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Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple
Old 08-02-2019, 10:02 AM   #1
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Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Now that my wife and I are retired and traveling more by car, we are looking to replace our 2001 Honda Civic ex (55,000 miles). Although itís mileage is low, repairs are beginning to mount, engine noises are concerning, acceleration has become an issue, and the 5-hour drives we take several times a year are exhausting due to noise and vehicle vibration.

So because we are frugal, and still park on NYC streets, we are looking at upgrading to a used car in the neighborhood of $12-17K but unclear as to what to look for in a more recent vehicle. We would be doing mostly city driving with approximately 5 trips of over 500 miles per year. We know we want to have:

- Reliable/dependable for at least 5-years with reasonable maintenance & repairs
- Good acceleration for highway entry
- 4-wheel drive if possible at this entry point
- Awesome air conditioning
- Gas mileage = 35-40 mpg
- Easy to use GPS system

We have read good things about Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav-4, and Suburu Forrester but not sure they are necessary for our needs. Although I have an affinity for them (LOL), I am open to other models. We would greatly appreciate your thoughts/recommendations on vehicles that match our concerns...Thanks so much!
- Brian
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:17 AM   #2
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I'd go with something smaller for parking on NY streets, like a Subaru Impreza. Crosstrek if you prefer higher clearance. Drive one and see how you like the CVT (transmission) before you set your heart on it. I like it because it always seems to have good torque at any speed, which helps with highway merging. I don't know about GPS...I just use my phone.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:25 AM   #3
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To get that mpg "for real", you'd need to abandon the small SUV category and stick with compact or maybe a wagon or a hybrid. The CR-V gets about 27, for instance.


The Prius V gets mid 40s MPG, I think, and you might find a 2013 in your price range, but that might not get you the tighter quiet ride you want unless you find a cream puff. But also in your category of small SUV, you might check out the Mazda CX-5. And the HR-V is cheaper than the CR-V, so you could get a newer, lower mileage one.


Consider buying Consumer Reports online edition for the month you're shopping.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:42 AM   #4
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Hyundai SF or Tuscon? 10 year warranty, Blue Link system, V-6 moves pretty decent. AC much better than a couple of Nissan vehicles that I've owned.

Also, don't get too hung up on gas mileage. Non-hybrid cars in same size/engine category are all very similar these days. 2 or 3 mpg difference over 12-15K (?) miles per year with gas hovering around $3/gal isn't a ton of money. Our three SF's all get 23-25 mpg (1 V6/2 4's). High side when DW drives - other end when I have the controls.
Good luck!
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:44 AM   #5
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I replaced my 2003 Hyundai Accent, which I gave to our grandchild. I bought a 2016 Hyundai Accent from Enterprise Rent a Car with 25K miles on it for about $13K. That might fill your bill.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:31 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your suggestions. I also joined consumer reports and have been buzzing through the site. Itís very useful! Thanks, @sengsational!
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Old 08-03-2019, 01:16 PM   #7
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I replaced my 2003 Hyundai Accent, which I gave to our grandchild. I bought a 2016 Hyundai Accent from Enterprise Rent a Car with 25K miles on it for about $13K. That might fill your bill.
... or, other Hyndai cars. They make quality cars, and their used car values are a big bargain. I travel about 15 - 16 times by car, each trip about 800 miles. I've bought 3 Hundai cars so far with good results.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:17 PM   #8
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Why do you need 4WD? That seems to run counter to your other wishes. A good set of winter tires make a world of difference in snowy conditions on a 2WD vehicle.


Also a dash mounted GPS works well and is a lot cheaper to buy and keep current.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:50 PM   #9
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I don't know much about cars, but just want to mention that Hertz Car Sales is a good source for good used cars of 1 year old and mileage of less than 15K miles. Prices are better than at car dealers, from what I have seen when helping my mother shop for a car.
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:35 AM   #10
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We have read good things about Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav-4, and Subaru Forrester.
You can’t go wrong with any of those IME. If you want other options, look at Consumer Reports auto reliability ratings, but you won’t find many makes/models as reliable as Honda or Toyota especially. Subaru’s are very reliable with superior AWD, but they’re not as sophisticated technically (electronics, engine, lower MPG, no hybrids/EVs) as Honda or Toyota - presumably because Subaru is a smaller company than Honda or Toyota with a significantly smaller R&D budget (we own a 2018 Outback and a 2019 Accord, and we’ve owned 3 Toyota’s and 5 Honda’s). From there test drive the cars on your list, and pick the one you like best, with the confidence you’re buying a reliable ride.
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:16 AM   #11
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I would buy a Honda Accord and put a good set of snows on it in the winder. You don't need clearance and you don't need 4WD. If you want to raise your gas mileage and can live with something smaller go with a Civic.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:02 AM   #12
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Living in NYC doesnít match the snow conditions of other areas of the country, but cars parked on the street, like ours, get plowed in up to the window top multiple times during the winter. Iím not dead set on AWD, but having it sure would be handy in getting out of those conditions.
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:04 AM   #13
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... or, other Hyndai cars. They make quality cars, and their used car values are a big bargain. I travel about 15 - 16 times by car, each trip about 800 miles. I've bought 3 Hundai cars so far with good results.


