Author Topic: Opinion on used car purchase  (Read 3054 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Opinion on used car purchase
« on: June 05, 2013, 01:34:20 PM »
I'm in the market for a used car and I'm debating between purchasing:

1) 2004 Prius ~150k miles for $6000
2) 1998 Subaru Outback ~130k miles for $3000

I don't drive much now, but my circumstances will change as I'll be relocating to Southern California where a car becomes much more important as the public transportation/biking is not as practical due to distances and time.

From a fuel standpoint the Prius would win as 45 mpg>25 mpg.

Opportunity cost: the Subaru has the advantage due to the lower cost and the lower cost of insurance. I would be paying cash for either vehicle.

Maintenance: difficult to determine an advantage, maybe the Subaru due to the hybrid system, but then again, the Subaru is older.

I'm leaning toward the Prius due to its reputation for being reliable and the MPG, but hesitant due to the difference in price.

Thoughts? What would you do in my situation?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Opinion on used car purchase
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2013, 04:32:29 PM »
Assuming you drive 10,000 miles a year and gas is $3.50, you're looking at a 1 year fuel cost of $777.77 vs. $1400. You break even after 4.8 years. This will shorten if you drive more or gas increases (or both!), obviously.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Opinion on used car purchase
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 04:37:06 PM »
The Subaru has a lot more utility and is probably safer as well. (and don't believe what Esquire magazine said this month about all Subie drivers being lesbians)


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Opinion on used car purchase
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2013, 08:20:04 PM »
I'd be inclined to go with the Prius, but you might want to ask your question on PriusChat.  They'll be intimately familiar with any problems that are particular to the 2004 models.  We've had no issues with our 2005 or our 2006.

The seller should give you the VIN so that you can run a Carfax check, which will let you know about major & minor recalls.  If all of those have been completed (and the seller has the paperwork) then you know the car is safer.  If they haven't been completed (or the seller can't show the documentation) then you can turn that into a $5500 or even $5000 Prius.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Opinion on used car purchase
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 04:23:50 AM »
If you do decide on the Prius, please PM me and let me know where that Outback is! It shouldn't influence your decision overly, but that's a great price.

I tackle dirt roads daily, by the way, so I do need something like that.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!