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that's not true. If you get a good enough interest rate there are places where your money can earn more for you in those few years you have the loan than you pay in interest.
For instance, if I had $250,000 in the bank, it wouldn't be wise of me to apply it all toward my mortgage. I have a low interest rate on my home loan, and my 250,000k can make more for me elsewhere.
I agree with you to a certain extent, if you're talking about literally new, zero mile cars, but many cars on dealer lots or that people have loans on are slightly used, so you don't pay the initial couple of thousand from "driving off of the lot." My truck was $32,000 (was worth slightly more at the time), and it's still worth $32,000 (or slightly more)-- and the type of car I purchased keeps it's resale value very well. I say just use average depreciation on vehiciles similar to yours and find out the cost per year of having it. I would say that if you can drive your car for $1000 a year or less, you've made a damn good decision. Between $1000-$2000, ok. But more than $2000, not such a great deal.
For instance, I paid 32,000, but the truck could easily last 32 years. If you're at less than $1000 year you're even better off. But if you bought a car, drove it for two-three years and then sold it for 10k less, well that's not a very good investment.