Author Topic: Car Advice?  (Read 5347 times)

gecko10x

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Car Advice?
« on: May 10, 2012, 02:42:48 PM »
I've been going around and around on our vehicle situation- every time I do, I come up with a different solution for one reason or another.

We have a leased Mazda CX-9 w/ ~10 months left on the lease that needs to be replaced. From what I can tell, we are about +$2k (payoff quote is ~ $2k < KBB trade value). My problem is deciding what to replace it with- here are the considerations:
1. Haul family of 4 around town. MPG++
2. Haul family of 4 + dog to in-laws 1+ times per month. Need fair amount of cargo space for this. Also, the drive is 90mi each way.
3. Camping/biking/fishing trips. We currently camp only once/yr, but this will hopefully increase. Biking/fishing trips don't exist yet as the kids are small, but plan to start this in 1-2yrs. Would like/need ability to bring 4 bikes and/or two large canoe type boats (either roof racks or trailer).
4. Wife will most likely start doing some work travel (3-5 times/yr??) that will involve significant mileage. While she wouldn't really need much space for these trips, she would have to get the kids, dog, + luggage to her parents' at the beginning/end of each trip.
5. Wife needs significant cargo space, or rented trailer, or both, 2-5 times/yr for her business.
6. We're spoiled by the CX-9. It's a Grand Touring model, basically decked-out. I think I can talk the wife down from having leather on the new vehicle, but in all honesty, I'd like to have it to for ease of cleaning up after the kids. I don't think I can talk her out of having a back-up camera. She also loves her sun roof, audio system, automatic climate control, etc. So, while I can talk her out of one or two luxuries, there's no way we could trade down to something really basic- she'd just hate me.

With that said, I THINK we need something in the range of a smallish SUV with excellent gas mileage (I'm estimating we will put about 15k mi/yr on it). Smaller than that and trips to the in-laws get extremely difficult (we do it in my Rabbit on occasion, but it's cramped and we can't take much). If we tried to drop from an SUV to a wagon or something, I think we'd lose towing ability, plus we hate vans and large wagons. So, I think the new Mazda CX-5 would be perfect- except that it's a brand new model, so we'd be paying much more. An older Toyota Highlander or Rav4 would be an option, but the gas mileage would be worse and we'd be starting with 70-100k miles on it, which makes me worry about driving it for 10yrs.

I'm sure there are more details that would be useful, but I'll stop here for now. I'd like to see what others' opinions are or if anyone has any creative solutions. While it would be great financially, I'm not looking to go get a beater for $2,000. Realistically, it will have to be something pretty nice, and I'm just looking to minimize the cost, and figure out what type of vehicle we NEED. Thanks!

James

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 03:30:24 PM »
Obviously a brand new vehicle is out of the question.  If you are asking here, then you want mustachian advice, and that means no Mazda CX-5.


Next comes budget.  You don't talk about what you plan to spend on a vehicle.  You have a lease now, do you have cash to purchase a vehicle?  If so how much, if not what are your long term plans for a vehicle?  Monthly car payments are not mustachia.  So I think you need a budget before talking about which vehicle. Then I'd start making a master list of options and start comparing space, towing, mpg, cost, etc.

James

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 03:41:41 PM »
6. We're spoiled by the CX-9. It's a Grand Touring model, basically decked-out. I think I can talk the wife down from having leather on the new vehicle, but in all honesty, I'd like to have it to for ease of cleaning up after the kids. I don't think I can talk her out of having a back-up camera. She also loves her sun roof, audio system, automatic climate control, etc. So, while I can talk her out of one or two luxuries, there's no way we could trade down to something really basic- she'd just hate me.


I'm feeling bad for going so easy in my first response.  This is MMM forum, not mamby pamby land. 


Point number 6 earns you a figurative punch in the face.  At some point you got to sit down and decide whether you are willing to follow the way of the mustache. Looking at what else you have going on (from other posts), I'm not seeing it in your question here.


