Author Topic: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?  (Read 30928 times)

Aushin

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I read the article Top 10 Cars for Smart People here two years ago, but I'm just now at the point where I have about enough money to actually buy one, so I'm looking for some advice.

I drive a LOT (hour and a half round trip commute) so I know it'd have to be fairly low mileage, but after that I know basically nothing about cars.  All the people I know who DO know about cars are trying to talk me into buying new, which I don't at all want to do. 

I have a little over 5k saved up right now and I'm expecting to be able to get that figure above 6k before March is out.  I'm willing to learn to drive stick and I'm not at all picky about make or model.

So, can anyone advise me?  I'm in a 262,000 mile Dodge Neon at the moment so pretty much any suggestion is likely to be a leg up!

prodarwin

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2014, 11:35:36 AM »
Keep driving your Neon?  What's wrong with it?

the fixer

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2014, 11:59:05 AM »
I drive a LOT (hour and a half round trip commute) so I know it'd have to be fairly low mileage,
Driving a lot + low mileage car == high mileage car. The only cost-effective way I know of to drive a lot is to find a deal on a high-mileage car in good condition that won't depreciate any more, learn how to maintain cars, and care for it like a baby (preventative maintenance is key). After a few years, you can sell the car for close to what you paid for it.

Basically, it works like this: the "cost" of driving a new car aside from the costs you see like fuel and insurance, is going to be in depreciation. Every mile you drive it, the car is worth some number of cents less, so a car with 30k miles is worth significantly less than the same model with 20k. As a car accumulates miles, this per-mile depreciation rate drops, but the per-mile maintenance cost of the car slowly creeps up. A car with 130k miles is probably going to sell for about the same price as the same model with 120k, assuming they're in similar condition otherwise.

This doesn't mean the car randomly dies on you, unless you don't know how to take care of it yourself; every time a high-mileage car left me stranded it was ultimately my fault. I let a car overheat one too many times and killed the engine because at the time I knew absolutely nothing about cars (water pump? radiator fan? head gasket? whaaa...?) I let a differential leak all its fluid out because I never bothered to periodically check the fluid level and that the bolts on the inspection cover were tightened. I've had a few problems with cars starting, but if you know a bit about the car (and ESPECIALLY if it's a stick) you can get the car to start in a pinch.

My point is that you're going to be spending a lot of money anyway by doing all the driving you're planning on doing. If this is a long-term setup, your best bet is to jump in the deep end and get a high-mileage car. The skills you pick up along the way will pay some really nice dividends over time.

Another Reader

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 12:17:40 PM »
Hi Aushin:

First, congratulations on the progress.  With all the family issues you have, it's amazing you have stashed all that money.

From what I recall, the Neon is on life support.  My suggestion would be the same as the others - an older Toyota product or a Honda Fit.  Since you are back east, check carefully for rust damage.  Got any senior communities nearby?  Sometimes they can be good sources of well maintained older cars. 

mh1361

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 01:10:55 PM »
That many miles on a Dodge Neon? Impressive. Mine was a piece of junk. It didn't help that it was a "learner" car for my sibs and I.

ketchup

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 01:13:57 PM »
I drive a LOT (hour and a half round trip commute) so I know it'd have to be fairly low mileage,
Driving a lot + low mileage car == high mileage car. The only cost-effective way I know of to drive a lot is to find a deal on a high-mileage car in good condition that won't depreciate any more, learn how to maintain cars, and care for it like a baby (preventative maintenance is key). After a few years, you can sell the car for close to what you paid for it.

Basically, it works like this: the "cost" of driving a new car aside from the costs you see like fuel and insurance, is going to be in depreciation. Every mile you drive it, the car is worth some number of cents less, so a car with 30k miles is worth significantly less than the same model with 20k. As a car accumulates miles, this per-mile depreciation rate drops, but the per-mile maintenance cost of the car slowly creeps up. A car with 130k miles is probably going to sell for about the same price as the same model with 120k, assuming they're in similar condition otherwise.

This doesn't mean the car randomly dies on you, unless you don't know how to take care of it yourself; every time a high-mileage car left me stranded it was ultimately my fault. I let a car overheat one too many times and killed the engine because at the time I knew absolutely nothing about cars (water pump? radiator fan? head gasket? whaaa...?) I let a differential leak all its fluid out because I never bothered to periodically check the fluid level and that the bolts on the inspection cover were tightened. I've had a few problems with cars starting, but if you know a bit about the car (and ESPECIALLY if it's a stick) you can get the car to start in a pinch.

My point is that you're going to be spending a lot of money anyway by doing all the driving you're planning on doing. If this is a long-term setup, your best bet is to jump in the deep end and get a high-mileage car. The skills you pick up along the way will pay some really nice dividends over time.
This makes a lot of sense to me.  If you're willing to learn car maintenance of course.  I bought my '96 Volvo with 155k on it last summer for $2000.  Now it has 165k on it.  It's probably worth slightly more now, because of all the maintenance I've done on it recently.  As long as I don't do anything stupid, it should get me to 250k-300k.

My girlfriend's sister bought a new Prius last fall.  Now it has 9500 miles on it.  I don't want to know how much it fell in value.

Her Prius gets double the gas mileage, but is far more expensive from a depreciation and insurance perspective.  I did some pretty scary math a few months ago.  Assuming my Volvo evaporates into a cloud of dust at 200k, she has to get her Prius to 314k without any major work before the gas savings make up for increased depreciation and insurance.  And that's just breaking even.  Compared to a 25MPG Volvo wagon.  And not counting her financing.  She still thinks she is saving money.

Depreciation is the silent cost of driving nobody thinks about.  And it tends to be the largest. A $24,000 Prius will cost you $0.12 a mile if you drive it for 200,000.  In terms of cost, that's like having a second engine always burning money at about 22MPG (based on current prices by me).  A $2,000 Volvo with 155,000 upon purchase will cost $0.04 per mile if you drive it to 200,000.  Its "second engine" burns money at 88MPG.  So the average efficiency of my Volvo's two engines is 56MPG.  The Prius' engines average out to 36MPG.

