Remember the other day when my review of the Honda Civic Si turned into a Suze Orman episode about my financial planning abilities or the lack thereof? Well, I did some investigating and I might have to tweak my plans some.
To recap, my wife and I are trying to buy a house in the next year or two, and we’ve got a good start on our down payment savings. We make good money but we’re trying to reduce our fixed expenses. This is more to optimize our spending, not something that’s going to make a huge difference in our savings. But it helps a little.
My idea was to sell my 335xi privately and replace it with a brand new Civic Si, which I would finance. Normally, I only buy used cars or lease new ones with manufacturer incentive lease deals. But in this case I thought the Civic Si was cheap enough with dealers discounting them into the $21-22k range that a low-rate loan might be fine. I’d only save about $65/month on the payment doing that, but I figured I’d save more on fuel and insurance. Also, the new car warranty would prevent any surprise expensive repair bills.
Many of you didn’t like this idea.
But, I hadn’t actually checked how much money I’d save on insurance. Oh, and I was holding a couple of cheaper used car ideas in my back pocket that I didn’t want to bog y’all down with—BECAUSE IT WAS A REVIEW OF THE CIVIC SI, GEEZ—but here we are.
I called my insurance and asked for quotes on the following cars:
2019 Honda Civic Si sedan
2007-2008 Acura TL Type-S 6MT
2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V
Turns out, all of these cars will only reduce my insurance by about $25-35 every 6 months. Which means that the savings would be in the area of the monthly payment, and in the case of the Si, fuel. Based on this, I decided I need to be more aggressive with how to lower that payment more.
One easy way to do this is Honda is running a lease special on the Civic Si: $229/month for 36 months, 36k miles, $3199 + tax/tags down. The residual is $15,642.60, so they’re not doing any funny business with over-inflating the residual to make the payments cheaper. This is a very good lease deal. I asked the dealer if this could be tweaked at all. 36k miles is the minimum but you can make a smaller down payment and keep the same money factor, residual and Honda contribution to the cap cost reduction. This would of course make the payments higher.
The less easy way is to find a good TL-S 6MT or CTS-V, which I would take out a small loan on, because our down payment savings are tied up in investments we’d rather not sell now. While GM parts are cheap, I feel a little better about the long-term longevity of the TL, so that’s where my focus is among the two. I actually tried out an ’04 CTS-V back in (roughly) 2008 and at the time I felt like the car was a bit of a piece of crap with a great motor. It also would most definitely not save me money on fuel. Either way, with used cars this old, even reliable ones, there could be some additional spending on getting caught up on maintenance. So there’s some risk here.
I’m doing a few things. I’m keeping my eye out for good TL-S candidates, and I’m going to list the 335xi for sale with all the mods. Maybe I find a good TL-S by the time I sell the 335xi, maybe I don’t. If I don’t get any good offers on the 335xi, then I’ll rope a friend or two into helping me part it out and try again.
Worst case scenario, if I can’t find a good TL-S by the time I sell the 335xi, that Si lease deal is good until September 3. Oh, and I also need to get my wife to ride in the Si to make sure the sporty seats are comfy for her.
But hey, it’s a plan! Armchair finance majors, do your worst. But if you tell me to buy a boring normal car, you can fuck right the hell off.