Author Topic: What to do with the cars  (Read 4832 times)

cosmie

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What to do with the cars
« on: June 12, 2012, 01:52:10 PM »
So we have 2 cars, both fully paid for:

2007 Mazda3 Hatchback @ 55,000 miles
2007 Mazda CX-7 @ 78,000 miles

The Mazda3 has been my fiance's since she was 16. She learned to drive in it, so it has a considerable number of minor dings and scratches on the outside. It also has a bit of interior damage: scuffs here and there, small cigarette burn on the back seat (flew out front window, flew in back window). The front bumper is also cracked from a small incident she got into, which looks fairly bad. When my daughter's carseat is buckled in the back, I can barely move my seat enough to fit. Driving, I'm so far up my head hits the ceiling and my legs can't move. Passenger, my legs just bang against the dash. When being used by just me, the car is great. It's just as a family vehicle it fails. It's in her and her father's names, but still under her dad's insurance (and he pays it).

The CX-7 was an early wedding gift 5 months ago from her father when my '94 Nissan Sentra finally blew the coup (timing chain blew at 250k miles). The car is in pretty snazzy shape, and fits us well. There actually seems to be too much room, since a lot of the space is vertical and we just don't use it. The car is in both of our names and I pay the insurance on it, at a cost of about $2,400/yr (state minimum is at $1,600/yr, after pricing it at 10+ places).

Now we travel a lot to see family (usually at their expense - so declining to visit them while they offer to foot the bill would be extremely rude), trips ranging from 3 hours to our parents to 11 hours for extended family. The 11 hour trip is to our daughter's great-great-great grandmother's house, and so we try to make that trip as often as possible (not often you can get pictures/memories with that many generations back).

The Mazda3 fits all of our stuff for trips, but the carseat requiring the front seats to be so far forward makes trips uncomfortable. We've tried about 5 carseats (Babies-r-us lets you take them out to fit to your car), and even the slimmest had this problem. Plus, trading in the car for a new one means that the insurance payments will probably bump to me.

The CX-7 gets terrible gas mileage, even after I taught my fiance to drive more economically. As well, the space generally is too much for our trips. Although we can fill the whole thing, now that I've convinced my fiance that she doesn't need to pack 2/3 of her suitcase with shoes, we've had a bit more empty space in the car.

I'd like to get rid of both cars, personally. The Mazda3 is only good when one of us is driving (usually just me), and makes it difficult to sporadically fit the whole family. However it's a 2007 bought-new car with only 55,000 miles on it that's been regularly maintained by the dealership, and due to the cosmetic problems will trade in (or private sell) for much less than it otherwise would. I've thought about taking it to a body shop to price the bumper and dings being taken care of. The difference between the car in the current condition and the car in "good" condition is $5000 (from $7,000 to $12,000). I'd like to trade in the CX-7 due to it's inefficiencies on so many levels (insurance, mpg, parking, etc), but it being a gift and all I'm afraid of pissing off my soon-to-be father-in-law, especially if I trade it in for an older car (he might see it as me trying to pocket the difference rather than trying to get a more effective car).

What would you guys do? I'm in a fairly cushy position, considering I've been given a $12,000 car and in a sense inherited another car worth $7,000-$12,000. I'm also only having to pay one (fairly high) insurance payment rather than two. Should I stick with what I've got, or should I rock the boat and try to trade in for something else?

gecko10x

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 02:36:57 PM »
Given that the Mazda3 is worth little, but is mechanically sound and gets good mileage, it's probably in your best interest to keep it, unless you don't need two cars.

The CX-7 is a poor value, IMO, but given you'd have to go quite a bit older, I'm not sure how much you'd get out of the trade there either.

Edited to add: If you're looking for really mustachian advice, I'm not the one to listen to in this area ;-)

gooki

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 06:00:09 PM »
Ask the father in law first.

Then sell both and buy something economical around the same age (2007)

gooki

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 06:00:41 PM »
PS your insurance costs are insane.

cosmie

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 09:04:33 PM »
Ask the father in law first.

Then sell both and buy something economical around the same age (2007)
That's been my go-to plan so far, but I've been waiting for a good time to bring it up to him. He's the type that can easily misconstrue it as disliking his gift and trying to get something else with it, and get silently upset about it. But then, he used to be a finance manager at a dealership and trades up cars every two years (from 2 years old to new), so cars may be different for him.

Maybe I'll wait a little bit and it'll seem less rude. There's a lack of used inventory here anyway, due to a massive hail storm a year and a half ago. If your car wasn't in a garage during that storm it got totaled out.

PS your insurance costs are insane.
I know. A little bit of me shrivels up and dies inside every time I make a biannual payment.

smedleyb

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 09:41:10 PM »
Cosmie, I just have a hard time believing the Mazda 3 can't accommodate you, your wife, and your baby daughter.  I mean, unless you're both north of 6 feet, I think you're exaggerating the space constraints of the 3.  I've driven hatches quite a bit and found them maybe a touch tight but adequate for even a family of 4.