I appreciate what you are wanting to do.  I know you want nice stuff for your wife and your family.  But...

Devils Advocate

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 04:19:46 PM »
Until your wife is on board with the mustache ways you might as well buy a new vehicle.  Maybe a full size Escalade and buy some spiffy spinners too while you're at it.  Hell, since you want to fish and camp, perhaps finance a nice shiny bass boat and pull it behind your Class C RV. 

Dude, if she ain't on board, you are fucked.  Might as well live it up.

DA

gecko10x

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 07:11:57 PM »

I'm feeling bad for going so easy in my first response.  This is MMM forum, not mamby pamby land. 


Point number 6 earns you a figurative punch in the face.  At some point you got to sit down and decide whether you are willing to follow the way of the mustache. Looking at what else you have going on (from other posts), I'm not seeing it in your question here.


I appreciate what you are wanting to do.  I know you want nice stuff for your wife and your family.  But...

At least I admitted to being spoiled! MMM has opened my eyes to a lot of stuff, we've already made budget changes, and I'm trying to be much more conscious about spending more than we need to.

I'm not quite sure what you're trying to imply. Having a nice car is anti-mustchian? Spending more than $x is anti-mustachian? I'm trying to spend as little as possible to meet our needs without making too big a change to our lifestyle. I'll grant you that isn't hard core, but I still think it's a worthy goal, and I thought I might get some useful advice here. Maybe not.

I didn't mention a budget because I haven't really set one. We potentially have some cash equivalents, but not enough. We also won't do anything until we sell our house, so I'm not sure how much the proceeds will be, if any. Yes, car payments are bad, but it will likely have to be a part of the solution- if so, paying it off will be our first priority.

James

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 08:40:39 PM »

I'm feeling bad for going so easy in my first response.  This is MMM forum, not mamby pamby land. 


Point number 6 earns you a figurative punch in the face.  At some point you got to sit down and decide whether you are willing to follow the way of the mustache. Looking at what else you have going on (from other posts), I'm not seeing it in your question here.


I appreciate what you are wanting to do.  I know you want nice stuff for your wife and your family.  But...

At least I admitted to being spoiled! MMM has opened my eyes to a lot of stuff, we've already made budget changes, and I'm trying to be much more conscious about spending more than we need to.

I'm not quite sure what you're trying to imply. Having a nice car is anti-mustchian? Spending more than $x is anti-mustachian? I'm trying to spend as little as possible to meet our needs without making too big a change to our lifestyle. I'll grant you that isn't hard core, but I still think it's a worthy goal, and I thought I might get some useful advice here. Maybe not.

I didn't mention a budget because I haven't really set one. We potentially have some cash equivalents, but not enough. We also won't do anything until we sell our house, so I'm not sure how much the proceeds will be, if any. Yes, car payments are bad, but it will likely have to be a part of the solution- if so, paying it off will be our first priority.


Having a nice car is not anti-mustachian.  Having said that, "nice car" doesn't include needing luxuries in the vehicle, especially while deep in debt.


That isn't to imply you must be hard core mustachian to get advice here, but I do think it's fair to get called out on it when you get this far away.


I do think it's very valid and good to ask for help in determining a mustachian vehicle for the duties you laid out.  But I have to be honest, the whole question appears to be leading toward your desired outcome, a new or late model compact SUV with luxury options.


Rather than talking her out of one or two luxuries, I think you need to say "I'm sorry I'm just realizing this, but we can't afford luxuries".  In the end marriage is about compromise, but I think you need to start out with a stronger position.


If this forum and MMM is getting you just to slide toward more frugality that's great.  If it's going to take a while to get there I understand, it's taken me a couple years to adjust to the point I'm at, and I've got a long ways to go.


Hopefully others will chime in here with some vehicle suggestions.  My thought would be a hatch back with decent towing ability or an older small SUV if the towing required it. (need to figure out what actual amount of weight you will be towing)  Something with over 75k miles and at least 7 years old.

bogart

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 09:12:52 PM »
Assorted ideas:

What about buying a small beater (or something in that direction) to use for a few years and renting something larger when you need it for longer trips?  I don't know how the numbers look, but perhaps that would be more affordable.

