The Car Search Begins

I was given my first car (actually is was a truck because I live in Texas and that’s just how I roll) on Christmas when I was sixteen. It was brand new, silver, and the exact truck I had been lusting over for months. It was beautiful and I was so surprised I actually cried tears of joy. My parents were so generous and offered to pay the car payment and insurance, as long as I kept my grades up and go into a good college.

I kept up my end of the bargain and they kept up theirs. Once the truck was paid off completely, it was signed over to my name. I kept that truck for seven years and loved it. In fact, I only sold it because I was completely broke and needed the money to finish my first year of grad school. It was a sad day when I realized the money I would get from selling my lovely truck would only pay for ONE SUMMER SCHOOL CLASS. So sad. I cried. But it had to be done.

I’ve been car-less for over a year now and it hasn’t really bothered me. You see, in New York, I never needed a car. I took the subway everywhere and was content. However, now that I’m back in Texas, it’s becoming more and more obvious that I need a car. I can’t continue to mooch off my mom, sister, and friends for rides everywhere. I need my own transportation.

So last night my mom offered to take me to test drive cars today. I started researching cars a few weeks ago so I have a vague idea of what I want- something medium size, not too big, not too small. Something with decent/good gas mileage. Decent re-sale value. And something cute. Cuteness is always necessary if I’m going to be driving it around for the next few years. Price is not too much of a factor since I’ll probably be buying used anyway.

With these criteria met, here are the cars I’m considering at the moment:

Honda CR-V. Very cute, good mileage, and not too big. I love the small SUV look.

Toyota RAV-4. Similar to the CR-V. I like the look a lot.

Nissan Rogue. I love this car, but it’s what my mom drives. I don’t want to be twins. She said if I get a different color it will be okay, but I’m not too sure.

Honda Civic. I don’t really like small cars (I feel like I will be smushed while driving), but this one gets fantastic mileage and is really cute. So it’s an option.

Are there any that I’m missing? What do you drive? Do you love it? Let me know because I have a feeling this is going to be a long process, so I’l have time to drive plenty of cars!

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26 responses to “The Car Search Begins

  1. I drive a Buick and LOVE it. The Enclaves are exceptionally nice. Its not your grandmothers car anymore. =) (I just like to tell myself that, because my gma does indeed drive a Buick). I have a friend who has a Nissan and hates it, the resale value isnt as good as a Toyota or Honda either I believe. I am not a fan of small cars either. Yay! New car shopping and test driving is always fun. Even on used cars you can get a good deal right now.

  2. I am in the midst of purchasing a car right now, I am looking for an 08 Ford Escape (I like the small SUVs too!) I suggest reading books on buying cars, finding out which years/models are “lemons,” realy do your research before you decide what to purchase. Also look online at websites, I found howstuffworks.com has great articles on buying cars.

  3. Hm. I bought myself a ’91 Mazda when I was 16. Its been 5 years and I’m STILL driving the thing. It refuses to die, and because I take the skytrain to work (and Ju has a brand new car), I refuse to buy a new car to have it sit in my driveway.

    Basically, me and my ’91 are jealous πŸ˜‰

    (And, Hondas have a killer resale value).

    Good luck, honeypie!

  4. I really like the Rogues… but then I would like the Honda CRV!

    What color?!

  5. I have driven nothing but Honda Accords my whole life (I’ve had 3!) and I LOVE them. They get great gas mileage, are REALLY fun to drive and they’re a little bigger than the Civic so I feel a little safer. If I were to get an SUV someday, I would still stick with the Honda. I like the CRVs and the Pilots a lot. Good luck with your search!

  6. I’ve had two Civics. Both have been awesome. They’re really low maintenance cars with great gas mileage (even when they’re old). My first one was still running after 200,000 miles.

  7. I just went through this whole car search process a few months ago! Fun stuff!

    I used to have a Ford Escape (similar to the Toyota Rav-4 but not as good on gas) and I LOVEDDD it. Unfortunately I got in an accident and it was wrote off 😦 In April, I ended up getting a Hyundai Elantra and it’s been working out really well for me – a lot cheaper on gas since it’s a small car and I needed something relatively cheap since I’m still in school!

    I’ve heard GREAT things about Honda Civic’s, but I know that when I went looking for a used one it was HARD to find a decent used one! I guess people just love them so much they don’t want to give them up? I also found them to be kind of pricey!

    Since you had a truck before I recommend going with a larger car or an SUV. I know going from my Escape to my car was hard – luckily my car is on the bigger side. I don’t think I’d be able to handle driving a really small car!

    Good luck!

  8. I just got a used Volvo XC90 and I love it. I used to have a 4Runner and it lasted forever. And for a short while I had a convertible VW bug- it was fun, but I love SUVs!

    Out of the ones you have listed I would go with the Honda CRV. I love the look of it and Honda’s last forever. My friend has one and she loves it!

  9. i drive a mazda3 hatchback (http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=Mazda%203%20Hatchback&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi) and i looooooooove it! i’ve had it for three years, it now being five years old. i’ve never had any major, not-run-of-the-mill problems with it and would HIGHLY recommend it to anybody looking for something cute, economical (it gets great gas mileage from what i can tell), and super effing fun. the regular four-door version of the car is just as cute but it seems a little cramped while the hatchback version is a little sportier and feels roomier.

    so. there’s my opinion. lol do with it what you will

  10. I know a few people with Honda Civics/Accords and they love them. Just throwing that out there.

    I have a Ford Taurus and also really like it. It’s not cute but it’s great in the snow. Not necessary for you, I realize, but very important for me!

