Author Topic: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?  (Read 4099 times)

TGod

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The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« on: June 26, 2015, 01:12:20 PM »
Let me preface this by saying, that I'm fairly sure I know any feedback I get will be for option a). But I will post anyway and you can laugh at my na´ve question of car vs suv. I will also say that used cars in Canada seem weirdly expensive. People are still asking 18,000$ for a 5 year old vehicle with 175,000km on it.

We are in the market for a new 2nd vehicle as our 12-year-old domestic brand, heavy as a tank mini van is facing imminent collapse at the tender age of 180km. We got it for 7K 9 years ago, plus a couple grand worth of updates over the years. Not heavily invested in it and don't want to be. Which means dump it before that transmission goes.

Our other vehicle is a sporty little 2009 Toyota corolla. Nothing owing on it. We will drive it into the ground and/or hand it over to the kids when they start driving.

Yes, we "need" 2 cars, we go to work and come home at different times, he starts early, I get the kids off to school, he gets home early and drives the kids to their activities. We live 15km outside of town, mostly highway driving, 15 minute commute into town. Yes I could bike, but I haven't wrapped my head around riding on a highway yet.

We have 2 kids, which means we don't need a minivan. My DH lusts after Toyota Tacomas, but he's letting it go, and bought a fancy trailer instead to haul stuff with. By stuff I mean reno materials, garden stuff, firewood etc. Currently we can haul stuff with the van, we don't have a trailer hitch on the corolla, and I don't know that we could pull a trailer full of horse poop for the garden on that car although I know there are some pretty kick ass people who haul lots of stuff with their corollas.

So now we are starting to look. We are sticking with Toyotas, cause we like them. I have found option a) a 2010 Toyota Matrix, 65000km on it, asking for 10,000$. It has a hatchback which is on my want list, because we have 2 smaller dogs that travel with us sometimes, and we can't put then in a trunk, so they end up hopping all over the corolla when we take that. Hatchback = dog cage. Towing capabilities are the same as the corolla and also doesn't have  tow hitch. We could buy this for cash now...it would wipe out all our cash, emergency fund included, but we'd start that up again.

Option b) is a shiny 2007 Toyota Rav 4 with 65,000km asking 16,999$ possible trade it for our crappy van. And could maybe get them down to 15K since it's been on the lot for almost a month. I was pretty excited to find this with so low km, but then did some research and found lots of people saying low km on an older vehicle is great, IF you get an awesome deal (which this isn't), and there are cons for low mileage. The benefits of this, are towing (doesn't have a tow package, but could install one). Also has roof racks, matrix doesn't and our corolla doesn't. Lots of room in the back. Has 4wd for those once every 3 years when we get some snow and my husband needs to get out of the driveway for work. So we'd be in the hole for maybe around 4K depending on trade in and price. But obviously we'd have worse mileage, an older vehicle etc.

 The matrix is blue and the rav 4 is red, obviously important in the decision process.

Matrix...right?

nawhite

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2015, 02:12:43 PM »
The Matrix is the same car as the Pontiac Vibe just branded differently. I own a 2006 Pontiac Vibe and I absolutely love it. Replaced a Subaru Outback with it and I don't miss the outback one bit.

I have gotten a washer AND dryer into the interior of the Vibe at the same time so it has tons of storage space. I get about 34 mpg with it (sorry about the units). I live in Colorado and keep chains in the back for when the weather gets bad. Never gotten stuck. For the roof rack, I bought one online, retail cost would be about $300 for everything you need for a really nice Yakima rack (friends don't let friends pay retail though :-) ), and then I paid a shop $100 to do the install (we did the attachment where you drill into the roof instead of the clips onto the doors).

And then regardless of the awesomeness of the Matrix/Vibe, financially it makes WAY more sense too. Go with option A.

TGod

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2015, 02:22:31 PM »
I have gotten a washer AND dryer into the interior of the Vibe at the same time so it has tons of storage space.

Thanks Nawhite, I guess you never know what you can fit into a car until you  try.

Am going to look at the rav 4 in roughly an hour. Short of them selling it to me for 10K I'm not going to seriously consider it, but it gets me out of my office and into the sunshine for a bit this afternoon.
Am going to go check out the matrix tomorrow morning. Just heard back from the owner, he said he used it as a highway commute vehicle instead of driving his other car - a Honda pilot. So that's good.
Is a rebuilt tho - he said he had a tree fall on the roof right after he bought it and crushed the roof and the windshield so it has rebuild status, I guess hence the price.  Will confirm that info....am definitely leaning towards the Matrix.

