Purchasing a USED Hybrid

wildatheart01wildatheart01 Member Posts: 4
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Hi! I always said that I would drive my current Honda into the ground, and then purchase a Hybrid. Well, my curreny vehicle was totaled 2 weeks ago, but I am currently an unemployed graduate student. I am trying to find a way to use the insurance payment (about $9000) in a way that still meets my values of fuel efficiency and environmental conservation, despite my limited means.

I have not shopped for a vehicle in 8 years, and need one rather soon, so I have MANY questions. Feel free to answer one or as many as you like, and to direct me elsewhere. . .

Is it possible to purchase USED hybrids, yet? If so, where do I find the best deals (websites, rental car agencies, elsewhere)? Which makes and models are my best bets? Are there any special programs available to get graduate students or low income folks into hybrid vehicles?

If a hybrid is not an option, then which traditional makes/models/years out there might fit into my budget, but offer exceptional fuel efficiency and maintenance track records?

Thanks so much!


  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    If you can get by with a 2 place vehicle. I think you will get the most for your money from a used Honda Insight. They are not big sellers and they don't have great resale. They cost Honda a lot more to build than they are selling them for. The manual Transmission version should give you great mileage. And they have more than enough performance for our highways. Their size is the only real limitation. Cheap way to get in on the hybrid move.
  • molokaimolokai Member Posts: 313
    Under your circumstances you're probably better off with a non-hybrid vehicle. A used Civic or Corolla should suite you fine.
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    Check out a used Honda Civic Hybrid. I think larsb got a used HCH - you should ask him.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    it only had 4823 miles on it and was Honda Certified, so it was about as close to a "new" car as you can get.....

    I have had no problems at all with mine - no unscheduled maintenance, no problems at all....48.8 MPG for the 12,000+ miles I have driven it. I love my HCH !!!
  • wildatheart01wildatheart01 Member Posts: 4
    Right on! Sounds great! I'd like to ask you a few more questions . . .

    Do you mind telling me how much you paid for it "used"?

    Also, is "Honda Certified" the same thing as "certified pre-owned"?

    Do I need to go through any 'ol Honda dealership to find such a deal, or do you suggest a particular website or other route to find deals like this one?

    Thanks again!
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I paid $19,324, and new it sold at $21,758 (the original sticker was in the glovebox).

    I think the "Honda Certified" is similar to the "Toyota Certified" meaning it goes through an extensive checklist and is brought to "new" specs and is warrantied for 60,000 miles on certain components (above all the stuff that is standard 36,000 miles I mean).

    Any location that sells Honda Civic Hybrids is a likely place to get a Honda Certified car, but I think only a "honda Dealer" can apply that certification to the car.

    Hope that helps !!
  • wildatheart01wildatheart01 Member Posts: 4
    it does. thanks! problem, is that even this option is TWICE my budget! so, i'll keep my eyes out, but it sounds like hybrids are still too new for my wallet - - that i may need to wait for a used one that's been out on the streets a while longer.

    thanks for the input. and feel free to continue to advise! i'll keep checking in!

  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    Might also check out used models of the previous generation Prius. Since that model's 4-5 years old now, it might be closer to the $10K mark.
  • wildatheart01wildatheart01 Member Posts: 4
    great! i'll keep looking. any ideas on non-hybrid older model vehicles with exceptional fuel efficiency? i do need at least 4 seats, though, so the Insight or similar non-hybrids would be too small.
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    Any of the compacts (Corolla, Focus, Civic, Protege) should give pretty good mileage with the smallest engine option.
  • mirthmirth Member Posts: 1,212
    I don't think you can get a VW TDI for less than $10K, even used.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    I don't think you can get a VW TDI for less than $10K, even used.

    Not in CA or one of the CARB states. They bring top dollar. In the free states you may find one. I think the used Corolla or Civic is a better choice with the limited funds.
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
    Hybrids are very expensive to fix.

    You are stuck with having to bring them to a dealer, then parts are expensive too. Even a $2k+ insurance will pay for itself in less than 2 repairs.

    Establish a good relationship w a reputable dealer by having them service your car. As a hybrid ages, the risk of expensive repair goes way too high.

    If you are that committed to driving a hybrid, consider car replacement in your insurance.

    However if $aving your money and the world is your intent, and you are handy with tools consider buying those cheap old VW or Benz diesels. Get yourself a good manual and familiarize yourself with your car and the local used car parts. Then buy a conversion kit to veggie oil (ie. www.frybrid.com) or a biodiesel making kit.

    Even with the veggie conversion or biodiesel kit, you still end up spending considerably less, your fuel savings will continue forever, you cut down support to Big Oil and terrorism, and cut your c02 contribution, and recycle an old car from going to the landfill.

    Now isn't that a win-win situation?


    - Ex used '01 Prius owner.
    - Studying to convert replacement 94 Jetta TD to veggie fuel.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Ex used '01 Prius owner

    Did you get a good price for your used Prius?
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152

    I bought that 01 Prius with 26k km for $22k (all prices in Canadian) from a Toy dealer.
    Brand new Canadian Prius goes for $30k.

    Drove it up to 96k km then sold it Feb (winter when cars don't usually sell well) for a no haggle price of $16.5k .

    The asking price then were around $17k but I just wanted to get rid of it quick as I already bought my 94 Jetta TD and I was paying insurance for both (and it was getting tight in my driveway with 3 cars in my one car garage).

    Needless to say I was deluged with calls.

    Now (summer), same car for same mileage goes for $18.5k.
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
    A used Insight would be a better buy than a used Prius, simply because the Insight has continued today with no major changes.

    If you have to go for a used Prius, go for the newer hatchback model so you get the latest hybrid system.

    See, this is the problem with used hybrids. The technology is still developing quickly and you may end up buying older tech.

    Heres one more thing icky about owning one (for now until they become more widespread).

    If ever you get into any accidents major or minor, don't settle the cost privately between you and the other driver. Always take the other persons insurance and have it fixed in the shop. That bender on that exotic fender could cost you more than you think it would.
  • loroklorok Member Posts: 1
    I have noticed the Prius gets no better mileage than my '95 Honda Civic VX ,
    around 45-50. So For considerably less $ and still good reliability , the Honda
    is still a good choice. In researching vehicles for best gas mileage , the '95 VX is the best. I got lucky. The civic is noisy & not all that comfortable , especially in comparison to any newer vehicle .......
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