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Hi guys, this is kinda a random question and I really wasn’t sure where to put it, I just wanted some insight from veterinary students. I just graduated from undergrad and I’m applying to vet school this cycle. I currently live in NY so mostly all the schools i’m applying to are pretty far from me. I’m currently in a lease with a car that’s due this summer so I’m going to need a new one soon. How have you guys handled having a car payment (if you have) in veterinary school on top of the cost of living, etc. I’m debating between leasing a new cheaper car or just buying a pre owned one. What would your guys suggestions be for a max monthly payment for a car considering all the other costs of vet school? Again I know this is super random but I just don’t want to be over my head with car payments and would like insight from vet students.


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amsweeney

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I had a very similar situation. I am also from NY (Rochester) and will be going to Purdue this fall. That's ~600 miles apart. I didn't think a lease would be practical because of the mileage. I was almost over just driving local and a few visits to my friends across state. My lease was due in July of this year but I was lucky enough to find another dealership to cover the rest of my lease payments and gave up my lease in February so I wouldn't have to pay for the overage on miles. My best option was to get a new car, 1 - because who has the money for repairs in vet school (not me, I am strictly financially independent) 2 - again, the miles for a lease is a headache, 3 - used cars are not the best investment. I wound up getting a nissan versa, its small, relatively cheap, but how I got my payment under $300 is I had to get a 75 month loan. The interest I'll be accumulating sucks for sure, but my main concern was keeping monthly payments low. I have impeccable credit and still couldn't get a low interest rate, so I would suggest having someone co-sign or try to find a deal where a dealership does 0% financing. Purdue, and I am sure other schools, give you money (in loans obviously) for travel expenses, (about $1200 for the semester) so this is how I plan to pay for my car. At the end of the day, no car payment is the most ideal, but not a possibility for all.
 
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amsweeney

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With that being said, there are needles in the haystack of finding a good deal on a used car, but the idea of not knowing what wear and tear that car already had made me nervous because I knew I wouldn't have money for big repairs.
 
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I had a very similar situation. I am also from NY (Rochester) and will be going to Purdue this fall. That's ~600 miles apart. I didn't think a lease would be practical because of the mileage. I was almost over just driving local and a few visits to my friends across state. My lease was due in July of this year but I was lucky enough to find another dealership to cover the rest of my lease payments and gave up my lease in February so I wouldn't have to pay for the overage on miles. My best option was to get a new car, 1 - because who has the money for repairs in vet school (not me, I am strictly financially independent) 2 - again, the miles for a lease is a headache, 3 - used cars are not the best investment. I wound up getting a nissan versa, its small, relatively cheap, but how I got my payment under $300 is I had to get a 75 month loan. The interest I'll be accumulating sucks for sure, but my main concern was keeping monthly payments low. I have impeccable credit and still couldn't get a low interest rate, so I would suggest having someone co-sign or try to find a deal where a dealership does 0% financing. Purdue, and I am sure other schools, give you money (in loans obviously) for travel expenses, (about $1200 for the semester) so this is how I plan to pay for my car. At the end of the day, no car payment is the most ideal, but not a possibility for all.

This helped a lot, I’ll most likely do the same and get a new car but a cheaper one. Thank you so much!!


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SkiOtter

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Used cars can be great too. A brand new car loses like half its value the second you drive it off the lot. Sometimes you can even find almost new cars for a pretty good price and if they have no accident history and have a good upkeep history, you can get a like-new car that’s a few years old for a much better price than brand new. I think carfax allows you to search by 1 owner, accident free, and upkeep history.
 
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mammalade

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Just my two cents: my family has always bought certified pre-owned cars. When you buy a brand new car it depreciates considerably in value the second you drive it off the lot. With certified pre-owned cars they usually have low mileage, have gone through a more stringent inspection, and have the extended warranties you can get on a new car. My family just got a car this week and got one with all the bells and whistles for 15k cheaper because it was pre-owned and had 10k miles on it, they also got a full warranty and will pay nothing for repairs at any dealership for $50 more a month. They had looked at a brand new never owned 2019 model and it was 10k more and none of the upgrades. Of course, my parents are more financially stable and can go for a nicer car, but the idea stands that a certified pre-owned car will get you a better quality car imo for the same price you could get a less good brand new car.

They also learned that there's a bit of a shortage of new cars right now because many parts are manufactured in china, just a heads up.
 