Keep the 3 as your everyday car; use it for 80-90% of your driving needs (especially the long trips) to keep the gas bill in check; keep the 7 to appease your in-laws.  And just enjoy the fact that you have 2 solid (and paid off) cars that you can/should drive for the next 10 years.   

cosmie

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 10:01:52 PM »
Cosmie, I just have a hard time believing the Mazda 3 can't accommodate you, your wife, and your baby daughter.  I mean, unless you're both north of 6 feet, I think you're exaggerating the space constraints of the 3. 
I'm just a smidge below 6 foot, actually, and my other half is about 5' 1". The major problem has to do with the design and angle of the backseat. Due to depressions in the back seat bench (depressions for side seats, raised 'hump' area for center seat), the seat only buckles in level and tight when in the center, which effects both front seats. We had it behind Lauren most of the time previously, rather than in the center, but after an incident with it tipping over while driving due to it's instability in that seat, we aren't comfortable with that anymore. It was less of a problem with the infant car seat, but has become more of a problem since we've transitioned to a convertible car seat. When strapped in forward-facing, the carseat has no problem fitting. The problem is when it's rear facing, due to the angle of the Mazda3's back seat, you have to angle the carseat significantly forward to keep it horizontal. The carseat is supposed to remain rear facing until about 2 years of age, so that's quite a bit more time.

Quote
I've driven hatches quite a bit and found them maybe a touch tight but adequate for even a family of 4. 
Totally agree, for the most part. The problem doesn't have to do with the hatchback in general, but specific design traits of the Mazda3. We've easily fit the three of us and my friend in his Hyundai Accent, without needing to make any particular concessions to fit.

Keep the 3 as your everyday car; use it for 80-90% of your driving needs (especially the long trips) to keep the gas bill in check;
It's already my go-to car for everyday use, but in about 2 months Lauren will start needing to drive for everyday use as well (going from stay-at-home mom to back to school), so both cars will start being utilized on a daily basis.

As for using the 3 on the long trips, those are the ones that are specifically hard to use it for. I mitigate the problem by riding in the back when Lauren is driving, as she easily fits in the front seat even moved all the way forward. But when it's my turn to drive, that doesn't help much.

smedleyb

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 10:18:00 PM »
Horizontal rear facing car seats are overrated.  I think the kid can survive travelling at a slight incline. lol!

Hey man, you got one of those things known as a "good problem."  I guess driving to the inlaws in the bulky 7 will have to do for now.  Oh, the sacrifices we must make.

Do you dislike the cars for any other reason?   I mean, do you really need to go cheaper since they're paid off and pay insurance on only 1 vehicle? 

cosmie

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 10:45:53 PM »
Horizontal rear facing car seats are overrated.  I think the kid can survive travelling at a slight incline. lol!
A slight incline I agree with. Close to a 45 degree incline, not so much.

Hey man, you got one of those things known as a "good problem."  I guess driving to the inlaws in the bulky 7 will have to do for now.  Oh, the sacrifices we must make.
:-D
Totally agree it's a good problem to have. A free upgrade from a broken down '94 Sentra to a fun 2007? I'll take it any day. The tripling of insurance cost, however, made me sad inside.

Do you dislike the cars for any other reason? 
Not particularly. The adage of "zoom zoom" that Mazda uses to describe their vehicles is pretty apt. :D

I did just have the A/C compressor replaced. The model year I have is notorious for it going out, so much so that they extended the car's 3 year/36,000 mile warranty to 5 year/50,000 for the A/C system in order to avoid a recall (sadly mine went out at 78,000 miles). That seems to be the only major common complaint with the vehicle I've found, however.

I mean, do you really need to go cheaper since they're paid off and pay insurance on only 1 vehicle? 
The insurance is the big one. For some reason, insurance is terrible for this car. I priced the insurance for a similar year Toyota Matrix (a car I liked, but can't find locally), and it's about 1/3 the cost with the same coverage (similar to the cost of my old Sentra's insurance). The Mazda3 has similar insurance costs as the Matrix. So insuring both the Mazda3 and a car like the Matrix would still save me $800/yr in insurance costs, if not more due to bundling. Sedans such as the Corolla lowered it it slightly more, as well.

$_gone_amok

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Re: What to do with the cars
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 01:48:45 PM »
I'm about your height and I drive a 2008 prius - comparable in space as a mazda3. I have 2 britax marathon car seats in the back. One is front facing and the other is rear facing.

When your kid gets older, switch to front facing will save a lot more space. Just tell your kid not to kick your backseat. It take some training but its easy work.  I say keep the mazda3 and trade the CX7 for something more affordable.