It gets even more dramatic if you have a more sensible commuter than my 25MPG Volvo.  A $900 Geo Metro beater has two very small engines.  I think the best value/practicality ratio is right around the one-tier-above-beater range.  Well-maintained high-miles car with life left in it.  A 2000 Chevy Prizm with 135k can be had for $2100 just going by a gauge of my local craigslist.

The more I think about it, the more I find it harder to ever justify a car that costs more than a few grand.

nawhite

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 01:17:31 PM »
My wife has a 2001 Honda Civic 2-door that we're selling. 130k miles I think. Gets 35-40 mpg. Has a rust spot on the rear bumper and no AC. Stick shift. $3500?

Exflyboy

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 01:27:56 PM »
You answered your own question...262,000 on a Dodge Neon.. These little cars are awesome (with a manual transmission).. Dirt cheap to buy and easy to fix with 35mpg.

Buy another one!!!... I'm on my second one.. I just rebuilt it..:)

Frank

foobar

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2014, 09:00:56 AM »

My point is that you're going to be spending a lot of money anyway by doing all the driving you're planning on doing. If this is a long-term setup, your best bet is to jump in the deep end and get a high-mileage car. The skills you pick up along the way will pay some really nice dividends over time.
This makes a lot of sense to me.  If you're willing to learn car maintenance of course.  I bought my '96 Volvo with 155k on it last summer for $2000.  Now it has 165k on it.  It's probably worth slightly more now, because of all the maintenance I've done on it recently.  As long as I don't do anything stupid, it should get me to 250k-300k.

My girlfriend's sister bought a new Prius last fall.  Now it has 9500 miles on it.  I don't want to know how much it fell in value.

Her Prius gets double the gas mileage, but is far more expensive from a depreciation and insurance perspective.  I did some pretty scary math a few months ago.  Assuming my Volvo evaporates into a cloud of dust at 200k, she has to get her Prius to 314k without any major work before the gas savings make up for increased depreciation and insurance.  And that's just breaking even.  Compared to a 25MPG Volvo wagon.  And not counting her financing.  She still thinks she is saving money.

Depreciation is the silent cost of driving nobody thinks about.  And it tends to be the largest. A $24,000 Prius will cost you $0.12 a mile if you drive it for 200,000.  In terms of cost, that's like having a second engine always burning money at about 22MPG (based on current prices by me).  A $2,000 Volvo with 155,000 upon purchase will cost $0.04 per mile if you drive it to 200,000.  Its "second engine" burns money at 88MPG.  So the average efficiency of my Volvo's two engines is 56MPG.  The Prius' engines average out to 36MPG.

It gets even more dramatic if you have a more sensible commuter than my 25MPG Volvo.  A $900 Geo Metro beater has two very small engines.  I think the best value/practicality ratio is right around the one-tier-above-beater range.  Well-maintained high-miles car with life left in it.  A 2000 Chevy Prizm with 135k can be had for $2100 just going by a gauge of my local craigslist.

The more I think about it, the more I find it harder to ever justify a car that costs more than a few grand.
[/quote]

 
When I run the math, the Prius is cheaper over the next 45k

Volvo = .04*45k (2k depreciation)+ 45k/25*4(7200 in fuel) = 9200
Prius = .12*45k (5400)+ 45k/50*4(3600) = 9000

Obviously things like exact price of gas(3.50-5 would be a reasonable guess, I would guess the volvo really wants premium) in your area over the next 4+ years, mpg (I doubt either of these cars is getting 50 or 25), taxes insurance, opportunity cost, and so on factor in and most of them favor the used car.

Personally I always thought the sweet spot of buying cars is getting last years model new. The dealer pays for a good chunk of the depreciation (i.e. you are buying the car well below invoice) and you know the car was well maintained (i.e. you did the work).  The key with car ownership is driving it into the ground. Trade that Prius in at 100k, and the value equation of buying new goes way down.
 

ketchup

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2014, 10:02:10 AM »
I don't still have the spreadsheet I used, but I know I was also at least factoring in insurance (which for her is triple what I was paying for the Volvo), and as you said there are taxes, opportunity cost, and other BS.  I never ran the Volvo on premium.  I'm not sure what you mean on MPG.  I averaged 26MPG over 13,000 of owning that car, and my girlfriend's sister had averaged 54MPG last time I checked the car's logs (over at least 15,000 miles), so that works out almost exactly to the hand-waved math.  My point was that they were at best comparable, and that was comparing a low-MPG upscale brand older car to a brand new subcompact, so if anything about the older car was more sensible, it'd blow away the new subcompact.

Either way, I dumped the Volvo in May when I realized that while indeed less-dumb compared to her new, financed Prius, it was still in my mind an outrageous luxury car that burned money like it was going out of style.  I'm currently tooling around in a '99 Metro (currently at 157k) that I bought for $1000 as a trade-down from the Volvo.  Averaging 47MPG (probably would do better if I didn't have it screaming at 70-75MPH on the highway) over ~11,000 miles so far, and is about 85% of the way to paying for itself in gas savings over the Volvo. 

So now I'm obscenely lower per-mile than the Prius (only gas + depreciation put it at around .11/mile), and it's valued at about one post-tax paycheck for me, making up about 5% of my net worth, as opposed to my girlfriend's sister, with her car now worth right around what she makes in a year, and making up 100% of her negative net worth (she is now underwater, no other debt/savings).  It's terrifying.  Expensive up-front cars can theoretically make sense for some people, but definitely not her.

Cwadda

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2014, 10:19:55 AM »
I think you should start with thinking about a car that fits your needs.

-Do you have a family or is it just a commuter car?
-Do you want a sedan or a hatchback (what kind of size are you looking for)?

Those two questions can narrow things down a bunch.

RWD

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2014, 10:24:39 AM »
What's wrong with it?

Being one of the least safe cars from the 90s comes to mind... I presume newer ones are better.

RWD

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2014, 10:29:57 AM »
My suggestion would be to play with the fuel economy power search and then look closer at the ones that appeal to you the most. Check TrueDelta to get an idea of potential reliability (hint: avoid Chrysler).

