Author Topic: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon  (Read 5364 times)

Manguy888

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car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« on: August 15, 2014, 05:50:51 AM »
I have a decision to make. We're having our 2nd child in December and need a new car to accomodate two small children. I have a 2 door honda civic that is not cutting it. Fortunately it's in great shape and KBB says I can sell it for between 8-10k

Here's where the decision comes in.

option 1 -My father is willing to sell us his 2012 Honda CRV with 20k miles on it for 14k. This is an amazing deal for a car that is immaculate and could last us over ten years. But it is higher in price than I would normally want if it wasn't from my dad. Also, at the end of the day it's an SUV and the MPG is not as good as it could be.

option 2 - sell the honda and try to purchase a wagon such as a volvo with between 70-100k miles on it. I'd try to make this an even trade, sell the honda and spend that cash on a new station wagon. This could be a pain, and there's risk buying from a stranger vice my dad (who I know keeps his cars in perfect shape). And this car likely would not last as long as the CRV. But it would cost us less and give us much better gas mileage.

Any help would be appreciated - we have to make the decision by December.
Thanks!

soccerluvof4

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 05:55:35 AM »
If you dont like option 1 then option 3. Sell the honda and search for a car that better fits your needs and gets good gas mileage. 

Manguy888

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 06:19:45 AM »
some clarifying information - we are going to have two children 14 months or under (whoops!) so we'll need to accomodate two car seats, double stroller, etc.

also, did some research and the CRV has pretty good gas mileage for a SUV - it's on par with most station wagons. I know we can do better than that, but it looks like it isn't a difference between option 1 and 2

KMAber

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 06:40:06 AM »
Manguy's wife here. Instead of bugging him to update the post with more info, I figured I'd just do it myself and leave him alone! We currently have a Scion xD and a Honda Civic (while we talk about it monthly, there is no way to have just one car as we live in opposite directions). The Scion is amazing and fits all that we need right now, however with two babies, the car seats won't fit. I have to put the driver's seat too far forward for it to be safe to drive. This is why we are looking at a new car. My generous father-in-law has offered us his 2 year old, 20,000 mile CRV for $14K, a good $7K below trade in value. We were planning on buying a used station wagon for under $10K with under 100K miles after selling the civic but now we are considering this offer. The big issues are the CRV is more than we planned to spend (so to save for it would take money away from somewhere else...probably long term saving) and being a new shiny, the tax and insurance would be higher than an old beater. Any insights? Or any suggestions for cars that can fit two car seats, and a double stroller...and two adults?

dcheesi

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 06:49:47 AM »
Look around, see what you can find, then run the numbers. The CRV should last you a good 200k miles, so that's $14k/(200k-20k) ~= $0.08/mile, on top of gas and maintenance. A hypothetical $8k, 100k mi Volvo would be about the same, if we assume 200k mile lifespan as well (I don't know volvos well enough to say whether that's realistic?).

Beyond the numbers, what are the personal aspects? Does your dad want to sell his CRV, or is he just doing it as a favor to you?

Also the CRV will probably have fewer problems in your first few years of ownership, which might counter some of the upfront cost and add peace of mind when hauling young kids around?

alsoknownasDean

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 06:52:54 AM »
Would it be a cash purchase? Honestly the CRV seems like a good long-term proposition, and you know its history. However, if you've got to borrow money to buy it, that makes things less than ideal.

Manguy888

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 06:55:26 AM »
if we sell the honda civic for what we expect, we have the cash to purchase the CRV outright.

KMAber

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2014, 07:25:42 AM »
With some tightening of the already tight belt, we could save up for the car by December. No digging in to investments or savings, just cutting back more on baby-sitters, alcohol, and other niceties.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 07:30:52 AM »
The Honda should be as reliable as a toaster. You could pass it down to your grandkids as an heirloom in a couple decades. The Volvo will be much more expensive to repair and maintain and will likely need more of each. I don't think the new Volvos last as long as the old ones did (just based on anecdotal data).

I'm in a similar situation myself and the CRV looks like a very attractive option. Space is good, gas mileage is good. It gets rave reviews from the car magazines. You may also find that the back seats in the wagon are not as accommodating to child car seats as the CRV. As the current driver of a (un-Mustacian, self face-punch) German luxo brand wagon with a rear facing infant seat in back, I have to keep my front seats up more than I would like for a comfortable driving position. The Volvo V60s appear to be similar in size. The XC70s have more room but also guzzle gas like mad. I'm not sure about the older Volvo models but they don't appear to be any more spacious and they won't be as efficient either. I'm considering a used CRV myself to save money on maintenance, etc as I know my beloved Kraut wagon will break my heart with repairs (and associated costs) eventually.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2014, 07:33:26 AM by Tetsuya Hondo »

DarinC

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2014, 08:20:54 AM »
If you're going to keep the miles on the low side (say less than 50k) over the time you own the car, I'd go for the CRV. If you're driving more than that, it might be worthwhile to consider a used hybrid if you can fit everything.

