Used Car for Daughter

honeyooohoneyooo Member Posts: 2
edited October 2016 in General
Hi....I am looking for a used car for my daughter who is a college student. She has about $3000 to spend and would prefer a automatic transmission that gets good gas mileage. Other than that she is open to pretty much anything.

We have been looking at PT Cruisers around the 2006 year mark. We are aware that the timing belt and water pump will need to be changed and have spoke with a mechanic in town who can do both for $650.

What I would like to know is, what are your recommendations for a used car for her at the price she can pay, $3000 and about a $600-$700 mechanic allowance if needed. We would need something that isnt going to have major problems too far down the road



  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoModerator Posts: 209,755
    $3000 is a tough price point ... lot of beaters available there.

    But, let me call in some experts to weigh in with their opinions.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    That's a very tough price point indeed. It's going to have to be American or perhaps one of the "off" Japanese brands, like Mitsubishi (which makes pretty good cars actually) or Mazda.

    PT Cruisers have a pretty bad reputation.

    Maybe a Mitsubishi Lancer? Pretty sturdy car.

    A Ford Crown Victoria might work if she doesn't mind the larger size.

    Or a Mazda Protege or Mazda 6 (NOT a "626")

  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 46,451
    I would pass on the PT cruiser. not great cars, and not very good MPG.

    important question, where are you located? Prices, and condition (rust, etc.) for older cars can vary widely. Also, how many miles per month/year? a few thousand a year is different than a long commute daily, or being far away.

    In this range, I always worry more about condition and maintenance than brand, or miles. I have had some good ones, and some, well, not so good ones.

    your usual Honda and Toyatas can be good, but not cheap. A Malibu could work fine. Maybe a Nissan. Hyundai or Kia can be a good deal.

    something like this would be good option. high miles but new, so likely highway. clean, and could go for years. Or, not. This is sold, but it was listed IIRC in the low-mid 3,000s.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD , 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Ecoboost FWD.

  • honeyooohoneyooo Member Posts: 2
    Thanks everyone!! We are looking now at Toyota Corollas. I have a 2000, engine blew at 77,000 miles if you can believe that! Has a new motor and runs great. We are happy with it so we are looking for another one.

    We are also looking at the Vibe, Matrix, and Hondas and others listed above.

    We are in California, High Desert area. She will be driving it to and from college, about 20 miles one way. So not a lot of miles will be put on it.

    Great deal on that 2010!!! I wish we could find something like that!!
  • stickguystickguy Member Posts: 46,451
    All good options. And from my experience, if you find a good one, worth trying to stretch the budget a little.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD , 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Ecoboost FWD.

  • andres3andres3 Southern CAMember Posts: 13,298
    I was successful in finding High mileage Toyota's and Honda's so that you can hit the 3,000 dollar price point. For a Honda, 150,000 miles is low, of course, having a mechanic look at it is advisable to see what maintenance has been deffered to the next owner.

    Might have to go up to $4,000 to find a desirable one though. If looks are not an issue, find one that's been cosmetically beat up :smile:
    '15 Audi Misano Red Pearl S4, '16 Audi TTS Daytona Gray Pearl, Wife's '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion
  • lexus_carguy1lexus_carguy1 Member Posts: 5
    Toyota corolla would be a good bet. I've seen a '98 for $2,700 recently. The inside was mint condition. Those cars last forever.
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