Need a new ride, budget edtion

So I am a recent graduate and have been driving my parent’s car to commute to work (60 miles a day). last week It might have finally given up the ghost and I need to find a new car fairly quickly. I’m not much of a car buff, so I figured there might some people here on Core77 that can give advice. Any car recommendations for a designer on a budget? Due to the commute listed above the MPG is a factor to consider.

Where are you located?


If you’re looking at new cars, I would say Ford Fiesta (or Focus if you want something bigger). Ford is killing it with design right now, the Fiesta is a global platform- very good little car. I would also look at Kia, Peter Schreyer has done a great job bringing their design around, although the Forte (their cheapest model) is kind of underwhelming.

From his website, I’m assuming Phoenix, AZ. Go Sun Devils!

Toyota Camry LE

It really depends on your budget. If sub $15K you could consider used Fiat 500, Mini, Honda Civic, even VW Golf or Bug TDI (turbo diesel).
Definitely try a local search on, or has a useful Great, Fair, or Poor deal view.
Depending on your tolerance for car’s age, mileage, and reliability - Mini’s, Honda’s, VW’s, and Ford Focus SVT’s can be found in the $5K range.

Yeah I’m from the Phoenix, AZ area. I’ve had a few people recommend Ford, Honda and Kia. I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of repairs in the first few years, but I think buying used would help save a lot of money. What do you guys think the sweet spot for miles on the odometer is? I’m currently looking at the $7-$13K range.

$11,300, 2008 Camry XLE. If reliability is your priority, don’t fight the urge to get a Toyota.

Try to find a dealer that works in low-mileage “program” cars (former rentals or off-lease). You’ll get a car at about 15-20K and if you get a Kia or Hyundai there’s tons of warranty left over.

I’d second Kia/Hyundai for sure.

Don’t do it, don’t do it…that Camry will suck out your soul and every reason to live - you’ll go numb and forget you’re in a car. :stuck_out_tongue:

Fight the urge for boring, reliable and good gas mileage. You are doing a lot of driving, so might as well enjoy it, rather than wanting to kill yourself for driving an appliance. You are young, you can afford to make a wildly unpractical choice. Save the practical for when you are old and the wife makes you buy the Toyota Minivan.

For $10 in AZ you can probably get any kind of great classic, rust free.

For example, how about this for $15K? Sure beats a Toyota :slight_smile:


I’m trying to work with this guy to do a video using his car.

In that budget, and with that long of a commute, I’d recommend a used Civic… always fight the urge to get a Toyota… :wink:

You might be able to pick up a used VW Golf…

Boom. Used Golf for 8G’s.

In “Desert Sun Reflecting White”

Whatever happened to feeling young, lately?
You guys seriously sound like my mum.

(In fact I tried to persuade her into a new KIA, as I am fed up with the small niggles of her Golf, lol.)

To come back to topic, I’ll second Richard on this. The '02 might be a little too extreme, given the proximity to desert head. You’d seriously want a working AC in Arizona. Thus my recomendation would be the E34 E39 five series cars. Everything a Camry isn’t.



No 5er in Phoenix, whatever…:

Sorry don’t know how to deeplink from my phone…


Come on guys, he’s not a car buff (so won’t be fixing stuff himself), doesn’t have a bunch of money for repairs, and he’s doing 60 miles a day in a state that is over 100 degrees most of the year. A 2002 or 3 series convertible would be an insane choice. It’s the kind of thing I’d do.

Ok, a 2002 is a bit crazy, but I just wanted to prove that you can think outside the (beige) box. Plus, a lot of those older cars, if they’ve made it this far, can be pretty reliable and don’t have much to go wrong on them and are a lot simpler so less potential problems.

That being said, for under 15K, you can get a used Mini, New Beetle, TT… even a Boxster not to mention lots of Bimmers and older rides.


VW, Porsche and Mini are not reliable. BMW is in between on reliability, but the parts cost 2-3 times the parts of a Japanese or American car.

Leave the crazy stuff for Scott, Richard and I.

That is Porsche in annual road inspections. Meaning, owners of Porsches make sure they are regularly maintained. If you have the coin, you can keep anything on the road.

Porsche are extremely reliable for race cars, but race car reliability and road reliability are two different things.

The Porsche that I’ve been around were plagued with cam chain tensioner problems and oil circulation problems at medium mileage (50k mi. +). Newer ones have had problems with the metal used in the engine crank cases. If replaced under warranty, it’s no big deal. If you have to pay, keep $8k+ handy for a new engine and labor. All Porsche have dry sumps. That means 12 liters of synthetic oil at your oil changes ($120 if you do it yourself). Newer Porsche have really big, soft and expensive tires that last maybe a year at normal mileage. That’s $800-$1200 / year. I don’t know about the brakes, but I expect they need maintenance every other year at twice the price of an ordinary car. Plus, the fuel economy is 2/3 that of a Camry and 1/2 that of a Civic.

I haven’t even started on all of the expensive electronics that can go south, or the plumbing. Porsche have water radiators and oil coolers in the front and 16 feet of pipes and valves running to the engine in the back. The radiators can be easily damaged because they are mounted low in the front bumper.

Mind you, if you have the coin, go for it. I’d get a 993 (made from 1993 to 1998). Last of the air cooled. They fixed most of the problems and fitted a great rear suspension. Interior is really awful compared to even a Lada today. But, filled with character. I’d buy one in a NY minute if I didn’t already have two cars and live in a big city.