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ok, heres the deal. i'll try to keep it short. i'm 21 years old, have had an 84 El Camino since I was 16 that I dearly love and will always keep, but have gotten new car fever and want something for gas mileage, comfort, and reliablity. plus still fun to drive. so...i want a prius. i've got a part time job and am a student to graduate from college this year. maybe in a year ill have a full-time money making job, maybe i wont. of course i want a prius with all the extras - the nav, the bluetooth, the HID's, the leather but logistically its out of my price range. now through various ins and outs and loans and such i could maybe, just maybe pulll it off (with some high monthly payments though). im young but my credit is pretty good. the way the computer reads my income is the problem. now, how much of a struggle do ya'll think those extras are worth? i mean your spending a lot of moeny no matter what. shouldn't you go the extra mile? also, I'm in Texas. does anybody know about what tax, title, and license would be on a package 8 or a package 6 with leather? do you think i could say i want the sticker to be walk-out price and override the extra cost? also, what do ya'll think in general? i could settle for a $15,000 Corolla but that's just a car, it's not a prius. i'd almost just as soon keep fixing up and driving my El Camino. i'm kind of just posting my situation to ears that know the car and love the car and seeing what ya'll think. any feedback would be nice. thanks for reading all this.
 

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Hard to read...

Hard to read your input when you don't break it up with a few paragraphs and some blank lines.

If you bought the $15,000 Corolla verses the nearly $30,000 Prius (package eight), the $15,000 you save would buy you 6,000 gallons of gas at $2.50 per gallon. If the Corolla got 30 MPG, that would take you 180,000. This would seem to be a much better way to start out in life.

However, IF you GOT to have the Prius, you should certainly be able to get one for straight MSRP. I don't know what the license, sales tax, etc are in Texas, but you will get a $3150 tax credit. As to collecting the tax credit, I suspect you have to owe at least $3150 to Uncle Sam before he will wave the magic wand and give it back to you.

Take the Corolla and you'll be a lot better off.
 

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Or even wait until this fall when most of the Japanese dealers will be peddling the "Gilly". The first Chinese car to be marketed in the U.S. It will certainly be "different" for several years and is expected to come in under $10,000 dollars.
Actually you have a "classic" that is to be envied everywhere in the U.S. Restore it to back to new condition and you'll always have something that peoples eyes will follow.
The Prius is a compact car that Toyota figured would fit in and sell in the bottom of the $20,000 niche. It listed from 2001 thru 2004 for $19,995.
The fact that it is unique (only real hybrid sedan made) and has quite a few options available, the cost with what you describe is well over thirty thousand dollars and yet you are driving the same chassis that was designed to sell for twenty.
Take a good look at the Ft Worth Star Telegram next Sunday and check out the prices being offered for over a dozen fuel economy minded cars offered by every manufacturer in the world. All well below even the price of a Corolla.
A restored "as new" El Camino from Texas might just bring you enough cash how ever to get you pretty close to a Prius in New England.
 

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I just did a random check on the Toyota website.

Within 30 seconds I came up with a Package #3, with carpet and trunk mats at Deluca Toyota. It is white with beige interior, your basic car. Fortunately no Toyoguard, which would cost $600 or $700 more. It doesn't have the VSC, which is a good option to have. I think you have to go to a package #4 for that, and I don't know how much that would add to the price.

So for a total price as they list of $24,361 there's your Prius. No fancy options you really don't need. You can still find things on a map, it just isn't as convenient. If you're a lady you can stop at a gas station and get directions, if you're a guy with the Prius you can drive around for hours and hours until you're not lost anymore.

So now it's $9361 more than the Corolla. You'll get the better milage, so you will be catching up to the Corolla's total operating price as you go along. If you're happy with the Prius and will keep it years longer than you would a Corolla, you'll be that much further ahead too. If gas keeps going up in price you'll be saving that much more in the long run. Of course, you'll be paying interest on that $9361 if you finance it, so you have to factor that in too. But then there is the $3150 tax credit, which would bring the price down a bit too, that is of course if you are able to take advantage of it. And finally, you will have to calculate the resale value difference of both cars to get to a final total overall cost.

Another possibillity is to look for a used Prius, they can be found.

So it really is a question for you to calculate.
 

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"...have gotten new car fever and want something for gas mileage, comfort, and reliablity. plus still fun to drive. so...i want a prius."
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Don't paint yourself into a financial corner at this age. Many of us have been "poor college grads" who just had to have, (fill in the blank) to drive. After the "gee whiz" factor wears out, they all morph into just 4 wheels and a motor. But the payments don't drop accordingly.
The Prius will still be there when you can afford it and.. it'll be a better car than it is now. Drive what you can really afford.
I had a 69 SS-396 El Camino. It was a great car. It got about 10 mpg and preferred 95+ oct gas. I still have a pic of that one on my desk.
 

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Buy a clean used car, put money in a 401(k), and save until you can buy @ new car without borrowing money. Yeah, it's hard to survive new car fever, but if you do you'll come out ahead by tens of thousands.
 

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I guess I'm in your age group. I was looking at an 05 Corolla LE Pkg "B" which includes everything that's optional in the US except JBL audio and TRAC/VSC both of which aren't available on the Canadian Corolla. I ended up with the Prius and I have no regrets.