TurtleMarkets

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2014, 10:32:02 AM »
You answered your own question...262,000 on a Dodge Neon.. These little cars are awesome (with a manual transmission).. Dirt cheap to buy and easy to fix with 35mpg.

Buy another one!!!... I'm on my second one.. I just rebuilt it..:)

Frank

You and I have a different definition of the word awesome. :)  I belong to a Doge family (half them work there) they all bought new neons and they were pure trash. Doge changed the name to Dart because neon had such a bad reputation.

Spec7re

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2014, 11:41:08 AM »
I basically have cars divided into five groups.

New : Cost $0.40+/mi
Tier 1 used (less than 4 yrs old, low miles, possibly still under warranty) : Cost $0.40+/mi
Tier 2 used (more than 4 yrs old, probably off warranty, above $5000) : Cost $0.30+/mi
Tier 3 used (between $2000 and $5000, plenty of life remaining) : Cost $0.20+/mi
Beater (sub 2000) : Cost $0.15+/mi

I think Tier 2 and 3 are probably the best value.  Tier 1 is usually so close to new in price that I'm not sure it's a good value, and it's much easier to get a good deal on a new car.  Beater can be a good choice in some situations.

I currently think the best Tier 2 used cars are the Prius and Fit in the 2007-2009 range.  I'm sure there are some other good options from Toyota, Scion, and Subaru.

From what I've read, the best value Tier 3 used cars are the Corolla/Prizm in the 2000-2002 range.  This is where I'm looking to buy at.  If anyone has any other suggestions, I would like to hear them.

foobar

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2014, 04:02:44 PM »
I don't still have the spreadsheet I used, but I know I was also at least factoring in insurance (which for her is triple what I was paying for the Volvo), and as you said there are taxes, opportunity cost, and other BS.  I never ran the Volvo on premium.  I'm not sure what you mean on MPG.  I averaged 26MPG over 13,000 of owning that car, and my girlfriend's sister had averaged 54MPG last time I checked the car's logs (over at least 15,000 miles), so that works out almost exactly to the hand-waved math.  My point was that they were at best comparable, and that was comparing a low-MPG upscale brand older car to a brand new subcompact, so if anything about the older car was more sensible, it'd blow away the new subcompact.

Either way, I dumped the Volvo in May when I realized that while indeed less-dumb compared to her new, financed Prius, it was still in my mind an outrageous luxury car that burned money like it was going out of style.  I'm currently tooling around in a '99 Metro (currently at 157k) that I bought for $1000 as a trade-down from the Volvo.  Averaging 47MPG (probably would do better if I didn't have it screaming at 70-75MPH on the highway) over ~11,000 miles so far, and is about 85% of the way to paying for itself in gas savings over the Volvo. 

So now I'm obscenely lower per-mile than the Prius (only gas + depreciation put it at around .11/mile), and it's valued at about one post-tax paycheck for me, making up about 5% of my net worth, as opposed to my girlfriend's sister, with her car now worth right around what she makes in a year, and making up 100% of her negative net worth (she is now underwater, no other debt/savings).  It's terrifying.  Expensive up-front cars can theoretically make sense for some people, but definitely not her.

The problem is you are likely driving vastly different miles so doing comparisons are hard. 15k of pure highway (best way to beat EPA mileages) is a lot different than 15k of Urban (tough to even make the city mpg limits in nonhybrids). Or maybe your a great hyper miler and she has a lead foot.   I just wanted to point out that math suggesting the volvo was significantly cheaper than a Prius was wrong. Just for kicks how much was the depreciation on your volvo (i.e. purchase price + use and registration taxes ) over the time you owned it (~1 year right)?

Now I am not sure I believe your Metro story. I have been in them and I am pretty confidant that they can't get up to 75mph.:) . Granted their were 2 of us and some luggage in the rental at the time.  It did make driving exciting though.  Nothing mashing the pedal and shifting like a mad man to try and get up to highway speed.

Buying an old cheap car (versus an old expensive car) is definitely a good way to go. When the car dies, you can add up the expenses and see what your true cost per mile was.

CarDude

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2014, 06:40:58 PM »
What's wrong with it?

Being one of the least safe cars from the 90s comes to mind... I presume newer ones are better.

I always appreciate it when someone references car safety here besides me, since it's such a rare occurrence. A Neon is safer than a motorcycle, but then again, pretty much any car made in the last ever is safer than a motorcycle. Yes, I'd buy newer. You don't need to spend 10 grand or anything close, but I'd at least spend enough to get side airbags and ESC.

ketchup

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2014, 10:31:49 PM »
The problem is you are likely driving vastly different miles so doing comparisons are hard. 15k of pure highway (best way to beat EPA mileages) is a lot different than 15k of Urban (tough to even make the city mpg limits in nonhybrids). Or maybe your a great hyper miler and she has a lead foot.   I just wanted to point out that math suggesting the volvo was significantly cheaper than a Prius was wrong. Just for kicks how much was the depreciation on your volvo (i.e. purchase price + use and registration taxes ) over the time you owned it (~1 year right)?
About $300 total depreciation/registration/taxes.  Not bad for a year and 13,000 miles.
Now I am not sure I believe your Metro story. I have been in them and I am pretty confidant that they can't get up to 75mph.:) . Granted their were 2 of us and some luggage in the rental at the time.  It did make driving exciting though.  Nothing mashing the pedal and shifting like a mad man to try and get up to highway speed.
Oh yes, getting up to speed in those things is quite the adventure with a short on-ramp.  It's the only car I've driven that literally flooring it happens more than very occasionally.  It does 75mph reasonably smoothly though (granted the engine is screaming) now that I have new tires.  With the old uneven tires, it was awful at that speed.  And yes, this was two people, a dog, plus luggage.  I've gotten it up to 90, but only for a few seconds.  It doesn't really like anything above 75, or above 60 if you have crappy tires.
Buying an old cheap car (versus an old expensive car) is definitely a good way to go. When the car dies, you can add up the expenses and see what your true cost per mile was.
  That's the plan.  When my old '88 Sprint died, I figured out my final complete per-mile cost.  Came out to 18 cents/mile across 26,000 miles including depreciation, registration, taxes, maintenance, repairs, gas, insurance, everything.  The Volvo ended up around 26 cents/mile I think, due to more gas and more expensive maintenance parts.

