Author Topic: If I have $10K to spend on a car...  (Read 8591 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« on: October 28, 2016, 11:17:54 AM »
Currently I drive a 1999 Honda Accord. It was fine as my personal vehicle in a two-car family but now I'm a single mom and it's my only ride, and the Frugal Patriarch (my grandfather) has expressed interest in assisting me with getting something more reliable.

He mentioned $10K as an amount. What kind of car would you get for 1 adult and 2 kids with $10-12K? A used Honda Fit seems like the obvious choice but I am open to suggestion. (I may be able to throw in a little of my own $$ if it makes a difference.)

NoStacheOhio

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2016, 12:39:37 PM »
What shortcomings are you seeing with the Accord?

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2016, 12:44:40 PM »
What shortcomings are you seeing with the Accord?

There have been indicators that the transmission is going bad (a check engine code, and last year when I had the fluid flushed, I was told it looked "like engine oil" and apparently that is very very bad). The mechanic, whose opinion I trust, told me I should not drive it out of town lest I get stranded in the mountains. It also needs an axle and the window fixed (it tends to get stuck open in the winter) and a bunch of other things. There are only 145,000 miles on it--it would make a good car for someone who was less dependent on its reliability.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 12:50:54 PM »
What shortcomings are you seeing with the Accord?

There have been indicators that the transmission is going bad (a check engine code, and last year when I had the fluid flushed, I was told it looked "like engine oil" and apparently that is very very bad). The mechanic, whose opinion I trust, told me I should not drive it out of town lest I get stranded in the mountains. It also needs an axle and the window fixed (it tends to get stuck open in the winter) and a bunch of other things. There are only 145,000 miles on it--it would make a good car for someone who was less dependent on its reliability.

OK, I thought you meant the car wasn't meeting your needs from a utility standpoint.

The usual suspects: Fit, Mazda3, Civic, Accord, Corolla, maybe get a screaming deal on a Versa.

Edit: honestly, I would say find any one of those in good condition in your price range and you're in good shape.

ltt

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 01:22:57 PM »
A good, solid Toyota Corolla--one about 5 years old with low mileage (20k-30k miles).  It should give you at least 250,000 miles with little in the way of maintenance costs.

Reynolds531

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2016, 05:14:47 PM »
I would do the maintenance on the accord. Flush again. Wait a month and do the axle. Ask a tranny shop for an opinion.

Someone is going to drive that for a long time. Make sure you get top dollar.

waltworks

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 08:56:00 PM »
Get a couple space blankets, a flashlight, and a AAA membership and drive it into the ground.

-W

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 09:04:38 PM »
Get a couple space blankets, a flashlight, and a AAA membership and drive it into the ground.

-W

I would, but I'm a single parent. I can't do that. It will be a good deal for someone else, though, like a young person who lives at home.

I would do the maintenance on the accord. Flush again. Wait a month and do the axle. Ask a tranny shop for an opinion.

Someone is going to drive that for a long time. Make sure you get top dollar.

I probably won't have the energy or time to do this, but I do plan to sell it myself and be honest about its selling points. It looks like death on the outside but the inside is clean-ish and doesn't smell weird, the heat works AND it comes with a matched set of plenty-of-wear snow tires, which should be a nice inducement this time of year in Colorado. The axle has not started making the noise yet. I'll think about getting an opinion from a transmission shop, though. Will ask my usual guy (Dave the Acerbic Mechanic) for recommendation.

horsepoor

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 09:40:34 PM »
How much do you drive?  Iirc, you're in the Denver area, yes?  I'll probably get skewered for this, but I had a VersaNote as a rental in Denver earlier this year and was pretty uncomfortable  driving it on the freewaysurface there.  If fuel economy isn't a huge concern, I'd get something going with a bit more size and acceleration ability ( like a Civic or Camry, not a Suburban).  A Forester or Outback would be a good choice, but not sure how used it would be at $10k...

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2016, 09:59:29 PM »
How much do you drive?  Iirc, you're in the Denver area, yes?  I'll probably get skewered for this, but I had a VersaNote as a rental in Denver earlier this year and was pretty uncomfortable  driving it on the freewaysurface there.  If fuel economy isn't a huge concern, I'd get something going with a bit more size and acceleration ability ( like a Civic or Camry, not a Suburban).  A Forester or Outback would be a good choice, but not sure how used it would be at $10k...