Buying one of those boxes that goes on the roof or one of those hitches that has a platform and that you can sit several large boxes on might help with the space issues for a smaller vehicle. 

I own an inflatable Sea Eagle 330 kayak that I bought (online, but not direct from Sea Eagle, I used google shopping to find the cheapest option).  I've found this to be very practical for kayaking with my son (now 5, we've been doing this since he was 3.  It cost me about $200, and it deflates and folds up into a box (rubbermaid) that fits in the back of my hatchback.  Inflated, it's very durable, and it's nice to use with a kid because it's very difficult to tip over.  If you're a serious kayaker/canoer, this isn't for you (Sea Eagle does offer some better boats with better designed tracking fins, but they're noticeably more expensive), but if you want to be able to paddle around or float down a river with 1- or 2- rated rapids, they're fine.  It's much more like a canoe than a kayak (high profile).  I've used mine in the Atlantic off Maine (yes, really, though not for a long distance or far out), in assorted local lakes, and to go down a quiet section of the New River in NC and found it very usable for all those purposes.

Hope something in here helps.

Bank

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2012, 07:15:20 AM »
First, congratulations on realizing that you have to make some changes in your life and taking some steps in the right direction.

Second, within the confines you have set for yourself (new car with bells, whistles and options) you are going about this process methodically and in a way which is likely to get you the most affordable ride out there.  So good job on that as well.  I think the Mazda is probably one of the better options for you, although you might consider a Subaru Impreza as well, if you were going to get the AWD Mazda.  Mileage is similar.

Third, (and this has already been alluded to) your choice of the Mazda makes sense only within the confines you have set for yourself.  If you have debt, and you do have car loans at the very least, you really cannot afford a late model car with bells and whistles.  I'm not telling you what you can and cannot buy -- that's up to you -- but you should realize that buying a modestly more affordable ride is going to have only a modest impact on your journey to get out of debt and on the road to FI.

Why does this matter?  Well, because you are at an inflection point where you have the opportunity to make a BIG change which would have a huge impact on the speed with which you reduce your debt.  Buying an old Volvo wagon, or seeing if you can live with one car for a while would free up hundreds of dollars in car payments each month and give you many more choices in the future.  I'll bet if you sit down and quantify it, some of the options you've discarded might get you out of debt months or years earlier than the choice of the Mazda.  In fact, I'd recommend that you do that quantification and share it with your wife.  I've had good results with that strategy -- a monthly payment seems so innocuous until you calculate its cumulative impact.

After doing that quantification, you may look at all the facts and decide that you are okay with being in debt a few more month or years -- that this new car is worth it to you and your wife.  So be it.  Down the road, you will have other options to make big changes.  But at some point you likely WILL need to make a big change of some sort if you want to get off the work/debt treadmill, because the big, wrenching changes are the ones that have the biggest payoff.

We're all works in progress, by the way.  I still have cable TV (ugh).

Matt K

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2012, 08:07:50 AM »
Okay so here is what I see:

Most of the time need space for two adults and two children. Okay, any sedan will do that.
Some times, need space for 4 + dog. How big is your dog? I'm going to assume a 120 pound lug of love like a Bernese Mounain Dog. Now you need something with a fairly large cargo area, both tall and wide. Congratulations a proper wagon will do.
Need to tow a trailer rarely. How heavy a trailer? If it is only 5 times a year, why not just rent a van from Hertz for $30? If it is a light trailer and you don't live in the mountains, add a hitch to any wagon and your done.

Why do you need an SUV? Do you need ground clearance? I hope not because your CX-9 is lower to the ground tham some cars.
Do you need AWD? if you say you need AWD fro snow I will laugh at you, I've only once gotten stuck in Canadian snow once in a FWD car, it was a rental. Buy high quality snow tires and any FWD car is plenty good in the snow?

