Author Topic: Which Used Prius to Buy?  (Read 2570 times)

historienne

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Which Used Prius to Buy?
« on: September 08, 2016, 01:06:28 PM »
We are in the market for a new-to-us Prius (having crashed our old one).  I've put together a list of the cars currently for sale near us on Craigslist and Cars.com.  We will obviously get an inspection before we buy anything, and won't buy anything that shows more than trivial fixes, but I'm trying to sort out how to compare the value on cars with different years/mileage.  Discounting the value of any fancy trim (because we don't care at all about it), how do I determine which car is likely to be the best value going forward?  I've looked up KBB for each, but that's not really what I'm interested - I want to know which will give me the lowest cost-per-future miles ratio.  I've pasted the list below, if anyone wants to give their opinion.  All but one are Gen 2 hatchbacks with a clean title; there's one 2010 Gen 3 in the mix. 

2007   89k   $7,950.00
2005   142k   $3,700.00
2009   80k   $7,999.00
2006   118k   $5,350.00
2008   ??   $6,995.00
2009   95k   $7,500.00
2007   116k   $4,495.00
2006   107k   $4,995.00
2005   67k   $5,000.00
2008   131k   $5,995.00
2008   118k   $5,995.00
2010   112k   $7,195.00

Cwadda

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2016, 01:21:35 PM »
I'd worry more about service records, past collisions/body work, how well the previous owner took care of the car. You'll do better financially taking these things into account than just the cost-per-future miles ratio.

catccc

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2016, 01:31:16 PM »
I have a friend that owns two priuses.  One is an 04 or 05 w/ 300K+ miles on it, and the other is maybe a 2010-2013 ish?  I know that's a big range.  Anyway, the 04-05 one has always run perfectly, the newer one is just a basket of problems.  Random things like leaky door seals and other annoyances... not sure if it runs just fine or what.  IDK if she is just unlucky with the newer one, or what, but you might want to either look into "bad model years."

frugaliknowit

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2016, 01:35:20 PM »
It would help to know what your budget is.  Why are there so few 2010+?  I thought after 2010, the Priuses are more roomy?

zephyr911

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 01:36:54 PM »
It would help to know what your budget is.  Why are there so few 2010+?  I thought after 2010, the Priuses are more roomy?
Yes they are. My wife loves her 2010 and we have used it on a ton of road trips. Plenty of hauling capacity.

kendallf

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 01:57:46 PM »
We have three in our family now; a 2004, 2007, and 2009.  Here are some of my thoughts based on my experience.

I'd avoid 1st year-model cars like my 2004 (and maybe the 2010).  The 2004 lacks a back up camera, has had some minor problems like the "combination meter" (basically, the instrument cluster) failing to power up, etc.

I'd also avoid the HID lighting option, I just had to spend $150 on aftermarket ballast and bulbs for my daughter's car.  The factory parts were more than $1k!

There's a steep drop in prices with 100k+ mile cars; I wouldn't be afraid of these if you have some minimal mechanical ability (you can change a 12v battery, coolant, brake pads, that  sort of thing).  The hybrid battery pack on my 2004 is still going strong with 205k in the Florida heat.

Finally, if you're in a cold climate, maybe consider the 2010+ models more strongly.  They're supposed to have better cold weather battery performance.

obstinate

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2016, 11:28:15 PM »
We are in the market for a new-to-us Prius (having crashed our old one).  I've put together a list of the cars currently for sale near us on Craigslist and Cars.com.  We will obviously get an inspection before we buy anything, and won't buy anything that shows more than trivial fixes, but I'm trying to sort out how to compare the value on cars with different years/mileage.  Discounting the value of any fancy trim (because we don't care at all about it), how do I determine which car is likely to be the best value going forward?  I've looked up KBB for each, but that's not really what I'm interested - I want to know which will give me the lowest cost-per-future miles ratio.  I've pasted the list below, if anyone wants to give their opinion.  All but one are Gen 2 hatchbacks with a clean title; there's one 2010 Gen 3 in the mix. 

2007   89k   $7,950.00
2005   142k   $3,700.00
2009   80k   $7,999.00
2006   118k   $5,350.00
2008   ??   $6,995.00
2009   95k   $7,500.00
2007   116k   $4,495.00
2006   107k   $4,995.00
2005   67k   $5,000.00
2008   131k   $5,995.00
2008   118k   $5,995.00
2010   112k   $7,195.00
2009 w/ 80k looks like a solid deal to me. I bought an '08 with 90k on it a couple of years ago. Twenty thousand miles and two years and we're still going strong.

historienne

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2016, 10:31:16 AM »
A few answers - our budget is up to $8,000, which is why there aren't many newer models.

We will certainly do our due diligence on any car we buy, but we need to prioritize which leads to follow up on before we know much else about them. We have two young kids, two full-time-plus jobs, and currently zero cars, so we can't feasibly go see all of these in the next few days.  Hence the desire to calculate at least a rudimentary value ranking.

FWIW, we don't really to have the capacity to do even basic maintenance, due to a combination of time (see above) and the fact that we don't have a driveway to park in. 

lightning hippo

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 12:07:33 PM »
I'd pick the 2010 from your list since it's priced well. 
I could see a case can be made for 2009's with lower miles, but the extra 20-30k miles on the 2010 won't matter as much after you put another 100k on top.
Gen 3 is more refined and gets better mpg.
I bought a used 2007 in 2010 and really like it, but I'd buy a gen3 if my car got totalled today.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Which Used Prius to Buy?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2016, 12:52:12 PM »
the 2005 with 67k for $5k seems like the clear winner to me.

 I never like getting on the upper end of my budget with a new(used) car purchase. $7900 and an unexpected $500 repair costs and you are sol.

the '05 is older but if there does not seem to be any other problems it looks like age is its only issue.