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Thread: Buying a used car, need your advice

  1. #1

    Default Buying a used car, need your advice

    I am a recent college grad(female) and I need to buy my first car, but I have no experience in how to do it. I want to get a car within the next 2 or 3 months.My budget is around $25,000.

    Should i get a japanese,german, or american car? Should i stick with SUVs for safety issues? Which car is the best for driving in winter? What do you guys think are the most important factors to consider when buying a used car?
    Any input will be much appreciated.

  2. #2

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    ^not sure if this is really the right forum, but we have had other car threads. For that money, I'd look at maybe something like a CRV, about a year or two old. Or if you want fancier (but worse fuel economy), an Acura RDX or Infiniti EX35 around 2008 model. I like small crossovers our climate - you sit a bit higher so can see well, but the security and ease of AWD in winter. I think its safer as well, the issues of rollover in old SUV's have been addressed in newer vehicles, most of the cross overs are just jacked up sedans/wagons.

    Having owned German, American and Japanese vehicles (not Korean yet), I have found Japanese most reliable, can simply maintain a new one at quick Lube places once a year with synthetic oil and will drive fine.
    Last edited by moahunter; 30-04-2012 at 01:16 PM. Reason: Infiniti not infinity

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    Japanese reliability plus AWD for the winter = Subaru
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    thank you for your detailed information! they are very useful!

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    Honda Civic 4 door. Reliability and fuel economy.
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  6. #6

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    ^why not Honda CRV, which is basically a winter version of the Civic? Better visability and AWD, good reliability, yet still great fuel economy. Being higher and a bit heavier makes it a bit safer as well in a collision.
    Last edited by moahunter; 30-04-2012 at 01:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Japanese reliability plus AWD for the winter = Subaru
    But i heard the repair costs for Subaru is high?

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^why not Honda CRV, which is basically a winter version of the Civic? Better visability and AWD, good reliability, yet still great fuel economy. Being higher and a bit heavier makes it a bit safer as well in a collision.
    See...that is one reason why I thought for a long time you were a female!
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^why not Honda CRV, which is basically a winter version of the Civic? Better visability and AWD, good reliability, yet still great fuel economy. Being higher and a bit heavier makes it a bit safer as well in a collision.
    I will look into CRV as well as RDX.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    ^why not Honda CRV, which is basically a winter version of the Civic? Better visability and AWD, good reliability, yet still great fuel economy. Being higher and a bit heavier makes it a bit safer as well in a collision.
    CRV is a good car and I would recommend it as well, but I hate the higher, heavier, safer bit.

    It is also higher in maintenance, same with subarus or any other AWD/4WD.
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  11. #11

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    It costs $60 to fill up a CRV, and it costs $40 to fill up a tank of gas for a Toyota Corolla. I know this because I own both.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

  12. #12

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    ^so CRV has a larger gas tank, isn't that a good thing? Or do you mean for given distance driven? Civic should get better fuel economy.

  13. #13

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    Corollas and Civics have better fuel economy. The frequency for filling up are the same as the CRV.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

  14. #14

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    To put things in perspective, it costs $120 to fill up a tank for a full sized truck.
    Edmonton first, everything else second.

  15. #15

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    ^my EX35 is about $80 (I understand RDX is similarly poor with its turbo 4 - latest model is a v6), so CRV is about a quarter better, and Civic is half better. Sounds about right.

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    Subaru.

    Yah, my alias is Legacy, which points to an 05 Legacy GT Wagon that I've got.

    Anyways, repair costs are no higher than any other company. If you buy your parts at the stealership, be prepared to pay a little more. However, both Edmonton stealerships are owned by the same group, they mark up parts by quite a bit.

    For example, an engine air filter is $16US at SubaruGenuineParts.com (+ USPS shipping), whereas the same thing at the stealership comes to $28CDN. They don't mind me supplying my own filters or oil. I bought the Subaru oil filters for $6 online (or $9 at the stealership) while I had warranty, but there've been studies that show that the Napa filters are in fact better than the blue Subaru filters.

    Since you're a recent grad, you qualify for the $750 rebate most car companies offer.

    For $25,000 you can get a pretty nice used car, but you may want to have a look at the service plans that come with used cars.. some may not have much of their 3yr/60,000km creaks and rattles or 5 yr/100,000km powertrain warranty left.

    Also, for $25,000 you can get a decently equipped Subaru Impreza brand new. The new direct injection 2.0 litre engine is the most efficient yet, so fuel costs won't be as high as previous years. I've got a turbo-4 in mine, I get around 11L/100km with premium.. gets expensive but it's also quicker than the base Impreza 2.0 DOHC.

    I could go on for hours on this stuff.. but I let the car do its own talking.. my wife has an '04 Impreza (though that didn't play a part in our meeting, lol), my sisters both drive '09 and '11 Imprezas, and my parental units have an '08 Forester.

    If you're considering the CRV and RDX, you may want to give the Forester a shot as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pk608 View Post
    I am a recent college grad(female) and I need to buy my first car, but I have no experience in how to do it. I want to get a car within the next 2 or 3 months.My budget is around $25,000.
    Congratulations on graduating. Your budget should allow you to purchase a very nice 2-3 year old used vehicle, or one with 25,000 - 75,000 km mileage. On that budget, I wouldn't look for anything more used unless you like a luxury vehicle, or you know the owner of the car. (Mileage is more important than age.)

