You can cherry pick all you want, but the fact is, new cars are overwhelmingly more reliable than used cars. I've had numerous new cars and quite a few used cars, and as a general rule, the used cars are no less expensive than the new ones to own for a give period of time and/or miles. Case in point, I had a 2001 Honda Accord; over the six years and 80,000 miles I owned it, the car cost upwards of $20,000 between acquisition costs and maintenance and when I donated it, it was needing roughly another $2,000 in maintenance to keep it on the road. Then there were the days when the car was not available due to being in the shop for repairs.
My TL is another example, I've owned it for almost exactly two years and 40,000 miles, and between acquisition costs and maintenance to date, I'm over $16,000 into it; had something new appealed to me more than the TL, it would have been significantly less expensive to have bought new.
This is highly debatable, especially the cost of ownership part. Really, what could you possible buy new for $16K that could compare to a TL? That's base model econobox money today. Also, you aren't factoring in depreciation. In just one year some cars loose $10K in value where as if you bought the same car when it was 2-5 years old you stand to save a lot. Even new cars end up in the shop, usually for more complex problems than what a 5+ year old used car would. We had a customer with a CX-5 that they bought brand new, out of the blue it refused to crank, it was some kind of ECU issue that involved the keyless fob and factory security system. They had it towed to our shop, none of our scan tools could read it because it was too new and they had to have it towed to the dealer. The car was down for over a week and they ended up paying for two tows plus whatever the problem was because I believe it was just outside of warranty.
I've personally never had a car payment and my parents haven't had one in at least 25 years. We just buy decent used cars with cash and run them until they become unreliable. Obviously, some people get in a pinch, need a car, and don't have the money on hand which I completely understand getting one with a payment. You do need to look at how much money you usually have left over at the end of the month before deciding what monthly payment you can afford and understand that having $500 left that doesn't mean you can afford a $500 payment. Ideally though, if you don't have cash on hand to pay for something then you can't afford it.