Reply To: Prospective Car Buyer (never owned a car before)

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Having a car is very realistic in the city, I’ve had one for all 5 years I’ve lived here. For the first several years I rented an assigned parking space and now I park on the street in Adams Morgan.

Do you plan to drive to work? Would you be parking on the street (at work or at home)? I’m not as familiar with street parking around Logan Circle, but my impression is that it’s pretty tight. I’m only asking because if you drive every day and park on the street you may wind up walking more than 0.6 miles from/to your parking spots anyway, making it worth your while to walk or take the bus. You could also find rental parking spaces/garages, but be sure to factor that into your budget.

As far as picking a car, I’d opt for smaller, more fuel-efficient models from reliable makers. For city driving you definitely want something efficient, and smaller vehicles are much easier to park and navigate around narrower streets. If you park your car on the street, know that you’re practically guaranteed for it to get dinged up a bit. You can purchase a Bumper Buddy or some similar bumper guard to avoid that (I wish I had).

For what it’s worth, I have a Hyundai Elantra and am very happy with it. The warranty is quite good, and they have roadside assistance (which I’ve fortunately never used). Maintenance has been easy, I had to replace the tires a couple of years ago, a battery last summer (so it lasted 6 years) and needed my brakes serviced a few months ago (lasted 7 years). That was about it outside of a repair for an accident I had several years back. I’ve had repairs done at Embassy Service Center in Dupont Circle and Hill Auto in Eastern Market (for collision damage) and liked them both. My parents also have a Hyundai that they haven’t had any issues with, so we’re fans of the company.