    Should i get a japanese,german, or american car? Should i stick with SUVs for safety issues? Which car is the best for driving in winter? What do you guys think are the most important factors to consider when buying a used car?
    Any input will be much appreciated.
    If it's 2-3 years old, I'd say it doesn't matter where the manufacturer is from. If you choose a family sedan or SUV, most are made in Canada/U.S./Mexico even though the badge says "Honda" or "VW". Initial quality for "American"-made vehicles has definitely improved over the last 10 years; there's very little to separate brands any more. If you were buying an older vehicle, brand may be a bigger issue. You should check the initial quality survey results for the vehicle you look at, just for peace of mind. And since you're buying used, you should be able to find some rankings on the quality of the used vehicle after 2 or 3 years as well...harder information to find, though.

    Winter driving benefits from all-wheel drive, but it comes with a cost (noted above). If you've driven in winter in Edmonton and felt safe, I wouldn't worry about getting AWD. Spend the money on winter tires and having them put on the vehicle each fall. Or...do both and be super safe. Your budget allows for it!

    An SUV is no more safe - and sometimes less safe - than most other vehicles. You are somewhat less likely to die driving an SUV at speeds less than 75km/h...but how many people in any vehicle die driving at that speed? You can still be injured in an SUV, those injuries can still be serious, and the larger vehicle doesn't significantly reduce the incidence or the severity of injury. (BTW: IIHS numbers show that car drivers are as "safe" when being hit by an SUV as the SUV driver is now. New designs being credited.) But if you feel safer in a big vehicle, don't worry about statistics. Think about how you will enjoy the vehicle feeling safer.

    Personally, I'm a fan of Edmunds.com website for car buying information. I'd suggest their new car buying guide - really good overview of the whole process. Since you're not buying new, click on their used car buying guide for the pieces that are relevant to you. And if you don't know what kind of vehicle you want, start with this Car & Driver article. Ignore their AWD comments - you live in a snowy climate.

    First time you go looking at vehicles, take someone you know with you. The best person will know something about buying used cars and talk to you throughout the process. I find that's a good way to learn about the process - you're in the middle of it, with a trusted advisor providing commentary you understand. But if you don't know anyone with car buying knowledge, at least take a second set of eyes and ears to keep you from doing something you regret.

    The most important aspect of buying a used vehicle instead of new is determining the condition of the vehicle. I'd suggest getting it inspected by a third-party. AMA is one option. Another option is getting a used vehicle warranty. Many new car dealerships will offer excellent warranties on used cars they sell. That comes with a cost, but it also comes with peace of mind for your first auto purchase. Buying an almost-new vehicle limits the likelihood that it will be a clunker, but doesn't eliminate that risk.

    As for maintenance costs...my personal opinion (shared by very few) is that the difference of $200 or $300 per year between models, when you're spending $5000 a year to operate the vehicle, or $25000 on the cost of the vehicle, should be irrelevant to your purchase decision. Why would you reject the vehicle you prefer over a 5% difference in operating cost? A 2-3% difference in TCO? That'd be the difference between 8.0L/100 fuel mileage, and 8.8L/100 fuel mileage for an average commuter. If you find two identical vehicles, OK, sweat the small stuff. If you're that worried about operating cost, phone your auto insurance company (or find one) and ask for quotes on your 2 or 3 choices to see if there's a big ($500/yr or more) difference in the insurance cost between two vehicles. I doubt there would be, but some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others. Not $500 more usually. But please, please don't screw up your first vehicle purchase by trying to save a couple hundred dollars. Couple thousand...ok.

    The visibility comments are good ones, especially if you're somewhat new to driving. But worrying about a large, wide? vehicle on narrow city streets and parkades isn't the only way to gain good visibility while driving. Focus on good visibility, don't narrow your initial search to higher vehicles that almost always have good visibility.

    A well-inspected, low-mileage, properly maintained vehicle is a great purchase choice. After that, it's all about what makes you happy. Vehicle type, brand, style, colour...all work for a female college grad in Edmonton. Very difficult to find a poor make or model 2009 or 2010 to avoid, in my opinion.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    If you're considering the CRV and RDX, you may want to give the Forester a shot as well.
    I have a friend with Forester who really like's it. The wrap on Subarus is they still aren't quite as nice in terms of interior fit and finish and design - Subaru is engineering company first and foremost. There are some pro's with that though, and great resale. And like you say, they are finally addressing what has been sub-par fuel economy to date, but you need latest model for that.

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    A very good friend of mine racked up around 350,000k's on an '03 Impreza, just traded it in on a brand new one. I understand they are a bit more expensive to maintain but the longevity is well worth it if planning to keep the car for a while.

    I am partial to Toyotas... my current Tacoma 4x4 has well over 300k's on it and still runs like new, the famiy has had something like nine toyotas over the years... from base model Corollas for my sisters to a top end 4Runner that mum currently drives, and all have been exceptionally reliable.