Get a wagon. Kia Spectra5 is dirt cheap used, has a significant amount of a cargo space (fold down the rear seats and you can fit a mountain bike without taking off a wheel - can't do that in a RAV4), and gets okay fuel economy for a car, which is amazing compared to an SUV. It also has a very high roof, so even with a sunroof there is obscene head room.

Other options include:
-The Huyndai Elentra Touring can be had with all the luxury bells and whistles
-Golf/Jetta Wagon (can be had with TDI if you really want fuel economy and trailer towing torque - 230ft/lbs is more than most small SUVs).
-Ponitac Vibe / Toyota Matrix, slightly smaller cargo area. This would totally depend on the dog (I could totally do it with my 60 pound cattle dog, but not with my neighbours 120 pound Bernese)
-Ford Focus Wagon (I'm not a fan, but they can be very economical to own)

A used Jetta Wagon TDI with the Comfort Line option would meet every single one of your wants and needs, except being inexpensive. They hold their value too well.

If a Vibe will work, I highly recommend it (EXACT same car as the Toyota Matrix, just different options and higher depreciation, one of the best used car deals around).

Look closely at the Spectra5. Fully loaded it is fairly luxurious, and will meet all of your wants and needs. And it is dirt cheap. The newer Kia Forte5 can be had with a very Audi like interior, complete with leather, brand new, for half the price of a CX-9.

Lastly, don't dismiss cloth seats. Leather sucks when it is hot, and is worse when it is cold. New treatments make cloth very stain resistant. You can spray on a hydrophobic coating that will literally make liquids slide right off it.

Bakari

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 10:29:20 AM »
Considerations 3 4 and 5 are all covered by a rental car.
It does not make sense to drive around in something impractical for 355 days a year just to cover the other 10 days.
James covered consideration 6.

That leaves only 1 and 2 to base the decision on.  2 adults, 2 children, and a dog.  So, any 5 seat car will meet your needs.  Anything bigger, and you are already in luxury territory.  Because of the dog, a hatchback will work better than a sedan, so the kids don't have to share a seat with it.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 12:12:06 PM by Bakari »

menorman

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 11:38:06 AM »
I've been going around and around on our vehicle situation- every time I do, I come up with a different solution for one reason or another.

We have a leased Mazda CX-9 w/ ~10 months left on the lease that needs to be replaced. From what I can tell, we are about +$2k (payoff quote is ~ $2k < KBB trade value). My problem is deciding what to replace it with- here are the considerations:
1. Haul family of 4 around town. MPG++
2. Haul family of 4 + dog to in-laws 1+ times per month. Need fair amount of cargo space for this. Also, the drive is 90mi each way.
3. Camping/biking/fishing trips. We currently camp only once/yr, but this will hopefully increase. Biking/fishing trips don't exist yet as the kids are small, but plan to start this in 1-2yrs. Would like/need ability to bring 4 bikes and/or two large canoe type boats (either roof racks or trailer).
4. Wife will most likely start doing some work travel (3-5 times/yr??) that will involve significant mileage. While she wouldn't really need much space for these trips, she would have to get the kids, dog, + luggage to her parents' at the beginning/end of each trip.
5. Wife needs significant cargo space, or rented trailer, or both, 2-5 times/yr for her business.
6. We're spoiled by the CX-9. It's a Grand Touring model, basically decked-out. I think I can talk the wife down from having leather on the new vehicle, but in all honesty, I'd like to have it to for ease of cleaning up after the kids. I don't think I can talk her out of having a back-up camera. She also loves her sun roof, audio system, automatic climate control, etc. So, while I can talk her out of one or two luxuries, there's no way we could trade down to something really basic- she'd just hate me.