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SkiOtter

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Just my two cents: my family has always bought certified pre-owned cars. When you buy a brand new car it depreciates considerably in value the second you drive it off the lot. With certified pre-owned cars they usually have low mileage, have gone through a more stringent inspection, and have the extended warranties you can get on a new car. My family just got a car this week and got one with all the bells and whistles for 15k cheaper because it was pre-owned and had 10k miles on it, they also got a full warranty and will pay nothing for repairs at any dealership for $50 more a month. They had looked at a brand new never owned 2019 model and it was 10k more and none of the upgrades. Of course, my parents are more financially stable and can go for a nicer car, but the idea stands that a certified pre-owned car will get you a better quality car imo for the same price you could get a less good brand new car.

They also learned that there's a bit of a shortage of new cars right now because many parts are manufactured in china, just a heads up.
Y e s certified preowned
 
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amsweeney

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Y e s certified preowned
Yes, I obviously looked into these too, but again, they were more monthly so they weren't the best option for me. I would have rather bought a certified pre-owned but it wasn't the best option for ME.
 
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WildZoo

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Just keep in mind getting a used car doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a significant percentage more likely to have to deal with costly repairs, especially if it's low mileage and a reliable model. Ultimately up to you and what you can get in terms of financing, but if you're spending more overall on payments than you would on repairs anyway, it's not really a better deal. Insurance payments and registration costs are also typically less on a used car, so that's something to factor in as well.

Just takes a lot of research to find out what mileage is going to be best for the particular model you're looking at, and definitely getting a look at the vehicle history report. My car was 3 years old, under 50k miles, with a clean history when I bought it certified-preowned and I've spent far less on repairs in the last 5 years (even as she approaches 100k miles!) than the extra money I would have spent to get a new model.

On the other hand, if you don't have the money for a solid down payment and you don't have a car to trade in, there is a benefit to getting the kind of financing deals on new cars that aren't usually available with used cars.

The max monthly payment you'll be comfortable with is going to be super individual. I'd say rather than fixating on a particular number, start doing your research and see what will be possible, and shoot for your lowest reasonable option.

I personally went with CPO because I had enough saved to buy it outright, and what would have gone towards a car payment will instead go into savings for repairs and, if that doesn't get used up, my next car purchase when this one is no longer driveable. So it's really going to depend on your financial situation and what is available to you. There isn't really a magic number.
 
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mammalade

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Yes, I obviously looked into these too, but again, they were more monthly so they weren't the best option for me. I would have rather bought a certified pre-owned but it wasn't the best option for ME.

Yes, it will definitely depend on what's available in your area!

I personally would then go for a used car over a new car, and stringently look up its history of owners and maintenance etc. Right now I am not in a place financially to afford a brand new car (in fact, I won't have a car, I'm getting a bicycle, but I know that's not reasonable for everyone!), and my goals would be to get a reliable enough used car to get me through the next 4-5 years. Maybe its how I was raised since my parents always drove beaters into the ground, as in literally our 35-year-old car caught on fire on the freeway (10/10 don't recommend that haha) and my dad still drives a hand-me-down from 1970. I have a hard time justifying a brand new car when its value will drop so much immediately, but you're weighing that with hopefully lower maintenance cost and miscellaneous issues (though not necessarily). The ultimate decision is going to depend on the person and what makes financial sense for them.
 
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ajs513

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Buy used. And buy specific makes and models if your biggest concern is longevity of the car. You can get a 2011 Toyota Camry used for pretty cheap with 100,000 miles, and with routine maintenance it can last you another 200,000 miles. That means it will last you through vet school and beyond, even through internship and residency if you go that route, and by the time it breaks down you’ll already have a job as a veterinarian making real money.

Other good options are the 2012 Toyota Corolla, 2013 Honda Civic, and 2012 Honda Accord. These cars will last you forever. And when parts break, they’re extremely inexpensive to replace. Do not buy cars like Jeeps, VW, Mini, etc.
 
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amsweeney

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Just keep in mind getting a used car doesn't necessarily mean you're going to be a significant percentage more likely to have to deal with costly repairs, especially if it's low mileage and a reliable model. Ultimately up to you and what you can get in terms of financing, but if you're spending more overall on payments than you would on repairs anyway, it's not really a better deal. Insurance payments and registration costs are also typically less on a used car, so that's something to factor in as well.

