Author Topic: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?  (Read 6005 times)

Making Cents

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Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« on: May 28, 2015, 11:03:14 AM »
Hi All,

So you're probably thinking "why does this question even need to be asked? YES!" Here's the deal, though. The RAV4 was the most extravagant gift I've ever received... from my parents-in-law just 3 years ago when I was finishing up my doctorate and commuting/breaking-down to teach in a run-down and unreliable 1994 Suzuki Swift (yes... look it up... they made about two of them and they were the most Mustachian cars ever at 50mpg on the highway). That thing probably would have run forever, but my husband was so sick of fixing it (and finding parts) and it also got to the point where nothing not related to transportation worked anymore (driver's window would not roll up! passenger door stuck and wouldn't lock... etc.)

Post-RAV and after a move, I still commute 40 miles (I know... hear me out!) because I telecommute most of the time and usually only drive in 2 days per week, sometimes 3. My husband works in our city, and so my reverse commute sometimes makes a heck of a lot more sense than his with-traffic commute every day. I cannot change jobs nor do I want to. There are only about 2 comparable positions in my specialty open nationally in a good year.

So, that brings me to the car switch.  Can't go for anything smaller and sedan-like because my husband is too tall. (He never fit in the Swift and had to hunch over!) Here's what's holding me back:

1) Would it be slap in the face to my in-laws, who were so generous in insisting we take the newest vehicle I've ever driven (only 2 years old when we got it)? (Unlike my family, they do not simply talk these things out... if they are offended, I'll never be told outright, so I'm looking for general opinions on whether this is an ungrateful thing to do.)

2) The sale itself would make me money even before saving on fuel as I'd probably go for a 2009 Fit (from a 2010 RAV). Has anyone ever traded in a car to MAKE money at a dealership? Will they do that? (I'm wary of buying and selling vehicles on CL as my husband tried to buy there last year and had several very elaborate attempted scams that wasted his time.)

Any advice or experiences with selling/buying to downgrade, the Honda fit, vehicle recommendations, or tips on trying to reduce gas while commuting (beyond car-pooling and trying not to brake more than necessary, which I do of course) would be much appreciated. Thanks for replies.

JLee

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2015, 11:06:18 AM »
How much money do you spend on gas per month?  What's the price difference for insurance between the two vehicles?

You're basically guaranteed to make more money with a private sale than you are by trading in.

BMEPhDinCO

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2015, 11:26:03 AM »
We have a Honda Fit 2009 - I like it, and we did an even trade-in with another car (probably could've made money actually but didn't want the hassle).  In your case though, I would private sale the Rav4 and then go buy the Fit with the cash.  You won't make as much with a trade in.

As for the in-laws, that's tricky and honestly I'd probably keep the car rather then offend, but alternatively, you could talk it out with them if possible - my MIL is a financial person and would understand that angle - you could ask at least first.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2015, 11:43:57 AM »
I would talk with your husband about bringing it up with his parents.  Explain how appreciative you are of the gift, but that the "fit would be a better fit".  Do an even or negative cash trade; cash out (if they find out) could breed resentment.

Making Cents

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2015, 11:49:14 AM »
JLee - we normally spend $125/mo on gas (including my husband's gas). From May to August, I work almost entirely locally with a shorter daily commute so we are able to keep it under $75.

I wouldn't have predicted this, but Geico says they would actually increase my premium slightly - but only around $5 over 6 months so no big deal.

In terms of waste and the environment, I feel guilty driving a 4wd SUV I don't need especially since my husband will not give up driving a truck. From a financial perspective the incentive to switch is also tempting. I reckon I'd make somewhere in the ballpark of $3k off the sale depending on how I handled it, and then increase my mileage from 25mpg to 35 mpg on the highway... so maybe save as much as $50/mo during the fall through spring? Perhaps as low as half that though given alternating commutes with colleagues.

I have pitched the idea to my husband. He is fine with it, but he's so easy-going that he would never say no. I don't want to put him in the middle by asking him to broach this with his parents. I also don't want to ask them myself before I get a good sample of reactions, since the idea itself is as likely to hurt their feelings as the actual sale.

Ipodius

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2015, 11:50:02 AM »
I had a similar situation, but with a smaller gift, a laptop. I dealt with it by approaching my parents before hand and saying how thankful I was for the gift, how it had enabled me to start my business, how I wouldn't have been able to without it, and how it was a gift that kept giving in that now selling it could pay for a replacement that's an even better fit for my changing needs.

Do you think that approach would work in your situation?

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2015, 11:50:58 AM »
I agree with the statement about perhaps talking to your in-laws at whatever your next meeting is.  I'm not sure if you get together for holidays, monthly dinners, hang out, etc. but as long as you are up-front and honest, I could see it going well.  Here's how I would frame it:

1) Thank you!  Start by expressing how thankful you are for that gift.  That's a big one, and you can let them know that for 3 years now it has been a great thing for you and your family.

