My wife and I recently bought a new car. Here are 3 things I have learned since we bought it.
1. We take care of what's new. A bird had the audacity to leave some droppings on the hood of our new car. And because it is new, I got a napkin from the glove box, a bottle of water, and immediately washed it off. I have never done that before...but then again I've never had a new car before.
I think this is true for everything. Cars, houses, shoes, and relationships all receive more attention when they are new. We must make it a point to take care of what we have. "The grass is always greener where it is watered."
2. Earning something makes you more appreciative. My wife and I have only driven used cars; very used. Although our "new" car is actually a 2007, we feel like it's brand spankin' new since we have never purchased a car younger than 8 years old. Going from a '96 to a '07 is a major step up.
No matter how much money you have, a 16 or 18 year old should never have a new car. Your first job should be one that you despise. Your first girlfriend/boyfriend should break your heart. Your first wardrobe should be hand-me-down. Your first vacation should be to a museum in a neighboring state. When you work hard and go through tough times you sure appreciate the good stuff.
3. Stay within your budget. Pay cash if you can. If you can't then figure out the monthly payments you can afford. Then buy a car half that.price. Let's be honest. A car is merely for getting you from A to B and if it looks cool then that is a bonus. Too many people do the opposite. Not to mention, it just feels good to buy something under your budget.
BTW, we bought a Chevy Malibu Maxx and love it!