Hi robnplunder

Which model hyundaiís have you owned?
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Old 08-04-2019, 10:07 AM   #14
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I don't know much about cars, but just want to mention that Hertz Car Sales is a good source for good used cars of 1 year old and mileage of less than 15K miles. Prices are better than at car dealers, from what I have seen when helping my mother shop for a car.


Hi NW-Bound

Thanks for the tip on buying from Hertz!
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Old 08-05-2019, 12:16 AM   #15
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Hi robnplunder

Which model hyundai’s have you owned?
One Sonata which DS totaled, but loved it before it's demise. Had 0 issue.
Azera 200x (can't remember the exact year and too lazy to look up) = 165k miles and still running, DS has it after totaling the aforementioned Sonata, had electrical problems which were fixed, covered by warranty
Azera 2013 = 105k miles and not a single issue. The best car & value for the money we ever had.
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:57 AM   #16
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Honda has had some production-wide issues on both CRVs and Accords (Honda has been very difficult in these situations to work with). RAV 4s have been pretty solid - not as slick as the CRV, but more reliable. Also, Subaru Outbacks are comfortable and reliable.

GPS - most everyone has shifted to using their phones for GPS based guidance ... either direct by referring it to it or on the dash ... or by integrating with the CarPlay system (Apple version) ...crowd based GPS guidance is very useful.

Your gas mileage preference is going to be hard to meet, given the above recommendations ...expect more like 25 in traffic and 32-35 on highway.

None are going to be fast ... but will be sufficient.

Not sure why AWD would be needed in your circumstances ... but, Subie has good system with very few problems ... all their cars have AWD systems, I think.

You’ve lived with a small car ... I did that when it was all I could afford ... you sound frugal by choice, not situation. Is it time to add comfort back into the calculus?
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Old 08-09-2019, 04:37 PM   #17
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So because we are frugal, and still park on NYC streets, we are looking at upgrading to a used car in the neighborhood of $12-17K but unclear as to what to look for in a more recent vehicle. We would be doing mostly city driving with approximately 5 trips of over 500 miles per year. We know we want to have:


I would stick with Honda, Toyota, Suburu, but add Hyundai too. Very impressed with the Santa Fe's my friends have. I think Hyundai gives the most bang for the buck, but I've only sat in the back seats for a shore period to time.

Years ago I rented a Hyundai Santa Fe and nearly returned it a few miles from the lot. Driver's seat lumbar support hit me in all the WRONG places. I'd difinitely check them out though.

We have 2013 Honda CRV and absolutely love it. Much roomier seating and quieter than the mid 2000 CRV we unloaded at 190K miles. We'll do a couple of 3000-5000 mile trips yearly so comfort in first priority and reliablity is a close 2nd. Also, we have a good Honda dealer for service nearby, which was the deciding factor in the end.

Any of these would be nicer than your old 2000's Civic, maybe even a newer Civic. Many cars seem more comforable and bigger than the same model 15 years ago.
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:33 PM   #18
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For your needs, I would suggest one of the small SUV's. And in the retail market, just about all the brands are perfectly good vehicles. Unless you travel much in winter, AWD is not really needed as FWD units will plow snow up to the bumpers.

I was looking at an aggressive Ford dealer, and they're selling 2019 Escapes for $19-20K new. I had an Escape that ran over 300K miles after being passed on to kids and grandkids. That's a strong value for a great vehicle.

We're driving a 2018 Camry Hybrid, and it's at 38k miles and never seen a shop. The hybrids are the vehicles of the near future, and ours averages 48.5 mpg in city traffic and about 52 mpg on the interstates. You wouldn't know it was a hybrid except for the exceptionally smooth and quiet driveline. We love it. RAV-4 and Corollas now have hybrid drivelines too.
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Old 08-10-2019, 08:08 PM   #19
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stephenson, FreeBear, & Bamaman - Thank you!
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:30 PM   #20
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We have been very happy with a 10-year-old AWD Pontiac Vibe (basically a rebranded Toyota Matrix). It is like a Corolla hatchback. The only negative is a somewhat higher road noise, which I could fix by installing silencing material but haven't yet. DW has short legs and it fits her better than Subarus. We will buy another.
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