Last post on Nov 29, 2010 at 4:00 AM
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Car Buying, Car Values, Certified Used (CPO)
#950 of 971 Used converitble under $8k
Oct 22, 2010 (1:57 pm)
I am trying to buy a used convertible under $8k. The ones I found in my range and liking are some 2003-2005 Eclipse with 50-70k miles and Sebring 2002-2005 50-70k miles. I put average amount of miles on my car( like 12k in 2 years). My ideal car would be a 2004-2005 model with 50-60k miles and around $6k and the car should last me atleast 6-7years without too much repairs. Additional features inside car and everything will be a plus.
Which convertible would you guys recommend for me and why? how do 2004-2005 Sebring, Mustang, Eclipse, etc hold up against each other? I tried to find a side by side comparision using google, but didnt find any.
#951 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 22, 2010 (4:58 pm)
Not really my bailiwick... but the Sebring is a pretty miserable car. Beloved of rental fleets and not many others, and Chrysler FWD transmissions as a bonus.
Mitsubishis are fairly rare around here (MI), and the few people I know who had them were not pleased with parts availability and prices. You may wish to ask around; they may be a good value, depending on where you are.
If you're buying an older car with the intention of keeping it, I think the Mustang is a much better choice. Fairly simple technology, any mechanic will know what to do, great parts availability.
The question there is value... I don't know how Mustang convertibles depreciate; at any rate, you picked the right time of year ;->
#952 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 22, 2010 (5:45 pm)
your criteria really point to a POS, frankly. I mean, even an '03 V6 stang with 60k miles is going to cost you $8k at a minimum. Same goes for an '04 Eclipse.
An '04 sebring 4-cyl will run you more like $6500-$7k.
To get your ideal '04 w/60k for $6k ... yer gonna have to look for one that is beat to hell or has a bad history.
If you are driving 12k in 2 years, that is far below average, actually. At just 6k per year, I'd be looking for something a bit nicer, maybe with higher miles. For example, off the top of my head, you might find a '98 BMW 323 vert with 75k miles for $6k-$7k. After 4 years, you are still just under 100k on it. Same goes for a '98 C70. You could try to find a low mileage '00 mustang GT and probably pick it up for around $7k.
In any case, spending $6k on a convertible and asking it to give you 6 years of no-to-low upkeep cost is a TALL order!
#953 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 22, 2010 (7:37 pm)
Would a 2-seater work for you? If so, you can't go wrong with a Mazda Miata...as long as you're well under 6ft tall. =)
I just ran a search on AutoTrader for all convertibles within 100 miles of my Zip Code and I found several low mileage, very good condition examples of the following-
Toyota Solara Convertible
Volvo C70 Convertible
Saab 9-3 Convertible
Personally, I find the C70 to be most appealing and the Saab 9-3 comes in a close second. It's very ironic that the Swedes built two of the best convertibles of the last decade...I doubt they sell very many of them in Sweden (I hear it's kinda chilly).
Regardless of which model you choose, take it to a mechanic for a thorough inspection and be sure to pull a Carfax report for it. Convertibles are structurally weaker than the fixed-roof models they're based on. A good analogy is comparing a box with a lid, then without the lid and see how much easier it is to flex and twist it with the lid removed! For that reason, I would definitely avoid any convertible that has been wrecked before. The already weakened structure is almost impossible to fully and correctly repair. A good mechanic will be able to tell if it has been repaired and the Carfax will reassure you of the car's past. =)
#954 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k
Oct 23, 2010 (5:14 pm)
Get a 1999 Celica GT Convertible. KBB retail/mint condition value is just a bit over $7K.
Done. Nothing will work better or cost less to keep running in your price range.
#955 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 23, 2010 (9:19 pm)
I have found some 2004 eclipse with 65k miles for $8k and some sebring for $7k. Clean carfax and everything. I just wanted to buy a car with doesn't give too much problem. Some cars model just don't last very long. Hence the questions.
#956 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 24, 2010 (2:59 am)
Consumer Reports has Owner Satisfaction ratings, which are actually more useful than most any other test. The question owners are asked is "If you had it to do over, would you definitely purchase this same vehicle again"?