Just takes a lot of research to find out what mileage is going to be best for the particular model you're looking at, and definitely getting a look at the vehicle history report. My car was 3 years old, under 50k miles, with a clean history when I bought it certified-preowned and I've spent far less on repairs in the last 5 years (even as she approaches 100k miles!) than the extra money I would have spent to get a new model.

On the other hand, if you don't have the money for a solid down payment and you don't have a car to trade in, there is a benefit to getting the kind of financing deals on new cars that aren't usually available with used cars.

The max monthly payment you'll be comfortable with is going to be super individual. I'd say rather than fixating on a particular number, start doing your research and see what will be possible, and shoot for your lowest reasonable option.

I personally went with CPO because I had enough saved to buy it outright, and what would have gone towards a car payment will instead go into savings for repairs and, if that doesn't get used up, my next car purchase when this one is no longer driveable. So it's really going to depend on your financial situation and what is available to you. There isn't really a magic number.
This is the part I forgot ( o_O )- with turning in a lease, and having no money to put down, this is another reason i went with buying. I am not by any means saying buying is the best option, it was just what was possible for me at the time. The OP asked what people did, and so I stated what I did. Obviously, there are better options for other people than me.
 
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mammalade

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So in summary, my foolproof recommendation is to buy a very old used car and when all else goes to poo in vet school the car can become the cathartic physical embodiment of your emotional turmoil as it goes up in flames.

On second thought, for some reason the police like to insist this is arson?? So maybe don't
 
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Buy used. And buy specific makes and models if your biggest concern is longevity of the car. You can get a 2011 Toyota Camry used for pretty cheap with 100,000 miles, and with routine maintenance it can last you another 200,000 miles. That means it will last you through vet school and beyond, even through internship and residency if you go that route, and by the time it breaks down you’ll already have a job as a veterinarian making real money.

Other good options are the 2012 Toyota Corolla, 2013 Honda Civic, and 2012 Honda Accord. These cars will last you forever. And when parts break, they’re extremely inexpensive to replace. Do not buy cars like Jeeps, VW, Mini, etc.

I was actually looking into getting a Jeep Compass I heard they were good cars but I don’t know much about cars


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SkiOtter

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I have a Jeep and so does my sister. We’ve had them both for 10 years without issues. Jeeps aren’t a terrible vehicle :shrug:
 
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meelc

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I was actually looking into getting a Jeep Compass
I heard they were good cars but I don’t know much about cars


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If you're looking at getting a type of SUV, I highly recommend a used Toyota RAV4!! I bought my 2008 model about 4 years ago for around $10,000 (so monthly payments were around $250 with a 36 month loan). I had to drive it across the country and back for grad school (super roomy for moving many of my belongings) as well as routine commuting for various jobs/commitments. It has held up wonderfully and is still driving great.
 
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Minnerbelle

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Hi guys, this is kinda a random question and I really wasn’t sure where to put it, I just wanted some insight from veterinary students. I just graduated from undergrad and I’m applying to vet school this cycle. I currently live in NY so mostly all the schools i’m applying to are pretty far from me. I’m currently in a lease with a car that’s due this summer so I’m going to need a new one soon. How have you guys handled having a car payment (if you have) in veterinary school on top of the cost of living, etc. I’m debating between leasing a new cheaper car or just buying a pre owned one. What would your guys suggestions be for a max monthly payment for a car considering all the other costs of vet school? Again I know this is super random but I just don’t want to be over my head with car payments and would like insight from vet students.


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never leased a car so I dunno how it works, but do you think you might be able to negotiate a favorable deal to buy your leased car? You know the car and you got it brand new, so as long as it’s not going to cost you for another similar quality used car, maybe it’s an option?
 
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If you're looking at getting a type of SUV, I highly recommend a used Toyota RAV4!! I bought my 2008 model about 4 years ago for around $10,000 (so monthly payments were around $250 with a 36 month loan). I had to drive it across the country and back for grad school (super roomy for moving many of my belongings) as well as routine commuting for various jobs/commitments. It has held up wonderfully and is still driving great.

Yeah I definitely was looking into an SUV because I’m driving an elantra now and though I love it it’s definitely wayyyy too small for transporting stuff. I’ll look into the RAV4 :)


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never leased a car so I dunno how it works, but do you think you might be able to negotiate a favorable deal to buy your leased car? You know the car and you got it brand new, so as long as it’s not going to cost you for another similar quality used car, maybe it’s an option?