Not a bad point. I do indeed live in Denver. My Accord felt better in the snow last year than the XFP's Fit did. And I might have to forego snow tires, as I don't have anywhere to store them in my one-bedroom apartment! An Outback might be worth considering. $10K might put me around 2010, which I know is what the Frugalwoods just got! Hmmm, more to mull.

KMMK

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2016, 10:11:41 PM »
I'd add Elantra to the list. And Matrix if it wasn't there. I need to start looking for something similar myself but more around $5000. Not looking forward to it as I hate cars and shopping.

calimom

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2016, 10:39:10 PM »
There are a lot of threads here about good used cars to buy. How much driving do you do anyhow? Do you do a lot of ski trips to the mountains? I go with the common thought about putting some love and care into your current car and banking the rest. There are also lots of threads about emergency funds - it's good to have cash stashed away and put into savings/investments.

Reynolds531

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2016, 08:28:22 AM »
You don't have the time or energy to not spend $10k? Just saying

MayDay

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2016, 09:13:15 AM »
You don't have the time or energy to not spend $10k? Just saying

Dude. She is a single parent with two little kids, living in a city with no family or spouse support system to come pick her up, and in a city that gets pretty bad weather in the winter. 

I drove a POS corolla that died on the freeway home from work in Mpls in the winter, and had to get towed. It sucked but I had a husband to pick me up and we had a second car to drive while the car got fixed.

It is not unreasonable for a single person with a job, even without kids, to want a car that gets them places reliably. Add in kids and winter, and come on.




La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2016, 09:31:51 AM »
You don't have the time or energy to not spend $10k? Just saying

Dude. She is a single parent with two little kids, living in a city with no family or spouse support system to come pick her up, and in a city that gets pretty bad weather in the winter. 

I drove a POS corolla that died on the freeway home from work in Mpls in the winter, and had to get towed. It sucked but I had a husband to pick me up and we had a second car to drive while the car got fixed.

It is not unreasonable for a single person with a job, even without kids, to want a car that gets them places reliably. Add in kids and winter, and come on.

Thanks, MayDay.

Folks, remember that the $10K is a gift intended for this purpose. Frugal Patriarch wants to improve my quality of life. He wants me to have one less thing to worry about.

innkeeper77

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2016, 09:38:25 AM »
While I do in fact drive an outback in denver, be aware that it is a HUGE car with bad mpg. It can haul a lot of stuff though! Mine is a 2000 outback with 210k miles, and I like it, but I wouldn't call it a good only car. (Our other car is a 06 scion xA). Its even bigger in every way otherthan height than my fathers SUV, and the newer ones look even bigger. A forester, while taller might be a bit more reasonable,but still with the awd  poor mpg. If I were looking for a car instead of the outback, I would be looking at Camry's, civics, and the like.

JAYSLOL

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2016, 10:40:35 AM »
MMMs list of Cars for smart people is pretty good.  With $10k I would go with the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, but a Honda Fit, Civic or Element, or a Toyota Corolla are good runner-ups. 

Make sure the $10k includes a very good or new set of All Season tires on rims, AND a very good or new set of Winter tires on rims.  Also, take very good care of this newer vehicle, as in, don't wait for the transmission fluid to look like engine oil before changing it, right?  :)

Don't get any work done on this car at a dealership, unless its under-waranty or recall work.  Get a local, less expensive mechanic you trust for anything you can't do yourself, and learn as much as you can about your car and how to treat it so it lasts a long time.  YouTube is good for that. 
« Last Edit: October 29, 2016, 10:42:24 AM by JAYSLOL »

Reynolds531

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2016, 10:45:40 AM »
I'm not being harsh. I think the car is probably better than she thinks. A 10k car could strand her just as easily.

You have the luxury of time. Fix it or find another but take the time to make a good decision.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2016, 11:17:59 AM »
MMMs list of Cars for smart people is pretty good.  With $10k I would go with the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, but a Honda Fit, Civic or Element, or a Toyota Corolla are good runner-ups. 

