Author Topic: Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute  (Read 1898 times)

hoyahoyasaxa

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Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute
« on: October 20, 2016, 09:01:30 AM »
We recently wrecked our 2004 Toyota Corolla which had 160k miles on it and our now in the process of buying a newer used car.

I've poured through Phil Edmonston's 1990-2016 Lemon-Aid and I'm down to a few choices. We're a family of three, including one 2-year old. We are also hoping that at some point in the not too distant future, we'll need space for a second car seat as well.

Looking for:

  • Not too big (we're fine with a sedan)
  • Reliable (I'd like to be able to drive this car 200k+ miles)
  • Gas efficient (combined 25mpg or more)
  • Decent cargo space (at least three suitcases and a stroller)
  • Affordable (not looking to spend more than $10k on a car with less than 60k miles)
  • Quiet interior where we can hear each other over wind/road noise

We'd primarily use the car for short commutes and area driving - unfortunately we live in a suburb that is very bike-unfriendly.  If we're going somewhere outside of our own town, we generally have to use the NY State Thruway.  We'd use it for longer trips of up to 200-300 miles every once in a while, perhaps once every two months.

Here are the cars that are on my list which have options for sale in our area with no accidents and one owner on the CarFax.

Honda Accord (2001-07)
Honda Fit (2008-16)
Hyundai Elantra (2009-16)
Kia Rio (2011-16)
Mazda3 (2005-09, 2011-16)
Nissan Sentra (2013-16)

Any thoughts?

honeybbq

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Re: Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2016, 09:17:40 AM »
I always vote for Hondas. Specifically, from your choices,the accord.

ketchup

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Re: Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2016, 09:28:47 AM »
I have an '09 Hyundai Accent, which is the mechanical cousin of the Kia Rio, and it's humming along happily at 252,xxx miles.  Does about 35MPG and fits all your other criteria.  Kia/Hyundai have pretty rapid depreciation so you'd definitely save some coin upfront with one of them.

I also know people with Fits and Sentras of those ages that love them.

I don't think you can really go wrong with anything on your list.  What matters more is how well the car was maintained before you take the reins.  With the age of car you're looking at, you should be in a position to demand records of oil changes, etc.  Also, it looking good or bad cosmetically can reflect how an owner cared for it (if they don't fix a cracked windshield, will they change the oil on time?).

Barben

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Re: Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2016, 09:54:46 AM »
I have an '09 Hyundai Accent, which is the mechanical cousin of the Kia Rio...

I own a '12 Kia Rio, the cousin of the Hyundai Accent.  I have also previously owned an '04 Kia Sorento (first car ever) and a '06 Hyundai Elantra.  I agree with Ketchup that the depreciation on Kias and Hyundais is pretty steep, so you can get them for less than Hondas, but they'll be worth less when you're selling them.  As I tend to run whatever car I have into the ground, I'm not looking at resale, so the lower cost of the Korean brands wins out for me.

I've also found that as the car depreciates, you can often get in touch with your insurance company and get a slightly lower rate as the car becomes worth less, so  (if you aren't going to resell) it actually favors you if your car drops to a super-low market value and still runs. 

For what it's worth, the Sorento got to 150k miles and was eaten alive by rust, but the mechanical parts never broke down other than wear items; and I'm at almost 100k now with the Rio(thanks for driving constantly, previous owner) with no problems at all.  I expect it to last to around 200k.

Also of note, the Rio isn't the quietest car in the world.  It's fine for driving around town, but at highway speeds, you'll have to speak up.  That may be something to check on a test drive.

Obviously this is all anecdotal, but hopefully it helps.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2016, 05:20:11 PM »
Consider a used electric vehicle for your short commute. You can get an impressively cheap one with low miles, and not buying gas is a nice life simplification.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Newer Used Car Decision: Short Commute
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 12:15:21 AM »
Would a Prius do the job?

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