DarinC

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2014, 11:23:56 PM »
This makes a lot of sense to me.  If you're willing to learn car maintenance of course.  I bought my '96 Volvo with 155k on it last summer for $2000.  Now it has 165k on it.  It's probably worth slightly more now, because of all the maintenance I've done on it recently.  As long as I don't do anything stupid, it should get me to 250k-300k.

My girlfriend's sister bought a new Prius last fall.  Now it has 9500 miles on it.  I don't want to know how much it fell in value.

Her Prius gets double the gas mileage, but is far more expensive from a depreciation and insurance perspective.  I did some pretty scary math a few months ago.  Assuming my Volvo evaporates into a cloud of dust at 200k, she has to get her Prius to 314k without any major work before the gas savings make up for increased depreciation and insurance.  And that's just breaking even.  Compared to a 25MPG Volvo wagon.  And not counting her financing.  She still thinks she is saving money.

Depreciation is the silent cost of driving nobody thinks about.  And it tends to be the largest. A $24,000 Prius will cost you $0.12 a mile if you drive it for 200,000.  In terms of cost, that's like having a second engine always burning money at about 22MPG (based on current prices by me).  A $2,000 Volvo with 155,000 upon purchase will cost $0.04 per mile if you drive it to 200,000.  Its "second engine" burns money at 88MPG.  So the average efficiency of my Volvo's two engines is 56MPG.  The Prius' engines average out to 36MPG.

It gets even more dramatic if you have a more sensible commuter than my 25MPG Volvo.  A $900 Geo Metro beater has two very small engines.  I think the best value/practicality ratio is right around the one-tier-above-beater range.  Well-maintained high-miles car with life left in it.  A 2000 Chevy Prizm with 135k can be had for $2100 just going by a gauge of my local craigslist.

The more I think about it, the more I find it harder to ever justify a car that costs more than a few grand.
The big difference is that you're willing/able to work on your car, while your GF's sister may not be able to do that. Without DIY work, the advantages of your used Volvo wouldn't be nearly as pronounced.

With that said, if you can DIY then a new car is definitely not the most financially sound decision. Something like a used $8k Prius would break even with a $2k Volvo in ~100k miles, and from then on everything's gravy. The same goes for a beater Honda Insight versus a beater Geo Metro over the same (roughly) time period.

On the other hand, if you don't drive a lot then the older less fuel efficient vehicle is a winner just because of the difference in vehicle cost. n my situation, I'd love to see my wife drive an Insight too, since I'm guesstimating my will cost ~$.16c/mile over 150k miles, but I can see why she would much rather driver her plug-in Prius at ~$.22-.24c/mile over 200k miles given the differences between the two.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 11:28:56 PM by DarinC »

foobar

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2014, 10:12:07 PM »
About $300 total depreciation/registration/taxes.  Not bad for a year and 13,000 miles.


Well you should also include parts cost but that is still very nice. You would pretty much have had to sell the car for more than you paid in my area (about 250 in use tax and registration) which is definitely possible.

I have a theory that if I had infinite free time, I could make money driving used cars by buying inefficiently priced ones, driving them for 6 months  and then waiting to find a person will to pay market prices. I am way too lazy for that though:)

As far as safety, that is a crap shoot. I don't think I would buy another car without ESC but I am also not sure I would have sold my car without  it to buy a new one.  And much of the other modern stuff (blind spot monitoring, auto braking,...) is too new to have much evidence to support its value.

ketchup

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2014, 10:21:54 PM »
The only part apart from routine maintenance items I had to purchase for the Volvo was a MAF sensor (which was $140 because screw you).

Oh absolutely, one could pull something like that off if they truly had the inclination (and a bit of luck to support it).  I've seen plenty of cars that were underpriced that could be driven for a year and 15,000 miles and still be sold for more (or at least break even).  If I had been more patient I probably could have sold the Volvo for more, but at the time the hassle wasn't worth it.

Safety is an interesting one.  The 2013 PriusC is probably by every count imaginable safer than any 90s car, but I feel like the visibility is god-awful (a trend in most more recent cars I've driven).  In my '99 Metro, I can see absolutely everything around me with pretty much no blind spots (my '88 Sprint was even better).  Same for our big-ass boat of a '92 Buick Roadmaster Wagon.  I always feel safer and more in control of the situation when I'm more aware of my surroundings while driving moreso than how many safety "features" are packed in.  Maybe that's naive.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2014, 03:17:00 AM »
I've been looking around at buying, and I'm not 100% sure with what I'll end up getting.

If I go cheap, I can get something of mid-late 90s vintage with maybe 200-250,000km for around $2000 or so. If I increase the budget to $3000-4000, I'd get maybe early 2000s and 150-200,000km.

I don't do a lot of kilometres (I did 14000km a year in my last car), and I don't drive to work, but part of me thinks the extra $1-2K is worth it for the increase in useful life, improved safety, etc.

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2014, 09:09:05 AM »
I'll take a page from nawhite.  I have a 2005 Scion xA for sale, 135,000 miles, automatic, side airbags, no rust, asking $4,000 and I'll throw in the snow tires (on wheels).  Lifetime average of 36 mpg.

foobar

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2014, 11:13:35 AM »
Safety is an interesting one.  The 2013 PriusC is probably by every count imaginable safer than any 90s car, but I feel like the visibility is god-awful (a trend in most more recent cars I've driven).  In my '99 Metro, I can see absolutely everything around me with pretty much no blind spots (my '88 Sprint was even better).  Same for our big-ass boat of a '92 Buick Roadmaster Wagon.  I always feel safer and more in control of the situation when I'm more aware of my surroundings while driving moreso than how many safety "features" are packed in.  Maybe that's naive.

