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Thoughts on getting a reliable inexpensive car?

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 07:44 am
So not only are we in the market for a new house, but now a new car. We were hoping to get a couple of more years out of both our cars - but one is just plain too expensive, considering the age and mileage to bother. It is not even safe to drive at this point.

So we have the dollars, but seeing we are also going to need a new house in 2 and a half months, we don't want to use all our money and buy the really nice expensive brand new best of the lot car.

We are thinking of a good solid car to commute with. We would consider new or used, but would prefer to keep the price below $15k and pay cash.

We did think about leasing, but thought getting a used car a couple of years old may be more financially beneficial in the long run. We have seen some Honda Civics 2 years old for around $15k and would hope to talk them down.

We like to use our cars until the turn over and die on us. Any thoughts ideas, etc. Safety, good gas milege and realibity are our biggest thoughts - big enough for a family of 4.
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Type: Question • Score: 8 • Views: 6,348 • Replies: 21
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 07:51 am
@Linkat,
My mom was in the same boat with the same budget. She ended up buying a Kia and she loves it.

I've had my Subaru for 19 years with only one major malfunction. They're very dependable.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 08:02 am
@boomerang,
I've been a Toyota Corolla gal for years, and have always found them to be reliable, long lasting and great gas mileage.

However, a little more than a year ago, when I was considering giving my current corolla to Wally to use, and getting a new car, I was seriously thinking of a Ford Fiesta. It got great reviews, great mileage, and was cheap.

Look on edmunds.com linkat was lots of good info.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 08:04 am
@Linkat,
- Don't go too old. Two or three years is a good time span.
- Hit the library and look at the Consumer Reports Car Issue (April?). They rate used cars and reliability is a big factor.
- If you have access to a buying service you might be able to find out what a fair price is in general (without considering and special things like unusual wear and tear.) Your banker might help you with this as well. Mine just gave me his old Kelly Blue Book.
- In general Fords don't maintain their price but are pretty reliable and might be an overall better deal than a Honda or Toyota for a used car buyer. Just my opinion there.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 09:04 am
@boomerang,
Kinda why I was looking at the honda - I have an accord right now that is over 12 years old with over 100k miles and it runs great - besides normal maintenance (and an accident or two) no other issues.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 09:08 am
@engineer,
yeah we are shooting for no more than two years. I've only bought used once before and had a great experience - saved tons. It definately is more leg work though and seeing right now with one car it is difficult unless I want to take the horrible subway which I want to avoid if at all possible.

My husband has been great the past two days (until we got the verdict or our car repairs) he has been driving me to work and picking me up. But today my daughter has practice so I would either have to stay in the office until about 8pm or leave at 4 or take the dreaded subway home with a mile walk - walk not bad on a good day - but today looks like rain.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 09:40 am
@Linkat,
I've ID'ed a post-2007 CR-V as the car I want to get when we do finally get a new (used) car.

Consumer Reports loves it, not totally cheap but a pretty good value.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 10:14 am
@sozobe,
Is this the SUV version? If so, we like that as well. Actually hope to buy one new in a few years. We were planning on buying that one first, but seeing we have a home to buy, we are going for the cheapo commuting car first.

Its almost like you can't go wrong with a Honda or Toyota - probably why they are a bit more expensive used than other similar cars...lower risk will cost you a bit more.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 10:24 am
@sozobe,
Look at the Fit before the CR-V - way more head and legroom, and better configured storage space.

I went to the Fit a couple of years ago and my neighbour across the street just traded her CR-V in on a Fit about a month ago. She's over the moon excited - better golf gear and hockey gear space, or they can roll two bicycles in behind the front seats when the Magic Seat is folded up. Amazing storage capabilities for what looks like a tiny car. Also great if you ever have passengers with back problems - very low entry but the seats are comparatively high.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:15 am
@ehBeth,
If it was just us I think I might, but I do a lot of kid-hauling and the CR-V is better for that in terms of space + safety. (An Odyssey or something would be better yet but I can't make myself go that far.)
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:29 am
@sozobe,
The woman across the street sometimes has two hockey-playing sons and their gear to haul. Seriously, the Fit has way better hauling capability.

The lads sometimes travel with 5 of them in the Fit - amazing to see - you can't believe they're going to all get in - but then off they zoom with no one looking squished (they're all good-sized U.S. college hockey players).

