Author Topic: Should I trade in my SUV?  (Read 1860 times)

greenlane

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Should I trade in my SUV?
« on: June 30, 2016, 08:38:50 AM »
Before you leap on me with the obvious YES, here's my dilemma:

I inherited (aka it was totally free) a compact SUV two years ago. It's a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe 4WD that now has 81k miles. The gas mileage is killing me, both as a person that cares for the environment and as someone trying to pay down my student loan as fast as possible. I'd like to get a small hatchback to replace it, but so far everything is going to cost me a couple grand more than the $2-4k I can feasibly get for the Santa Fe. I don't want to get a Craiglister with 100k miles—been there and paid for it dearly.

Is it in my best interest to get rid of this thing and opt for something more fuel efficient, even if it will cost me a couple grand I otherwise could put towards my loan? Or best to drive it until it's a pile of rubble since it was free to begin with?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2016, 08:53:21 AM »
What's the interest rate and balance on the loans?

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2016, 08:58:04 AM »
Google says MPG is 20/27 for the '03 Santa Fe. Not horrible, not outstanding, but pretty average.

81k miles is low mileage for that year and you'd be hard pressed to find a better car in the short term (less than 5 years) that will allow you to come out ahead.

The easiest(?) solution would be to drive less,but keep the car. Free and reliable is hard to beat.

greenlane

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2016, 09:02:04 AM »
Thanks to both of you for the quick replies.

I have $16,880 left on my loans with an average interest rate of 6.5%. I looked into SoFi refinancing yesterday and am waiting to see if I'll be able to pay loans off early if I choose to go with them. Refinancing will save me about $2k over the long haul, but I'm not interested if I'm locked into 5 years no matter what.

greenlane

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2016, 09:03:45 AM »
Google says MPG is 20/27 for the '03 Santa Fe. Not horrible, not outstanding, but pretty average.

This seems high. Maybe it's for the 2WD model? I have 4WD that I can't turn off. Feels like I'm getting something closer to 18ish. I live in a semi-rural area—lots of space between all the places I need to be.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2016, 09:18:49 AM »
Google says MPG is 20/27 for the '03 Santa Fe. Not horrible, not outstanding, but pretty average.

This seems high. Maybe it's for the 2WD model? I have 4WD that I can't turn off. Feels like I'm getting something closer to 18ish. I live in a semi-rural area—lots of space between all the places I need to be.

16/22 for the 4 cyl
15/19 for the 6 cyl

Yeah...those numbers stink more. But, the same concept applies. I'll use myself as an example: I recently sold my Wrangler for 10k, and purchased a Camry for 4k. Shortly before that, I moved to within 5 miles of work. Previously I was 20 miles from work. Sure, the gas savings isn't some huge amount despite the 18mpg improvement, but the trade made sense since now I have a reliable Toyota and no longer have a facepunchworthy Jeep (and money from the sale). I'm also very close to the seller of the Toyota, and I knew he took excellent care of it.

However, in your case, you'd have to not only add money out of your pocket to get what you want, but you'll add some uncertainty since you probably don't know how the seller took care of the vehicle. That makes it a harder sell.

Choices

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2016, 09:31:06 AM »
How many miles per year do you drive? Calculate the cost per mile in gas, then figure out how much you'd save if you doubled the mileage. How long would it take you to recoup your costs?

Gas prices are emotional because they're like a punch in the face every week or two (for most of us) and we have no control over the market fluctuations. But, in the grand scheme of expenses, gas mileage between vehicles often matters less than which cell phone plan or cable plan you have.

Other thoughts--do you otherwise like your car? Is it comfortable and reliable? Do you need the hauling capacity? What are the maintenance costs for your car vs your possible new car?

greenlane

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Re: Should I trade in my SUV?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2016, 09:46:31 AM »
However, in your case, you'd have to not only add money out of your pocket to get what you want, but you'll add some uncertainty since you probably don't know how the seller took care of the vehicle. That makes it a harder sell.

Truth. And prices going through a certified used dealer double or even triple compared to Craigslist. I'm lucky to have a partner who's very car savvy, so I feel fairly confident that he can assess the condition of something I'm testing, but I've had more than one bad experience dealing with private sellers.

How many miles per year do you drive? Calculate the cost per mile in gas, then figure out how much you'd save if you doubled the mileage. How long would it take you to recoup your costs?

I think I did this right... seems that increasing my mileage to something around 25mpg will only save me about $600/year. Say a new, reliable vehicle will cost me around $8-10k (factor in selling the Santa Fe and I'm still looking at $5-8k) and that's nearly a decade it will take me to recoup. Numbers are powerful!!

I'm not crazy about my Santa Fe, but it's good enough. It's got a funky shudder (something about the transmission, happens randomly in third gear) that we've got our eye on and an occasional vibration in the exhaust, but it's required no non-standard maintenance. Not super comfy and I don't need the hauling capacity most of the time. My boyfriend drives a new-ish Tacoma (MMM would be furious) that can haul and pack everything we need. But it's done me well since I've owned it and it is FANTASTIC in the snow. I navigated some super highways in a white-out blizzard while mondo SUVs were spinning out.