I have heard a lot of Bikers use the same logic. I think they are wrong:). If you look at the death rate by model year and car, you would also be wrong.:) High beltlines are partly a styling choice but a good chunk of it is also side impact protections. Things like VSC, ABS, safety cells, and side impact airbags all add up to a noticeable saftey improvement. Unfortunately they also tend to add 500-1000lbs to car when they all get added in.

How much to pay for things like safety and emissions (a late 90s car even with great gas mileage is likely to put out 10x as much pollution as a 2010 one) is one of those personal choices which is hard to evaluate. Safety is unlikely to matter but when it does you sure appreciate it.


thurston howell iv

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2014, 01:10:42 PM »
A neon with 262k is quite impressive! What is wrong with it?  I'm sure the ailments are significantly less than the $6k you're looking to spend on another car. Feel free to pm me if you want and maybe I can help guide you with repairs.

Otherwise, if the car is at the end of its useful life, I'd look at an older (think late 90's) Honda Civic HX or VX. (Best mpg Honda's for the money. You can probably find one well under $5k) My 97 has 237k -and gets 37-39mpg without any special hypermile technique; more if I make an effort...

Johnez

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2015, 06:40:48 PM »
My Father in Law has not one, but TWO Priuses that he purchased to save gas. He's got a long commute, and is fairly intelligent, but I nearly couldn't put myself together when hearing the cost of those black holes and the justification for purchasing them.

Does everyone outside the MMM community simply forget about the vehicle cost when saving money on gas? It strikes me as profoundly stupid to plop down $10-15k just to save a grand or 2 per year in gas.

Well I've come to the conclusion that virtually ANY vehicle I purchase is going to set me in a worse off position than my current truck:

'91 Chevy s10, 20 mpg (a guesstimate as my tires are larger than stock throwing both my speedo and odometer off).

20 mpg feels ridiculous, I drive 65 miles round trip a day and don't even need a truck really. The stupid thing costs $200 in gas a MONTH. Doing the math of replacing the thing with a car of double the mpg leads to nice gas savings, but at the cost of the actual vehicle price negating all that. Seriously considered the 94 Geo Metro till I read an article detailing the totally lax standards the EPA  had in evaluating MPG at the time (actual mpg is more like 30 not 50).

Most older Hondas and Toyotas are WAY overpriced here in SoCal. Motorcycle is not in the discussion. Am I to bite the bullet and simply save up for a newerScion xA/Honda Fit to last a few decades? Feels that way, can't seem to find a decent machine near 3k that'll save a mere $1200 a year...

Paul der Krake

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2015, 06:56:55 PM »
Does everyone outside the MMM community simply forget about the vehicle cost when saving money on gas? It strikes me as profoundly stupid to plop down $10-15k just to save a grand or 2 per year in gas.
People usually decide what they want to buy and then look for arguments to help their case, discarding everything else.

Exflyboy

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2015, 07:42:29 PM »
You answered your own question...262,000 on a Dodge Neon.. These little cars are awesome (with a manual transmission).. Dirt cheap to buy and easy to fix with 35mpg.

Buy another one!!!... I'm on my second one.. I just rebuilt it..:)

Frank

You and I have a different definition of the word awesome. :)  I belong to a Doge family (half them work there) they all bought new neons and they were pure trash. Doge changed the name to Dart because neon had such a bad reputation.

I must have the two good ones they built then!.. Personally I'm glad they got a bad reputation.. My "new" 99 model had gorgeous paint apart from some cosmetic damage and $130k on the engine/transmission.

When I tore the engine down it still had the original honing marks in the cylinder bores.. I miced everything up and there was practically no wear whatsoever in that block.. I re-assembled it with standard sized rings, pistons and crank bearings... rod bearings gave me a clearance of 2 thou with no measurable ovality.. pretty darned perfect in fact!

I paid $350 for it, put another $1000 rebuilding the engine and manual transmission.. Now you couldn't prise it out of my cold dead fingers.

Last year we bought a 2012 Chevvy Cruze loaded... no of course its not as nice a car as that, but heck.. I got basically a new Neon for under $1500... Works for me.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 07:45:51 PM by Exflyboy »

wynr

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2015, 05:48:28 PM »

You need to look at the situation like MMM...  I think that I discoved the problem:

"I drive a LOT (hour and a half round trip commute)"

The MMM solution is to MOVE CLOSER TO WHERE YOU WORK!!!  Then ride a bike.

Best Regards,
wynr

Valhalla

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2015, 05:58:56 PM »
Buy a 2-4 year old Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.  Make sure to pay an independent mechanic to fully inspect the car before purchase.

Enjoy the car for 5-6 years, rinse & repeat.

Johnez

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2015, 07:46:51 AM »

You need to look at the situation like MMM...  I think that I discoved the problem:

"I drive a LOT (hour and a half round trip commute)"

The MMM solution is to MOVE CLOSER TO WHERE YOU WORK!!!  Then ride a bike.

Best Regards,
wynr

This is the end goal here. I was actually entertaining the idea of riding my bike, 32 miles each way. If I wasn't in such a labor intensive job it might've been plausible. Would have been great motivation to retire tho!


Bob W

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2015, 10:08:13 AM »
For my money a 01/02 Toyota Camry with 90-170K miles is the sweet spot.   You can find them for 3.5K-5K.

We bought ours new, treated it like crap and my daughter now drives it with 390K on it.    I would feel comfortable taking it cross country and have at 350K. 

So theoretically you could buy an 01 Camry with 140K for 4K.    You could drive it for 10 years and get 32 miles per gallon.   

Keeping it liability and uninsured driver only is a bonus.   Taxes super low. 

Sweet!

robbyho

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2015, 10:22:39 AM »

You need to look at the situation like MMM...  I think that I discoved the problem:

"I drive a LOT (hour and a half round trip commute)"

The MMM solution is to MOVE CLOSER TO WHERE YOU WORK!!!  Then ride a bike.

