Buying a new car - do you think I'm crazy?


11 Years
Jul 1, 2008
Portland, Oregon
So, my husband and I hate our car ever since we've had our baby. It's a Hyundai Accent coupe hatchback, and my complaints about how hard the carseat was to put in didn't make an impression on my husband until he threw out his shoulder trying to put the darn thing in there! Now he's in agreement with me about needing a bigger car.

We're not in the greatest shape financially. Yes, I have a good job that pays well. But, he's a graduate student only bringing in a stipend (a good stipend though!) and we have daycare expenses and the current car's loan, and health insurance, and on and on. But the biggest thing is the car loan situation. I'm sick of having monthly payments. I think we're slightly upside down on our car loan (husband disagrees, thinks we're a little better than breaking even on it). Regardless of what our financial picture will be when we unload this car, I don't really want to be paying a couple hundred dollars a month for the next five years. I'd rather put that money into the bank, the kid's college fund, or braces fund, or next baby hospital bill fund, our our retirement fund.

My husband, in the meantime, is tired of owning small cars that rattle. When he decided he hates that car too and wants to get rid of it, he came in and asked me what I thought about getting a Mercedes E Class. I asked him how long we'd be paying on that for, and he replied, "a million years." In husband-speak, that means 5. But, our payment would work out to be the same as the one we're paying now and it would be a nice car.

Am I crazy for balking at the idea of getting a Mercedes? Seems like any woman would jump at the chance and slap me for thinking about saying anything besides "yes, please!" Yes, they're nice cars. Nicer than the used Honda (or Toyota) I've repeatedly asked him to get me since my last one was ruined, which he has repeatedly refused to get. He doesn't want a car that has been driven into the ground by a 16-year-old. I can certainly understand his point, but aren't Hondas and Toyotas among the most reliable cars ever? Wouldn't it make more financial sense to get one of them instead? Then there's that part of me that's admittedly ashamed of getting a nice car. I try to be non-materialistic, and many of my friends are anti-materialists who shun the idea of owning a car at all, much less a luxury brand of anything. While I'm too old to really care what other people think, I myself am sort of one of those people who looks down on other people for buying luxury products. Please don't judge me for that...I know it's wrong to look down on anyone. It's just a visceral reaction I have from being raised the way I was...never getting anything nice as a kid, even though my parents were quite wealthy, made me think there was something wrong with getting nice things.

The last thing I'm afraid about is the possibility of people's expectations and treatment of us changing because we own a luxury brand. When I had my baby, my father came off with a lot of money for us to cover hospital bills. We needed the help. But if he saw me driving around a fancy car, no matter how cheap it was, I doubt he would have been willing to help us. And while that situation is over, I can't help but feel afraid that that sentiment would permeate all of our interpersonal relationships.

What advice do you guys have to give me? After I expressed this to my husband, he said he quits, it's my decision, I'm the boss, do what I want. Those were beautiful words to hear, but a car has to be a mutual decision. Otherwise, you end up with resentment for years, just like I've had with this stupid Hyundai he picked that I didn't want so much.
My first Toyota was an '81 Sport Truck. I bought it used in '89 when it had 72K miles on it. When I sold it in '02 it had 437K miles on it and still got nearly 30miles to the gallon highway. My next Toy is the one I'm driving now. '03 that I bought in '04. I've replaced--tires, breaks, windshield wipers, Oil and filters PERIOD. Toyota's will run forever unless you treat them badly or run them into something. Toyota Corolla is the best selling small car.

FYI The Lexus is the same car as the Toyota Avalon they just change the tag on the car! You pay for a name.
ahh, the car seat dilemma. When you go shopping, make sure to take it along and practice installing it.

This is all why we bought a minivan. I am quite happy with how our 2000 Honda. It has survived 225K miles of my VERY nasty mountain driving -2x a day to school and back, up and down a road locals call "the skidder road". I am sure a Toyota would have fared as well - I had a '79 Supra (yes, the hatchback sports car) that survived several years of wildlife work with me. I was never very impressed with the reliability or suspension in the Dodge vans. Our van was the first new car I ever owned, and if you purchase new and drive it for that many miles it is probably cost effective.
Here's a good site to compare qualities in used cars Think of what you want in your next vehicle, safety, economy, reliability, etc and see which kinds of cars are known for those qualities. I had always heard that there's a lot of depreciation in buying a brand new car, it's better to get a good used one. But perhaps that's not true now, maybe there are companies throwing money & incentives at people to get them to buy.
Another thing, check the cost of insurence, some of those fancy cars are spendy when it comes to the insurence. Would hate to get a deal paying 300 on the car payment and another 300 on the insurence or something crazy like that.
This is all good advice, guys! Thanks for the car insurance bit...I hadn't even thought of that! I live in a high property crime neighborhood and it's very likely that my insurance would be high if I had a luxury brand. I'll ask my Benz-driving neighbor.
I have the E 320. Nice car.

But I'm not sure that it would be my choice for a beginning family.
A simply tune up last year was $1200.00 at the Benz dealership.
Heater blow motor was $550 and me install. Upkeep on a Benz
can be a bit costly. Fuel mileage is about 28 mpg overall.

Body and fit...excellent. Interior is very, very quite. Handles great.
But not exactly a snow-car. Comes in a 4-wheel drive version, but has
mixed reviews from owners.

Overall I would probably buy another one, but not a new one.

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