Author Topic: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold  (Read 3129 times)

frugaliknowit

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Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« on: January 08, 2016, 10:18:15 AM »
I currently do not own a car (use bike, transit, uber, taxi, etc.).

I am taking a job 20 miles outside the big city to pursue a different career path (I have been unable to land an appropriate position in the city).  I plan on doing the commute for 2 years or less, then ditching the wheels once I have some experience in the new field and can land a gig in the city.

Question:  What used vehicle should I buy that would overall be most cost effective.  The commute should be about 10,000 miles per year. 

I have been thinking about a Prius.  One concern is with lower gas prices, maybe the turnaround depreciation is greater than it was when gas was higher...?  I could spend as much as $15K (cash) with tax and tags, so probably no more than $13.5K.  The other extreme would be Jeep Wrangler, which is great on depreciation, but terrible on gas.  I've also thought about  $7,000 worth of Ford Focus...

MacGyverIt

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2016, 03:43:10 PM »
If you are in a metro area, are there ride sharing or bus services you could use instead?

bobechs

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2016, 05:24:12 PM »
Since it is only for two years, I recommend a truck-boat-truck:



if it were any shorter timeframe I'd say just go for the truck-boat-truck-boat-jetski:



As all the enablers on MMM forums are wont to say, go ahead and live a little!

But whatever you do, don't forget the trucknuts.

beltim

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2016, 06:54:33 PM »
I don't know why people are giving you a hard time.  They could at least try to answer your question if they're going to post.

From a cost point of view, you'd be better off going with an older car.  A 90s era Civic or Camry, for example, might work.  Some people report being able to sell a car like that for more than they bought it for if they are patient when looking to buy.

lbmustache

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2016, 08:18:00 PM »
I too recommend a mid-90s or early 2000s Honda or Toyota. Cheap, will last, and won't take too much of a hit. You could also do a 2nd gen Prius.

JLee

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2016, 08:32:49 PM »
$3-6k Honda/Toyota (or late 90's Saturn).  You can probably buy one, drive it for 2 years, and sell it for roughly what you paid.

Mr.GrowingMustache

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2016, 05:36:44 AM »
Here is my opinion, and I am not quite the mustache on this.

My story(pre stache): I bout a fully loaded mint, used Maxima with 27k miles for $22k from private party. Two years later 25k more and the car was worth in a private sale about $14.5k.

My wife bought a used 2011 civic with 6k miles off of Craigslist for $12.5k. Two years later and 15k miles, the car was worth.... pretty much the same from $10k-12k

Do I love my car? Yes! Was I a dumbass for spending so much? Yes! lol


Now to your case. If you want to drive a relatively "new" and reliable car about 2-3 years old, here are my choose for you. Civic, Corolla, mazda3, Elantra, and than you have a focus, Honda fit(ridiculous used prices in my opinion), and an accent. I would aim at $10k and below for the car with 30-50k miles. In the two years you own the car it should not depreciate more than $2-3k. You will need to do the research on the resale values, which car is most reliable, and than you will need to make sure you buy a well maintained car and negotiate a great price.

Out of all the cars I listed and owning the civic, I like the Mazda the most. I love the way they drive and look. The sedans are cheaper than the hatchbacks. But it depends on your opinion and probably the price.

However my advice is more for a car that you should keep for a long time. Buying a $10k car ties away $10k of investments, and buying a $3k car ties up $3k only. An that$3k car (if nothing goes wrong with it) will probably be worth $3k when you try to sell it again(unless you got some Saturn or something lol)

The Jeep is probably the worst thing you can get, especially in the city. Don't let the resale value fool you, it is actually not a good vehicle if not used for what it was built. Hard to park, uncomfortable ride, eats gas, just as fast as my civic, reliability issues(some year models are real bad), not a lot of space, noisy.

I think you need to spend some time and research you options. Hope I gave you some ideas and things to consider.


P.s
A $3-5k, 100k mile, well maintained, 2001 and up Accord,Civic, Corolla, and Camry also get my vote :). You can have a mechanic or dealership inspect the car for $100 or so prior to buying it.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 05:44:13 AM by Mr.GrowingMustache »

frugaliknowit

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2016, 10:20:42 AM »
This is more along the lines I am thinking:

"My wife bought a used 2011 civic with 6k miles off of Craigslist for $12.5k. Two years later and 15k miles, the car was worth.... pretty much the same from $10k-12k".

Chicago expressways in a $3k car is scary to me.

What about a 2010 Prius for around 10K?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2016, 10:28:47 AM »
Can you charge at work? You can get a used i-Miev with not that many miles for around $7000.

jda1984

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2016, 11:06:58 AM »
This is more along the lines I am thinking:

"My wife bought a used 2011 civic with 6k miles off of Craigslist for $12.5k. Two years later and 15k miles, the car was worth.... pretty much the same from $10k-12k".

Chicago expressways in a $3k car is scary to me.

What about a 2010 Prius for around 10K?

I don't follow the logic with the expressways being scary in a $3k car.  You're worried you'll break down?  Worried that you won't get as big of an insurance payout if you get in an accident?  Not comfortable enough for the commute?

Reliable transportation can be inexpensive.  I am driving the car my wife bought 12 years ago for $6k.  Still running strong.  The body is showing some rust spots (midwest state with salt trucks), but otherwise no real complaints.  I'd look for something with lowish miles and 8-15 years old for $5k or less.  Civic, Camry/Corolla, etc. are good choices with strong resale value.  I also had a 2000 Ford Focus that ran well, but our family just out grew it (couldn't fit 3 carseats in the back).

powersuitrecall

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2016, 11:26:12 AM »
Around here (Ontario, Canada), we have to pay a 13% tax on any vehicle purchase new or used, private or dealer sale.

That's a sunk cost - so if it were me I would opt for the cheapest car that reliable and has a low depreciation.  The 5-10 year old civic/corolla/accord/camry fits nicely in this niche.

On the other hand, a 15 year old Miata don't depreciate and is fun as hell to drive.

Good luck!

frugaliknowit

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2016, 11:27:32 AM »
Can you charge at work? You can get a used i-Miev with not that many miles for around $7000.

Thanks, but electric is not an option.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2016, 11:30:39 AM »
"I don't follow the logic with the expressways being scary in a $3k car.  You're worried you'll break down?  Worried that you won't get as big of an insurance payout if you get in an accident?  Not comfortable enough for the commute?

Reliable transportation can be inexpensive.  I am driving the car my wife bought 12 years ago for $6k.  Still running strong.  The body is showing some rust spots (midwest state with salt trucks), but otherwise no real complaints.  I'd look for something with lowish miles and 8-15 years old for $5k or less.  Civic, Camry/Corolla, etc. are good choices with strong resale value.  I also had a 2000 Ford Focus that ran well, but our family just out grew it (couldn't fit 3 carseats in the back)."

I hear you.  I can "get my head around" keeping a $6K car until the wheels fall off, but not buying a $3K car for a significant commute.  Nothing to do with my ego, just peace of mind.

AZDude

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Re: Commuter Car Purchase for a 1-2 year hold
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2016, 11:59:01 AM »
I'll second a Mazda as a great car. I bought a 2006 Mazda 3 and drove it into the ground, with it eventually getting totaled in an accident. No major repairs, reliable, fun to drive, good(not great) fuel efficiency.

That being said, if you plan on only owning it for two years and only driving 10K miles, grab the cheapest car you can find that will reliably get you back and forth to work. If you are not keeping it for the long haul, new or even newish cars are a terrible idea. Buy something with ~90K miles on it for cheap, knowing its only temporary. It might die in three years, but you are selling it in two.