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Couple considering buying a used vehicle in rural Korea
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Threequalseven



Joined: 08 May 2012

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:05 pm    Post subject: Couple considering buying a used vehicle in rural Korea Reply with quote

My girlfriend and I are considering buying a cheap used vehicle in Korea. I realize this might be a tired topic on here, but I have a few questions that weren't addressed in other posts.

1.) How do people living outside of Seoul like owning a vehicle? I live in Mokpo, which is in the southwestern corner of the country. The idea of owning a vehicle is enticing, as we could do more with our weekends here without being tied down to the bus lines. I guess my question is for those who already own a car. If you're trying to save money, is the expense worth it? Has it improved your experience here, or do you feel buyer's remorse?

2.) Insurance. As a couple, do we need to insure each of us, or just the vehicle itself? We're not married, if that makes a difference. Also, I've read that once you're 26, you qualify for lower rates. However, is that in Korean years or Western years? My girlfriend is 26, but I'm 24. However, since I was born in 1988, I'm 26 in Korea.

3.) After searching online, and we've taken a liking to the Ssangyong "New Korando". I see that there are loads of 1999 to 2002 models with relatively low mileage for under $3000. Does anybody have any experience with these vehicles?

Thanks!
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cheolsu



Joined: 16 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you compare the initial cost of buying a car and monthly insurance payments to how much traveling you actually plan on doing, it might be easier to just use taxis as cars. For example, I regularly use taxis on hiking trips in situations when taking a rural bus, which is its own experience, could add 2-3 hours to the trip (there might be four buses per day, which require an extra hour of walking, and take an extra hour). The cost is 30,000-40,000 won and is one alternative to buying or renting a car for the weekend.

I have met a few people living in rural areas who drive, but they use it regularly to get from a rural area in Gangwon or Chungnam to the Seoul area. If you actually live in a city like Mokpo, it might not be worth it.
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s.tickbeat



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Location: Gimhae

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't own a car, but I CAN tell you that having personal transportation really changes your experience in Korea. A car is a huge, expensive thing, though - if you're planning to leave when your contract is finished, it's not worth the start-up costs. However, if you're here for a full year or more then the car might actually be totally worth it. If you're not transferring buses and whatnot, you could conceivably finish work on Friday night and be in Seoul before 2am, or Busan by 1. It's the difference between popping into Gwangju for an afternoon, or spending the whole weekend there just to make it worth the transit time.
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kardisa



Joined: 26 Jun 2009
Location: Masan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our situation is a bit different, since we live on a military base and are a 20 minute walk from the nearest bus line or taxi stop. We also travel around Korea a lot for our hobbies. However, we've definitely gotten our money's worth out of our old Matiz. Instead of spending an hour and ten minutes and 10,000 won getting to/from the nearest grocery store, we only spend 20 minutes RT. I'd estimate that the amount we've saved on taxi and bus fare in the past year is equal to the amount we spent on the car (1 million won).

Long distance trips cost about the same as a bus, but I can't tell you how great it is to be able to choose your own schedule. Instead of spending 2.5 hours in transit to Busan, I can be there in an hour and 20 minutes.

We insured our car through Chartis, and added both myself and my boyfriend (the car is in his name only) to the policy. He's 27 and I'm 28, and a year of full coverage cost just over 600,000. We've used it a couple of time, and have been extremely happy with the service we've received. We were told that it was best to insure both of us, but our insurance states that it will cover other drivers as well. Other policies may vary.

Keep in mind that having a small car (Matiz, Kia Morning, etc.) will give you 50% off of highway tolls. This adds up considerably over a year. A Korando won't give you that discount ,so it might actually cost you more when compared to taking public transportation. It really depends on how much you're currently spending on them.
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FriendlyDaegu



Joined: 26 Aug 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The biggest concern with owning a car is the risk of getting in an accident. The way I understand it, both drivers are always at fault, in any collision. I only used rentals for a long time because of this. I ended up buying a car last year to save money, though. I'm a very experienced driver, but still have close calls all the time.