Make sure the $10k includes a very good or new set of All Season tires on rims, AND a very good or new set of Winter tires on rims.  Also, take very good care of this newer vehicle, as in, don't wait for the transmission fluid to look like engine oil before changing it, right?  :)

Don't get any work done on this car at a dealership, unless its under-waranty or recall work.  Get a local, less expensive mechanic you trust for anything you can't do yourself, and learn as much as you can about your car and how to treat it so it lasts a long time.  YouTube is good for that.

LOL. I don't know how that happened. I always took good care of the Accord.

I don't have anywhere to store an extra set of tires, unfortunately. I may have to settled for all seasons, which is a huge bummer--I love snow tires. But... I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I dunno, maybe I can clear out enough closet space somehow. I'll work on it.

I'm not being harsh. I think the car is probably better than she thinks. A 10k car could strand her just as easily.

You have the luxury of time. Fix it or find another but take the time to make a good decision.

Less about stranding, although that's a concern, and more about days in the shop (ie, days when my ability to work is limited--I do a lot of on-call type work all over town). And if a newer car strands you, you get it fixed. When an old car strands you, you might wind up being rushed into making a bad decision because maybe all of a sudden it's not worth fixing and you need to replace it RIGHT NOW because you can't get to work.

Thanks for all the advice, guys--I'm going to do some research and think about my needs. The newer Outbacks are pretty giant. Fuel efficiency is not a huge concern, because I don't drive a ton of miles, but one doesn't want to be profligate!

JAYSLOL

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2016, 01:12:04 PM »
MMMs list of Cars for smart people is pretty good.  With $10k I would go with the Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe, but a Honda Fit, Civic or Element, or a Toyota Corolla are good runner-ups. 

Make sure the $10k includes a very good or new set of All Season tires on rims, AND a very good or new set of Winter tires on rims.  Also, take very good care of this newer vehicle, as in, don't wait for the transmission fluid to look like engine oil before changing it, right?  :)

Don't get any work done on this car at a dealership, unless its under-waranty or recall work.  Get a local, less expensive mechanic you trust for anything you can't do yourself, and learn as much as you can about your car and how to treat it so it lasts a long time.  YouTube is good for that.

LOL. I don't know how that happened. I always took good care of the Accord.

I don't have anywhere to store an extra set of tires, unfortunately. I may have to settled for all seasons, which is a huge bummer--I love snow tires. But... I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I dunno, maybe I can clear out enough closet space somehow. I'll work on it.


Storage can be tricky for an extra set of tires, just remember, the smaller the car you buy, the smaller the wheels and tires will be and the easier they will be to store (and move).  Any chance you have a friend with a big garage or shed who would be willing to help you out?  If you store a set of tires somewhere other than inside your own place, put a chain and lock through all 4, this will make it much harder for someone to walk away with them.

cchrissyy

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2016, 01:25:07 PM »
If somebody was going to gift me $10k towards a car, and I was happy with my 1999 Accord other than reliability as it ages, I'd probably just get a newer one. Or maybe a Civic. However many years back it takes for values to be $10k but still much newer than 1999.

tthree

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2016, 04:10:46 PM »
Get a Saturn Astra and good winter tires:)  The Astra is also a hatchback, but you will get it way cheaper than a Fit.  I have never had an issue with mine.

snacky

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2016, 07:02:48 PM »
Hey buddy

I drive an '01 outback in weather worse than you get, after having a '13 fit for years. The outback is amazing in ice and snow, incredibly reliable, can hold more than a truck, and is bad on gas. It uses less gas than a midsized SUV, but a huge amount more than the fit did. I love feeling rock solid in my car when the roads get scary. The fit did not provide that security.

As for tires, there are tire places that will store them for free if you get them changed there. Or you can keep them in my basement, if you want to come get them in the spring and fall. ;)

daverobev

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2016, 12:58:30 PM »
We got a brand new Elantra for... about $13,500 on the road (inc. tax). That's CANADIAN dollars, so pretty much $10k USD.

Now, it was end of model, end of year, and zero options - manual transmission, no a/c - but that just means there's less to go wrong :) I'd keep my eye open for a really good deal on a new car, particularly if they put salt on the road.

Generally, from what I've heard, Honda automatics are not great. I'd way way way rather have a manual trans Honda Accord or Civic.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2016, 05:58:18 PM »
Get a Saturn Astra and good winter tires:)  The Astra is also a hatchback, but you will get it way cheaper than a Fit.  I have never had an issue with mine.

