Who Would Pay $50,000 for a $20,000 Car?

Dodge Challenger

Lots of people pay $50,000 for a $20,000 car. Conversely, plenty of other folks happily plunk down $20,000 for a $50,000 car.

The difference, of course, is depreciation.

For the 2014 model year, the average new car will depreciate about 60 percent over 5 years. With the average length of car ownership well over 6 years, that means your new $50,000 car will soon be a like-new $20,000 car.

Whether you’re shopping new or used, it’s a good idea to consider rates of depreciation as you negotiate your deal. Getting a ridiculously low price on a new car will probably mean it’ll quickly lose value, while paying close to MSRP on another car could mean getting a good portion of your money back when it’s time to sell a few years down the road.

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Backup Cameras Could Save Lives of Children

Blind-spot distances

Cars are dangerous.

It’s easy to forget that something so common in our lives, something so many of us safely use each day, can cause utter devastation in people’s lives.

Cars and trucks are essentially large, heavy chunks of metal that are capable of inflicting great damage. I was reminded of this fact by the tragic story of a Chevy Avalanche owner who accidentally backed over a child. It’s a terrible reminder that cars are dangerous, especially many of the late-model vehicles with sloped roofs, small windows and large blind spots.

Is a sleek look worth the added safety risk?

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Big Family, Big Cars, Big Prices

family car decal

You’ve seen the stickers on the back of Suburbans everywhere. You know the ones, the little caricatures of each family member happily bouncing soccer balls or petting a puppy.

There’s usually a mom, a dad, 4 kids or more and two pets. Presumably they are all in the vehicle at the same time, and I’d almost guarantee they aren’t nearly as happy as their sticker-selves represent.

A lot of crying and yelling happens in the back of those Suburbans, I’m just sayin’.

For large families in need of a 7+-passenger vehicle, the choices are surprisingly ample. Expensive, but ample.

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How Long Have You Had Your Car?

2004_Buick_regal

There are almost 250 million cars on U.S. roads. As luck would have it, yesterday about 240 million of them were piled up waiting to get out of my local downtown area.

For some perspective, there are about 313 million people alive in the United States right now. That means nearly every person in this country has a car.

Part of the reason we have so many vehicles is that people are holding on to their cars longer than ever, with the average age of vehicles on the road now at 10.9 years, according to Experian.

At last week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas, Experian took the study a little further and revealed which vehicle brands people keep the longest. The top 5, somewhat surprisingly, are Buick, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Dodge.

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GM to Debut New Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon

Chevrolet Colorado

Get ready for the return of the midsize truck!

The Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier have been the only real contenders in the “small” truck market for years now. I use quotes there because the Tacoma has become the size of an older F-150, which in effect has turned it into a full-grown pickup.

I love midsize trucks and am excited that the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon will make their world debut next week at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, according to General Motors.

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Replacing a Car After an Accident

2006_acura_tsx

The text came through just as bedtime was starting to sound like a really good idea.

The text, from a friend I haven’t heard from in a while, said, “My Honda Accord got totaled this week and I need to buy a different car. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on the Accord vs. Altima vs. Acura TSX?”

The accident happened when a young driver attempted to cross traffic but misjudged how much time she had. My friend, in her 2001 Accord, collided with the other vehicle. There were no injuries, but the old Honda didn’t make it through.

Needing to quickly buy a car when you had no plans to buy a car could lead to some impulse decisions, especially with the emotion of a fresh car accident.

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Here’s Your 1,000 Horsepower Minivan

Bisimoto-2014-Honda-Odyssey

I found a $900 minivan for sale and I seriously thought for a moment that it would be a great idea to buy it.

I know, I know. What self-respecting car blogger buys a used minivan for $900 and then goes back to writing about Porsches?

Well, first of all I would have never offered more than $700 for the van. Secondly, cars for under a grand are probably a common occurrence for auto writers. We may spend our days lusting after 1,000-hp super machines, but we spend our nights lugging families around in cheap vans.

If only there was a 1,000-hp van to bridge the gap…

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Cars That Avoid Collisions… From the Front, at Least

2013 Subaru Legacy, front side

“My car won’t let me rear-end anyone,” she said.

It’s true. The 2013 Subaru Legacy equipped with EyeSight automatically applies the brakes and stops the car when it detects another automobile in its path.

The first time I drove my girlfriend’s car, it was quite a disconcerting feeling to keep my foot off the brake when approaching a line of cars at a stop light. Just as advertised, though, the car came to a gentle stop without any input from me at all.

Now I hardly notice when we have adaptive cruise control on and the car slows itself on the highway when heavy traffic is ahead. We both trust the car to slow down, and stop, when needed. Truth be told, and I won’t mention any names here, but someone I know even drove with her feet out the window while navigating heavy traffic caused by a car accident.

You can imagine the stares.

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How to Sell a Used Car: Be Manly

1997 Jeep Wrangler

The days of selling used cars with a three-line classified ad are over.

No longer can we simply give a year, make, model, mileage and short feature list—we must turn our used car into an experience. We must describe our car so anyone who reads about it will become so emotionally involved they’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to own such a life-enhancing piece of machinery.

Your used car shouldn’t be just another used car in the never-ending sea of used cars. It should stand out, it should be marketed as a one-of-a-kind vehicle that will give its new owner a sense of having real superpowers.

Or at least make him feel more manly than he ever thought possible.

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A Magical Way to Afford Your Dream Car?

2008 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Today I’m test-driving a Porsche.

I have two dream cars, one of which is an Aston Martin, the other is a Porsche. Not just any Porsche, but a very specific Porsche. I don’t want a Boxster. Never will I touch a 914. I could live with a Cayman S Black Edition. The car I really want, though, is a 911 Targa 4S.

My local dealer knows this, and I received an email containing a picture of a 2008 Targa 4S, along with an invite to come drive it. The problem, of course, is that there’s little chance I’ll be able to afford the ’08. An ’02 is not out of the question, but I don’t believe there was a Targa that year.

I mention this Porsche drive only because yesterday I happened to stumble across an article titled “Three Sensible Ways to Afford Your Dream Car.”

I thought maybe it was a sign. I thought maybe there was a revelation inside that would allow me to drive home in a new-to-me 911. I had high hopes.

Then I read the article. The first suggestion:

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