Reporting also contributed by Tabby Branyan.
As IUPUI juniors and seniors near graduation, there are many things that weigh heavy on their minds. Getting a job, paying student loans, how to deal with a future rife with vacant parking spaces. And for those who bike, walk or skateboard to class, their next major purchase may be a car.
While many students will be scouring the used car lots in the area looking for the cheapest set of four wheels they can find, they may be overlooking an option that they feel is out of their reach. They may be assuming that a brand new car isn’t a viable option. Not only is it viable, it may be advantageous.
According to Vincent Bledsoe, auto consultant at Tom Wood Ford, used cars are not the way to go for the young car shopper. Although Bledsoe estimates that less than 20 percent of his clientele consists of student shoppers, there are incentives in place that college juniors and seniors can take advantage of. IUPUI even offers discounts to three local dealerships to students, staff, and alumni.
“The dealership offers deals on financing for college students,” he said. “If you’ve got decent credit or a co-signer, it’s reasonable that youngsters can expect to drive a new car off the lot.”
What the student is looking for and can expect to pay can vary. For the student interested primarily in an economy car, there’s the 2015 Fiesta with a sticker price of just under $16,000. Monthly payments for the Fiesta could be in the $250 per month range, depending on how many options the buyer selects.
Among the options available on new cars are Sirius Radio, back out cameras, park assist, and, in some models the new Ecoboost engine, which could be an option that the environmentally conscious student may be interested in.
Much simpler than the buying process is the test driving procedures. If you’ve got a driver license, you can drive almost every car on the lot.
Interested in something sporty? Try the 2015 Mustang 4 cylinder 310 horsepower with the Ecoboost engine. This model Mustang comes with a sticker price of $29,315 and gets 21 m.p.g. city and 32 highway. Depending on how much money is available to be contributed to the down payment, this vehicle can still be within reach an IUPUI student. But even if it’s not in the price range, it is fun to drive for free.
Even more extravagant is the tricked out 2015 Ford F-150 truck which, when optioned with remote start, full leather interior, automatic tailgate, heated or cooled seats, massage seats, USB ports, rear cameras, and parallel park assist, comes with a price tag of $62,590. Unless the student is bringing about $20,000 for a down payment, this truck is probably out of reach for now. But it sure is fun to drive: for free.
No matter what vehicle the student decides on, whether it’s the sporty Mustang, a truck whose cab more closely resembles the space shuttle cockpit, or the smart and economical Fiesta, there are reasons for the student to choose new over used.
One big reason is the warranty. Typically, a pre-owned car comes with a 30 to 60 day warranty. This is highly risky because with age, the odds of a catastrophic mechanical breakdown increase. With a new car, Ford provides a 30,000 mile warranty in which everything in the car, from bumper to bumper, is covered.
Additionally, a new car can be purchased with a lower percentage rate than the used cars, as low as zero percent for qualified buyers. With the combination of lower maintenance costs and lower interest rates, the brand new car may be the better option in the long run for IUPUI students.
And even if you don’t buy, just test driving a $60,000 car or truck could be worth the 20 minute drive from campus.