Best Regards,
wynr

This is the end goal here. I was actually entertaining the idea of riding my bike, 32 miles each way. If I wasn't in such a labor intensive job it might've been plausible. Would have been great motivation to retire tho!

have you considered an electric conversion on your bike? My bike commute is rising from 3 miles to 11 miles each way and that is exactly what I'm thinking about.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/09/30/electric-bikes-gateway-drug-to-bike-commuting/

mrshudson

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2015, 08:41:38 AM »
Buy a 2-4 year old Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.  Make sure to pay an independent mechanic to fully inspect the car before purchase.

Enjoy the car for 5-6 years, rinse & repeat.

Except, make that a 8-10 year old Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, at about $5000 for around 100,000 miles. Make sure to get it inspected by a mechanic. Then, instead of rinsing and repeating, DIY all the preventive maintenance, occasionally take it to a mechanic to anticipate problems, go home and do the maintenance items yourself, enjoy for another 150,000 to 200,000 (I don't know how many miles you drive, but I assume this would buy you 6-7 years worth of miles).

In the meantime, get to a nice healthy savings rate, retire early and/or move closer to work using all the money you saved by not rinsing and repeating. :)

lovesasa

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2015, 02:00:20 AM »
I understand why everyone is pooh-poohing buying a brand new Prius for the excuse of saving money on gas. However, why is no one advocating buying a used high mileage Prius?

I've been looking at 2002-2003 Priuses (Prii?) and they seem to run around $3,000-$4,000 and 100K to 140K miles, so very similar to the figures that have been mentioned for used Honda Civics or Toyota Corollas. So you would get the same depreciation relief but also higher gas mileage.

I know everyone mentions replacement battery problems, but you have to replace batteries in regular cars too. It's my understanding that the price of replacement hybrid batteries has come down, and you're probably going to be putting a rebuilt battery rather than a brand new one into a car with that many miles.

I'm definitely not very car savvy, so am I missing something important here?

ETA: 2006-2007 Priuses seem to be a bit pricier, but still around $5K-$6K

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2015, 06:31:27 AM »
I know everyone mentions replacement battery problems, but you have to replace batteries in regular cars too. It's my understanding that the price of replacement hybrid batteries has come down, and you're probably going to be putting a rebuilt battery rather than a brand new one into a car with that many miles.

I'm definitely not very car savvy, so am I missing something important here?

ETA: 2006-2007 Priuses seem to be a bit pricier, but still around $5K-$6K

Replacing the batteries are a whole different ball park of cost for a prius vs a regular car. Just because the electric batteries have come down in price doesn't mean they are anywhere NEAR as cheap as a regular car battery (especially because regular car batteries are common... I can wheel, deal, and barter for those. And less likely to be damaged in a crash, so it's easy to get one out of a parts car up here).

So I would say the whole supply/demand (scarcity) thing is an issue here.

Genevieve

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2015, 09:30:13 AM »
We unfortunately just wrecked our car so we are trying to decide on a new-to-us car right now as well. I tried to recreate the Smart Cars article for my own situation and tastes.

We're moving to Houston, so we're going to be driving in crazy traffic. Not a lot of public transportation. We might bike, but we'll definitely need at least one good car for the city.

We're going to buy a new-ish car due to the number of miles we'll be putting on the car, and also due to how little we know about cars. I'm not going to be able to distinguish a good old car from a lemon anytime soon, and I'm not planning to rebuild a car. I know this about myself, so I'd rather save money in other ways. We'll buy something close to new and maintain it well until it dies.

I went through the list at Consumer Reports and made a spreadsheet with:
Price
Reliability
Emergency Handling
Routine Handling
Airbag Performance
ESC- yes/no/maybe
City Gas Mileage
Trunk Space

Based off this, my list is:

Honda   Fit (hatchback)   2009+
Honda   Fit (hatchback)   2007-2008
Mazda   Mazda3 (hatchback)   2010-2013
Mazda   Mazda3 (hatchback)   2014+
Toyota   Corolla   2010-2013
Subaru   Impreza (wagon)   2012+ -- if my 6'4" husband feels too cramped in the ones above. Larger so worse gas mileage.
Hyundai   Elantra (sedan)   2011 -- if my 6'4" husband feels too cramped in the ones above. Larger so worse gas mileage.

Prius is about 15k for a 2010 for 7 more mpg in city driving. I might consider it but I'm not sure about paying so much more. Also has just OK emergency handling.

My Tier II is a Honda Civic (trunk space sucks) or a Toyota Camry (more expensive, lower gas mileage, good trunk space, worse emergency handling).

If you like the Scions, those are great too.

We're going to test drive all of the above. If we feel uncomfortable, we'll eliminate it. Otherwise, we'll look for the best deal. I'm hoping the Fit or the Mazda 3 will work.

anks

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2015, 09:49:17 AM »
With the amount of driving you do you might consider going with a diesel. I don't see too many people posting on here about german cars, but I have had great experiences with older volkswagens. I have a 2003 Volkswagen Golf GTI and have nothing but good things to say about it! Check out a VW TDI Golf in the 1999 - 2005 range (meaning Mark 4 body style). While people do complain about higher repair costs on german cars, I don't believe this is true for VWs. I also find them really easy to work on (especially compared to Japanese cars) and there is a huge support community on forums for this era of VWs.

You can read about the VW TDI Golf or Jetta 1999-2005 here, and learn about what to look for if you do decide to buy one. These things can easily go for 300,000 miles, from what I've heard. You could probably buy one outright with the cash you have on hand at the moment.

neo von retorch

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #38 on: April 16, 2015, 09:54:39 AM »
While people do complain about higher repair costs on german cars, I don't believe this is true for VWs. I also find them really easy to work on (especially compared to Japanese cars) and there is a huge support community on forums for this era of VWs.

Personally I feel this is a slightly slippery slope. Someone used to working on them and happy with their own personal experiences will have a more positive report than... the overall statistics on reliability, which are less forgiving. While it might be a smart move if you're willing to learn the repair process on such a car, it's not ideal for everyone.

RWD

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2015, 10:02:31 AM »
With the amount of driving you do you might consider going with a diesel. I don't see too many people posting on here about german cars, but I have had great experiences with older volkswagens. I have a 2003 Volkswagen Golf GTI and have nothing but good things to say about it! Check out a VW TDI Golf in the 1999 - 2005 range (meaning Mark 4 body style). While people do complain about higher repair costs on german cars, I don't believe this is true for VWs. I also find them really easy to work on (especially compared to Japanese cars) and there is a huge support community on forums for this era of VWs.