If you're comfortable with the risks and have a place to park it, then it's definitely worth it to buy a cheap car if you're in a small city. No more walking with groceries, and you can pop over to any city anytime you want.

Just found out a couple interesting things: owning a car can make your health insurance go up, and insurance is tied to the owner of the car. After buying the car in both of our names, my wife's NHIS payment doubled. I'm always amazed how everything is connected.. everything we do seems to make her insurance go up. Anyway, we were not able to take her name off the car registration without cancelling the insurance and getting new insurance only in my name. With the insurance only in my name, we were finally able to change the car registration and restore her low NHIS payment. I have private insurance, and the car insurance payment went down with only my name, so everything worked out well.
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kardisa



Joined: 26 Jun 2009
Location: Masan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FriendlyDaegu wrote:
The biggest concern with owning a car is the risk of getting in an accident. The way I understand it, both drivers are always at fault, in any collision. I only used rentals for a long time because of this. I ended up buying a car last year to save money, though. I'm a very experienced driver, but still have close calls all the time.

If you're comfortable with the risks and have a place to park it, then it's definitely worth it to buy a cheap car if you're in a small city. No more walking with groceries, and you can pop over to any city anytime you want.

Just found out a couple interesting things: owning a car can make your health insurance go up, and insurance is tied to the owner of the car. After buying the car in both of our names, my wife's NHIS payment doubled. I'm always amazed how everything is connected.. everything we do seems to make her insurance go up. Anyway, we were not able to take her name off the car registration without cancelling the insurance and getting new insurance only in my name. With the insurance only in my name, we were finally able to change the car registration and restore her low NHIS payment. I have private insurance, and the car insurance payment went down with only my name, so everything worked out well.

Are you on something other than an E2 visa? Neither I or my boyfriend have had our NHIS payments go up as a result of owning a vehicle. Regarding the rule about accidents - I always thought that both owners were at fault. However, I was driving last week and got side-swiped by a gentleman in one of those ubiquitous black sedans. His insurance paid for everything and more - we got both side panels replaces (even though the damage was only on one), our alignment checked, and a rental car for the duration of the repairs. My boyfriend also just told me that we're getting a cash payment for "inconvenience and stress" from our insurance company. Soo....not sure what the actual rule is here in Korea, but it seems to depend on what company you're with.
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FriendlyDaegu



Joined: 26 Aug 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats good to know about his insurance paying. I've never been in an accident, but had heard something about minimum 10% guilt. Glad that's not always the case.

Yeah, I'm not in NHIS so my only experience is with hers.. renting an apartment in a nicer area made it go up until we showed our lease, buying a car made it go up until we removed her name. Not sure why it would be different for E2 holders vs. a citizen, but that's good.

Quote:

Are you on something other than an E2 visa? Neither I or my boyfriend have had our NHIS payments go up as a result of owning a vehicle. Regarding the rule about accidents - I always thought that both owners were at fault. However, I was driving last week and got side-swiped by a gentleman in one of those ubiquitous black sedans. His insurance paid for everything and more - we got both side panels replaces (even though the damage was only on one), our alignment checked, and a rental car for the duration of the repairs. My boyfriend also just told me that we're getting a cash payment for "inconvenience and stress" from our insurance company. Soo....not sure what the actual rule is here in Korea, but it seems to depend on what company you're with.
[/quote]
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Threequalseven



Joined: 08 May 2012

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input so far. It's interesting how people's experiences with health and auto insurance vary so much. Bringing the conversation back to the original post, I'm not as worried about the initial cost of the vehicle itself as I am all the taxes, insurance fees, toll costs, and so on. We can sell the vehicle. It's all the other stuff that I'm worried about.