    I'd stay away from anything European, just because if you are not a "car person" and you are not buying new, you never quite know what you might get yourself into. I had an Audi once.... never ever again.

    I am also quite fond of older RWD sport model Volvos, but that's a curse I would not wish on anyone.

    In our climate, and with our roads, I do think a small AWD SUV makes a lot of sense.
    Last edited by 240GLT; 30-04-2012 at 04:02 PM.
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    I personally don't much like Subarus, but I have to concede that my friend's Outback is a pretty good car with a lot of good features. Not counting the sticky fuel gauge that left us stranded on the QEII 10km south of Leduc, still reading 75km till empty.

    That said, you do pay a bit of a premium for them. And apparently you get inducted in to some sort of pro-Subaru cult as well.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyFlyAway View Post
    An SUV is no more safe - and sometimes less safe - than most other vehicles. You are somewhat less likely to die driving an SUV at speeds less than 75km/h...but how many people in any vehicle die driving at that speed? You can still be injured in an SUV, those injuries can still be serious, and the larger vehicle doesn't significantly reduce the incidence or the severity of injury. (BTW: IIHS numbers show that car drivers are as "safe" when being hit by an SUV as the SUV driver is now. New designs being credited.) But if you feel safer in a big vehicle, don't worry about statistics. Think about how you will enjoy the vehicle feeling safer.
    This isn't really the case now - especially with most SUV's actually now being crossovers. Yes, SUV's had a bad rap, but they shouldn't in terms of saftey anymore. In a real world accident, smaller cars have much higher death rates, despite modern technology:

    The latest results do point out a couple of very significant trends, however: First, that size counts; all but 3 of the 26 models with the lowest death rates are mid-size or larger, the IIHS points out. Second, even with the same weight class, SUVs are arguably now saferand have lower death rates. As we pointed out in separate posts, electronic stability control is working and has erased the rollover disadvantage once held.
    http://www.thecarconnection.com/news...st-death-rates

    Between cars and SUVs of the same weight, SUVs now statistically have a pretty significant safety advantage. In terms of driver deaths per million registered vehicle years (based on 2005-2008 models), among vehicles weighing between 3,501 and 4,000 pounds, for instance, SUVs (like the had a rate of 30 versus cars' much higher rate of 41.

    "It's not just weight that gives SUVs an advantage. It's also their height and other factors. When cars and SUVs of similar weight are compared, the SUVs have lower death rates."

    And it makes sense that at least in frontal and side impacts, having more surface area would help. According to the IIHS, all but three of the 26 vehicles with the lowest death rates are mid-size or larger, yet more than half of the models with the highest death rates are small vehicles or minicars.

    However, these results should be considered with much caution if you're buying a used SUV. If it's more than a few years old, it potentially doesn't include electronic stability control and then the old advice would hold.
    http://www.familycarguide.com/news/1...er-than-sedans

    And, autos like RDX, Forester, CRV aren't really SUV's, they are crossovers. Basically just wagons that are jacked up for better visability.

    As to AWD, I hate the bother of winter tires, and like having it. I think once you experience the benefits of AWD, its hard to go back, and latest models have little fuel economy cost over 2wd (like the new Subaru's). There is little downside, but plenty of upside, just not getting stuck in snow once on a backstreet with two wheels on some ice (which even winter tires will spin on), makes the AWD worthwhile.
    Last edited by moahunter; 30-04-2012 at 04:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post

    That said, you do pay a bit of a premium for them. And apparently you get inducted in to some sort of pro-Subaru cult as well.
    They make you move to Kitsilano, carry a kayak on the roof wherever you go and put a "save the Jumbo Pass" sticker in the back window
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    A new honda civic hybrid costs 25K. The manufacturers label on the car says 70mpg.

    For 25K is the starting price for a lot of brand new cars. Accords, camrys, fusions, sonata, etc. They get good fuel efficiency, don't require much maintenance.
    I'd go for a 2 yr old accord or similar.

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    I don't base many of my decisions primarily on a 1-in-100,000,000 mile chance of something bad occurring. My safety evaluation is more weighted to injury accidents (more frequent), and property damage (much more frequent). A modern SUV has only minor benefits around injuries (still a good reason to buy one!), and some flaws around property damage. They are not the be-all, end-all when it comes to safety. Not dying is not the equivalent of safe. However, if someone feels better behind the wheel, and takes appropriate precautions while driving, then that's all the reason you need to own one.

    You are less likely to die in an SUV. In my opinion, so what? Not everyone agrees with that viewpoint.

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    I would suggest you buy from an established dealer, and not from a small lot or curbside seller. You will have more security from a large dealership should something go wrong.
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    ^Buy from, but do your maintenance somewhere else, where you get cheaper service, especially if buying a newer vehicle for around 25k. Things like quarterly oil changes, or even semi-annual, are just a cost rip off today, and bad for the environment as well. An annual with a good synthetic is enough.

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    Civics are awesome. I put almost 160k on mine without even any minor repairs. CRV's are pretty nice too, and you might want to look at a Toyota Rav4. My brother has one and loves it.

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    would certainly look at the Hyudai or Kia line ups
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