RWD

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 08:46:42 AM »
If a Honda Fit is not big enough for your needs (it is slightly more spacious than your Scion xD) then you might want to consider a Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe. Looking at the specifications a Matrix should only be slightly less spacious than the CR-V. The Matrix actually has more headroom than the CR-V, half an inch more front legroom, and two inches less rear leg room. It is only seven inches shorter than the CR-V, so I imagine you would find cargo space to be comparable as well. And of course, the Matrix will get better fuel economy, especially if you opt for a manual transmission model.

You should be able to find a 2006-2008 Matrix for under $10k easily.

Irishtache

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2014, 08:54:30 AM »
I would say grab the offer with both hands - you will never get an offer like it outside of family. You will have a solid, reliable, reasonably economical vehicle that you know has been well looked after, with only 20k on the clock, for $7k less than market value! Nothing you buy will match up to it and you may always regret passing up the offer.

SnpKraklePhyz

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2014, 09:02:32 AM »
+ 1 for Irishtache. Take the deal with your father. It is a great car and you won't regret it!

Eric

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 10:34:59 AM »
Another vote for the CRV.  That's a seriously generous offer by dear ol' dad, and since you'll be able to pay cash, I think it's worth it.  You should be able to keep it for many many years with only 20K miles.  The 2WD version is supposed to get 31 HWY MPG.  That's not too shabby, and I bet you can do better by hypermiling.

daverobev

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2014, 11:43:55 AM »
Sell 2 door Civic, buy 4 door Civic?

Our Civic was previously owned by a family with 2 children...

Jack

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2014, 12:53:33 PM »
some clarifying information - we are going to have two children 14 months or under (whoops!) so we'll need to accomodate two car seats, double stroller, etc.

That adds up to a sedan (or a hatch), not a wagon or SUV. Get a Fit, 4-door Civic (maybe hybrid), Insight, or some other comparable car.

greaper007

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2014, 03:58:21 PM »
Depending on the model, a Volvo could get pretty expensive to repair.    Especially if you're talking about an AWD model where the viscous coupler likes to just fail out of nowhere ($2,000+).     I've had one European car (currently driving an 03 Golf) in my lifetime and several Japanese cars.     The Japanese cars were basically oil changes and brakes for 150,000 miles.    While my Golf seems to break every single year, and the parts are fairly expensive.

I'd go with a four door Civic (I have a 6 year old and a 3 year old and our 07 Civic hybrid has plenty of room), your dad's car or some other simple Japanese economy model.    I know some people love European cars, but the maintenance regiments have really turned me off.

MicroRN

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2014, 04:26:42 PM »
I definitely understand wanting to get something that isn't 2 door.  I can't imagine trying to get a struggling toddler in the back of a coupe.  However, if you find some other vehicle that you like, you can readily fit 2 small children and all their gear in a standard 4 door sedan or hatchback.  Yes, even a double stroller and 1-2 travel cribs.

We have a Civic Hybrid sedan and a Prius hatchback, with 2 kids who are 18 months apart.  Both cars fit 2 huge Britax Marathon 70 car seats, one rear facing, one forward, but for a while both were RF.  I sit almost all the way back in the Civic's driver's seat.  We also have a huge City Select stroller with 2 seats (fits fine in the Prius, very tight in the Civic), and a Joovy caboose ultralight with an extra seat (fine in either car).  Along with the double stroller, each car will also fit a travel crib (2 in the Prius), diaper bag, and a couple duffel bags.   

For a family car, I can't recommend the Prius enough.  It's comfortable, fuel-efficient, and reliable, and fits far more on the inside than you would expect.  Another vehicle to look for is a Honda Accord station wagon.  I used to have one, and it was fantastic.  I traded it in at about 275K miles.  I'd buy another in a heartbeat.             

Barbaebigode

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Re: car conundrum - cheap SUV or old wagon
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2014, 06:31:16 AM »
Don't buy the CRV. It sound like a sweet deal but you're spending more money upfront so you can spend more money with the worse mileage + opportunity costs of all that extra money you've spent.

It's only a great deal if you really *needed* an SUV, or if you're planning on reselling for a profit (don't do this).