I worry about parts availability with a vehicle that didn't get as much traction, if that makes sense. I remember when I worked in a body shop people sometimes had their cars totaled just because the parts to fix it weren't made anymore.

scantee

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2016, 07:20:17 PM »
How about a Kia Soul? They get good reviews for quality and reliability and you can get one with fairly low miles for $10k.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2016, 07:41:23 PM »
How about a Kia Soul? They get good reviews for quality and reliability and you can get one with fairly low miles for $10k.

Not quite my style, but they are a CR "good bet"so they belong on my "maybe" list.

I have been reading the CR Used Car Buying Guide. I really think I want a hatchback, so a Fit is a frontrunner BUT I would have a harder time finding electronic stability control in my price range. Which makes Vibe or Matrix maybe the way to go. I'll have to see what's available after I get my check deposited.

Now, the check is for EXACTLY $10K and I have like $0 other dollars to devote to this project, so that needs to be the out-the-door price. I'm exhausted just thinking about shopping but am trying to rally! This is a good thing!

a1pharm

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2016, 08:12:56 PM »
Consider a 2013 Ford C - Max Energi.  They go for 10k, and have a plug in hybrid feature that can get you 19 miles per charge before the gas engine kicks in. 100 eMPG equivalent if you use it in hybrid mode.  Plug it in at work for huge savings... The car is also deluxe - Ford is trying to cracked the market and put awesome features in the base trim model.  Seriously take a hard look at it.

Heroes821

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2016, 06:35:03 AM »
Why is everyone suggesting snow tires? I have driven 3 grand ams in north east ohio in the snow belt perfectly fine with all weather tires. 1 of these cars was used in Denver for 6 years and was fine on the interstates in through the mountains even in winter.  Denver snow does not get that bad to need different tires for the winter and the tire shops that I used when I was there (only went through 2 sets of tires) recommended all year or all weather tires over snow tires.

As far as the car goes if it's a gift of money I would shop for a Civic or Accord newer than your '99 that is maybe $8000 and then use the rest of the 10k to get it looked over by a good mechanic top to bottom.

RWD

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2016, 08:15:41 AM »
Why is everyone suggesting snow tires? I have driven 3 grand ams in north east ohio in the snow belt perfectly fine with all weather tires. 1 of these cars was used in Denver for 6 years and was fine on the interstates in through the mountains even in winter.  Denver snow does not get that bad to need different tires for the winter and the tire shops that I used when I was there (only went through 2 sets of tires) recommended all year or all weather tires over snow tires.

The performance between all season and winter tires is not even close. In the a test (link below) all season tires took 39 feet 10 inches to stop from 10 mph on ice while winter tires took 21 feet 2 inches. Some areas may not get snow bad enough or often enough to justify a second set of tires, but the difference in safety is huge.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/videoDisplay.jsp?ttid=116

ZiziPB

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2016, 09:57:41 AM »
Instead of the Outback, have a look at the Subaru Impreza hatchback.  Much better gas mileage than the Outback but you still get the other advantages of a Subaru.

lhamo

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2016, 10:13:47 AM »
Consider a 2013 Ford C - Max Energi.  They go for 10k, and have a plug in hybrid feature that can get you 19 miles per charge before the gas engine kicks in. 100 eMPG equivalent if you use it in hybrid mode.  Plug it in at work for huge savings... The car is also deluxe - Ford is trying to cracked the market and put awesome features in the base trim model.  Seriously take a hard look at it.

Given that she lives in an apartment complex it is unlikely she would have convenient access for a plug-in electric car to charge.  But I love my 2015 C-Max Hybrid!  I am getting just over 42mpg after over a year of driving it.  The 2013 Hybrid model  might be a bit less than the electric.    Not sure how it handles in snow, though -- I don't drive when it snows.

