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1) basic maintenance costs?
2) insurance costs (I HAVE AAA), i currently 145 being a 23 year old male in CA (no tickets, accidents, etc.)
3) average gas mileage?
4) the general ride and feel of the car
5) overall appreciation

1) There isn't a whole lot that needs to be done aside from Oil and filters (all filters) Avg oil change will run you around $50 maybe a bit less if you do it yourself. If you're keen you'll ask that they include two years worth of oil changes in the deal to save you a few bucks.

2) Shop around. Get a quote one place and make sure the next place matches the coverages. Having bare minimum coverage will screw you over. $10K for collision won't cover a fairly bad wreck. Be smart. Ask here and we can help!

3) Avg without a tune and combined highway/city you're looking low 30s pretty **** good. With a tune upper 30s to low 40s depending on the roads you travel and speeds

4) Best car I've driven. Not more comfortable than my Infiniti but it's close

5) Love this car and will drive it to the grave hands down. Newer 14s don't have the issues nearly as much as the first 3 gens. At least, mine hasn't so far and I'm at almost 10K miles in 4 months

Now to attack that interest rate problem. Here's two smart ways to go about it.

- Take the interest rate and make sure that the payment you're looking at that you can pay a little more per month than required. This will negate that crappy rate.

- Take the interest rate and stick with it for 6 months to a year. Then refinance. The key is to make 100% sure you won't miss a payment. If you do, kiss a refinance goodbye.

- Much like auto insurance you NEED to shop around for the best interest rate. My wife has 2 masters degrees in finance and the one thing I've learned from her is that you have to compare and budget accordingly. Here's the thing. My credit score is in the high 690s not bad but not great. My wifes... above 800... what I've learned is that certain credit unions will ignore your credit score as long as you've been in good standing with them for a year or more. For instance, when I bought my car, I didn't need my wife on the loan. I qualified for the lowest interest rate possible because Navy Federal looked at my accounts and judged me to be exceptionally reliable. I know you may not qualify for Navy Federal but USAA is another good one. If anything, stick to Credit Unions as they tend to have better interest rates. Once you choose one, stay with them and keep your accounts in good standing. This alone will allow you to build credit with them even if your score takes longer to catch up.

Sorry for the long winded info above but I really hate seeing people taken advantage of; I'm sure the dealer can get you into the car but can you really afford it. I agree you definitely need something else but you may want to consider a Sonic first. Keep it for a year or two then upgrade as you build the credit with the Credit union as I mentioned. If you have any other questions I'll take hours to answer them if need be. **** I'll give you my cell and you can call me when you're at the dealership and go over the whole deal with me if that will help you out.
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