Since Mokpo is rather small, we really wouldn't drive around everyday. We live 1km from Emart and 4.5km from our hagwon. So aside from bad weather days, we can walk or bike everywhere we need. We really just need to get out of town more... it's getting pretty stale being in one place all the time. The taxi and rental suggestions are pragmatic, but they don't offer that sense of true independence you get with having your own vehicle. Also, it would be nice to have our own vehicle when we decide to move (and perhaps make a little ₩ on the side helping others move). Cool

So, to break it down, here's what I'm really wondering:
- Do they automatically sign me up with insurance at the dealership?
- How easy is it to shop for insurance in case I get pegged with a huge premium?
- The 26 years old thing. Is that in Korean years?
- Is there anybody who has a vehicle for the purpose of recreation rather than commuting?
- What do taxes, insurance costs, and tolls fees look like for someone with a vehicle like the New Korando?
- For non-Seoul motorists, how often do you find yourself leaving town?

Thanks again!
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Swampfox10mm



Joined: 24 Mar 2011

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Health insurance has jumped significantly for everyone in recent years. I do not believe it has anything to do with having a car.

Korea is no longer a utopia for cheap health insurance. It is becoming quite expensive, and will only worsen as the population ages and few kids are born to pick up the slack. Many expenses are increasing.

Just floored me that a former employer has a job opening and wants to offer 1.8. I was making 2.3 at the same job 8 years ago, and had a better apartment. Food and utilities are much higher, too.

On the car issue.... I had one for 7 years. Sold it 4 months ago. Taxes and insurance were no longer expenses I wished to pay. I can walk 20 min or take a maeul bus to work. If we move further out, I may get another car. It will be a Spark or something tiny. I have had small and large cars, and the difference in taxes and fees adds up. The larger the engine, the higher the tax. And one more thing: NEVER get an LPG car. Bigger engine to make same power (less power still, actually) means high taxes. And LPG is 60% the efficiency of gasoline, so the lower LPG prices are completely negated. But stations suck to find.
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giraffe



Joined: 07 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- Do they automatically sign me up with insurance at the dealership?

No they dont, But they could probably help you if you ask.. They need an insurance policy before they can release the car to you... I setup my insurance through https://www.facebook.com/carinsuranceinkorea
He offers free quotes from all the car insurance places and will help you set it up. I highly recommend using Sammi. Call him or contact him through facebook.

- How easy is it to shop for insurance in case I get pegged with a huge premium?

again https://www.facebook.com/carinsuranceinkorea just contact him. THe process is quick and easy. We signed up With Samsung for Car insurance. It wasnt the most expensive or the cheapest. It was in the middle.

- The 26 years old thing. Is that in Korean years?

Probably not. It's Probably base on your actual birth date. BUt yeah i heard once you reach a certain age Insurance does go down.

- Is there anybody who has a vehicle for the purpose of recreation rather than commuting?

Yeah Wife and I use our car for recreation, groceries, trips and weekends. It stays in the Garage basement 99% of the time from Sunday Night-Friday Night. Mostly because Its impossible for us to get a parking in our building during the weekdays( not enough parking space and since we have a SUV it doesnt fit in the Car elvator) and also because my wife is less than a 5 minute work from work and I work From home.... If we had guaranteed parking we would take it out a few times a week for groceries and things like that...

- What do taxes, insurance costs, and tolls fees look like for someone with a vehicle like the New Korando?


I drive a 2013 Kia Sportage. Its the Same size car as a Korando C ( but if you're getting a 2002 model I'm not sure what that looks like... the older ones look like Knockoff Jeep where as the newer models of korando look curvy and sporty like the Tucson / Sportage)

The Sportage is in my wife's name ( shes korean) HOWEVER she does not have a license and does not drive it. Because its under my wife's name we have to pay for Driver insurance for Both of us.... We are With samsung and Were both 28/29 years old. OUr 2013 sportage R costs us around 1 million won a year. Having 2 drivers on 1 policy does not raise the price by much. If it was just me signed up on the insurance it would probably only be 50kwon cheaper.... We drive a New car so the insurance will be higher than If you drive a 10 year old korando.

