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Learn... Plan... Buy a Vehicle!

Steps to Vehicle Purchase
  Step 1 - Review your budget
  Step 2 - Determine your down payment
  Step 3 - Price your trade-in
  Step 4 - Check loan rates
  Step 5 - Research your vehicle choices
  Step 6 - Check out your vehicle choices
  Step 7 - Get competitive bids
  Step 8 - Prepare for the purchase
Calculators
  How much will my monthly payments be? (State Farm)
Tools
  Check current lending rates at Bankrate
  Research your car (Autolist, Edmunds, MSNAutos, or USAToday)
  For a used car, check its history at CarFax.com
  Visit online lenders at E-Loan and Capital One Finance
Compare 5-year owner costs

(Part of an article from Consumer Reports, October 2008)

These examples show how much you can save in terms of five-year owner costs by choosing a one-, two-, or three-year-old vehicle instead of a new one. Or for about the same new-car owner cost, you can upgrade to a roomier, more luxurious, or better-performing model than you might otherwise be able to afford. Owner cost estimates are rounded to the nearest $250.

Family sedan: Toyota Camry V6
5-year owner cost: $41,500

Toyota Camry

Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $33,250 $8,250
2 years 30,250  11,250
3 years 28,500  13,000

Lexus LS For about the same five-year owner cost of a new Camry, you could upgrade to one of these more luxurious used cars:

1-year-old Acura TL
2-year-old Infiniti M35
3-year-old Lexus LS

Small car: Ford Focus
5-year owner cost: $33,750

Ford Focus
Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $27,750 $6,000
2 years 26,500   7,250
3 years 25,500   8,250

Infiniti G35 For about the same five-year owner cost of a new Focus, you could upgrade to one of these roomier, better-equipped used cars:

1-year-old Honda Accord EX (V6)
2-year-old Acura TSX
3-year-old Infiniti G35 sedan

Sporty car: Ford Mustang Convertible V6
5-year owner cost: $42,500

Ford Mustang
Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $32,000 $10,500
2 years 30,250   12,250
3 years 28,750   13,750

Porsche Boxster For about the same five-year owner cost of a new Mustang, you could upgrade to one of these sportier, more fun-to-drive used cars:

1-year-old Nissan 350Z Touring Convertible
2-year-old BMW 330i Convertible
3-year-old Porsche Boxster

Small SUV: Subaru Forester
5-year owner cost: $35,500

Subaru Forester
Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $28,500 $7,000
2 years 27,250   8,250
3 years 26,500   9,000

Acura MDX For about the same five-year owner cost of a new Forester, you could upgrade to one of these roomier, better-equipped used SUVs:

1-year-old Nissan Murano SL
2-year-old Honda Pilot EX-L
3-year-old Acura MDX Touring

Upscale car: Acura TL
5-year owner cost: $46,250

Acura TL
Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $39,250 $7,000
2 years  35,250 11,000
3 years  32,000 14,250

Midsized SUV: Lexus RX 350
5-year owner cost: $57,750

Lexus RX 350
Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $44,250 $13,500
2 years  41,250  16,500
3 years  37,500  20,250

Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe
5-year owner cost: $63,750

Chevrolet Tahoe
Age when purchased 5-year owner cost Savings
1 year  $45,500 $18,250
2 years  40,750  23,000
3 years  38,250  25,500