit more expensive, but I have a feeling the gas savings would be worth looking into.

VW Jetta.  Another of my roommates had a Jetta and I drove it twice.  They are nice cars.  I am leaning towards the TDI, maybe the diesel version.  Again, pay more, but save more with gas over time.  Might be worth it.

VW Passat.  These are nice, and I figure while I am out trying the Jetta, I might as well look at the Passat.  I have a feeling they will be out of my price range.

Sporty Cars

Subaru BRZ.  These are not that expensive and they actually look pretty cool.  Probably not the most practical vehicle ever, but c’mon, it might be fun to test drive one.

Scion FR-S.  Okay, it is actually the same car as the BRZ, so whatever.
Weird Cars

Ford C-Max.  This is a hybrid and it is a bit expensive. I am not even sure if I like it.  Probably need to see one in person.

Honda CR-Z.  Jason has one of these (I think).  I actually like his and it is a pretty nice car.  Obviously I would get a different color than purple.

Hyundai Veloster.  I think Lindsey hates these.  I have liked them since I first saw the commercial.  They are pretty small, but why would we need a second bigger vehicle?  Lindsey has an Escape.

Nissan Cube.  These get okay gas mileage, but I have read horrible reviews for them.  I like the stupid box look, I have no clue why.  I guess this one would be fun to try out and see if I like it.

Nissan Juke.  I think this was what Steve suggested back when I asked the question.  I think he said it is like a Yaris on steroids.  I believe they are AWD, and get relatively good gas mileage.

Scion xB.  This was the car I wanted back when I bought the Yaris, but the dealership did not really have any.  The downside is that it gets lower gas mileage than some of the other box vehicles.

Scion xD.  Ryan has one of these, so I could probably ask him how he likes it.  Gets better gas mileage than the Cube or the xB.  Hard to tell from the picture how big it is.

Subaru XV Crosstrek.  I do not know much about it, but I have thought about looking at a variety of Subarus since they offer AWD in pretty much everything.


Toyota FJ Cruiser.  I always thought these were super expensive, but that is actually not the case.  It is pretty terrible for gas mileage.

Ford Escape.  Lindsey has one.  I like driving hers, but would it really be necessary for us both to have one.

Honda CR-V.  Lindsey test drove one when she was looking for cars.  I am pretty sure she was leaning close to getting it until she found an Escape that she liked.  It should be noted that any of these SUVs will probably have to be used.

Hyundai Santa Fe and Tuscon.  Again, all these SUVs are pretty much the same.  I guess it would depend on the inside features and price.

Mazda CX-5

Nissan Rogue.  These are pretty nice, but I feel like everyone that I know who has one is usually a girl.  Is this a girl car?  Do I need to drive another car that causes truckers to get beside me and try to check me out, then get annoyed because it is a guy…

Nissan XTerra.  My mom used to have one.  I loved that thing.  In fact, I wanted one when I was young and me showing pictures of it to mom caused her to buy one.

Subaru Forester.

Nissan Frontier.  When I bought my Hyundai Accent, after a few months, I considered trying to trade it in for a used Frontier.  I figured I could afford the higher payment.  I just love the look of these.

Toyota Tacoma.  Similar to the Frontier.  I want a small truck.  Someday I will have one.  I can promise you that.