2) It served an important need.  You can transition the conversation to how that gift addressed a big practical & financial need by reducing your potential costs by eliminating the need for carrying a car payment.  I am guessing it has also been pretty reliable, as it's a late-model Toyota, so it also eliminated your maintenance costs, which further improved your stress levels and finances.

3) Stepping stone to success.  The RAV4 has helped you get a solid footing and you have learned important financial lessons that you would like to build upon.  That RAV4 set the solid foundation that you're building upon, and the next phase is to transition to a more fuel efficient vehicle.  By using it as trade-in for a more fuel efficient option, it's like the gift that keeps giving, as it taught you the value of having a reliable, paid-off car.  You're now taking it to the next level by going with an even more fuel efficient car, while building on that solid foundation of having a reliable, paid off car that your in-laws made possible with their gift.

Now is all of this true?  Probably.  Maybe.  That's up to you.  At the least, you can see how if you frame the conversation like this, they can see that you're thankful, it served an important need, and it's the solid foundation you're building your financial future with.  You can frame it like I did and essentially give them credit for teaching you the value of having a paid-off car.  It's up to you.  In-laws can be difficult sometimes, but most people like to be thanked and told how important they are.  Parents in particular like to hear that they have successfully taught their kids something that is helping them for years after.

Plan B: You just do the trade-in and don't care what they think.  If they bring it up, you thank them and show how their gift lives on, in that the RAV4 made your current car possible to own without a monthly payment.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2015, 12:24:39 PM »
Your net gain figures seem a little sporty to me.

Does the Fit you are looking at has similar milage as the RAV4? 

How many miles per year are you putting on the RAV4?

Right now, you know the RAV4 is well maintained, which might not be the case on a 6 year old FIT.

Also, don't forget to factor in transaction costs such as taxes and registration.


 

neo von retorch

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2015, 12:42:20 PM »
I traded in a 2013 Mazda CX-5 for a 2008 Fit. While I would've made more money by doing a private sale, I went to a Mazda dealer who advertised being the number CPO dealer in the state who happened to be selling a Honda. I negotiated as well as I could, though it's I definitely could've done better, and they wrote me a check for $6000. So, yes, they do do that. (And yes, I think you should :)!)

rhut

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2015, 01:36:08 PM »
We have a Honda Fit, and my in-laws have a Rav4. We borrowed their vehicle for a camping trip when ours was being repaired (hit by another car). We had trouble getting our bikes and all of our camping equipment into the Rav4, but routinely pack that much and more into the Fit with ease. The shear amount of stuff you can haul in the Fit is reason enough to make the switch, the 40mpg vs 26mpg doesn't hurt either!

JLee

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2015, 01:49:23 PM »
We have a Honda Fit, and my in-laws have a Rav4. We borrowed their vehicle for a camping trip when ours was being repaired (hit by another car). We had trouble getting our bikes and all of our camping equipment into the Rav4, but routinely pack that much and more into the Fit with ease. The shear amount of stuff you can haul in the Fit is reason enough to make the switch, the 40mpg vs 26mpg doesn't hurt either!

Where are you getting those numbers?   I see 27/33 or 28/35 for the Fit depending on configuration (29-31mpg combined), and 19/26 to 22/28 for the RAV4 (2wd vs 4wd, 4cyl vs 6cyl), or 21-24mpg combined.  I can't find anything for 40mpg on a Fit unless we're talking hypermiler/ecomodder numbers?

neo von retorch

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2015, 01:59:42 PM »
My 2008 Fit is rated 28/34 by the EPA. I get just under 35 - about 33 in the cold months and 36 the rest of the year.
http://www.fuelly.com/car/honda/fit/2008/xxaaqq/300943

rhut

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2015, 02:05:26 PM »
JLee: I have no idea what the EPA numbers are, those are my actual figures calculated at the pump. We just took an almost 3000 mile trip in the Fit, our worst tank of gas was 36mpg in the rockies, and our best was 43mpg. The one trip we took in the Rav4 was almost all highway and we got 26mpg. I always set the cruise a couple mph above the speed limit, not a hyper miler by any means. Small 4cyl with a stick vs. auto V6 SUV. 

JLee

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2015, 02:10:42 PM »
JLee: I have no idea what the EPA numbers are, those are my actual figures calculated at the pump. We just took an almost 3000 mile trip in the Fit, our worst tank of gas was 36mpg in the rockies, and our best was 43mpg. The one trip we took in the Rav4 was almost all highway and we got 26mpg. I always set the cruise a couple mph above the speed limit, not a hyper miler by any means. Small 4cyl with a stick vs. auto V6 SUV.

