Last post on May 18, 2013 at 3:48 AM
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Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Maxima, Mazda MAZDA3, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Lexus IS 250, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#2429 of 3274 4.5 K to spend but need a car quick- please help with ideas
Sep 27, 2011 (7:38 am)
Hi there. I'm new here and haven't owned a car for 11 years so I'm *really* out of the loop.
My small family (myself, husband, and toddler) need to buy a used car in about ten days. We only have about $4500 total (tax and fees, etc) to spend. We don't need much. Good gas millage, good reliability, and four doors is all we need. I thought we needed something like a 2001/2002 Ford Focus, 1998/1999 Toyota Corolla, or a 1996/1997 Honda Accord. Based on my research using the Edmunds TMV I thought these would be good bets for our price range and for what we needed. I also thought that since these are popular cars there would be a lot of them on the market to choose from.
This has really not been the case. We live in San Francisco and every place I've contacted will come nowhere near the TMV value for these cars. I'm guess maybe they are so popular, the dealers don't have to worry about selling them. There's no need to give me the price I'm asking if they can sell it for 1-2K more tomorrow or next week.
I need some suggestions on what to do and where to start. What cars should I consider to get what we need at this price? I'm really at a loss.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
#2430 of 3274 Re: 4.5 K to spend but need a car quick- please help with ideas [placeboeffect]
Sep 27, 2011 (10:06 am)
You might have to explore outside of San Francisco. Check in more "low-rent" districts like in the East Bay (Richmond comes to mind). You'll find more cheap cars in areas like that.
#2431 of 3274 Re: 4.5 K to spend but need a car quick- please help with ideas [placeboeffect]
Sep 27, 2011 (11:12 am)
The used car market post-tsunami has been much stronger than normal; prices are up everywhere. I doubt TMV has really accounted for that. Unfortunately, its not the best year to find a deal on a used car...
#2432 of 3274 Re: 4.5 K to spend but need a car quick- please help with ideas [placeboeffect]
Sep 27, 2011 (2:16 pm)
scroll up and see the couple of pages prior to your post. Same suggestions apply. I've found quite a few nice Proteges for my niece for under $4k.
#2433 of 3274 Re: 4.5 K to spend but need a car quick- please help with ideas [qbrozen]
by kyfdx HOST
Sep 27, 2011 (2:24 pm)
Ditto on the Protege...
#2434 of 3274 Re: 4.5 K to spend but need a car quick- please help with ideas [placeboeffect]
Sep 27, 2011 (9:25 pm)
Again, I'm going to recommend cheap and domestic. And I have the perfect cheap as dirt and reliable as a tank car for you. Nobody wants it, yet it's acceptable transportation what won't get stuck on those hills, either.
What is the one car that GM made that is the least desireable because of its image and because of the brand being "dead", yet it's mechanically reliable?
Look at a Pontiac Grand Prix. Get one with the 3.8L engine in it. It's the same old engine and transmission combo that GM made for 20+ years and it's pretty much trouble-free. Looks are a bit meh, but it gets good mpg ~26-28mpg highway, about 22-24mpg combined depending on how you drive it) and is fairly large and safe in a crash. Cheap as dirt to insure as well.
Typical private party example.
Or you can get this. It looks like it's well maintained and the car is very nice to drive. Expect 27-28mph highway as well - it's basically a Buick version of the Grand Prix. Much better on the eyes, though, and tons better inside.
#2435 of 3274 1996 Camry 159K vs 1999 Malibu 119K
Oct 04, 2011 (7:27 pm)
I just wanted to find out from the experts what they would choose in this scenario: price being the same for both cars - $3K
Chevy Malibu 1999 sedan
TOyota Camry 1996
I'm sure the Malibu owner sure knows his stuff as the car was in pristine condition but the 2 things impacting my decision would be:
1-Resale value after 2 years
2-Maintenance costs for the next 2 years
#2436 of 3274 Re: 1996 Camry 159K vs 1999 Malibu 119K [boyphp]
Oct 04, 2011 (7:59 pm)
You are worried about resale value in two years for a car you will pay $3k for? Why?
But the concern over maintenance costs is real. Pick the car that has the best condition, and most new/newer wear parts: brakes, shocks/struts, tires, exhaust system/converter, etc. Also if you can get maintenance records on either car that would be huge. You say the Malibu looks to be in pristine condition, so that might be very important. Is he the original owner, and has all the records?
If possible, have a good mechanic check out the car to make sure there isn't anything major wrong with it. Will cost you a few bucks but could save you a lot more.
#2437 of 3274 Re: 1996 Camry 159K vs 1999 Malibu 119K [backy]
by kirstie_h HOST
Oct 05, 2011 (6:57 am)
Ditto what backy said.
In 2 years, the resale value is going to be pretty much independent of the make/model, and more related to the condition and mileage. If it still runs in 2 years, it's a $1500-ish vehicle, slightly more or less depending on wear & tear. If it doesn't run, it's a $500 vehicle for parts.
Have them both checked out, the pick the one you like the best.
#2438 of 3274 Re: 1996 Camry 159K vs 1999 Malibu 119K [boyphp]
Oct 05, 2011 (11:33 am)
I purchased at 1996 Avalon for my son two years ago. I did get the maintenance records with it. It had 151,000 on it. It needed struts and the valve cover gaskets replaced. At 175,000, still going strong.