Sunday, June 22, 2008

Polling the People: The Path To My First Car, Part 5

With my car buying research verging on the fanatical, I had become more equipped with information on what to look for and what to watch out for.

As I've previously written, it's a major expenditure, and careful study must be put into it. I cannot be any more specific or redundant than that. I'm glad I hadn't given in to peer pressure into buying a car ASAP.

It’s been quite a path keeping the search ball rolling. I have endured sleepless days [I work nights], missed exercise routines, slept on the couch, taken swift showers, subsisted on quick-cook food and the always reliable Oriental delivery, and fallen behind on literary and academic readings.

If you're a new car buyer like I am, or have a car and want to brush-up on your auto intelligence, here are a few sites that may come in handy.

An investigative report at uncovers the tricks of the trade with a journalist going as an undercover car salesman., a personal finance web site primarily for women and families, offers a helpful guide to buying a car.

User-friendly cost calculators and interesting articles about auto finance and insurance are available at Bankrate, Inc., an aggregator of financial rate information.

At this point, some friends have actually advised me to postpone buying a car because of rising fuel prices. Demand for hybrids has risen. As for Toyota's Prius, there's a shortage of supply as production is at a halt.

A certified '07 Prius I was eyeing online for about a month priced at $28,500 (options and accessories included) at a certain dealer lot is not anymore listed. A similar unit, albeit on a different lot this time, is selling at $29,991. Are hybrid price tags marking-up all of a sudden due to high demand? Is there still a good deal I can look forward to?

The argument between financing and leasing a car is, for me, a no-brainer. Cars are usually leased for the first three years and that is the same amount of time it will incur the most depreciation. Needless to say, the lessee will bear this brunt.

I'm not as status-conscious as to need a new car every three years and subject myself a slave to the vicious cycle of car leasing. Financial common sense tells me to shun lease and go for buy. What do you think?

One factor I plan to consider is a broker, the type that works for the consumer. Have you heard of this? The broker works to get the buyer a better deal than what the dealer offers. Of course, you'll have to pay the broker for the service. I've read about people saving hundreds of dollars, with 15 to 30% of the savings going to the broker. A 70% savings isn't bad at all, right?

I'm not considering a used Prius from a private party because the inherent risk is just too high to take on, so the deliberation now is between a brand new 2008 Toyota Prius and a certified pre-owned 2007 Toyota Prius.

According to NADA Guides and, the MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) for a brand new '08 base model is around $22,875; for a CPO '07 is about $22,175.

Basically, a certified pre-owned vehicle is a used car that has been certified in good condition and is being sold by a dealer or automaker with factory-backed warranty. Toyota vehicles in Toyota dealer lots undergo a 160-point inspection.

I haven't quite finished researching. Can you spare your two cents worth?

Which one do you think outperforms the other in terms of depreciation, fuel cost, sales tax, interest, insurance, maintenance and overall cost-to-own?

Confirm your choice by pressing the "Vote" button.

You can also elaborate on your answer by leaving a comment.

Thanks in advance!


  1. hey pete's all i can being in the auto finance industry...if you want resale'll never go wrong with toyota, honda or nissan...that goes the same with fuel efficiency...doesn't need to be a hybrid coz with the high cost of the car itself, it will probably be the same amt of money you'll spend for gas with an ordinary toyota, but if you want hybrid, why's still a toyota and it's tried and tested....and i would go for brand new...that way you'll get the best extended warranty and gap coverage ( w/c is something you're not supposed to go with out) and best of look around for good interest rates...don't let the dealer fool you.

  2. thanks for voting, joy! nasa auto finance industry ka na pala! what a great resource. :) i will keep your valuable advice in mind once i'm out there. the sight of a car lot intimidates me. salespeople seem like predatory vultures waiting for the next gullible victim. :D

  3. They are pricing those great gas mileage cars up so much, it'll negate their value. Ugh.

  4. Right on, brother bear. I can smell those damn capitalists' vicious intentions from the freeway. :)

  5. go for brand new. go for buy. go for the category of 'small car'. at least for us it worked. and if you've got the cash, better to pay it off the old-fashioned way - all in one go. in the end, you would've saved heaps on interest, not to mention the uneasy feeling that goes with debt. also, as a rule of thumb, only borrow for things that appreciate in value (like a home). hope this helps. keep me posted on what you've decided to do. all the best, friendship!

  6. i do want to cash out the car that's why i've been trying my luck on the national lottery, no kidding. :D my savings alone won't be able to for either a brand new or cpo prius. witty rule of thumb there. pakatatandaan ko 'yan. salamat, 'igan.

  7. Hi Peter- thanks for ask for opinions. I say new Toyota all the is reliable, dependable, and will last you for a long time. if gas is really a big issue, get the hybrid. i bought my 2008 scion tc last september and have been so happy ever since. i don't complain about filling up around $50/tank because i hear others grumble about their $100/tank. no biggie to me. and besides, we're nurses, we make good money. miss ya!

    hope this helps,
    elaine d.

  8. hey, congrats on your new scion tc! sounds like a perfect marriage. :) can't wait to see it. last time we went out was on your classy lexus. i'm really yearning for a prius, but i'll keep myself within the threshold of sanity to make a sensible purchase.

  9. hi Peter!
    I would say go for the brand new.. less headache.. as i have told you before my friend who is a broker can get you a good deal and save you the time and energy huggling for the price as she will talk directly to the fleet manager... I got my car from her and saved a good deal... give her a call. Her name is Eleanor Benitez and her number is (818)2987888...she has been in the car business for 18 years and she knows what she is talking about.. with regards to financing..go for a credit union they have lower interest rates... Hope this can help.. keep in touch.. you know my number

  10. ika an henot ko naromdoman after reading an article about car brokers. :) thanks for anticipating my need for one, and thanks for her name & number, too. i do have a credit union that can give me a good rate.

  11. Good Morning Peter!! As my car buying experience has gone, buy new. It is nice to have someone else pay the depreciation, but in the long run, paying the the cost of up-keep and maintenance on a quickly aging car can be very expensive. I have leased, bought used and bought brand spanking new. When I am next in the market for a car I will either lease (if the deal is a good one) or buy new. Just a note if you have not yet decided on a model, I love my BMW, it has been great fun. But also let me add it has been very expensive!! Even though it runs like a champ (knock on wood) the maintenance has been a killer. Now remember I bought it used; and I wish now I had not!! If I had it to do over, I would purchase a brand new BMW. The used value is not great once the warranty is up!! General up-keep like tires, brakes, oil changes, seems to be one thing after another!! Now, I just found a crack in my windshield - don't even want to know how much that will cost!! But overall do not regret getting that car, just has been a bigger expense, I think, in the long run having to up-keep without the benefit of a bumper-bumper warranty. Good Luck with your decision!! Dana

  12. Dana! Thanks for the invaluable personal insight on car buying and maintenance. Boy, you have been around! I was considering a BMW at first, but my research led me on the path to a Prius. Amazing how many people are advising to buy new. Been bent on getting a CPO but I'm not sure anymore. Will keep you posted. Let's go dimsum once I get my wheels. :)