Here are the percentages that said YES-
Mazda Miata- 86%
Volvo C70- 70%
Chrysler Sebring- 51%
The median/average percentage for this class of car (convertibles) is 72%. The Sebring was by far the lowest rated with barely half of the owners saying they would buy it again....which implies 49% aren't happy campers.
The reason you find more late model Sebring convertibles at dirt cheap prices than any other model is because they depreciate worse than any other car on the road! On a brand new one, at 36 months it's only expected to be worth 28% of the original price and at 60 months, just 18%. In comparison, a Mustang convertible will be worth 57% at 36 months an 44% at 60 months. I truly pity anyone who a Sebring convertible new...can you imagine buying a car with a $28k sticker price and, just one year later, it's barely worth $10k!!! But very few individuals buy a Sebring convertible brand new, the overwhelming majority are sold to rental fleets. And I can almost guarantee that the used ones you're finding are former rental cars...
I still think your safest bet in terms of mechanical reliablity, reasonable maintenance and repair costs, decent fuel economy and driving dynamics (comfortable, easy to drive, plenty of power) is the Toyota Camry Solara Convertible. I found several within 300 miles of my zip code that are in perfect condition and being sold privately by their original owners! A one-owner private party sale is always the best way to go with any kind of vehicle. If you can locate one that you like and you either have cash or can arrange a loan thru your bank or credit union, you'll get the best and most car for your money...
I found a 2002 Solara SLE conv for $8200 from a private seller in VA. It's silver, has 85k miles and the leather interior looks like it belongs in a Lexus. Just do a search on AutoTrader.com and use zip code 23602 (that's where the car is located).
I also found an identical looking (silver with gray leather) 2001 SLE conv in Florida in pristine condition. It only has 68k miles and priced at $7900. Clean Carfax history, but not sure if it's the original owner, but it is private sale.
#957 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 24, 2010 (4:22 am)
As the above post states, just forget the Sebring. Put it out of your mind. It may or may not hold up mechanically for you, but it really falls apart elsewhere. If you are so inclined, go ahead and take a look at a used one or two. You'll find that they are worn out and beat up. I can't say why. Could be because they weren't treated well or, more likely, it is because the materials are subpar and just don't hold up.
I just went through this same search myself, but my limit was $6k. I did not find one Sebring that didn't look like it had been through a war. I couldn't locate a Mustang GT that fit the bill, nor a C70. Wound up with a '99 Saab 93 SE with 120k in very good condition for $4500.
You aren't getting much feedback on the Eclipse because most folks don't know anything about them. They are rather unpopular cars.
#958 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [neomacro]
Oct 24, 2010 (3:33 pm)
"...hold up against each other?..."
Sebring for the price because they depreciate quickly. Roomy for a convertible. Eclipse for reliability and not too bad performance. 2005 Mustang V-8 for performance and looks (forget the V-6) 2004 Mustangs and earlier were built on an obsolete 1970's frame and are less desirable.
#959 of 971 Re: Used converitble under $8k [igozoomzoom]
Oct 24, 2010 (9:42 pm)
The Solara is also a good choice if the Celica is too small.
Basically it's a Camry and a Corolla - Convertible. And as reliable as a normal Toyota. Oh, FYI - my last Toyota I finally sold a few weeks ago with 375K on it. And it still ran just fine. Anything else will just simply cost you a LOT more to fix and maintain.
The MR2 also qualifies, but it's dangerously small and underpowered, IMO. The MX5 also has this problem - I just can't physically fit in the seats and it's asking to get punked in a crash. Yes, it's a blast to drive, but tiny is no good these days, especially when slightly larger convertibles and roadsters work almost as well but might save your life in a crash.
Note - if you had 10-12K, I'd recommend a 1996 Corvette. It's a world better than most of the competition and is a serious deal for the money. The LT1 engine is about as bulletproof as it gets and repairs are pretty reasonable as long as the car isn't used up and worn out.(note - most are - shop carefully)
Why get this specific year? It's the last year of the fourth generation run and isn't as flashy as the new models. It's a good "sleeper" option and is under-appreciated. The replacement model didn't have a convertible option until 1998, and it's still 15K for a good example.
Not too bad looking, actually. Even better in black.
A typical private party example.
Don't take my word on it, either. This is a solid choice and has a soon to be "classic" look as the new models keep getting more and more like a giant jellybean.