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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: brian313313 on September 07, 2018, 07:47:25 AM

Title: Want a Second Car
Post by: brian313313 on September 07, 2018, 07:47:25 AM
My wife & I have been sharing a car. I never "need" the car so she gets priority. She is helping her mother who can no longer drive. Sharing is getting old now and soon I want to take a road trip and she won't be going with me. We were planning a trip next week but an emergency came up. Her mother now needs a tooth pulled on Monday. Trip cancelled but I would have still liked to go. My wife doesn't like to travel much so I often take trips without her. Anyway, it's time for a second vehicle.

I'm having a few thoughts so I'm looking for input. Here are the significant factors:
- Budget is 5-10k. Not a hard budget but not much reason to go over 10k nor less than 5k.
- Needs to look decent. We are not following all the rules in our HOA, so don't want to upset anyone even more by having a "beater" in the drive. Also, cops tend to hassle junk looking cars more and sleeping in the car on road trips can be more difficult.
- I can work on cars. I don't have the ability to do engine swaps, transmission swaps, etc. Association has 48hr limit on repairs and we don't have a garage. I see many good looking cars with over 200k miles and am thinking this may be an option because of this.
- A hauling vehicle would be nice. We are lacking a way to get things from Home Depot, such as pine straw which we need about 20 bales right now. We're rural living so taking 4 bales at a time in the Prius is hard. Also, it's not so cheap to rent a HD truck because we'd go over the 75 minutes. It's not impossible though so this is a "nice to have" not a "must have".
- A road tripper would be nice. We can switch vehicles though if second vehicle is an automatic. The Prius is great with it's excellent MPG and easy to sleep in between locations.
- MPG isn't critically important because we're not high-mileage drivers. It does still factor in for environmental reasons.
- First car it Toyota Prius. Serves its purpose wonderfully.

My ideas so far:
- A second Prius. We would never need to switch cars this way. However, we don't gain any more functionality. 10yo, 100k miles can be had for 5k-7500k.
- A Honda Fit. With the magic seat, I think this could haul reasonably well. We live in the mountains. Due to lack of power, I'd probably need a manual trans which means wife & I can't switch vehicles. It still gets pretty good mpg. Price is about 5k with 100k miles. Hard to find a stick though.
- A CR-V or RAV4. Better MPG than above with lower hauling ability. Not as interesting, but over 200k runs about 7500.
- A 2wd 4runner or Tacoma. Auto trans, over 200k can be had for under 10k. I use the Prius for road trips. 4wd are almost twice the price for the old ones. (in this area at least). There is also a new looking Chevy Tahoe with 325k miles for about 3,000.

This is sort of like a range between hauling capability and MPG. In many ways, the Prius makes the most sense because I already know that vehicle. It barely needs any maintenance & gets great MPG. However, for not much more money, I can get something that meets some of our needs/wants.


Title: Re: Want a Second Car
Post by: Dave1442397 on September 07, 2018, 10:38:46 AM
If you can deal with RHD cars, there are some cool Japanese imports that are old, but tend to have low miles.

These guys have all sorts of vehicles, from mini-trucks to limos.
Title: Re: Want a Second Car
Post by: brian313313 on September 07, 2018, 11:46:48 AM
Cool. I would like that RHD but my wife would freak. She'd probably swerve into oncoming traffic.

One real cool thing about the Prius is the electric A/C compressor. Keeps the car cool at night without running the engine much. Does anyone know if there is another vehicle like that? I've tried googling but haven't had success yet.

Title: Re: Want a Second Car
Post by: RWD on September 07, 2018, 12:22:41 PM
I'm happy to see how your attitude towards cars has changed over time. It feels like just yesterday you were trying to convince the forum to give you permission to buy a BMW SUV ( Now you've gotten rid of the money pit VW and gas guzzling F150 and are driving a Prius. :)

Did you still want to be able to haul a kayak (

You seem to like the Prius. How about a luxury Prius wagon (i.e. Lexus CT 200h). These appear to be available for under $10k. The Prius C is also less than $10k, for a more hatchback form factor.

Title: Re: Want a Second Car
Post by: brian313313 on September 07, 2018, 12:37:25 PM
My Kayak fits in the Prius so I'm good on that. I was just thinking about maybe the Prius V. Gives me a little more room in the back for hauling.

My change in attitude is that I went ahead and retired last May. We moved out of the city where cost of living is lower. The equity in our condo put us over the FI boundary. We don't live fancy by any means but that's the way it should be.

Title: Re: Want a Second Car
Post by: Ecky on September 08, 2018, 09:31:57 AM
I think you've made a very reasonable list of vehicles, all with merits. I'm inclined to agree with you on getting something different than a Prius, so you have more utility. Is there a physical reason your wife can't drive stick, or does she just refuse to learn?

Off the top of my head I'm not aware of any other manufacturers that use electric A/C compressors, at least not on older vehicles. You'll be limited to hybrids, as 12v can't be reasonably used to drive a compressor. Most non-Toyota hybrids older than ~2015 are mild hybrids, and while they might have electric A/C compressors, they won't have the versatility of Toyota's system. You might consider a Chevy Volt?

Could you get an EV? I'm aware of several people who use Nissan Leafs on farms. Their drivetrain is capable of towing a very significant amount. Obviously not the vehicle to take on road trips, but EVs have very few moving parts to fail.
Title: Re: Want a Second Car
Post by: brian313313 on September 08, 2018, 03:43:12 PM
My wife doesn't completely refuse to learn, but she's not in favor of it. It would probably cost me a clutch to teach her though. :)

I've found a very nice 4runner I think I'm going to buy on Monday. It's 242k miles, but still looks almost new outside. All the fluids, engine bay, underneath the car are clean. Drove nice, no wobble, breaks bite hard. There are a few cosmetic issues inside but it's in great shape overall. I'm going to think about it over the weekend though. The price is 6k though so I'm pretty happy with that.