He also said it has nitro tires, which I had hoped meant there was a fancy red button in the car that made it go really really fast, but he said they just look "nice".


little_brown_dog

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2015, 02:28:18 PM »
Seems like option a does make more financial sense but...i have a 2007 rav 4 and honestly i love love love my car. we financed it (paid it off in a year), and even though i know that is terrible as far as mustachianism is concerned, i really don't have any regrets. it is a perfect fit for our expanding family which includes 2 large dogs, and comes in really handy for all of our DIY home reno projects that require a bigger vehicle for hauling lumber, used furniture, etc.  we could have gone with a smaller car and paid less at the time, but then we'd be in the position of looking for something more practical as our family grows. my rav will be with us until its final days.

r3dt4rget

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2015, 04:01:21 PM »
IMO big mistake going to look at the Rav4. Of course you will like it more. When shopping most people have a terrible time controlling their emotions and don't make rational decisions under the pressure of the sales staff. There is no reason to get the SUV. It has no features you need, but all the downsides that cost you money.

MayDay

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2015, 05:39:47 PM »
I would think seriously about what you want to tow, how often, and how heavy. Because I'm not sure if either car can handle it. Hopefully you can answer that.

daverobev

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2015, 08:31:15 AM »
In terms of towing, the Matrix/Vibe basically is a Corolla, I believe. So anything you can do with one...

MayDay

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2015, 08:48:59 AM »
In terms of towing, the Matrix/Vibe basically is a Corolla, I believe. So anything you can do with one...

Yah we used to have a matrix, and the weight limit for the rear can also be an issue. We bought 100 linear feet of landscaping rock, and had to take it home in 2 trips because we hit the weight limit, despite it being in a single layer in the back, not nearly filling the hatch.

Dicey

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2015, 10:12:54 AM »
We bought 100 linear feet of landscaping rock, and had to take it home in 2 trips because we hit the weight limit, despite it being in a single layer in the back, not nearly filling the hatch.
Sorry to veer off topic here, but space and weight are entirely different issues. Just because you can fit something into your car doesn't mean it's safe to carry that much weight. The amount of room you had left in your car's hatch is totally irrelevant. I'm glad you were smart and made two trips.

MayDay

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2015, 10:17:29 AM »
We bought 100 linear feet of landscaping rock, and had to take it home in 2 trips because we hit the weight limit, despite it being in a single layer in the back, not nearly filling the hatch.
Sorry to veer off topic here, but space and weight are entirely different issues. Just because you can fit something into your car doesn't mean it's safe to carry that much weight. The amount of room you had left in your car's hatch is totally irrelevant. I'm glad you were smart and made two trips.

I know, but as someone who thought my "bigger" car (our other car was a civic) would be so handy for house and yard projects, it was pretty dissapointing. If you can't tow with a corolla, you're not going to be towing in a matrix. The matrix is basically good for dogs, bicycles, bulky stuff like that which doesn't actually weigh much.


pablo suarve

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2015, 10:17:59 AM »
I did the opposite: I bought a gas guzzling SUV with a V8.  Got to stick it to the enviro-wackos somehow...

TGod

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2015, 06:47:35 PM »
We checked out the Rav4 and of course really liked it cause it was spacious, nice looking, drove wonderfully. But the advertised 65000 mileage was actually in miles, so in reality was 105,000km, but the guy didn't bring that up at all just kept talking about low km, which i guess for an 8 year old vehicle is true. But we really discussed our needs and our usesand decided that a) it was ridiculous over priced and would just keep costing us more money in the long run.

We then checked out a matrix this morning that just went up on craigslist, price was good, mileage ok (118,000km) had a tow package, was standard, had a 2.4l engine (i think that's what it was), so had way more zip. My DH said it was fun to drive. But it needed new tires which would cost about 800$. We left there pretty much set on buying it but continued up to the toyota dealership to poke around. They didn't have much, but they brought up a 2010 matrix with touring package. Plus it was a 1.8 L engine, so mileage was better than the other one. Had 125000km on it,so a bit higher than hoped, it was one of their courtesy cars after a trade in last year. When we asked price, he said around 16,000 cause it was such a great car.

For once our timing was impeccable and we brought up the fact that we had just seen a 2009 with fewer km and all the bells and whistles for 10K. He did his manager convo and at the end we paid 9200$ tax and fees included, and we can drop our crappy van there on monday and no longer worry about it dying in the middle of the highway.

All in all a pretty anti climactic big purchase. We didn't go over budget though which makes me sooo happy. Pay for it all with savings and no financing.

Dicey

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Re: The car purchase decision...go small or stay home?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2015, 11:02:58 PM »
Congrats on the nimble negotiations and the new to you car. Thanks for connecting the dots all the way to the end of the story.