You can read about the VW TDI Golf or Jetta 1999-2005 here, and learn about what to look for if you do decide to buy one. These things can easily go for 300,000 miles, from what I've heard. You could probably buy one outright with the cash you have on hand at the moment.

The Golf TDI in that year range looks relatively terrible for reliability:
http://www.truedelta.com/Volkswagen-Golf/reliability-279

anks

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2015, 10:56:59 AM »
Personally I feel this is a slightly slippery slope. Someone used to working on them and happy with their own personal experiences will have a more positive report than... the overall statistics on reliability, which are less forgiving. While it might be a smart move if you're willing to learn the repair process on such a car, it's not ideal for everyone.

This is a good point to make. I am comfortable performing repair on cars (up to an intermediate level) and enjoy time spent working on cars. For someone with little experience working on cars (or not desire to do so) should probably look at something domestic or more common. Whenever I do a DIY repair on my VW, I always get a dealer quote just for a good laugh. I am always shocked at how much a repair costs when compared to a domestic car getting a similar service. I've never understood why this is the case.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2015, 11:18:10 AM »
I always appreciate it when someone references car safety here besides me, since it's such a rare occurrence. A Neon is safer than a motorcycle, but then again, pretty much any car made in the last ever is safer than a motorcycle. Yes, I'd buy newer. You don't need to spend 10 grand or anything close, but I'd at least spend enough to get side airbags and ESC.

The last time I brought up auto safety on here I was basically told to shut up and get out because the person posting insisted it will never happen to them since they're a superior driver and injury accidents are so rare that it's more likely the government would fail than they would ever get seriously injured or killed in a car wreck.  Meanwhile millions of Americans a year are seriously injured in car wrecks and America's government continues to not fail.  Of course their argument is confirmation bias by pointing out that if they haven't gotten in a wreck themselves, that is confirmation that they never will.  The "it will never happen to me" crowd simply cannot be reasoned with.

cerebus

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2015, 08:37:35 AM »
We own (paid in cash) a 2005 Camry with 170000kms (105000miles) on the clock, in what I'd say is a very good condition, for a family of 5. It gets about 8.4l/100km (28mpg) and our current petrol budget is R1500 mostly due to school runs and at least once a month 100km round trip to the city. We paid R65000 ($5400). Maintenance on the vehicle is very low which was a big determining factor in us getting it and boot space is excellent although not high enough for adult sized bikes and stuff.

Good choice? Could we do better?

ketchup

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #43 on: April 29, 2015, 03:04:00 PM »
20 mpg feels ridiculous, I drive 65 miles round trip a day and don't even need a truck really. The stupid thing costs $200 in gas a MONTH. Doing the math of replacing the thing with a car of double the mpg leads to nice gas savings, but at the cost of the actual vehicle price negating all that. Seriously considered the 94 Geo Metro till I read an article detailing the totally lax standards the EPA  had in evaluating MPG at the time (actual mpg is more like 30 not 50).
Just would like to pop in to say that's BS.  A 94 Metro (manual transmission) will get right around 50MPG, maybe 40MPG if you drive like an idiot or get one that's worn out (or both).  I have a 99 Metro (heavier than the 94) at the moment, and even with its pretty-worn-out engine I've averaged 42.96MPG over the past year.  I had an '88 Sprint (same car but older) that averaged about 53MPG (45MPG in the winter).  Great little cars.  I hear the automatics are terrible though.

RWD

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2015, 03:32:54 PM »
20 mpg feels ridiculous, I drive 65 miles round trip a day and don't even need a truck really. The stupid thing costs $200 in gas a MONTH. Doing the math of replacing the thing with a car of double the mpg leads to nice gas savings, but at the cost of the actual vehicle price negating all that. Seriously considered the 94 Geo Metro till I read an article detailing the totally lax standards the EPA  had in evaluating MPG at the time (actual mpg is more like 30 not 50).

Just would like to pop in to say that's BS.  A 94 Metro (manual transmission) will get right around 50MPG, maybe 40MPG if you drive like an idiot or get one that's worn out (or both).  I have a 99 Metro (heavier than the 94) at the moment, and even with its pretty-worn-out engine I've averaged 42.96MPG over the past year.  I had an '88 Sprint (same car but older) that averaged about 53MPG (45MPG in the winter).  Great little cars.  I hear the automatics are terrible though.

One thing to note about the official EPA ratings is that they were revised in 2008. If you go to fueleconomy.gov it shows the revised ratings for older vehicles which makes it easier to compare them to 2008 and newer vehicles. They also include the original EPA sticker numbers. The EPA numbers are best used for comparison to other cars as your actual fuel economy will vary based on your driving style and conditions.

For example, the 1994 Geo Metro manual was originally rated for 46/49 mpg but is now listed at 38/44 mpg. The Metro XFI was originally 53/58 mpg and is now 43/52 mpg.

Johnez

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #45 on: April 29, 2015, 05:09:48 PM »
20 mpg feels ridiculous, I drive 65 miles round trip a day and don't even need a truck really. The stupid thing costs $200 in gas a MONTH. Doing the math of replacing the thing with a car of double the mpg leads to nice gas savings, but at the cost of the actual vehicle price negating all that. Seriously considered the 94 Geo Metro till I read an article detailing the totally lax standards the EPA  had in evaluating MPG at the time (actual mpg is more like 30 not 50).
Just would like to pop in to say that's BS.  A 94 Metro (manual transmission) will get right around 50MPG, maybe 40MPG if you drive like an idiot or get one that's worn out (or both).  I have a 99 Metro (heavier than the 94) at the moment, and even with its pretty-worn-out engine I've averaged 42.96MPG over the past year.  I had an '88 Sprint (same car but older) that averaged about 53MPG (45MPG in the winter).  Great little cars.  I hear the automatics are terrible though.

