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Old 04-08-2013, 02:44 PM   #41
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I guess it depends upon what you are looking for. Plenty of cars in the mid to lower 20's with auto transmission. You may have to go smaller in size and power though. Price them out with options online and then order one just the way you want it.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:24 PM   #42
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You already have lots of responses. But wanted to chime in without reading all the other responses. I too am in the market and narrowed down to 2013 Honda Civic LX or 2013 Mazda3 with Skyactiv engine. Both are under 20K incl taxes. Hwy mpg is ~40. High reliability, etc.
Used cars are not great value currently.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:54 PM   #43
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I personally like bells and whistles -- if they are the bells and whistles I want. That is, I would not buy a new car with a rear camera, for example. But a lot of the cosmetic stuff I don't care about.

We wanted to buy an expensive second car for us a few months ago. We ended up buying a Hyundai Veloster for the low mid 20s but which had the bells and whistles we wanted (backup camera, navigation for example)

I basically made a list of the features that were important to me and narrowed the type of car I wanted (hatchback in this case) and then I did a little research into that and got a list of the cars that might fit the criteria. We then went to the manufacturer web page to see what mix of features were out there and to get an idea of MSRP. We narrowed down to a few cars at this point and went and looked at a few.

The Veloster had many more bells and whistles that we wanted than other similarly priced cars so it was an easy decision to choose it (we've been very happy with it).
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:40 PM   #44
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Why not buy a 2-3 year old car with all the bells and whistles? I'm sure there are plenty of those in the $20K range. If you keep a car for 18 years, just buy a two year old one and keep it for 16 years.
This strategy often doesn't save as much money as it used to because it became so popular and increased demand for "almost new" cars.

And for Hondas and Toyotas in particular (especially Hondas), the depreciation is often so close to linear that you might as well buy new, get the full warranty and not worry about inheriting someone else's problems, abused vehicles or inadequate maintenance.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:46 PM   #45
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The source is BLS so it probably has hedonic adjustments. Of course, so does the total CPI number, so it is still apples to apples. Auto CPI below total average CPI seems perfectly reasonable to me. Many of the autos being sold today weren't even available 30 or more years ago.
Right, but the OP was looking at the prices of actual cars, not hedonically-adjusted transportation units, so I can see why he got the impression prices had gone up quite a bit in the 18 years since he bought a car.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:29 PM   #46
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I think there may also be a kind of hedonisticly adjusted expectation downward. I do see that new cars now, compared to 18 years ago have a lot more safety features and luxury touches even in mainstream models. But my own excitement and interest in all things automotive is very different now. I'm not looking to make any kind of statement with my car, or display my sense of style, success or even manhood. I actually do want a transportation unit, although if I can get it with the features I want and not have to pay for the features I don't I would be happier.

So now, I think I have to choose. Do I want to get an okay car that will work for me and satisfy my overdeveloped sense of frugality. Or do I want to get a car that will be really useful for the majority of the first part of my ER, since if I keep it for 18 years, I will be pretty old before I need to trade it again.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:40 PM   #47
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This strategy often doesn't save as much money as it used to because it became so popular and increased demand for "almost new" cars.

And for Hondas and Toyotas in particular (especially Hondas), the depreciation is often so close to linear that you might as well buy new, get the full warranty and not worry about inheriting someone else's problems, abused vehicles or inadequate maintenance.
+1. That's what we've found. >in general< if it's a car that is capable of giving good service for 15 years, it's not one that depreciates much in the first couple.

We hold onto cars for a long time, so I like knowing that the car was treated well from the start. Two years in the rental fleet or at the hands of a teenage equals about 8 years of "normal" wear and tear.

As my buddy said when we were taking a rental Chevy Impala offroad to a remote drop zone: "What's the difference between a rental sedan and a four-wheel drive? Nuthin."
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:01 AM   #48
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As my buddy said when we were taking a rental Chevy Impala offroad to a remote drop zone: "What's the difference between a rental sedan and a four-wheel drive? Nuthin."

LOL... my comment to my friend when we did the same...