I was leaning heavily toward a Prius until I tried the C-Max.  As a short person, the C-Max is much better -- the seats are high to begin with and have a power boost.  The windshield is really wide and you have great visibility.  In the Prius I felt like I was struggling to see over the dash and there were really big blind spots.

onlykelsey

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2016, 10:17:59 AM »
How much do you drive?  Iirc, you're in the Denver area, yes?  I'll probably get skewered for this, but I had a VersaNote as a rental in Denver earlier this year and was pretty uncomfortable  driving it on the freewaysurface there.  If fuel economy isn't a huge concern, I'd get something going with a bit more size and acceleration ability ( like a Civic or Camry, not a Suburban).  A Forester or Outback would be a good choice, but not sure how used it would be at $10k...

Not a bad point. I do indeed live in Denver. My Accord felt better in the snow last year than the XFP's Fit did. And I might have to forego snow tires, as I don't have anywhere to store them in my one-bedroom apartment! An Outback might be worth considering. $10K might put me around 2010, which I know is what the Frugalwoods just got! Hmmm, more to mull.

Would you consider a manual fit?  I drove a manual fit in upstate NY on windy roads.  Obviously it's not meant to push a snow plow, but with a manual transmission my real concern was being close enough to the ground to take out those little hardened gray snowball things that fall off of other cars.  I think that'll be a concern in any of the corolla/civic/fit/etc cars, though.

Stick shift definitely improves the handling and gives you more options, particularly on icy hills.   They're also cheaper to maintain, fuel and insure, although there are fewer of them out there, I'm sure.

BigRed

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2016, 11:31:01 AM »
Where are you seeing 2013 C-Max Energi for 10k?  They are all closer to $15k where I am in NJ.

therethere

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2016, 11:38:49 AM »
If you're looking for reliable, an Outback at 10k might not be your best bet.... I bought my 2005 at 80k miles, in 2013, for $8k and it needed a ton of work (headgaskets, timing belt, struts, tires, brakes, etc.). We've put over 4k into it over the last 3 years.

I love my outback and wouldn't trade it for anything. Its awesome in the snow. But I think you'll need to get lucky to find a good one at your price point in Denver. Especially right before winter the prices are inflated even more than usual. I hope you fall into one though because they're great.

Snow tires are almost a necessity here if you have a compact car. A heavier full size car you could get by without them. But if you have to get to work when it snows (no flex work options), and you have a small car, snow tires are a must.

kendallf

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2016, 11:41:32 AM »
I haven't seen anybody mention a Prius as a possibility, so I'll throw that out there.  Around here, $10k would get you a nice low mile 2004-2009 model, or a slightly higher mile newer one.  We have three between my wife, one daughter, and me.  Love them, tons of room, mine currently has 206k with less than $100 in maintenance costs since I've owned it. 

TrMama

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2016, 12:04:22 PM »
I drove a manual Corolla for years and loved it. With winter tires it was fantastic in the snow. Plus it was cheap to run and never stranded us. So, I'd add that one to your list. You might be able to afford a newer one, vs getting the larger Accord.

I agree that winter tires are an extremely good idea in your area. Since space is an issue, you could look into all weather tires instead of dedicated all season and snow tires. All weathers are a newish class that are certified for winter (in areas that require winter tires bylaw), but can also be used in the summer. They're not quite as good as dedicated snow tires, but they do eliminate a lot of the hassle of storing and switching tires.

Not all manufacturers make them, but Nokian, Nordman (also made by Nokian), Hancook and one or two others do. http://driving.ca/auto-news/news/whats-the-difference-between-all-weather-and-all-season-tires

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2016, 02:21:08 PM »
So much good advice! You guys are awesome!

Yes, manual is an option if I can find it. I haven't driven stick in 15 years but it's like riding a bike, right? Is manual a "bad" option for some cars or is it almost always to be preferred?

Definitely think I need snow tires if I go with a smaller car. Maybe could get away with all-seasons on an Outback. I am not a natural or comfortable driver, the library almost never closes, and I have to drive my kids to school all winter. I may be able to make storage space on my covered balcony now that the XFP is going to be storing the children's bikes. (3 blocks from my apartment.)

Didn't know Impreza made a hatchback--will add that to my list. Newer Outbacks, like 2010+, seem to be better than the older ones.

I do not believe that I drive enough to make a Prius worthwhile. There are only 145K miles on my 1999 Accord (which I have owned for 12 years). The low total driving miles keeps Outbacks on the "maybe" list--I don't need something that big but if I find a good one, the gas won't break me. (llhamo is right--I don't have anywhere to plug in.)

