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Used Vehicles Best Values



  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328
    Unless you are talking about a Sebring convertible I don't think there's any case to be made for a Sebring. There's one thing to be said for a Sebring convertible - the top comes down. Actually if you can find one of those cheap they're OK for what they are because they are pretty much their own market.

    I have a soon to be licensed driver who I may be buying for. Right now my plan is for her and I to split two cars - our Ody van and my Celica convertible. If I could find a cheap Mazda 3 or some such thing maybe I'll yield...
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    Can't recommend a Sebring. There are more great used cars to choose from than ever before. I'm partial to subarus. An Impreza would be more responsible for a new driver than the WRX - which it resembles. A used Corolla or Camry would be a good choice but not sporty. How about a Vibe/Matrix? - its basically a sporty Corolla wagon... I think a Malibu Maxx, a car you rarely see recommended, could be a darkhorse bargain candidate - if it has been fully checked out by a mechanic and is cheap enough. There are many others and as always, condition is everything, so get a carfax and bring it to your mechanic.
  • Unlike buying new cars, how would you find out if the dealer's price for a CPO car is just right and is not inflated? For new cars, there's Edmunds to find out the TMV and a bunch of other sites where you could find out the invoice price.

    How about for used cars? Besides KBB, how and where would you start negotiation? It would be impossible to compare the same models because the trim level is not always disclosed.

    As an example, we're trying to buy a 08 RX350 CPO starting at 31,999. To start, should I undercut this price by 3K?
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    Do you realize there's $5000 marketing support on the new 09 RX350? People are getting into these brand new for under $30K. This is one of those cases where it makes no sense to buy used. In addition, the interest rate will be lower on the new car than the used one.

    If you offer 3K less than 32K for this used RX350, the salesman would set the hook and you would have paid about the same for a used vehicle as for a brand new one. The way people drive today and abuse their vehicles with jackrabbit starts and hard braking, used vehicles are only worth the risk if they are very cheap. Every used car cost the dealer something different and you have no idea what that is. Unless you are a professional negotiator by trade, you will be at a significant disadvantage. I would take 3 days minimum to negotiate for this car and would not pay more than 22-23K with the known risk of walking and allowing it to become a lot queen.

    Are there no new ones around you? The incentives are listed as expiring 7/6/09 which is monday. There is no way of knowing if they will be extended. The salesmen don't know either, so the playing field is level.
  • No, I didn't know the new ones had a $5K adv support. Since I see a lot of those here in Dallas, I figured they didn't need the incentive to move them .Is that cash to dealer or cash to customer?
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 6,229
    "...used vehicle for my daughter. She wants something sporty...looking at Chrysler Sebrings (2004)..."

    In considering the advice you receive here remember that when you say "sporty" to the mostly male members of this board, they think in terms of performance and handling, not looks. So a sporty car for guys might be pug ugly to your daughter.

    I must admit a bias in favor of Chryslers. They do have a lot going for them in the looks department. Reliability is as good as any domestic and in my experience somewhat cheaper to fix.. I have owned several including a Cirrus which was later re-named Sebring in the four-door version.

    For 2004 you have 3 Sebring choices. The sedan which is a newer version of my Cirrus. Reliable transportation. You also have the Sebring convertible which I don't think is sporty looking but young people like those drop tops. Finally you have the Sebring coupe which I think is the most sporty looking of the three. The coupe is based on the Mitsubishi Eclipse and most of the mechanical parts are identical.

    None of the Sebrings is a "sports" car but should be able to provide safe, reliable transportation with good looks. Good luck shopping and please come back and tell us how everything goes. :)

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    Sporty- how about a sporty 4-door like the Nissan Altima? A 2004-2005 could easily be found for under $9k. They look sharp and they're reliable.

    For 2-doors, I'd look at the Honda Civic Coupe and Toyota Celica. Even a well-maintained 2002-2003 Acura RSX would be a very good choice.
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399

    According to the Edmunds incentives page, the $5000 marketing support - cash to dealer, went from 6/02/09 through 7/06/09. There should be no problem finding a dealer passing this savings on to the buyer. Check again in a few days to see if this continues after the 7/06 date.
  • elburnelburn Posts: 4
    Need to purchase a vehicle for my 16 yr old son. Unfortunately do not have a lot of money to do so--about 4K. What would you suggest? Purchase from private seller and stay away from dealers? I absolutely do not care if it is sporty--if fact prefer it not to be! Priority is on saftey and reliability. (of course this is from a mom) :)
  • morin2morin2 Posts: 399
    Actually, paying less is the right way to go for your son's first car because you will be able to buy liability-only insurance for it. Full coverage is unaffordable for a new teenage boy, so you want a cheap, reliable and safe car. When my son was 17, 4 years ago, he got my '94 subaru legacy - which has been a great car and he is still driving it going into his last year of college. And it is still reliable enough with 153K miles on it that he just got home late last night from a 900 mile trip. I think its a mistake to give them the car - he paid me for it, and I have taught him to maintain it. The deal I made with my 16 year old daughter was that she would get a car if she got all A's her first 3 years of HS - which she did, so I gave her my 2002 Chevy Prizm. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake, because, having cost her nothing, she does not value it and treats it poorly.