  11. i’ve had my cr-v for 6 years and i still LOVE it πŸ™‚

  12. I’m actually in the market for a new car too. I really like the Nissan Rogue as well… I think it’d be fine if you got it in a different color.
    Plus you’re planning on moving into an apartment, right?
    Good luck in your search!

  13. I have a Rav4 and LOVE it!

  14. Stick with foreign (like what you’ve looked at so far)… I have a 7 year old Jeep Grand Cherokee and it has cost me 4 grand in repairs in the last year. I have been asking around for months and everyone says the same thing: stay away from American made cars.

    Hopefully their quality will improve with time (now that GM and Chrysler are in bankruptcy), but we’re not there yet. Save yourself the pain and money, stick with Honda, Toyota, or Nissan. I have been eyeing the same ones you listed above! We have awesome taste. Hee.

  15. Very cool! I’ve had Civic’s and I currently own a Dodge Calibur- and it’s amazing. It’s perfect for road tripping, and it’s a beast- I was rear ended by an H3 Hummer that hit me doing 40 mph while I was stopped and threw me THROUGH AN INTERSECTION (ahem) and it just needed it’s bumper replaced. No frame damage or warping at all.

  16. Brandilicious

    I have a 2003 CR-V that I adore! I love CR-Vs. Everyone who comes into my car for the first time loves it too. My friend bought a new Escape and those things have changed! It’s really nice.

  17. I drive a Volkswagon beetle. I can tell from your post that you wouldn’t want one, it IS the stereotypical small car, but I love it. It’s perfect for one person, and I rarely have passengers or need to carry around big things. It’s a dream to park and maneuver. I am going to drive that thing until it dies. I’ve had it for 5 years and am still in love.

  18. My boyfriend has a Mazda 3 hatchback that I’m totally in love with. It’s really compact but has plenty of room inside. It’s also zippy and fuel-efficient. Heart.

  19. We have a Civic and we love it. Another great car in the same price range is the Scion tC. It’s a GREAT car and super sporty and fun to drive. Torsten and I would have bought that instead of our Civic except that Torsten was too tall to drive it comfortably.

    In retrospect, the Civic was the perfect car for us. It has a really big trunk, and the back seat folds down so it fits a surprising amount of stuff, which was great when we moved cross-country. It gets excellent mileage and it holds its resale value really well. And it’s a good, utilitarian car where we can put the dog in the back without caring if she gets a little fur on the seat (though we do put a seat cover on it).

  20. I have a Civic and LOVE it. And yes, the gas mileage is absolutely fantastic. I commute almost 100 miles round trip a day, and would surely be more broke than I am if the mpg weren’t as good as they are. It’s really not that small. And, trust me, with a little skill, you can pack that baby full. I moved from CT to NC with just my Civic and my mom’s. My advice would be to go with the 4 door model though. I have a 2 door and although it’s really cute and sporty, those missing back two doors gets annoying sometimes.

    Two of my friends have CRVs. I like them, and they are roomy, but considering how small they are (for and suv), i don’t think their gas mileage is that fantastic. That’s just my opinion though. If you’re looking for an suv, I guess that would probably be the best mpg you would get.

    I also highly recomend a honda in general. They are great cars and definitely have an amazing resale value. Plus, they last forever. I should be hitting 100,000 miles on my way to work tomorrow morning (tear) and I’ve only had to have normal, scheduled maintenace on it.

    Good luck! Hope you find what you’re looking for!

  21. I have a Honda Accord and love it; gas mileage gets better with age (it’s about 1.5 year sold), great deal on it and it’s roomy without being HUGE. Good luck on the search =) Hope you find something you like!!

  22. I found you! I have been away from the blogosphere and when I came back I was worried I wouldn’t find your blog, but I did and I’m caught up. I’m excited for you that you made a move, I really hope you get the job, and I wish you lots of luck with your fresh start! As for your question, I’m hooked on Honda. I have a ’97 Accord and despite it’s age, it’s a long-lasting car. I love the civic, but if you want a bigger car go for the CR-V.

  23. I adore my civic! It’s the best car I could have ever hoped for. Great on gas, comfortable, and it really doesn’t feel like a small car – until I get to the parking lot and can snag that great spot that no one else could fit into! I highly recommend.

  24. We come from a Ford family so naturally have a Ford Escape and I LOVE it. It doesn’t feel gigantic like most SUVs since it’s a bit smaller but is still big enough to haul things like an SUV!

  25. I absolutely LOVE Honda!!! I used to have a Honda but now I have a Hyundai. I’d suggest you check out Hyundai since they have really good gas mileage & the parts for the car isn’t expensive if something breaks and needs to be repaired.

    If I could trade my car in for a new one I’d definitely get a Hyundai Sportage (SUV)!!

    Good luck!

  26. I drive a honda civic (as I have since I turned sixteen; actually, I’ve had three. A ’92, an ’07, and now, a ’98.) The gas mileage is great, but it does get slightly cramped when carrying more than a few people. I would go with the Toyota or Nissan.

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