You can also lower the insurance by 3-6% if you have a Blackbox camera installed in the car. You just need to show them a picture and receipt and they will reimburse you.

There is also this new thing that insurance companies do.. If you tell them in advance that you will only drive 5000km - 7000km Per year THey will Give you a 10% refund at the end of the year. This Is new and They had articles in the newspaper about this recently. So if you dont Drive that much you can get a 10% refund on insurance but oyu have to tell them ahead of time! IF you tell them and go over YOU just dont get any refund. WOrth looking into when you sign up for insurance.

Yearly Taxes on a new Sportage is 1 million won a year ( environment Tax and what not... We will have to pay 600kwon every 6 months). I assume as the car gets older these taxes will get Lower. For a 10 year old Korando you'll probably have to at least pay 500k won a year but I'm just guessing...

YOu have to pay to register the car/ get license plates. I'm not sure how much we paid...

You also have to pay to get the Car tested every few years for carbon emissions... That shouldn't cost to much.

As for Toll roads. depending on the car you drive you might pay less or more.. For example, We live in Daejeon and there are some inner city toll roads.. Those Cost 800won to drive on with a Sportage Where as A Bongo Truck ( father in law) it cost 500won whereas A Chevrolet Spark costs 300won ( i think thats what my brother in law told me)... I haven't yet taken a trip on the expressway so I dont know how much it will cost BUT that all depends on How far your going and where you're leaving from. I've taken many trips in a Bongo truck a few hours away from Daejeon and The Cost was always between 1500won-7000 won. That price would go higher if we went further and I can also imagine it being up to 20-30% more if we used our Sportage... As someone else pointed out IT might be cheaper by bus HOWEVER if you fill up the car with passengers its definitely cheaper by car I would say. Plus alot more convenient... Definitely worth it..

- Our SUV is Diesle so its a bit Cheaper to fill up than gas but they might offset that price difference and make you pay a tiny bit more environment taxes... YOu should look what kind of gas mileage you can get on a 2002 ( or whatever year you want to buy) Korando. I heard the older ones aren't very good with consumption and just eat up the gas... ITs a good idea to get a car with good gas mileage...

- Yes , your national health insurance does go up if you own a Car... Ours did and it stated clearly in the letter it was because of the new car purchase and not for other reasons.... I dont know what the rules are for that. Perhaps if the car has a certain value your insurance goes up or Perhaps if you own a small car Itll stay the same.. Who knows how they calculate these things.. All i know is that a month after getting our SUV our insurance went up a little ( it didnt double But it went up a little).. SAme thing happens if you Jeonsei or Buy Properly... THe more you own in korea the more your health insurance goes up apparently... I'm sure they have their ways of calculating it and does not only depend on what you own...

- For non-Seoul motorists, how often do you find yourself leaving town?

I've yet to leave town. We just bought the Car in December. The weather hasnt been good + theres no where nearish to go this time of the year + Very busy with work. Planing on doing some nice trips this coming spring , summer and fall!! we'll probably head out of town on weekends for fun when the weather gets better.


So yeah, overall a bigger car can be quite costly but Totally worth it if you live outside of Seoul. IF you're worried about yearly cost and if you're only here for less than 2 years Just get yourself a Smaller car like a Kia Morning , Chevrolet spark, matiz, kia ray... They have good gas mileage, cheap on gas, cheap insurance , 50% off toll roads/ expresss way , really really cheap taxes and registration....
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Threequalseven wrote:
- Is there anybody who has a vehicle for the purpose of recreation rather than commuting?


Yeah I have a car for recreational purposes. Mine actually sits in the parking garage at work 99% of the time period, not 99% of the week. Confused

I do use it for commuting sometimes but lately I haven't because I couldn't pay the monthly fee for parking in my neighborhood. Parking is actually one of the biggest issues, ask ahead about where you can park in your neighborhood without getting into trouble.