Here's my current thinking:

MUST HAVES: ABS brakes, side curtain airbags, and ESC. If I'm going to get a newer car, it should be safer!

First choices: Fit, Vibe, Matrix
Strong maybes: Mazda 3 hatchback, Nissan Versa, Mazda 5 (I really want those sliding doors!)
3rd tier maybes: Subaru Outback/Impreza, Kia Soul
4th tier maybes: Civic, Corolla (I kind of have my heart set on a hatchback. And I like my Accord, but I think you pay too much for the size and general niceness)

That's pre-test-drive, of course. The only one I have driven personally is a Fit, although my sister swears by her Mazda 5.

onlykelsey

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2016, 02:27:32 PM »
So much good advice! You guys are awesome!

Yes, manual is an option if I can find it. I haven't driven stick in 15 years but it's like riding a bike, right? Is manual a "bad" option for some cars or is it almost always to be preferred?

...
That's pre-test-drive, of course. The only one I have driven personally is a Fit, although my sister swears by her Mazda 5.

Manual is also an awesome option on a Fit for non-snow related reasons: it is fun and allows you to get a lot more pick up out of that 110-hp (I'm guessing) engine.  If you do a lot of fast acceleration on and off of highways in a Fit or other small engine, I'd definitely consider a manual so you can do it in the appropriate gear.

marielle

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2016, 02:30:14 PM »
Add Scion xA/xD/xB hatchbacks to your list, should be a good choice because of Toyota reliability. You can get a 2009-2012 model pretty easily for under $10k.

daverobev

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2016, 06:40:00 PM »
So much good advice! You guys are awesome!

Yes, manual is an option if I can find it. I haven't driven stick in 15 years but it's like riding a bike, right? Is manual a "bad" option for some cars or is it almost always to be preferred?

Definitely think I need snow tires if I go with a smaller car. Maybe could get away with all-seasons on an Outback. I am not a natural or comfortable driver, the library almost never closes, and I have to drive my kids to school all winter. I may be able to make storage space on my covered balcony now that the XFP is going to be storing the children's bikes. (3 blocks from my apartment.)

Didn't know Impreza made a hatchback--will add that to my list. Newer Outbacks, like 2010+, seem to be better than the older ones.

I do not believe that I drive enough to make a Prius worthwhile. There are only 145K miles on my 1999 Accord (which I have owned for 12 years). The low total driving miles keeps Outbacks on the "maybe" list--I don't need something that big but if I find a good one, the gas won't break me. (llhamo is right--I don't have anywhere to plug in.)

Here's my current thinking:

MUST HAVES: ABS brakes, side curtain airbags, and ESC. If I'm going to get a newer car, it should be safer!

First choices: Fit, Vibe, Matrix
Strong maybes: Mazda 3 hatchback, Nissan Versa, Mazda 5 (I really want those sliding doors!)
3rd tier maybes: Subaru Outback/Impreza, Kia Soul
4th tier maybes: Civic, Corolla (I kind of have my heart set on a hatchback. And I like my Accord, but I think you pay too much for the size and general niceness)

That's pre-test-drive, of course. The only one I have driven personally is a Fit, although my sister swears by her Mazda 5.

I read something about some Ford manuals being bad. But generally, manual is 'better' in terms of durability and lower maintenance costs. The more complex autos get slightly better fuel efficiency, but.. they are more complex.

For a Honda, manual all the way.

You can get hatchbacks for lots of things. Mazda 3s rust. If you drive in town mostly, a Prius makes sense - they are good quality cars, very roomy. You have 3 children? A Fit may, um, actually not Fit.

Subies are much less fuel efficient, and more expensive to maintain - they are all wheel drive - there is just more to service. If you are trying to stay low budget I would avoid.

Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix are roomy. We did test-drive one - the rear view I found poor.

Small cars don't need snows more or less than large cars. You probably want snows MORE on a large car. If you are not a comfortable driver... hmm... I dunno, a manual MAKES you be more in tune with what's going on, I think. But YMMV.

Mazda 5s are excellent, and come in manual. AFAIK they don't rust like the 3s (built somewhere else?), but they do have suspension issues (SIL has replaced parts of hers 2-3 times IIRC).

