Author Topic: Best commuter car  (Read 2447 times)

shanaling

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Best commuter car
« on: March 30, 2021, 09:48:51 AM »
Hi! I have two questions:

My 2011 Mazda3 at $138k miles is worth about $4000 and may need a major transmission repair. At what price would you say the repair is not worth it?

If not worth repair, then Iím in market for another car. This car is primarily used for my 60 miles per day commute in California. I do occasionally take my two kids ages 4 and 1 in  this car, which will most likely last till their teenage years. My budget is ~ $17k total. Suggestions for best car models and best place to purchase? Used or new is fine.

Thank you!

Dave1442397

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2021, 05:48:28 AM »
I wouldn't spend the $3-4k on a new transmission for that car.

As for a commuter car, I'd go for a used Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, depending on what you like. The Accord is more of a driver's car, especially the Sport model with the stick shift, but that may not be what you want for commuting.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2021, 06:55:45 AM »
On transmission: what's the state of the rest of the car? All in good repair, or are there signs of other things needing work too? I would probably hesitate at a $2k+ repair to our 2k9 fit -- we've got body rust starting around the wheels (salt belt), cracked driver's door armrest, and a semi-persistent leak on the passenger windshield, plus the dings and dents of almost 12 years of life.

Can you charge at home? At work? There should be plenty of electric options in your price range, including bolts, leafs, and maybe a few others. In CA you'll have some of the early compliance cars, so fit-e, focus-e, etc. I'm not sure if those were lease-only though, so they may have EV1'd them.

If you don't have convenient charging then the usual recommendations apply. Civic, Fit, Camry, etc.

ericrugiero

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2021, 03:05:29 PM »
The Mazda 3 should be good for quite a few more miles.  How much will the transmission cost?  Could you find a used transmission?  AccidentalMustache asked a good question.  What is the condition of the rest of the car?  If it's in good shape, spend the money on the transmission.  If not, you might want to get rid of it.   

Regarding a newer car, with that budget you can get a pretty nice Camry, Accord, Civic, Corolla, Leaf, etc. 

RWD

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 03:23:14 PM »
I'd probably be willing to spend $2-3k on the transmission if the rest of the car was in good condition.

For replacement options there are lots of good EVs in your price range. Nissan LEAF, Hyundai Ioniq, VW e-Golf, Kia Soul EV, Chevy Bolt, etc.

meadow lark

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 04:10:02 PM »
I bought a used Prius.  Not saying itís Ďthe bestí car for your situation, but I like it a lot.

JLee

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 04:27:31 PM »
I'd probably be willing to spend $2-3k on the transmission if the rest of the car was in good condition.

For replacement options there are lots of good EVs in your price range. Nissan LEAF, Hyundai Ioniq, VW e-Golf, Kia Soul EV, Chevy Bolt, etc.

Yep, at 60 miles a day the fuel and maintenance savings for an EV would be significant vs another ICE replacement.

utaca

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 04:31:00 PM »
I bought a used Prius.  Not saying itís Ďthe bestí car for your situation, but I like it a lot.

I second the used Prius idea. I recently bought a five year old used Prius C (smaller than the regular Prius) and prices ranged from about CAD $10 - 15K depending on mileage, features, etc - so it's well within OP's budget. 

Sandi_k

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2021, 08:51:23 PM »
Honda Fit?

darknight

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2021, 07:02:22 PM »
I've owned many used cars, and agree with finding a good used Prius. I've owned many different vehicles from subarus, toyotas, almost something from any common manufacturer. All "mustachian type" vehicles, ie, nothing over 10k (some 2 dr performance cars, some trucks). Some of my absolute favorites were toyota camry station wagons- massive storage (I have 2 kiddos), decent economy (especially my 4 cyl) and cheap. If you can't find a decent prius find a decent camry. They both are quite uneventful cars and are cheap if you ever have to work on them.

Find a prius 2011 and newer, they can be had from 5-8k easily. Run a carfax, inquire about any oil consumption. They are very reliable cars and can run well past 200k miles. I had a 2012 prius and would get 35-40 mpg daily driving with a heavy food. Good stereo, 45 mpg in town driving.

I only sold the prius to buy an older TDI vw car, i'm more on the tech savvy side so I enjoy the manual transmission and performing my own maintenance etc. I wouldn't recommend a vw diesel for the common mustachian. Oil changes are $150 at a dealer if you don't do them yourself ahh!!

With everyone nowadays buying trucks and SUVs you can snag a good economical toyota on the cheap. That's what i'd tell a family member to buy (if they were into the mustachian life lol).

aetheldrea

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 09:22:57 PM »
If you have charging available at your workplace, you could buy the oldest, crappiest Leaf, and drive almost for free.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2021, 02:09:00 AM »
I'd probably fix the Mazda. A 2011 Mazda with 138,000 miles should have plenty left in it.

We're not talking about a rusted out 2002 Chevy with 300k here.

Although, I've usually had the view that if a repair is under $1000, then usually I'd repair, if it's $1000-2000, consider it depending on the state of the car and remaining lifespan, and if over $2000 I'd probably move it on.

Although a couple of years ago I spent $1500 on a clutch for a car that was barely worth that in good condition. I got another 18 months out of it so I think it was worthwhile.

darknight

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Re: Best commuter car
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2021, 03:44:51 PM »
I'd probably fix the Mazda. A 2011 Mazda with 138,000 miles should have plenty left in it.

We're not talking about a rusted out 2002 Chevy with 300k here.

Although, I've usually had the view that if a repair is under $1000, then usually I'd repair, if it's $1000-2000, consider it depending on the state of the car and remaining lifespan, and if over $2000 I'd probably move it on.

Although a couple of years ago I spent $1500 on a clutch for a car that was barely worth that in good condition. I got another 18 months out of it so I think it was worthwhile.

amen. Sometimes it's better to take the demon you know. Ask yourself what you could afford for the repair cost..