QOTD: How Much Will You Pay for a New Car?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
qotd how much will you pay for a new car

Last week, we told you that Americans are paying more for new cars than they’ve ever paid before while enjoying record-high incentives. Car buyers are able to spend more in large part because the payment terms are longer than ever before.

The average new vehicle purchase now requires a $32,900 expenditure, made possible by incentives of $3,550 per car and a loan term of 69.3 months. The average payment is now $517 per month.

But how much would you pay? What’s your maximum price, your maximum payment, your maximum term length?

The easy answer: it depends.

Perhaps you’d be willing to spend more on a pickup truck than a midsize car, or vice versa. $50,000 sounds like a lot when you’re talking about a Volkswagen Touareg, but it doesn’t sound like much when you’re considering a Porsche Cayenne. $57,045 for the Shelby GT350 Mustang, the type of car for which you’ve always dreamed, is a scream of a deal; $33,450 for a basic no-options BMW 320i is not.

“It depends,” however, doesn’t answer the question. We want to know where the typical TTAC audience member sets its max. Are you simply unable to justify spending more than $10,000, essentially limiting yourself to a selection of pre-owned machinery? Or do you have $40,000 burning a hole in your Impala-loving pocket?

Or you can forget the MSRP from the equation and talk payment plans instead. Would you be willing to spend $517 per month for a new vehicle?

And if you were spending $517 per month, for how long would you be willing to pay? Three years? Four, five, six? What about the 96-month term that pins you down until July 2025?

[Images: Nissan, Ford]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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2 of 163 comments
  • Tim Tim on Jul 14, 2017

    $500/month on a 60-month note. Note that I didn't mention a sales price, but rather a monthly price. This is not because I'll only buy a $30,000 car. It's because I refuse to pay any more than that, monthly. I'll add a down payment or trade in whatever I've got if the car is worthy. My last car was something like $48K OTD.

  • 415s30 415s30 on Jul 22, 2017

    I never buy new cars, two of my cars are more than 30 years old and my DD is a 2006 I bought three years ago. Depreciation is just too much for me, I find a clean example and get a huge discount.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)