"Just put it in rent-a-car gear"....
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:04 AM   #49
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And in case you are planning on financing, there are some really special deals out there: Introducing the 97-Month Car Loan - Yahoo! Finance
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:06 AM   #50
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And in case you are planning on financing, there are some really special deals out there: Introducing the 97-Month Car Loan - Yahoo! Finance
Wow.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:13 PM   #51
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And in case you are planning on financing, there are some really special deals out there: Introducing the 97-Month Car Loan - Yahoo! Finance
Fact that the AVE new car loan is now almost 5 1/2yrs is worrisome, and the thought of a 97 mo car loan is just sick. IMHO- If you can't handle a 48mo car loan at these historically low interest rates, find a cheaper car. More expensive car buy (usu) means higher expenses too (insurance premiums, license plates in many states, etc.). Although the ave new car purchase has climbed to >$31k, as many here have pointed out there are lots of very decent autos available for <$20-25k.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:25 PM   #52
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And in case you are planning on financing, there are some really special deals out there: Introducing the 97-Month Car Loan - Yahoo! Finance
Honda gave us a 2.99% loan on the CR-V we bought. If they'd offered us 97 months at that rate I would have taken it very happily. Methinks that's probably not what is going on.
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:53 AM   #53
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I think there may also be a kind of hedonisticly adjusted expectation downward. I do see that new cars now, compared to 18 years ago have a lot more safety features and luxury touches even in mainstream models. But my own excitement and interest in all things automotive is very different now. I'm not looking to make any kind of statement with my car, or display my sense of style, success or even manhood. I actually do want a transportation unit, although if I can get it with the features I want and not have to pay for the features I don't I would be happier.

So now, I think I have to choose. Do I want to get an okay car that will work for me and satisfy my overdeveloped sense of frugality. Or do I want to get a car that will be really useful for the majority of the first part of my ER, since if I keep it for 18 years, I will be pretty old before I need to trade it again.
We tend to buy new and keep a long time. I'm not interested in making a statement and am not concerned about my sense of style, etc. It is true that the vehicle my DH recently bought (a Hyundai Veloster) looks great and we really like its style -- but that isn't why we bought it.

One thing that I do think is important in thinking about how long to keep a car is that cars are now at a point where there are some amazing things occurring in terms of increasing safety.

Safety features reduce deaths in crashes between cars and SUVs, study says - Washington Post

A quote from the article:

Quote:
Ten years ago, people in cars or minivans died at a rate of 44 per million registered vehicles when they collided with SUVs and pickups. The number dropped by nearly two-thirds, to 16, by 2008-2009. When they collided with other cars and minivans that year the rate was 17 per million.

There are two main reasons that deaths have decreased in the lighter vehicles, the report said. Front air bags now are standard, and side air bags are common in vehicles of all weight classes.


And the front end of SUVs have been redesigned to lower their bumper level so that they are more compatible with those of cars and minivans. That has reduced the chance that an SUV will ride up over a smaller vehicle in a head-on or rear-end collision.



The advent of electronic stability control (ESC), now required on new cars by the federal government, also played a role.


“New designs and technology like side air bags are making it safer for cars, SUVs and pickups to share the road,” said institute chief Joe Nolen, who co-authored the study.
The reality is that if someone is driving a car that is 15 to 20 years old the odds are tremendous that it is a vehicle that is materially less safe than newer cars - even newer inexpensive cars.

It is unfortunate that many safety features first show up in expensive cars and it can take years for them to work there way down to average or less expensive cars.

However, even new inexpensive cars will have some of the newer safety features. And, some of the safety features that tend to be in the mid-range to higher end - blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance, lane detection warning, side-view assist, adaptive headlights - now will likely filter down to less expensive cars in the next several years.

We gave our son a few years ago our 1999 Lexus RX 300 when it had 180k or so miles on it. It was a great vehicle and lasted to over 200,000 miles. However, its safety features do not compare to newer vehicles. I have a 2012 Ford Explorer which has blind spot warning (one of those things you don't know how helpful it is until you have it...the light will light up well before I would see a vehicle approaching and I don't have to turn my head to see the vehicle), adaptive cruise control, collision warning (a very loud beep with a bright line of lights across the windshield - went off this morning on the freeway when the car in front of my abruptly slammed on the breaks to avoid hitting a large box that had fallen out of truck), rear camera (backing up is infinitely safer than it was before). Now that was more expensive to get those features. However, they are starting to filter downward. DH recently bought a Veloster where MSRP is about half that of the Explorer. It doesn't have most of those features, but it does have the rear back up camera. That is one of those features that is starting to be more and more common on lower end vehicles.