If anyone is over 5' 10", or has a long torso - make sure they sit in the Fit and the CRV before you decide. The Fit works much better for Set, who is a decent amount over 6'. The Odyssey is hopeless on head and legroom - even less than the CRV. Not sure why they're making those things so big on the outside without working on their use of interior space.

I spent several weeks dragging people and dogs and gear to the dealership before I decided - had to check head and legroom and ease of entry for dogs and I also took it home and loaded a whole whack of stuff in to see how it would work (and tested out the claim that you could roll bicycles in).

I definitely didn't go to the dealership expecting to get a Fit - I was all set to get a CRV or Accord - hamburgboy had to convince me to take a serious look at it. Now I'm in love with my little hauler - it was enormously useful when I was bringing things from hamburgboy's house back to Toronto this time last year.

You can tell it's a big seller around here - it's the only car in the Honda line that they aren't offering any discounts on.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:42 am
@ehBeth,
I was googling the Magic Seat and found this review that covers the numbers off well.

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Honda_Fit/Interior/

Quote:
From the outside, they say, you wouldn’t guess that it could hold a bike, surf board or sit three rear passengers without complaint.


Quote:
Reviewers agree, however, that the back seats are exceptional and rival the amount of space found in larger sedans. The back seat will even fit tall passengers comfortably.


Quote:
Don’t be fooled by the Honda Fit’s compact package. It can hold a lot more than its exterior suggests. It has 10 cup holders, a rear under-seat tray and large glove box. But what really seals the deal is the Fit’s cargo area. With all seats in use, the Fit provides 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space, a number that rivals some compact SUVs. Put all the seats down, and the cargo expands to 57.3 cubic feet of space.

The Fit's second-row Magic Seat is the cabin’s most distinctive feature. With four storage modes (people, long, tall and utility) you can easily fit everything from a flat-screen TV to a bicycle.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:47 am
the best value in a Honda or Toyota will be a lease return car.

If you can find a dealer that buys them and resells them as 2 year olds with the remaining warranty intact, the new car price falls away, and there is still a lot of car left.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 11:53 am
Question: seeing as the Fit is roughly the same price as a civic, and the civic has a bigger engine yet still gets better gas mileage, is there any reason to not just, get a civic?

Cycloptichorn
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 12:12 pm
@Rockhead,
We have seen some that are called - certified from a dealer about 2 years old that includes a 7 year warranty.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 12:17 pm
@Linkat,
read the fine print.

the dealer's extended warranty likely won't be as good as the factory one.

I have a friend that deals in lease returns, but he is a low overhead guy. his cut is a lot less than a fancy dealer with a big lot and high advertising costs.

shop wisely...
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 12:29 pm
@Rockhead,
thanks - we will definately make sure that we get all the information (including fine print - I'll bring a magnefying glass just in case)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 12:57 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I had two Civics before the Fit.

Considered getting another Civic when I was shopping - the headroom wasn't comparable, the Civic is more difficult to get into for tall people and for people with any lower body joint problems, the new Civics don't have the same ability to offer different storage options, and in real-life use, I get better mileage with the Fit than the numbers suggest I should.


The bicycle transport facility really sold me - not that I want to haul two bicycles but I was considering getting something to haul one of the old dogs around (a sort of jogging stroller thing) - and it could just roll in. The Civic has nothing like it.


and acceleration - the Fit's got acceleration going for it - definitely noticeable if you test-drive a Civic and Fit one after the other. I thought Civics had it going on. Not so much.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 01:17 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

I had two Civics before the Fit.

Considered getting another Civic when I was shopping - the headroom wasn't comparable, the Civic is more difficult to get into for tall people and for people with any lower body joint problems, the new Civics don't have the same ability to offer different storage options, and in real-life use, I get better mileage with the Fit than the numbers suggest I should.


The bicycle transport facility really sold me - not that I want to haul two bicycles but I was considering getting something to haul one of the old dogs around (a sort of jogging stroller thing) - and it could just roll in. The Civic has nothing like it.


and acceleration - the Fit's got acceleration going for it - definitely noticeable if you test-drive a Civic and Fit one after the other. I thought Civics had it going on. Not so much.


See, that's the info I like to hear!

Cheers
Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Mar, 2012 05:31 pm
@ehBeth,
I recently saw a Fit set up to transports dogs for their daily park outing. The lady was either a master designer, or the car is ideal for the job.
0 Replies
 
 

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