    Many will tell you to get a corolla or civic and i will say that those models are in too much demand to be worth the inflated used car prices. The condition is more important than the label. Have it fully checked out by a mechanic - best $50 to $100 that you will invest before getting down to negotiations. Don't fall in love with any used car for sale. I am subaru-biased, but I think a subaru impreza with the 2.2 engine only is a great used car buy. It has the AWD for safety - many kids crash in single car accidents when they lose control - so control is most important (that is why the very worst vehicle for a new driver is a small pickup truck). Look for a 99-01 Impreza with the 2.2 only. Mazda protege and Chevy Prizm (same car as the Corolla but cheaper) of same years. Even a well cared-for Chevy Lumina, saturn SL-2, Volvo 240, 740, 940 - if you have it fully checked out. If you have a regular mechanic, talk to him - some mechanics have excellent used cars for sale or can recommend one. If you don't have a regular mechanic, I have had great luck with this site (my son found a wonderful mechanic 2 miles from his college using this site:
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    For $4000 or less, there are a few cars that Consumer Reports rate as Average or Above Average for Reliability-

    Saturn SL1/SL2
    '02- Better than average
    '00-'01- Average

    Ford Focus-

    '02-'05- Average

    Ford Taurus
    '00-'03- Average
    '04-'05- Above average

    I went on and found at least one local example of each with under 100,000 miles on it for $4k or less!

    I also found several '99-'01 Nissan Altimas for under $4k, but they had from 110,000 to 135,000 miles on them. A well-maintained Altima (even with mileage in the low-mid 100's) would be a very good choice, too!

    Ideally, you'll get the most for your money buying from a private seller. The best case scenario is buying from the original owner (and they have maintenance records)! Depending on the laws of your state, you may or may not pay sales tax if you buy from an individual (we don't here in Georgia).

    Before buying from a dealer or indivdiual, I highly recommend having the car checked out by an independent mechanic!!! It's well worth the $50-$75 they'll charge you to avoid buying something that needs major repairs!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,048
    My value system hasn't come up here. I think a large car is ideal for the new driver.

    I'd suggest a brief talk with your insurance agent, or in my case with his aide who is an agent herself training to take his spot when he retires. Get him through the first 6 months and 1 year without an accident.

    I suggest a used Crown Victoria, Gran Marquis, Chryslery product that's full-size and not chic, or an older Olds 88, leSabre, etc. I'd include the older Malibu/Lumina, Taurus, and so on with some miles left. Low cost insurance--almost a throwaway if it does get wrecked.

    The older car has something of a culture to it. The other kids don't encourage carelessness with it leading to the showing off in the sporty, loud-mufflered, flashy colored cars. Then he/she can get a different car after a year. I noticed a few non-chic cars seeming to be traded down to newer drivers at the school my son attended.

    Before someone says my values aren't workable, my now 17 year-old had a 10 year old leSabre. Didn't hurt his ego a bit. Band practice during summer. School parking lot for rest of year. Now we picked up a newer smaller economy GM car that he can use along with the leSabre (a two car high schooler) and I can use the newer car (2008) when I have some longer drives).

    I had kept the leSabre with this in mind. But I'd be shopping the for sale signs and local store post it boards for a similar 10-year old with 100K and more on it for that first car for $3000 and less. The older GM cars of that period are actually in demand at the low end of the buying price range for adults wanting cars with life left in them.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    You may also be interested in Best Car for a new teenage driver.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Hi!

    I'm new to this forum and purchasing used cars. I've been looking at 2004 Audi A4 & TT's, 2004-5 BMW 3 series coupes and convertibles. All seem to be in the price range but only have miles around 70K-80K.

    Is it worth buying a used car with that many miles whether a "luxury" car or not?

    If not, I'm also thinking buying a 06-07 VW jetta that's "pre-loved" or certified. I'm worried about the lack of a warranty on the older models I mentioned. I'd rather have peace of mind with the car rather than luxury (i think - convertibles are pretty appealing).

    Are Certified pre-owned worth the extra costs? Or is buying un-certified used, getting it checked out and relying on it's good condition and AAA enough?

  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    CPO is definitely worth the money. However, you can't compare a car thats a couple years old with an older high mile car.
    Everyone will tell you that old high mile European cars are expensive to keep up and they are correct. Not only repairs but maintenance as well. If the thought of keeping up an older car is too daunting,stick with the newer CPO car.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    IMO, A luxury vehicle has to be nice inside, at least somewhat refined, and most of all have a good engine/drive-train combination(which means rear wheel drive and not slow as a slug).

    Here is my own personal short list given the same criteria and price range(though I also want manual, which is highly recommended but YMMV of course :) )

    - First gen CTS with the 3.6 engine.
    - 2004 GTO (almost 30mpg with manual and 350hp!) *added exception - not "luxury"*
    - previous generation G35 sedan (ie not the G37)
    - IS300

    If you add in automatics, the list grows by quite a bit. Top of my "automatic models" list would probably be the GS300 or a Buick Lucerne CXS(eerily like driving a late 90s S420, which for GM is/was a huge step forward)

    The problem with the newer BMWs and most of the other luxury European brands is that they all source from Bosch and similar mostly German electrical companies. It's why a VW/Audi has a solid engine but the switches and radio and so on self-destruct at 7-10 years age almost every time. It used to be that these premium brands were really built better, but now it's all plastic and cheap underneath with a plush covering to hide the corners that were cut.

    BMW and Audi are out. Mercedes is as well - too expensive to run used. Maintaining any of these three brands will cost nearly the same as a new vehicle would in monthly payments. Things get stupefyingly expensive for the most basic stuff. It makes even Toyota's overpriced insanity look reasonable. I know - I've had Mercedes in the past and it gets insane - like $60 for a shifter knob and upwards of $5K for a transmission rebuild. You really should only own these brands, even used, if you can afford them new. Or lease them and avoid the idiocy.
  • 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.
  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,411
    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 ;->

    Good luck,
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    edited October 2010
    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!

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    Would a 2-seater work for you? If so, you can't go wrong with a Mazda 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. =)
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