Quote:
- What do taxes, insurance costs, and tolls fees look like for someone with a vehicle like the New Korando?


I don't have a Korando but I do not have a small car that qualifies for discounts.

Tolls aren't all that bad unless you're going clear across the country, in my opinion. I don't pay enough attention to really give precise amounts but they rarely exceed 10,000 won one way for me.

Everything else adds up, though. Insurance cost me 700,000 (first timer, 33 years old), taxes are twice yearly and ran around like 130,000 each time, various registration fees...it was probably around a million won or so. Toss in gas (90-100,000 a tank for me) and you're not saving anything.

I would recommend getting a car if convenience is your main concern. You can toss everything in the back and go when and where you want, traffic permitting.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a Korean ajossi you trust to go to a used car dealership and negotiate like a Mofo on your behalf. Then you can get insurance and register it. You may have to go to the vehilce registration place and get a legal residency form from immigration too. These places may be in other cities. Twice a year, you'll have to pay a car tax to your city hall. Maybe a 100,000 won each time. Insurance may be a million won for a year for a first time driver for one person. Gas here is quite expensive so an LPG vehicle might help save money. To buy an LPG vehicle, it has to be more than 5 years old. Less than that it's only for taxi drivers and disabled people. If you decide to buy from another foriegner, you both have to go and register the vehicle together. The other waygook can't sign the vehicle papers over to you like with a Korean. Beware some foriegner owned cars are crap and overpriced and you may not have a way of checking the vehicle history. If you can pay more, say 3 to 4 million won, you'll get something better anyways.
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Threequalseven



Joined: 08 May 2012

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, giraffe! Thanks for all the info! It seems that with auto insurance, government fees, tolls, and additional health insurance rates, I'd come close to paying as much each year just to own a car as I would pay for the car itself. Considering that I'm a young, first-year driver, and I want a larger vehicle, I'll expect to pay quite a bit for insurance. The only saving grace might be that the vehicle I want is 10-15 years old and isn't worth that much. Also, I'm definitely going to bring up that 5000k/7000k rebate deal to my insurer. I don't think I could drive that much even if I tried to.

There is some conflicting information about the government tax, however. One person said it might be around 200k per year, while another said it will probably be at least 500k. That's a mighty big difference. But I understand that these are just guesses, so I'll treat them as such. I'm hoping it's like my home state here, where the older your vehicle is, the less you have to pay.

Weigookin74 wrote:
Get a Korean ajossi you trust to go to a used car dealership and negotiate like a Mofo on your behalf.

One step ahead of you. Like I said, our hagwon's bus driver told us to go through his brother's dealership if we want to buy a car. So I'm sure he'll be joining us. Hopefully he can set us up with a good deal, too!!
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giraffe



Joined: 07 Apr 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Threequalseven wrote:
Wow, giraffe! Thanks for all the info! It seems that with auto insurance, government fees, tolls, and additional health insurance rates, I'd come close to paying as much each year just to own a car as I would pay for the car itself. Considering that I'm a young, first-year driver, and I want a larger vehicle, I'll expect to pay quite a bit for insurance. The only saving grace might be that the vehicle I want is 10-15 years old and isn't worth that much. Also, I'm definitely going to bring up that 5000k/7000k rebate deal to my insurer. I don't think I could drive that much even if I tried to.

There is some conflicting information about the government tax, however. One person said it might be around 200k per year, while another said it will probably be at least 500k. That's a mighty big difference. But I understand that these are just guesses, so I'll treat them as such. I'm hoping it's like my home state here, where the older your vehicle is, the less you have to pay.


Well If you drive a 10-15 year old Korando thats worth 2000-3000$ then Yeah I'm sure Taxes + Registrations + Insurance alone will cost you between 1000-1500$ a year. That would be My guess. The Prices for the governement tax is conflicting because we just dont know how much it will cost you. Depends on where you live, how old the engine is , exact model etc.. But My guess would be probably around 400-500$ in taxes per year.

