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Best new or used vehicle for $30,000

calidavecalidave Posts: 156
want to consider new and USED vehicles, in this analaysis (gasp!).

What would you buy if you had 30k burning a hole in your pocket? Please assume that your needs are: sporty, yet comfortable on the highway; 4 seats minimum; over 28 mpg, and reasonable reliability.

Our discussions always focus on new cars, but shouldn't our discussions start with price, and thus include used cars, as well?

I think comparos between new cars and equal-priced-but-more-expensive-when-new used cars are valuable.

(If you are interested in what folks recommended at the 40K price point, see calidave, "Best vehicle for $40,000" #1, 5 Dec 2005 4:05 pm


  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 853

    ..I'll bite with a 2000-2001 BMW 330 coupe (manual shift, of course) with enought options equating to 30 large.....


  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    And a little closer to my price (comfort) zone...

    1995 Porsche 911 Carrera 2
    1991 BMW M3
    2006 Mitsubishi Evo RS
    2005 Subaru WRX STi
    2004 VW R32
    2006 Mini Cooper S
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    '06 Accord V6 6-speed sedan with Navi.

    fedlaw - a 15yo m3? really? i mean, i'm not saying its a bad car, but nothing 15 years old is all that reliable. so it doesn't meet at least one of the criteria.

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

  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    gbrozen: I like the idea of throwing a 15-year old car in the mix. It's more entertaining/enlightening than just talking about new cars. (but I agree on the dependability piece - then again, if you can find a 15-year old M3, it's probably been fairly reliable, no? I guess that's not necessarily true. Very few owners are going to completely walk away from an M3, even if it is a lemon - eventually someone will buy it and put it back on the street)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    oh, i have no problem with adding in used cars. My last 3 purchases for myself were all slightly used. Makes for a much better value if you pick the right car.

    But my used choices are close to $20k, so i couldn't really recommend one for a $30k comparo.

    But, yes, I would still exclude something so old. Basically, for me, if I'm looking at new AND used cars, and comparing, I typically wouldn't consider something more than 4 years old. I would only go older if it was really pristine and ultra-low miles. But still not THAT old. I just can't bring myself to spend $30k on something I would need to work on every weekend to keep it up to snuff. And I also wouldn't spend $30k on something I didn't plan on commuting in every day. But that's me. I know there are plenty of folks who can afford to blow $30k on a weekend-only car that doesn't pose a problem when it sits in the shop for weeks on end.

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

  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    yeah, I agree with you. Hard to spend 30K on an older car that is going to be your every day commuter, for 40 miles/day, at highway speeds.
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    If you want to discuss the best choice for a $30,000 vehicle, there is an entire group of folks who would NEVER CONSIDER buying a used one and would only be interested in discussing NEW vehicles. Why would they want to participate in a forum discussing used or classic cars? Of course, the converse is true too.

    If there is considerable interest in the $30,000 threshold, there should be one forum each for new and used vehicles.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    there are tons of comparison discussions concerning new car A vs. new car B. And I've seen discussions in the past like "best used car under $x.xx" and the same for new. So its all been done or currently being done. There is nothing wrong with this dicussion's topic as it stands.

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

  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    Well, since this is MY thread, and since I WOULD consider a used car as well as a new car at a particular price point, I think we should have ONE forum in which used and new cars are considered. Feel free to make your suggestions, or create your own threads.

    If there are folks who only like new cars, they should feel free to simply note that preference and then list the cars they suggest. In my experience, this is what people do. (see the $40K thread)
  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    good suggestions

    thanks for being open-minded about the thread
  • goodegggoodegg Posts: 905
    With $31K you can get an 06 TL non-navi and call it a day.
  • jbp20jbp20 Posts: 7
    I know this isn't exaclty what you guys had in mind in this thread, but I had a price question on an 05 Accord EX-L V6.
    18700 miles. Loaded (obviously). Great shape. (few scratches on the inside of the trunk, that's it).
    On sale at a Nissan dealer for $23000.
    I made an offer of $20,500 OTD, and they finally agreed, if I bought it last night. I said I needed to bring my wife back tonight, and they said OK.
    Is that a good price?
    I basically tried to figure out the trade in value. Add about 500 + tax, tag and title (1500-2000 in my area).
    Sounds like a good deal. But I love to 2nd guess myself.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    actually, that's TOO cheap. Meaning you better have this thing checked over carefully by a Honda dealer AND get a carfax on it. You sure its a V6? You sure it has leather? That's a $26k car new. Hondas do not typically depreciate 21% in the first year.

