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Used Cars -- most reliable?

phoenixofardaphoenixofarda Posts: 4
edited July 2015 in General
Hello! For the past three years I was driving a 2004 Honda Civic, with about 42K miles on it (my grandmother's car, she never drove it anywhere). It was totaled in a recent accident, and I was given a settlement to get a new car with. I'm a graduate student, so I don't want to finance a car. I want to be able to buy a used car outright.

I'm looking for something around the same size, same mpg or better than the 2004 Civic. I drive less that 5K miles/year, but it's all city driving. What makes/models/years have proven to be the most reliable?

I need to get at least 3 years out of the car before I finish grad school, but if I could expect 5+ that would be great.

Comments

  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 110,992

    Hello! For the past three years I was driving a 2004 Honda Civic, with about 42K miles on it (my grandmother's car, she never drove it anywhere). It was totaled in a recent accident, and I was given a settlement to get a new car with. I'm a graduate student, so I don't want to finance a car. I want to be able to buy a used car outright.

    I'm looking for something around the same size, same mpg or better than the 2004 Civic. I drive less that 5K miles/year, but it's all city driving. What makes/models/years have proven to be the most reliable?

    I need to get at least 3 years out of the car before I finish grad school, but if I could expect 5+ that would be great.

    What is your budget?

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and let us know! Post a pic of your new purchase or lease!


    MODERATOR

    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T SE / 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • $7-8K is the range I'm working in.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 110,992

    $7-8K is the range I'm working in.

    Let me pull in some help .. nothing we like better than to help someone spend their money. :smile:

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and let us know! Post a pic of your new purchase or lease!


    MODERATOR

    2016 VW Jetta 1.4T SE / 2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • 28firefighter28firefighter Seattle, WAPosts: 5,046
    I would think a 2009 or 2010 Mazda3 s would fit the bill nicely in your budget. 2009 being two generations old in terms of style, 2010 being one generation old. 

    Fun to drive, good gas mileage, and generally pretty reliable. 
    2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport, 2002 Saab 9-3 Viggen, 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,726
    Well, insurance should have paid you replacement cost, so you could find another just like the one you lost. Otherwise, I second the mazda3.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • I'd love to find another Civic, but finding a 2004 that has miles as low as I had is pretty impossible. The best I found was a 2007 with 87K miles, but that sold before I got a chance to test drive.

    I've been looking at Mazda 3s, how do they handle in snow? I live in the midwest and sometimes it feels like there's snow on the ground for 6 months of the year, so that's an important consideration.

    Another option I've been looking at is using the settlement money, about $8K to lease a car for the next three years -- it might abate some of my anxiety about high repair costs on a used car while I'm still a student. Assuming I have a job when I graduate (admittedly another source of anxiety), I would be in a better position to finance a purchase that I could keep long-term after the lease is up.

    Mazda has an offer on the 3's right now: 149/mo (+ 7% taxes), 36 months, 1999 at signing. Total cost estimate ~7960 after three years.

    Volkswagon Jettas, 139/mo (+ 7% taxes), 36 months, and 2199 at signing. Total cost ~7850.

    Civic coupe, 159/mo (+ 7% taxes) 36 months, 2199 at signing. Total cost ~8620 (a little high, but doable)

    I've played with some calculators on the Nissan website for the Versa, too, though they don't have a precise offer that I can start from. There's a 24 months offer on the Toyota Corolla but that doesn't seem long enough. But I wonder if a particular dealer might still be willing to negotiate a 36 month lease with similar terms on those models, too?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,726
    I found the Versa to be an awful car, personally. The mazda3 and Jetta are the picks, IMHO.

    As far as snow, it isn't the car, it is the tires. So if your Civic did well, you'd want those same tires on your next car.

    Leasing isn't a terrible idea, as long as you realize that you have nothing when those 3 years are up.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 120,318

    I'd love to find another Civic, but finding a 2004 that has miles as low as I had is pretty impossible. The best I found was a 2007 with 87K miles, but that sold before I got a chance to test drive.

    I've been looking at Mazda 3s, how do they handle in snow? I live in the midwest and sometimes it feels like there's snow on the ground for 6 months of the year, so that's an important consideration.

    Another option I've been looking at is using the settlement money, about $8K to lease a car for the next three years -- it might abate some of my anxiety about high repair costs on a used car while I'm still a student. Assuming I have a job when I graduate (admittedly another source of anxiety), I would be in a better position to finance a purchase that I could keep long-term after the lease is up.

    Mazda has an offer on the 3's right now: 149/mo (+ 7% taxes), 36 months, 1999 at signing. Total cost estimate ~7960 after three years.

    Volkswagon Jettas, 139/mo (+ 7% taxes), 36 months, and 2199 at signing. Total cost ~7850.

    Civic coupe, 159/mo (+ 7% taxes) 36 months, 2199 at signing. Total cost ~8620 (a little high, but doable)

    I've played with some calculators on the Nissan website for the Versa, too, though they don't have a precise offer that I can start from. There's a 24 months offer on the Toyota Corolla but that doesn't seem long enough. But I wonder if a particular dealer might still be willing to negotiate a 36 month lease with similar terms on those models, too?

    We've seen deals on Civic coupes for under $200/mo, with just first payment due at signing.. That's $7200, and I think would be a great option..

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 32,411
    I just did this for my daughter. Instead of a middle aged car, we leased a Jetta to take her through the last 3 years of college. A big concern to us was distance, since she is 8 hours away, so new and reliable was #1 on the list! Otherwise would have stayed with something used if she was closer by.

    The lease costs more in the long run (nothing to sell at the end!) but gives you reliable, cost certain, transportation.

    2019 Acura TLX A-spec 4 cyl. (mine), and 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's)

  • Hey folks -- after taking a break from car shopping for a couple of weeks, I've moved in a new direction. I took serious stock of my budget, and I've decided that I can afford a small enough car loan to get a CPO car in the 11-12K range. I feel like this gives me something of a warranty I can rely on, and doesn't leave me without a car at the end, the way a lease would. If I put at least 8k down, I shouldn't ever be bottom up in the car, and if another accident happened I would at least get another settlement to both pay off the remainder of the loan and start over (which wouldn't happen to a lease).

    Tomorrow I'm about to go look at a 2013 Mazda2, with about 52K miles on it, priced at $11,900. It's right in the middle of fair market range for KBB, though Edmund's places the value at $10,900 for a CPO car.

    My concerns: The mileage seems really high for a 2 year old car, but I know that I'll keep the mileage low from here on out.

    I also can't find a lot of information on the reliability rating for a Mazda2. What are some of the things I should look out for when I test drive it? It was a rental car for the past two years, so are there things connected to that I should be worried about?

    Mazda offers a 12mo/12K bumper to bumper for a CPO, with a 7yr/100K drivetrain warranty. This seems likes a respectable deal, but obviously there could be things, expensive things, that the drivetrain warranty won't cover over the next 7 years?
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