Author Topic: trade in gas guzzler for prius?  (Read 2860 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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trade in gas guzzler for prius?
« on: May 14, 2013, 03:42:47 PM »
Hi - Have been trying to figure this one out on my own using an Excel spreadsheet, but am failing.  Here's my situation:

Just got back from an overseas assignment.  Living in Washington, D.C. where gas is about $3.75/gallon.  Will be commuting about 15 miles each way.  Before suggesting that I bike, it's just not feasible for me.  I'm a single mom, I need access to a car during the day for emergencies, and I work an odd schedule.  I would not feel comfortable biking at 11 p.m.  Plus, driving cuts my commute time in half vice taking the metro.  That's time I can spend with my kids.

Currently own a 2003 Honda Pilot with 91,000 miles on it.  Mechanically still fine, got banged up a bit overseas.  It needs some of the big maintenance work done on it -- typically done at 80K I think.  The car is paid off, estimate the value on KBB is about $5600.  My guess is it probably needs 2K of work done on it.  It needs new tires too.

I'm contemplating trading it in and purchasing a Prius, probably a 2010 or newer.

Either car will be sold once I head overseas again, possible as early as 12 months from now.

Question is:  Do I hold on to the Pilot, put money into it and expend more in gas, or do I trade it in for a newer car that I'll finance and then sell, again as early as 12 months from now, but possibly not for four years?

I'd really appreciate the help if anyone has advice on how to proceed. 

Another question:  I do have the money in savings to pay for a newer car cash and not finance.  In the scenario where I'll be selling the car in 12-48 months, would it make sense to just leave the cash in savings and accept the finance charges?


  • Bristles
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Re: trade in gas guzzler for prius?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2013, 04:14:07 PM »
This one is easy -- keep the Pilot.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 42
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Troy, NY
Re: trade in gas guzzler for prius?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 04:16:42 PM »
I think you're better off keeping what you've got rather than trading in for new.  The depreciation on "New vehicle" to "1-4 year old vehicle that you have to sell for cash or trade in for cash" would be huge compared to annual gas savings (around $1k/yr it sounds like).  Not to mention insurance savings for old car w/o collision versus new car w/ collision and lost investement income.  You may be able to shop around the maintenance piece of things, go to a third party shop, etc to get that number down, too.

Although perhaps it would work out BEST to buy a comparably valued older prius (or other fuel efficient car) from a private party.  You would be "out" only the cost of having a mechanic verify it's in good condition, and whatever vehicle registration/sales taxes the transaction would incur, but then would gain the milage savings and probably savings due to cheaper repairs.  Sell you current Pilot now and only do the repairs noticable on a test drive.   


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 198
Re: trade in gas guzzler for prius?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 07:50:41 PM »

It wont be advantageous financially to get a 2010 prius.  If you are going to make the switch I would look at an 07/08.  You are still getting a very good, reliable car with the older model.
Better still would be a Honda fit of the same age.  Good to put kids and stuff in, reliable, simple to work on for repairs, good mileage and excellent to get around the DC area in.


  • Stubble
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  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: trade in gas guzzler for prius?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2013, 09:41:32 PM »
This one is easy -- keep the Pilot.

I agree.  It's not even close IMO.

Even more with your uncertainty in moving in 12 months.

Also, you don't have to justify yourself to a bunch of forum nazi's on why you want to have a car.... :)