With that said, I THINK we need something in the range of a smallish SUV with excellent gas mileage (I'm estimating we will put about 15k mi/yr on it). Smaller than that and trips to the in-laws get extremely difficult (we do it in my Rabbit on occasion, but it's cramped and we can't take much). If we tried to drop from an SUV to a wagon or something, I think we'd lose towing ability, plus we hate vans and large wagons. So, I think the new Mazda CX-5 would be perfect- except that it's a brand new model, so we'd be paying much more. An older Toyota Highlander or Rav4 would be an option, but the gas mileage would be worse and we'd be starting with 70-100k miles on it, which makes me worry about driving it for 10yrs.

I'm sure there are more details that would be useful, but I'll stop here for now. I'd like to see what others' opinions are or if anyone has any creative solutions. While it would be great financially, I'm not looking to go get a beater for $2,000. Realistically, it will have to be something pretty nice, and I'm just looking to minimize the cost, and figure out what type of vehicle we NEED. Thanks!

I'd also add that if the wife really is doing the travel and it is business related, then the government wants to pay her to do it via the mileage credit. However, only actual business travel is tax deductible, so the numbers need to be run. Of the estimated 15k/year mileage, I'll assume a generous 5k of that will be business expense. Government allowance would put that at a little under $3000/year. Considering the vehicle options presented, I'm going to guess that well over $3000/year will be flowing to a finance company alone, not to mention all the other costs of ownership. At that point, it makes far more sense to rent for the business expense, especially if the rest of her travel needs would mean that she's just driving an empty SUV around town. At that point, the very real possibility exists that her work 2-5/year will end up doing nothing more than funding the SUV for the rest of the year. I found a quote last week that speaks to this very situation: "Millionaires make money, spend it, then pay taxes on what's left. The middle class makes money, pays taxes, then spends what's left." Buying a car under the premise of "business" when in actuality it will rarely see actual business use is foolhardy.

bogart

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 02:20:57 PM »
Just another quick thought on this:  you'd have to run the numbers (if it's of interest at all), but I've so far had good luck hiring neighborhood teens as dogsitters for about $15/day for our 2 large dogs (with fenced yard, so no on-leash walking required).  If this reduced your need/preference for a bigger car (i.e. leaving the dog behind), it might be a financially practical alternative. 

gecko10x

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 03:03:12 PM »
Lots of good ideas here- thanks everyone!

James

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 08:17:59 PM »
Lots of good ideas here- thanks everyone!


Make sure you update this when you make the decision, best of luck on whatever decision you make.

smedleyb

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 10:11:37 PM »
Lots of good ideas here- thanks everyone!


Make sure you update this when you make the decision, best of luck on whatever decision you make.

I think he's still stung after that figurative punch to the face!

In a good way, of course.  I wish someone punched me in the face when I traded in our perfectly fine and paid off hatchback for a 30K sedan and a 5 year note (I know, I know, car debt -- but I'm aggressively paying it down and should have it paid off 18 months ahead of schedule). 

And the sad thing is, I did it just to prove to others that I'm not cheap/broke.  Fucking social pressure.  We all cave in here and there. 

reverend

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Re: Car Advice?
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2012, 07:33:28 AM »
Quote from: gecko10x
We have a leased Mazda CX-9 w/ ~10 months left on the lease that needs to be replaced. From what I can tell, we are about +$2k (payoff quote is ~ $2k < KBB trade value). My problem is deciding what to replace it with- here are the considerations:

6. We're spoiled by the CX-9. It's a Grand Touring model, basically decked-out. I think I can talk the wife down from having leather on the new vehicle, but in all honesty, I'd like to have it to for ease of cleaning up after the kids. I don't think I can talk her out of having a back-up camera. She also loves her sun roof, audio system, automatic climate control, etc. So, while I can talk her out of one or two luxuries, there's no way we could trade down to something really basic- she'd just hate me.


It seems your need is dictated by what the wifey can't live without.  To me, it looks like you could use a Volvo wagon.

My thinking here is that if the CX9 does everything you need, either you could get a good price on buying out the one you have, OR you save up the money and get a certified pre-owned one with a large amount of cash down. Get the luxuries your spouse wants, but make the agreement that you KEEP the car for 10 years. No changing of minds etc.