    ah, ok, i knew this was familiar. Someone had something similar over on the Real-World Trade-In values board in the last couple of days. According to Terry, even an '04 is worth $20k.
    rroyce10, "Real-World Trade-In Values" #29258, 2 Jan 2006 4:37 am

    so, like i said, something might be up with this car. Have it checked over real carefully.

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

  • jbp20jbp20 Posts: 7
    Well that makes me feel good and bad at the same time.
    But thank you for the response. Really.
    I will of course get a Carfax.
    I am relatively new to car buying, will having a Honda dealership take a look at it be a problem. Is that common?
  • Sorry, don't have an answer to your question as I'm also new to car buying. But I have an addition to your question: I've always been told to get a used car looked at by an indep. mechanic and not the dealership - which is better?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    good questions.

    here's the thing ... you need to be objective in the results they give you. What you want them to tell you is whether its been in an accident and if anything major is wrong.

    If you go to a honda dealer, there is a chance they will nitpick and give you a laundry list of things that aren't necessarily a problem, but they think you should take care of ... then a salesperson may want to show you a nifty Accord they happen to have on the lot that they feel is in better condition. Of course, they are just trying to steal your business from whoever is trying to sell you this other accord.

    As far as independent mechanics ... they aren't trying to get your purchase business ... but they may still have other motives. First, you are paying them for an inspection, so sometimes they fall under the spell of feeling they NEED to find things wrong to justify you paying them for this inspection. Second, they just may want to find some things wrong so that you'll buy the car and bring it to them to fix.

    So, again, you are looking for answers to the major questions. Has it ever been hit and repaired? Are there any oil/tranny/brake/coolant leaks? Are the fluids indicative of a car that was taken care of and the maintenance performed properly and on time? What percentage of life is left on those tires and brakes? (and be cautious on this last one. my lincoln dealer is telling me i need new tires, but when pressed to tell me the life left, they say 40% .... yeah, i'll be replacing those ... in like 2 years.)

    So, you want an inspection, but you want to be objective in how you interpret the results. Don't let them interpret them for you. Get the hard data and decide for yourself, because their "opinion" can be jaded.

    For the question of dealer vs indy ... well, if you have a relationship with an indy you trust, there is nothing wrong with that. But given 2 unknown entities (1 dealer and 1 indy), I'd personally chose the dealer. Reason being, obviously, they are much more familiar with the cars they sell and service every day. An indy mechanic, in this case, may never have even seen a newest generation accord in his shop, so he/she might not have a frame of reference to answer some questions. "is this steering lose, or do all new accords feel this way?" "is that bend in the frame supposed to be right there? or is that on all new accords?" etc etc.

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

  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 853
    Great post gbrozen. It is a very difficult thing to do(buying a good used car). You just do not know how the vehicle was taken care of. It is no doubt true that a used vehicle that is 1-3 years old is a good buy because of the heavy depreciation that a new one takes in the first 3 years but finding one is not so easy.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,150
    absolutely true.

    one thing i should have mentioned. ALWAYS follow your gut. If a deal is too good to be true, then it is. If you drive a car and something doesn't "feel" right, then walk away. There are plenty of cars out there, you just have to be patient and find the right one.

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

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,671
    Hey... shop around for that 330ci.. For $30K, you should be able to get an '03 with low miles and almost every option..

    fedlawman.. Are you sure you weren't thinking of a 2001 M3 for $30K? ;)

    A $30K 1991 M3 would have to be the nicest one on the planet.... or do you have a particular one in mind? :surprise:

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