Saturday, November 15, 2008

Car Season Is Here

It's that time again as my car is hanging by the proverbial thread and will soon need to be replaced. I am faced with the dilemma of a person educated in finance. My brain tells me that a car is the absolute worst investment a person can make. For one, cars depreciate faster than any other asset imaginable and have high upkeep costs. Thus a person guided by their head would buy the absolute cheapest car possible that meets their basic needs and is cost effective. I give myself a little pat on the back, because I have decided to buy used.

Unfortunately my heart is telling me another thing! I was given a 1998 Ford Taurus LX as a hand-me down car in 2004. The car did its job by getting me from point A to point B. At the beginning, there were very few maintenance costs involved with the car but I have reached a point where it is no longer cost-effective to own the car. I somewhat want to treat myself with options like a sunroof, leather seats and etc. I have started to research my options and have come up with a few ideas for cars I would be interested in. Some of the cars are higher priced, others lower-priced, some sedans, some mini-SUVs and a lot of other in between. Here are the top three contenders:

1. 2006 Acura TL: This is by far the most expensive car I am looking into. This car also comes with the best features including: a power moon-roof, leather seats, fog lights, 6-Cd changer and volume controls on the steering wheel. The car comes with a peppy V-6 and averages about 20 mpg city and 29 on the highway. This car has a blue book value around $22,500.

2. 2007 Honda Civic: This is the best value for the money. This car has a blue-book of $17,500 and comes with power moon-roof, a folding seat (which the Acura does not have), satellite radio and power everything. The car basically has everything the Acura has but does not come with leather or V-6. It is also on the small side. I'm not crazy about driving with a V-4. If this car had a V-6, I would be all about it, but then again it wouldn't get 30 mpg in the city and a whopping 40 mpg on the highway.

3. 2006 Toyota RAV-4: This is a true hybrid in the sense that it sits you up high and gives you the feel of an SUV but comes with a great fuel economy of 23 city and 28 highway. Comes with a standard sunroof, daytime running lights, 6-CD changer, roof racks, MP3 compatible and power everything. Drawback is a less than peppy V-4. Blue book value around $21,000.

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