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2016, 06:44:44 PM »
...
You can get hatchbacks for lots of things. Mazda 3s rust. If you drive in town mostly, a Prius makes sense - they are good quality cars, very roomy. You have 3 children? A Fit may, um, actually not Fit.

LOL. Just 2. If there was a third, I think I would ONLY be looking at Mazda 5s! My sis who has one has 3 kids.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2016, 08:12:24 PM »
Store your winter / snow tires on CraigsList.

TrMama

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2016, 09:49:37 PM »
Manual Mazda 5s need early clutch replacement. Mine only made it to 74K miles before the clutch basically failed. If you get one, look for one that's already had the clutch and suspension done, or plan accordingly. I also wouldn't plan to drive one in deep snow since the clearance is so low.

I'd also cross the Kia soul of your list. The trunk is microscopic. No way to haul 2 kids and any other cargo.

distanceman89

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2016, 11:41:27 AM »
I'll put a vote in for A Subaru, Mazda 3 or consider a VW golf as well. (have owned all 3)

My wife currently has an 07 Mazda 3 that she is quite partial to, it has a goodly amount of interior space and hasn't been a maintenence problem whatsoever with a manual box. definitely get snow tires though, it handles great in the summer but on icy/snowy roads seems to be less stable than the others. Have not had any rust issues and it seems that this plagued the earlier models of the 3 more so than the 2006 and later years.

Have owned both an impreza hatchback and a subaru forester, the impreza hatch wins for mileage, and the forester for versatility/cargo room. Both were great in the snow, and if you did get snow tires for them they're absolutely amazing in bad weather. Fairly long lasting as well, though some of the older 2.5L engines can be prone to head gasket issues.

I currently own a 2000 VW golf TDI and love it. Just enough room, nimble, and surprisingly stable. Back seats fold flat for lots of cargo room. I'm not sure on newer models, but If you get a 2000-2003 in good shape, with a manual, they last forever and get great mileage. The ALH engine can last 400-500K miles, and get 45-55 MPG. Mines on 275K and going strong. Repairs can be costly though, and unfortunately then you're stuck with early 2000's tech, and less safety features. The newer diesel engines aren't as reliable (or are scandal-associated, for what thats worth)

I'll second the scion Hatchbacks as well, i have several colleagues who own them and they're lovely cars overall.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2016, 01:49:33 PM »
Well, I wound up right where I started thinking: a Honda Fit. I got a 2011, because that's the first year they had ESC standard. It's a Sport--I actually would have preferred a regular, but they seem to be harder to find. It's automatic. I did see one manual offered for sale and considering going to look at it, but it was a newer year, so more expensive, and it was also listed as a no-haggle price for well over KBB's "fair."

As opposed to this one, which was listed slightly below the "fair" and with a (very limited) two-year warranty at $10,400.

I gave them my car in exchange for $500, a set of winter tires, and the TPMS sensors I will need to mount the new tires on rims. (They said they didn't have the rims themselves.) Considering the savings on taxes and my time, I'm not sure I could have done any better selling it myself. (And now is the perfect time to get a few bucks for a matched set of good condition snow tires--from my old car--currently sitting in my ex's garage.)

I'm excited! It has buttons that lock and unlock the door! You can connect your phone or iPod right to the radio! And no part of the interior is sticky!


saijoe

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2016, 02:02:44 PM »
That'll be a great car.  My wife had one. 

For the group, on the winter tire issue though.  I'm not too familiar with the nuts and bolts of the TPMS.  If you change the tires and rims, how do you get the Tire Pressure sensors to the new tires and rims?   

Cwadda

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2016, 03:19:03 PM »
Congratulations on your purchase! Honda is a great manufacturer.

hollyluja

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Re: If I have $10K to spend on a car...
« Reply #48 on: November 16, 2016, 03:47:38 PM »
I bought a 2 year old Versa through Hertz rental resale a few years back and it was the best car buying experience I've ever had.  The car had 30K miles on it and was just under $10K.  Hertz includes a 6 month warranty on all their fleet sales.   The whole process took me maybe an hour.  No haggling, all their cars were priced maybe 15% below KBB.

The car itself is just what you'd expect.  No issues at all, and it's fine for the amount of driving I do.  I'm in the PNW though so we don't have your winters.