First of all, avoid any car the first year it’s released. I noticed in the paper this morning that you could lease a new Ford whatever their new SUV/sedan cross is for the same price you lease a Ford Explorer. What fool would buy a new car, before the manufacturer has had a year or two to iron out the bugs? They’re in constant contact with dealers and service departments to find out how their new cars are performing and what customers like and don’t like about them. Give them some time to fine tune the car before buying it for yourself.
Never buy whatever car is super popular. You’ll pay top dollar, and you’ll never get that money back out of it. No car dealer will dealer on a hot car. Why should they, if someone else who’s willing to pay full price will buy it later that day? It’s often hard to find a dealer who even has a hot car on his lot. There’s no way in the world they’re going to give you a price break if they’re the only dealer within 200 miles who has the car everyone wants. And two or three years later, when you’re ready to sell the car, there are enough of them available, and they may no longer be the hottest car, that you won’t be able to sell it for the same top dollar you bought it for.
A car that you only keep for a year or two definitely qualifies as a ‘worst car to buy.’ One study I read found that if a person kept every car they bought for ten years or more, instead of buying or leasing a new one every three years, that they would save $400,000 by the time they turned 65. It didn’t matter whether they bought the car new or used, or what kind of car they bought. It was cheaper-significantly cheaper-to buy it and pay for whatever repairs came up. Cars are lasting longer every year, so it’s possible you could keep your car even longer than ten years, and save even more money. Please don’t be one of those people who buys a new car every four or five years.
Please don’t make the terrible mistake of leasing your next car. Car salesmen can convince anyone that this is a great way to go if you don’t have a lot of money to put down for your car (who does?) or if you want to buy a nicer car that you couldn’t afford otherwise. You can’t afford to lease a car; even Bill Gates can’t afford to lease a car. Please cross leasing off your list of car options. We can’t find anything truly worthwhile about leasing.
And now our list of worst cars to buy for 2007 (by make and model):
BMW 7 Series and X5
Chevy Astro, Blazer, Express, S-10 with 4WD, Venture,
Chrysler Town & Country (with all wheel drive)
Dodge Grand Caravan (all wheel drive)
GMC Jimmy, Sonoma 4WD, Safari, Savana
Infiniti QX56Jaguar S and X-types
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sedona (the 2006 is acceptable, if you must buy a Kia)
Land Rover Discovery
Lincoln Aviator and Navigator
Mercedes-Benz CLK, M- and S-Classes, SL
Nissan Armada, Titan
Oldsmobile Bravada, Cutlass and Silhouette
Pontiac Aztek, Trans Sport,
Volkswagen Cabrio, Jetta Turbo, Jetta V6, Beetle, Touareg
That’s our politically correct list. But the fact is, in a million years we’ll never buy: any British car (Land Rover, Jaguar, Mini-Cooper, Lotus, etc.); any German car (Volkswagon, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, etc.) or any French car. Have you ever sat in the back seat of a BMW? If you’re more than five feet tall, there’s no headroom. A lot of these cars have become associated with the rich-you’ve made if you drive a Mercedes. But I’ve never met anyone who any of these who was really happy with it. We know all about the numbers of repairs per vehicle, but we’ve own a lot of these cars, or had family member or close friends who owned them. Please don’t make the same mistake these people did. Buy yourself a nice Honda or Toyota.