I have no doubt that in 10 years most of these features will be standard on all vehicles and cars will be safer as a result. I do believe in keeping cars a long time, but when there are material and substantial improvements in safety I think it behooves me to take advantage of them.


Also, talking about safety advances over the years from a variety of improvements as well as those upcoming, particularly from technology and crash avoidance.

http://www.iihs.org/presentations/IIHS_2011_5_24.pdf
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:56 PM   #54
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used cars

I am the ultimate cheap charlie when it comes to what I drive. To me, a car is a simple point-A to point-B device. Over the years, I have saved oodles of money by buying hoopdie's and driving them till the wheels fall off.
I happen to enjoy car maintenance, so, finding a cheap used car that needs just some minor fixing is my game -- new battery, 'brakes, tires, shocks, maybe a cracked windshield, a dent here or there, bad paint etc. Basically faults that can easily be repaired by me. Cosmetic issues are typical.

My typical game is to buy a car for $1000 or less, put no more than $500 in it to make it safe and road worthy....drive it for 2 years...then sell it for what I have in it. I've done this successfully many times (at least 6 that I can count).

Some of my favorite dependable vehicles that are cheap to buy, super cheap to maintain and get you from point A to point B.

I do this as much for fun as to be frugal.... I am getting close to FIRE...

1. Ford F150 - most common car/truck in America. Cheap spare parts. Junkyard can fix almost every one.

2. honda civic - especially 1990's models. Sadly many kids caught on to this cheap but good value/performance doodle bug and the prices are a bit higher now than before. Just change the timing belt and water pump as a first service and these will go half a million miles

3. Toyota Corolla / Geo Prizm - good , dependable vehicle. also cheap to maintain. like the honda civic. The geo prizm was a toyota rebadged with a GM name which keeps the price down (lousy GM cars damage that label).

4. Subaru Legacy wagon. it's a very dependable/ decent car for those who need to haul stuff. Subaru's last forever. parts a bit tougher to find but ebay and junkyards are great. These too will last for half a million miles

5. Volvo anything -- same as subaru. Very dependable. Getting a little expensive to repair but if you are looking for a presentable vehicle that rides very nicely, has many comfort amenities, then this is the way to go.

6. 1970's VW Bug. Simple. Reliable. Easily repaired. I once bought an entire new engine for $600 and installed it in the parking lot of the place where i bought it -- 4 bolts, a couple of scissor jacks, and you can put a new engine in a VW. Simplicity is amazing.

None of these will win you a date, the valet parking people will laugh at you (who valet parks anyway...) but hey.... no car payment, insurance is cheap, and you can put that cash toward other fun activities.

That's me. The 1000 dollar car special. My kids make fun of me. As for the DW, she drives something nicer....but we set a budget limit to never pay more than 10 grand for a car -- she has driven Chrysler mini van, a Lexus, a Jaguar, a Volvo, and recently a BWM all paid in cash for less than 10 grand and typically we keep for 4 or 5 years before selling (usually for around 7 or 8 grand) and getting something "newer".

Other than for safety features, I think buying new cars is brain dead. They are no more dependable than a used car, the dealers are making boat loads of cash, and the depreciation on them is rediculously high.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:00 AM   #55
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Sadly, I do not have the car maintenance skills to confidently do these kinds of repairs on my own car. Perhaps that part of the conclusion that I cannot economically keep my old car running much longer.

For the not so mechanically inclined, I think used car prices are not much better than new, especially if bought from dealers. A ten year old vehicle I liked was about half the cost of a new one. A one year old vehicle was only about two thousand dollars less than a new one, and very near the same as it would have cost new.

Private party sale, or very careful shopping and negotiating may be necessary.
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