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Old 04-10-2008, 02:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Buying a car - You guys have recommendations?

Hi,

I'm getting a car, up to $20,000, it could be new or used though. I'm looking for something with four doors, AC, but otherwise I'm open to anything that will get me a good fuel efficiency. I drive probably 20,000 miles a year.

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Old 04-10-2008, 03:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What type of driving do you do? Used cars are always best, and with that kind of budget, I would look at a used Civic Hybrid or second gen Prius.
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes what kind of driving and where do you live? Mostly city, highway what kind of passenger loads etc.
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus View Post
Yes what kind of driving and where do you live? Mostly city, highway what kind of passenger loads etc.
Very short distances (though if I have no passengers I use my electric bike which I built) with a few passengers, four maximum, and six or eight long distance stretches, over 1,000 miles with one or two passengers. I don't do too much over an intermediate distance.
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Old 04-10-2008, 06:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure what mileage short distances includes, but if it is mostly city and ~15 miles or less I'd look at either a hybrid (as others have mentioned) or a smaller, light car (honda fit, toyota yaris, etc.).

A smaller car will be cheaper to buy and maintain while still remaining efficient in city driving due to its light weight. Some really small cars (Geo Metro) are somewhat inefficient in highway fuel economy. A hybrid will be more expensive to buy and maintain, but it will be slightly more efficient in the city and more efficient on the freeway.

Just remember that buying a new car solely to save gas is a losing proposition...now you have gas and car payments. There is nothing wrong with buying a new car, just don't expect to save money until the long run.

Personally, if I had $20,000 I needed to spend on a car with your needs, I'd go with a 2nd generation Prius. Otherwise, I'd buy a Civic VX, CRX HF, Geo Metro, Honda Insight, or another used economy car and pocket ~$10-15,000.

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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hvatum -

If it's very short distances, then I would think any econobox would do. I am assuming a new car with a manual transmission for the moment (in no particular order) :

Honda Fit
Nissan Versa
Honda Civic
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe <----- These are very practical from a cargo POV

All of these would be available used.

I would like to say the Saturn Astra because it's a 1.8 liter, but it is too new for me to *know* how good an MPG machine it can be.

I don't think the Chevy Aveo or any of the "lower tech" iron block engined cars are good choices.

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Old 04-10-2008, 07:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
hvatum -

If it's very short distances, then I would think any econobox would do. I am assuming a new car with a manual transmission for the moment (in no particular order) :

Honda Fit
Nissan Versa
Honda Civic
Toyota Corolla
Toyota Matrix / Pontiac Vibe <----- These are very practical from a cargo POV

All of these would be available used.

I would like to say the Saturn Astra because it's a 1.8 liter, but it is too new for me to *know* how good an MPG machine it can be.

I don't think the Chevy Aveo or any of the "lower tech" iron block engined cars are good choices.

CarloSW2
Cool thanks for the recommendations, also the recommendation of what not to get. I had looked at the Aveo...

If it's not a hybrid then it's definitely manual transmission for me. I'm looking around right now for a used second generation prius, but everyone seems to be asking $20,000K. What's a good site to look for used cars?
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvatum View Post
Cool thanks for the recommendations, also the recommendation of what not to get. I had looked at the Aveo...

If it's not a hybrid then it's definitely manual transmission for me. I'm looking around right now for a used second generation prius, but everyone seems to be asking $20,000K. What's a good site to look for used cars?
The Aveo is terrible, avoid it at all costs!

2G Prius' go for 13-20k depending on options, mileage, etc. If you're in CA or VA they might even have an HOV sticker, that sticker alone is worth 2-3k in CA because they are now out of print.
Autotrader.com (+), Ebaymotors.com (/), Cars.com (-), Carmax.com (-), Craigslist.org (+), Crazedlist.org (++) (searches multiple craigslist areas if you're willing to travel for the right car)
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvatum View Post
Cool thanks for the recommendations, also the recommendation of what not to get. I had looked at the Aveo...

If it's not a hybrid then it's definitely manual transmission for me. I'm looking around right now for a used second generation prius, but everyone seems to be asking $20,000K. What's a good site to look for used cars?
Welcome.

I agree with the recommendations: A compact sedan of some sort. You may be able to find a used hybrid of sorts for $20K and seat up to 4 comfortably.

I've sold with Cars.com a couple times (had weird calls with AutoTrader).

Edmunds.com is great for researching the price and specs of the vehicle.

Don't forget Consumer Reports for expected reliability.

CarMax.com will give you the high-end price -- they usually pay the highest on trades, though (they'll buy the car even if you don't buy from them) -- good warranties -- but again, costly.

Best FE to ya!

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Old 04-10-2008, 09:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Do you own a home?

If you do, you could get a new car the way I'm planning on doing it:

Use the $20,000 to buy solar panels and use the money you save in electricity plus the $2000/year tax credit to make your new car payment.

Using my example, I'm installing a 2kW Solar Array that will save me about $80 a month on my electric bill. The $2000/year Federal tax credit works out to $166.67 dollars a month. Couple that with the fuel savings from driving a more fuel efficient car and you can save an extra $50/month.

When added up, it works out to be $296 / month - which will easily make a decent car payment.

The icing on the cake is the house will appreciate in value by about $17,000 and by having solar panels you won't need a generator in case of a power outage.

I'm doing a writeup about it on my site (work in progress):
http://solar.dashpc.com/

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