Nice! I wasn't aware that the Fit was returning that much better than the EPA numbers.

rhut

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2015, 02:22:49 PM »
JLee: I have no idea what the EPA numbers are, those are my actual figures calculated at the pump. We just took an almost 3000 mile trip in the Fit, our worst tank of gas was 36mpg in the rockies, and our best was 43mpg. The one trip we took in the Rav4 was almost all highway and we got 26mpg. I always set the cruise a couple mph above the speed limit, not a hyper miler by any means. Small 4cyl with a stick vs. auto V6 SUV.

Nice! I wasn't aware that the Fit was returning that much better than the EPA numbers.

Yep, the Fit is awesome! Hands down the best car for sale right now. It's also the only car I'd say is okay to buy new. We looked at some in the 10k range and they all had crazy high mileage, we decided that the extra 5k for a new one was worth having 0 miles on the car vs. over 80k miles.

zinethstache

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2015, 02:30:11 PM »
I traded down with no problem. I treated the deal like two transactions. They are acquiring a very sellable vehicle, which they love over a junker. It cannot hurt to try. Other's have mentioned CarMax as a good place to "sell" a car, you could handle the transaction even more seperately by selling to a different place.

I will be selling all vehicles when I FIRE and my first plan is to get bids from CarMax.  (one is so old it will be easiest to go through CL)

Making Cents

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2015, 02:49:04 PM »
Wow, thanks for all the replies, everyone. I really do want to go for it. It all just hinges on the in-law situation, I guess. I tried to convince my husband to take the RAV and get rid of his (expletive deleted) truck while I bought the used Fit. That would be the smart ideal, but the truck is a non-negotiable symbol of his manhood or something, and I do love the guy so he and the truck get to stay.

Good to know a trade down is possible. I realize I'd get tons more on my own but want a quick and painless break and the security of some kind of warranty or return policy on the Fit.

neo von retorch

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2015, 03:48:54 PM »
Yes - I can't really help on the emotions or relationship impact of your decision. You have to know your family well enough to ponder that. I would say that after three years, it seems reasonable. Just think about the intent of their original gift, whether you got that out of the gift, and whether you're really going way against that just by stepping "down" to a different vehicle.

I also want to offer up advice if you do deal. As I said before, I went to a Mazda dealer selling a Fit - you may want to go to a Toyota dealer to have more "dollar signs" show up in your dealer's eyes when you bring a nice RAV4 to them (if they happen to be selling a suitable Fit). And if you do that... do a better job negotiating. :)

Looking back, I probably could've gotten $1k or even more additional on my trade, and maybe cut some more negotiating the price on the Fit I bought. Plus, buying a 2008, I only got a 3 month/3000 mile warranty. Nothing has really gone wrong since then, but it is running rough (even at 72k miles) and I likely need to replace some ignition stuff (plugs/wires) or maybe more likely, replace the fuel pump... which is in the fuel tank. So that's some unfun repairs/costs. But my Fit looks like it's been through the ringer... just about any Fit that appears clean, feels clean and runs smooth should be rock solid for you.

TN_Steve

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2015, 03:58:02 PM »
JLee: I have no idea what the EPA numbers are, those are my actual figures calculated at the pump. We just took an almost 3000 mile trip in the Fit, our worst tank of gas was 36mpg in the rockies, and our best was 43mpg. The one trip we took in the Rav4 was almost all highway and we got 26mpg. I always set the cruise a couple mph above the speed limit, not a hyper miler by any means. Small 4cyl with a stick vs. auto V6 SUV.

Nice! I wasn't aware that the Fit was returning that much better than the EPA numbers.

More anecdata:  My 2013, base trim, with stick, yields 42-45 mpg on my commute (5 city, 16 highway each way).  In words of my wife, I "drive like a grandpa."  Slow lane, top out at 65 down hills, slow to 55ish up hills (assuming no traffic behind me, of course).  On long trips, cruise at 75, I average only 35....

Making Cents

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Re: Replace RAV4 with Honda Fit?
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2015, 05:36:05 PM »

I also want to offer up advice if you do deal. As I said before, I went to a Mazda dealer selling a Fit - you may want to go to a Toyota dealer to have more "dollar signs" show up in your dealer's eyes when you bring a nice RAV4 to them (if they happen to be selling a suitable Fit). And if you do that... do a better job negotiating. :)

Looking back, I probably could've gotten $1k or even more additional on my trade, and maybe cut some more negotiating the price on the Fit I bought. s. But my Fit looks like it's been through the ringer... just about any Fit that appears clean, feels clean and runs smooth should be rock solid for you.

Thanks, I appreciate that. Will follow that plan if I can avoid any family fallout.