I did consider doing that as well but it’s a Hyundai Elantra and though it’s a great car and has given me no issues it’s very small and I would be worried about having no room for transporting items/luggage between home and vet school


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I have a Jeep and so does my sister. We’ve had them both for 10 years without issues. Jeeps aren’t a terrible vehicle :shrug:

I do feel like a lot of people I know that have Jeeps have older models and they swear by them!!


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ajs513

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I was actually looking into getting a Jeep Compass I heard they were good cars but I don’t know much about cars


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To clarify, Jeeps prior to the Fiat Chrysler merger can be good reliable cars. Ever since, you’re basically buying a Fiat with the name Jeep slapped on it. Avoid the newer ones.
 
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To clarify, Jeeps prior to the Fiat Chrysler merger can be good reliable cars. Ever since, you’re basically buying a Fiat with the name Jeep slapped on it. Avoid the newer ones.

Ahh okay I gotcha, I’ll look into the older Compass models


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SkiOtter

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To clarify, Jeeps prior to the Fiat Chrysler merger can be good reliable cars. Ever since, you’re basically buying a Fiat with the name Jeep slapped on it. Avoid the newer ones.
Yeah ours are a 2010 and 2011 and they’ve been doing great. Good to know that the quality has severely decreased in the past few years though. Was probably going to consider one for my next car whenever this one goes to the big parking lot in the sky :(
 
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ajs513

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Yeah ours are a 2010 and 2011 and they’ve been doing great. Good to know that the quality has severely decreased in the past few years though. Was probably going to consider one for my next car whenever this one goes to the big parking lot in the sky :(
It’s sad because Jeep built up a very good reputation over the years, and for good reason. Then they started relying on name alone because of their association with the military and being historically robust cars.
 
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It’s sad because Jeep built up a very good reputation over the years, and for good reason. Then they started relying on name alone because of their association with the military and being historically robust cars.

That is really upsetting because they have nice cars


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battie

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Hi guys, this is kinda a random question and I really wasn’t sure where to put it, I just wanted some insight from veterinary students. I just graduated from undergrad and I’m applying to vet school this cycle. I currently live in NY so mostly all the schools i’m applying to are pretty far from me. I’m currently in a lease with a car that’s due this summer so I’m going to need a new one soon. How have you guys handled having a car payment (if you have) in veterinary school on top of the cost of living, etc. I’m debating between leasing a new cheaper car or just buying a pre owned one. What would your guys suggestions be for a max monthly payment for a car considering all the other costs of vet school? Again I know this is super random but I just don’t want to be over my head with car payments and would like insight from vet students.


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Hi, I moved 1000 miles for vet school and used to drive my 97 Chevy Suburban back and forth between home and school for breaks. When he died, I acquired a 2007 Ford Escape. It was a sale by owner on craigslist with the carfax readily available by the VIN number. I'm am technically the third owner, but the dude I got it from was essentially a car flipper and only drove it from the teenager he bought it from to his place. She had 106k miles and I paid 4k for her outright. Her only flaw was a seatbelt and turn signal wire. My dad has been in the car industry for 3 decades and looked her over prior to purchase.

Of all the cars my family has ever owned, all have been used, and several have been owner sold cars who gave us the VIN to verify history.

Great used cars can be found anywhere for hella cheap. Do the digging for them. The time is worth the money. Bonus if you know a car person willing to go with you to check out the vehicle.

I did consider doing that as well but it’s a Hyundai Elantra and though it’s a great car and has given me no issues it’s very small and I would be worried about having no room for transporting items/luggage between home and vet school


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You dont need a ton of space when you're going back and forth for breaks. You're gone a max of 2.5 months in summer between 1st and 2nd year and 2nd and 3rd year. You dont need an SUV for what you'll bring with you if you dont have a pet. When it's time5to move to school and then move away, utilize uhaul or family/friends. You'll save money in gas (can verify as my suburban got 20 mpg highway and the escape isnt much better).
 
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Many years ago when I was fresh out of undergrad and broke I bought a used car from a rental car company. It was two years old, my payment was only about $150 per month, and I had zero issues with it for probably 10 years. I paid it off in five years I think, and still have it 12 years later.

Cons - you don't know how people drove it, it will have higher mileage for its year (mine had about 35,000 miles), a lot of them are base models (mine doesn't have cruise control for example)

Pro - you know it got serviced regularly, they will deliver the car to you, they sell at the KBB price so no mark ups, in my experience no issues with the car for a long time

Worth looking into, especially because at least one rental car company just declared bankruptcy so they may be offloading their inventory even cheaper than usual.
 