You do have a point, that a Corolla will just be a Corolla after all. In almost 15 months, I haven't even spent Cdn$1,000 on fuel ($97x.xx right now) and my extra cost such as maintenance is only at $74.

However, since you're paying for the vehicle yourself, I'd suggest getting one with all the safety features first. If that's out of budget, consider a used 04 or 05 with all the safety features (Pkg #4?). Do not pay for any added extras like Toyoguard or rear bumper applique. Set a budget of x dollars NOT monthly payment. The reason for that is monthly payment can be adjusted by adding months which is not desirable. Set your period to 3 or 4 years max and work around it. If you can't afford it, choose a lower package or a cheaper car.

Whatever you choose, just don't dig a deep hole for yourself. Avoid splurging now and enjoy life later. You need a solid foundation otherwise you'll spend the next x years paying back loans which isn't fun.
 

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This seems to be our culture these days. Instant gratification. Why does a student need 2 cars? I didn't own a car until I graduated from college.

It's ok to wait. Being that far in debt at this stage in life is not wise. You should be thinking about how you can buy a house first.
 

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To add to the wet-blanketism, my advice would be to wait until the fever passes, then buy an affordable used car and save up for a Prius in two or three or four years. Or, as Tideland suggests, get a used Prius.

Reason: It's generally a bad idea to borrow money for depreciating assets before you're financially well-established. If you have to borrow money, borrow as little as possible. Keep in mind that finance charges ARE part of the car's cost. Keep in mind that the money going to your car payment is money that you won't have available should an opportunity - or emergency - arise.

Whatever you do, steer clear of the "how big a payment can I afford?" mind-set. That's a recipe for disaster, especially in a volatile economy.
 

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As a crusty old f&rt here's my thoughts.

Get a killer paint job on the El C. Keep it shiny. Save your money to spend on women. :) Would you rather have a nice shiny Prius or some coin in the pocket for dinner & a movie, without building up a bunch of debt?

Cheers,
Jeff
 

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Wet-blanketism, indeed. A new car is a luxury purchase. The moment you drive off the lot you will take a substantial depreciation hit on this purchase. No one in your situation should buy a new car. You are broke and will be for a long time without luck and planning. Don't make the situation worse. Buy a used car that's safer and more economical than the ElCo. (Hardly difficult.) Sell the ElCo. Save your money until you graduate, get that job and establish some financial means. By then there will be newer, better cars anyway.

Been there.
 

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From the beginning of 1984 through end of 1988 I had a '72 corona. Had a few problems with it, but my dad was a mechanic, had tools in the garage, and it was easy to work on. I loved that car. It was a good training tool during the end of highschool and through college.

When I graduated, I got a 2 year old bare bones corolla purchased from Hertz. Part was paid as a graduation present, part was a 0 interest loan, and the rest as a low interest loan from my parents. Loan payments were suspended until I was actually working. It was a very inexpensive car, though my dad admitted car prices were much higher than he originally figured.
 

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I had my granddad's 62 Chevy II while I was 16, until I blew the engine within a year.

Before my dad would get me a car I had to take an auto repair class at the local tech college. I didn't like it at first, but after I worked on a few cars I started to enjoy it. All except working on the exhaust system, of course.

So in 1981 my dad got me a 1972 Pontiac Catalina, 400 ci, 4bbl for when I was going to college. That car could FLY. One night some local kids went zooming past, and I just kept driving nicely. The guys in the car got upset. So after giving the kids a 20 second lead, I floored it. You could just hear the engine gathering speed, and we passed them doing about 105. Of course, the lifters were rattling for a month after that. It finally threw a timing chain, and while I was repairing it one of the other college guys wanted to buy it.

And now I drive like an old lady to save wear and tear on the car and save money on gas. That's what happened when prices for both cars and gasoline skyrocketed. Oh, and insurance too.
 

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I had a Corona too. LOL. It was a wreck, and I got it from one of my mom's friends for $300. No idea what year the car was. I saved my money and bought a 1987 4Runner, and kept it for 17 years.
 

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Funny, that's what I paid for mine from a neighbor. He had a posted price of $600, was going to take $400 from me, but it was suspected it needed a valve job so he lowered the price to $300. He recently had it repainted. Had gotten a new car and needed it off his insurance.

Problems I had:
- Ol light kept coming on during idle. I believe we did check the pressure and it was fine. Changed the pressure switch a few times during the time I had it.
- Timing chain guide broke. Dad and I replaced guide and chain.
- Bolt holding reverse servo got loose, other bolt bent and mounting ear that the bent bolt was holding broke, so I lost reverse. Thought it might have been a band or clutch, so dad and I pulled and rebuilt the tranny. Turns out it could have been fixed from the pan.
- Aftermarket AC comressor kept getting loose off the block. Stripped threads.
- minor accident pushing front in a few inches, and puncturing the radiator. Limped home from NJ to Queens NY in this state. Lucky I didn't blow the engine. Pulled front back out, replaced headlights, got radiator fixed and boiled out. Aftermarket AC never worked after that.
- A few months before scrapping the car, idle was near impossible to maintain. Suspect a valve job was indeed needed by now.
 
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