I check checked out fuelly and it seems your numbers ring true. Though I am a bit skeptical of the gov't numbers found in testing, I wonder how they could be so "off" in the other direction with the revision. The article I read earlier by the way:

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/080521-Why-You-Shouldn-t-Buy-a-Geo-Metro-to-Save-on-Gas/
Quote from: US News
So let's look at the mileage of that 1992 Geo Metro.  According to the old formula it should have managed a combined mileage rating of 38 mpg.  That's not far below the 46 mpg of the current Toyota Prius, just like the Mercury-News claims.  According to the revised formula, however, that 1990 Metro should actually manage only 33 mpg -- 13 below the Prius.  That's not nearly as impressive.  In fact, it's nearly the same rating as many current small cars.  Considering that the 1992 Metro features only one airbag and earned a "safety concern" from the federal government even by the standards of sixteen years ago, you should probably think long and hard before paying thousands of dollars for one.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #46 on: May 01, 2015, 09:03:31 AM »
The original EPA numbers were developed in the era of cars with low horsepower, slower roads, and a national 55mph speed limit.  Modern cars are much faster, roads are developed for higher speeds, and we have highway speed limits as high as 85mph.  All of that has conspired to make the old numbers a lot less valid.  Also, the old numbers were based on driving at something like 70 degrees, no heat, no A/C.  The new testing requires additional tests specifically for both cold and hot weather use, both of which result in higher fuel consumption than the EPA test which was apparently based on living in coastal San Diego.  :)

Still, the issue of safety is the biggest part to me.  People get hit by others who aren't paying attention all the time.  The rise of smartphones and coming era of closely integrated infotainment systems will likely only cement distracted driving as a major killer.  Apple's CarPlay and Android's Auto are designed so your phone is integrated such that all the distractions of your smartphone are now continually at your fingertips.  To some extent, I can't wait for self-driving cars to arrive because I am worried that way too many people are going to be driving distracted from now on otherwise.

Scandium

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #47 on: May 01, 2015, 11:17:40 AM »

20 mpg feels ridiculous, I drive 65 miles round trip a day and don't even need a truck really. The stupid thing costs $200 in gas a MONTH. Doing the math of replacing the thing with a car of double the mpg leads to nice gas savings, but at the cost of the actual vehicle price negating all that. Seriously considered the 94 Geo Metro till I read an article detailing the totally lax standards the EPA  had in evaluating MPG at the time (actual mpg is more like 30 not 50).


How? If your gas cost goes from $2400 to $1000 per year you're saving about $24,000 over next 10 years. Even if you spend $10k on a prius the opportunity cost of that is under $20k over 10 years. You're ahead by nearly 5 grand. Buy a cheaper car and drive it longer and the savings are even greater

ketchup

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #48 on: May 01, 2015, 03:17:43 PM »
20 mpg feels ridiculous, I drive 65 miles round trip a day and don't even need a truck really. The stupid thing costs $200 in gas a MONTH. Doing the math of replacing the thing with a car of double the mpg leads to nice gas savings, but at the cost of the actual vehicle price negating all that. Seriously considered the 94 Geo Metro till I read an article detailing the totally lax standards the EPA  had in evaluating MPG at the time (actual mpg is more like 30 not 50).
Just would like to pop in to say that's BS.  A 94 Metro (manual transmission) will get right around 50MPG, maybe 40MPG if you drive like an idiot or get one that's worn out (or both).  I have a 99 Metro (heavier than the 94) at the moment, and even with its pretty-worn-out engine I've averaged 42.96MPG over the past year.  I had an '88 Sprint (same car but older) that averaged about 53MPG (45MPG in the winter).  Great little cars.  I hear the automatics are terrible though.

I check checked out fuelly and it seems your numbers ring true. Though I am a bit skeptical of the gov't numbers found in testing, I wonder how they could be so "off" in the other direction with the revision. The article I read earlier by the way:

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/080521-Why-You-Shouldn-t-Buy-a-Geo-Metro-to-Save-on-Gas/
Quote from: US News
So let's look at the mileage of that 1992 Geo Metro.  According to the old formula it should have managed a combined mileage rating of 38 mpg.  That's not far below the 46 mpg of the current Toyota Prius, just like the Mercury-News claims.  According to the revised formula, however, that 1990 Metro should actually manage only 33 mpg -- 13 below the Prius.  That's not nearly as impressive.  In fact, it's nearly the same rating as many current small cars.  Considering that the 1992 Metro features only one airbag and earned a "safety concern" from the federal government even by the standards of sixteen years ago, you should probably think long and hard before paying thousands of dollars for one.
That "33mpg" number is for the automatic-transmission-laden '92 Metro.  The manual of the same year (in "revised" EPA estimates) says 44 highway, 38 city.  The article is simply looking at the wrong data.  The real conclusion based on the data: don't get the automatic.  It's a stupid automatic anyway (absolutely SCREAMS on the highway due to no overdrive gear; the manual has two overdrive gears).  33MPG in a car as small as a Metro is just stupid.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 03:20:00 PM by ketchup »

ACLR8R

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Re: Has there been a more recent discussion on "Cars for Smart People"?
« Reply #49 on: May 01, 2015, 03:18:34 PM »
I have found that if I buy a car at a good price, I can drive it for about a year and lose nothing to depreciation. In all honesty, I have sold my last 4 cars for more than I paid after driving it for around a year.

Cars are my hobby, so I have only had fun or fast vehicles, but do all my own maintenance and repairs.

My last 4

2006 Corvette- bought for 22,800 sold for 24,500
2005 Silverado- bought for 8,500 sold for 10,500
1965 Cobra (Factory Five)- Built for 26,000 sold for 39,000
1999 Corvette FRC- Bought for 14,250 sold for 15,750

It takes time and patience but I really enjoy it.

After finding the forums and MMM, I decided that my 2006 Corvette (which was paid for with cash) was too much of a luxury. I wanted something that was still "fun" but got better mileage.

So my current car 2010 GTI- bought for 9,900 expect to sell it for about 11k in the next couple of months.

Not for everybody, as I search Craigslist multiple times a day, but again for me its fun.

Just my .02