You Ask, I Answer: First Time Car Buyer

You Ask

One of my favorite parts about writing this blog is the daily interaction I am able to have with readers like you.  Recently, I’ve received a lot of e-mails with questions–some of you want to know where I bought the sweater I’m wearing in a certain video while others have questions about Service Department specials…  A few days ago, I received an e-mail from someone and I want to share a portion of it, along with my answer, for you.  **If you have questions, feel free to e-mail me at  I LOVE hearing from you!**

Excerpt from Mrs. H.:

…my daughter is about to turn 18.  She’s a senior in high school and she’s working two jobs and maintaining her 3.7 GPA.  (Had to brag because I’m proud.) I want to help her find a safe, reliable, and good-looking car.  I’m going to pay for half of it.  Where do I start?  Do you have any tips for me?  What should we pay?  I’m trying to figure this out and I’m overwhelmed.  Do you have any advice for me?

Continue reading for my response to Mrs. H.!

Hi Mrs. H.,

Thank you for your e-mail and for trusting my opinion as you and your daughter make this big decision together.  I’m going to cover both new and used reliable vehicles, and in doing so, hopefully, cover your intended budget.

Thanks for the e-mail!


USED Vehicles

  1. 2004 Toyota Prius ranks among the top Used Cars for College Students according to Edmunds.  Save gas with America’s favorite hybrid and pack it to the hilt with your belongings in the extra roomy second generation Prius.
  2. 2005 Scion tC also tops Edmunds’ list of top Used Cars for College Students.  According to the automotive website, they’re big fans of the tC’s legroom and spacious trunk along with the impressive way the vehicle handles on long trips.
  3. 2014 Toyota Camry gets a nod from Kiplinger for its “stellar reliability” and IIHS Rating ‘Top Safety Pick’ make it a no-brainer for any consumer.
  4. 2008 Toyota Corolla is one of Kelly Blue Book’s 10 Best Used Cars Under $8,000. KBB says that the Corolla is safe and reliable and is likely to stay in great shape if taken care of over the years.
  5. 2006 Toyota Avalon ranks #1 on Kelly Blue Books 10 Best Used Cars Under $8,000. KBB says, “For a contemporary sedan, it is big, quiet and comfortable, making miles of Interstates disappear in its wake effortlessly. The Avalon is also remarkably reliable.  For a contemporary sedan, it is big, quiet and comfortable, making miles of Interstates disappear in its wake effortlessly.”
  6. The Toyota Camry (ANY YEAR)–I know I specifically chose the 2014 but I’d like to posit that every single iteration of the Camry is a safe and reliable choice.  According to Tom Torbjornsen, author of How to Make Your Car Last Forever, “You see them going 200,000, 300,000 miles all the time…They’re just very well made.”

NEW Cars

  1. Toyota Camry was ranked Best Midsized Car 2016 by Consumer Reports this year.  Consumer Reports says: “The solid Camry delivers year after year of outstanding reliability, which when combined with impressive crash-test results, make it a near-perfect sedan.”
  2. Toyota Prius V was awarded a 2016 Best Car for the Money by U.S. News & World Report.  “The Prius V has plenty of cargo space, as well as expansive rear seats. Its fuel-sipping hybrid powertrain makes it less expensive to own than some of its gas-only competitors.”
  3. 2016 Toyota RAV4 received the NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating along with an IIHS Top Saftey Pick+ With Optimal Front Crash Protection.  The esteemed safety awards along with the RAV4 Hybrid’s IntelliChoice SmartChoice Winner and the distinction as Best Hybrid SUV for the Money by U.S. News & World Report, make the RAV4 & RAV4 Hybrid easy choices for you and your family.
  4. Toyota Highlander receives the distinguished “A” rating from Edmunds, calling the SUV, “Comfortable and pleasing to drive, the 2016 Toyota Highlander is a no-brainer pick for a three-row family crossover. It also earns our top rating.”
  5. Toyota Prius c is Digital Trends’ top pick for your first hybrid vehicle writing it’s a “good compromise between affordability and fuel economy.”
  6. 2017 Toyota Corolla “excels” as a vehicle that’s “well equipped, well priced, highly efficient, and comfortable to drive. Throw in the standard TSS-P technology suite, and it’s extremely safe as well,” according to TopSpeed.

Questions, concerns, comments?!  E-mail me at!


  1. Safe Car
  2. Edmunds Car Buying Guide
  3. Toyota Financial Services

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