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To clarify, Jeeps prior to the Fiat Chrysler merger can be good reliable cars. Ever since, you’re basically buying a Fiat with the name Jeep slapped on it. Avoid the newer ones.

Can confirm fiat Chrysler is trashhhhh
 
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Hi, I moved 1000 miles for vet school and used to drive my 97 Chevy Suburban back and forth between home and school for breaks. When he died, I acquired a 2007 Ford Escape. It was a sale by owner on craigslist with the carfax readily available by the VIN number. I'm am technically the third owner, but the dude I got it from was essentially a car flipper and only drove it from the teenager he bought it from to his place. She had 106k miles and I paid 4k for her outright. Her only flaw was a seatbelt and turn signal wire. My dad has been in the car industry for 3 decades and looked her over prior to purchase.

Of all the cars my family has ever owned, all have been used, and several have been owner sold cars who gave us the VIN to verify history.

Great used cars can be found anywhere for hella cheap. Do the digging for them. The time is worth the money. Bonus if you know a car person willing to go with you to check out the vehicle.



You dont need a ton of space when you're going back and forth for breaks. You're gone a max of 2.5 months in summer between 1st and 2nd year and 2nd and 3rd year. You dont need an SUV for what you'll bring with you if you dont have a pet. When it's time5to move to school and then move away, utilize uhaul or family/friends. You'll save money in gas (can verify as my suburban got 20 mpg highway and the escape isnt much better).

That is a really good point, and I’ll most likely get a cheaper price with a car compared to an SUV. Thank you


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amsweeney

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That is a really good point, and I’ll most likely get a cheaper price with a car compared to an SUV. Thank you


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Most car manufacturers make smaller SUVs, or hatchbacks. Hyundai just came out with the Kona, and the base model is similarly priced the the base model of the Elantra. I also had an Elantra and wish I could have kept it.
 
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EB73674

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That is a really good point, and I’ll most likely get a cheaper price with a car compared to an SUV. Thank you


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PSSSSST GET A SUBARU FORESTER, fits an incredible amount of things and gets good mileage and they last FOREVER!

(Although now I've jinxed mine by saying that...)
 
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I did consider doing that as well but it’s a Hyundai Elantra and though it’s a great car and has given me no issues it’s very small and I would be worried about having no room for transporting items/luggage between home and vet school

I bought an Elantra as my first car while I was in vet school, used as an ex-rental so was only 3 years old and servicing was all up to date.
This was the BEST damn car.. I drove her into the ground for 10 years before I moved to NZ, and honestly would have still been driving her if I had not have moved. I put almost 200,000 km on the car (125,000 miles) without a single issue or repair.
I moved across Australia twice and regularly drove the 12 hour drive home to my family in my new grad job in my first 3 years after vet school and fit my entire life and dog in the car many times. Don't underestimate what you can fit in this car!

That being said of all the cars my family has owned my sister and I had the Hyundai, and they were by far the most reliable.

I am actually just starting to look myself at purchasing a car for when I arrive in California this year. I am looking to go with another Hyundai but upgrade to the Tuscon to give me a bit more space for my dog and I want the ability of having an AWD for camping and trips to the mountains in winter. However honestly if I didn't spend so much time in the mountains, or have a super hairy dog that I would prefer in the back of the car. I would get another Elantra in a hear beat, particularly as a student it was the perfect car!
 
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DVMdreamcometrue

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PSSSSST GET A SUBARU FORESTER, fits an incredible amount of things and gets good mileage and they last FOREVER!

(Although now I've jinxed mine by saying that...)

I second getting a Subaru. It's AWD which is great for places with lots of rain and even some snow. Safety records for Subaru cars are excellent. I don't even have an SUV, just a hatchback and there's already plenty of room for me and my four-legs pal :)
 
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I second getting a Subaru. It's AWD which is great for places with lots of rain and even some snow. Safety records for Subaru cars are excellent. I don't even have an SUV, just a hatchback and there's already plenty of room for me and my four-legs pal :)
I’m personally regretting my semi- lemon dud buy... the guy checking me out at the subaru service for my maintenance was like, “oh wow, how come the bill is so high for such a young low mileage car?” I dunno man, I wish I knew... I got the car brand new from you... maybe I was just unlucky. But honestly after this experience, I kinda feel like I never want another one again.

But super yes to the hatchback for space purposes! It’s amazing how much of a difference in storage space you get between a sedan and a hatchback of the same size!
 
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