As for tolls... You only need to pay them if you go on the toll roads... Unless you plan on travelling ALOT outside of your city then this cost isnt something you should really worry about it.... Least of your worries really.

You'll be spending a good amount of money on Gas especially on a 10-15 year old Korando.. Those things just eat up gas and aren't very economical...

For insurance look at the link i sent you and Contact Sami.. Seriously...
I dont get anything out of it if you do. I was just impressed with his service and Passing along the info... The insurance might not be as high as you might think.. Sami can send you some insurance quotes if you ask him....

Again, if you're looking to save on gas, taxes , registration and insurance Get a small car or even a smaller older sedan. youll probably end up paying much less than 1000$ yearly for everything on something smaller and older. Especially get a small car if you lack driving Experience because driving a big car in Korea is tricky to park and maneuver in narrow streets and parking lots. I understand why you want to get something bigger though.
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coralreefer_1



Joined: 19 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think alot of good sound info has been posted. I will add a bit more to it.

First, I live down south In Daegu. Have owned 2 different cars over the past 5 years. I really only drive the car when either it's rainy snowy out and the motorcycle is parked, taking an out of town trip, or otherwise out on the town with the fiance.

First car I had was a bum ugly purple Tico I bought off another foreigner who was leaving. It was a 1996 model and I paid about 400,000 for it. I drove that thing all over the country..several trips to Seoul, all around Jeollado.., and of course local driving when needed. I had it for almost three years and never put more than 10,000km on it.

Taxes for that were about 250,000per year. Insurance ran about 385,000per year. Gas..well being a small car, was rather cheap. I could fill up, drive up to Seoul, around Seoul for the weekend..and back to Daegu and still have about a quarter tank left. Tolls were rather cheap as it was a compact car.

One of the problems with older cars (namely models that arent made anymore) is getting replacement parts for repairs if needed. In the case of that car, there was an issue with the fuel pump leaking tiny drops of gas (which eventually led to an engine fire leaving me stranded on the highway during Chuseok) but since the Tico was discontinued years earlier, there was no exact part to replace it with. The GM/Daewoo people replaced it with "something"...but it wasnt an exact match..and on occasion I could still smell gases fumes...which left me scared I would have another incident.

The second and current car is a 1997 Sonata III. Its alot nicer (air conditioner actually works) and is in great shape. I bought it from the local mechanic who happens to buy cars at auctions, make any needed repairs, and resales the cars. The car I bought was such a case, but also a car that his own wife was driving...so I felt that I was getting a safe and reliable car. Taxes are honestly about the same, and the insurance is slightly cheaper as this car as a few other safety features the Tico didnt (airbag, abs brakes...etc)

However, concerning gas..this car drinks it more easily than I drink beer. Its just a mid-sized sedan, but as I have learned since the time I have had it, the Sonata III is rather notorious for using alot of gas (as compared to the Sonata II, or some other sedan of similar size.

As another person mentioned, gas will be the largest expense in regards to actual "use" of the car. Especially if you plan on taking trips out of town...finding a model that is conservative on gas can be quite important. Some things you can control in regards to maintenance to increase fuel mileage, but inherent factors like the model itself can make a big difference also.

Another thing I would point out is what I call the "personality" of driver that various cars attract. We all know that sporty cars tend to attract younger wilder folks who were likely to drive in a way that reduces the life of a car (accelerating rather quickly, fast turns, etc etc) The same thing is true for other cars too. In particular cars like the SM5 and such tend to attract somewhat young guys who have what i call a "VIP" complex...in that they believe they are important enough to be special and should be driving an Eqquis or imported car, but drive the SM5 with a type of haphazard...accelerate hard from the stoplight...constantly on the brake, clicking CV joint turns...etc. If there was one car I would never buy in Korea..it would be the SM5.

Happy travels~
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