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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
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Comments

  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 858
    ..30k,

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

    ..ez..

    :P
  • 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: 26,424
    '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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • 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: 26,424
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • 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: 26,424
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • 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.
    Thanks.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,424
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • 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: 26,424
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 857
    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: 26,424
    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.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 137,444
    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:

    regards,
    kyfdx
    Host-Prices Paid Forums

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 137,444
    For $30K new.. I'd take a TSX, or a 2.0T Quattro A3 (oh right, you can't get Quattro in the 2.0T..duh).

    2-seater? '03 Boxster or new S2000..

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • jimmy81jimmy81 Posts: 170
    $30 for a TSX? Navi,right?

    A non - navi 06 TL is selling for the low $31s.....
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 137,444
    We have taxes where I live... ;)

    Plus... If I'm going over $30K, then that opens up a whole 'nother list...

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • I guess I would throw in Altima SE-R, Speed6, Magnum V-8, Charger V-8, Saab 9-3 turbo, Legacy, Accord, Impala SS. All of these are quick and can stow 4 Sunday bags for a road trip to a nice golf course.

    I would exclude the Camry, Fusion, Galant since they aren't as performance-minded as the above. Not that they are bad cars, just not as high performance.

    Maybe add the Maxima.

    My personal pick is the base Altima 3.5SE because my budget is < $24K and I love the manual shift auto. I have to get auto because of my co-drivers. Who else makes manual autos?

    Thanks!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 137,444
    In the paper today.. '05 BMW 325i.. CPO with 12K miles.. for $28,900..

    That is my new top pick for under $30K... ;)

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • calidavecalidave Posts: 156
    great ideas, folks
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "fedlawman.. Are you sure you weren't thinking of a 2001 M3 for $30K?"

    By your wink, I think you already know the answer to that question.

    There is a certain, fully restored 1988 M3 I have my eye on...

    10.2 to 1 EVOIII pistons
    EVOIII 2.5 Crankshaft
    EVOIII 272 degree intake cam
    EVOII 264 degree exhaust cam
    EVOIII valve springs
    EVOIII Air Flow Meter
    EVOIII Injectors
    EVOII 2 piece exhaust 50mm primaries and secondaries
    EVOIII 48 mm throttle bodies

    All genuine BMW Evo III parts

    image
    image

    Certainly not the most maintenance free car out there, but these older BMW's and Porsches are about the entire ownership experience, not just commuting to the office every day. These cars are a fun hobby, and I personally get almost as much pleasure from working on my car as I do driving it.

    I know they're not for everyone - it's just what I would get.
  • any new ideas?
  • xkiddx13xkiddx13 Posts: 122
    that is a givin,
    i would go with the 2006, honda accord hybrid.
    the great fuel economy, with 37 mpg, and ultra-low emissions. with the accord hybrid, it also has scintillating high performance, with 253 horsepower working with you to make driving more enjoyable, it makes social responsibility fun. and the accord hybrid is actually a luxury car that just happens to get economy-car milege. its comforts and conveniences include supple leather trim and an 8 way power drivers seat. an automatic climate control system maintains your desired environment quietly and efficiently. the remote entry system makes for quick and easy entries and exits. there is also a new power moonroof for this car to bring sunny skies or starry nights in. not to mention you got the backing of honda quality..
    so for 30,000.00 go for the '06 honda accord hybrid.
  • xkiddx13xkiddx13 Posts: 122
    that is a little cheap but then again who knows, where the dealership you are looking at got the car, or how much they paid for it.. and if its not honda certified, i which im sure its not, specially if there are going down that low, then i would deffinatly get it checked out..
  • xkiddx13xkiddx13 Posts: 122
    taking the car to a dealership you trust, cause an indepented may not be honest or trust worthy either but a dealership, for example if its a honda, take it to a honda dealership that is respectable in the community, they will try there best to help you, they want your business and your return business as well..
  • 2006 Accord Hybrid has been delayed. It might not be available until mid-year.

    For $30K:

    You have a 6-speed IS250, 6-speed G35 sedan/coupe, Avalon Limited, Loaded Leather Prius, BMW 325, S2000.

    Or in two years a uused E320CDI

    It all depends on what you want and what you consider most important besides just the $30K.

    Reliability, Handling, mileage, performance, number of passengers, cargo space, asthetic value, features

    Double sixes,

    MidCow
  • xkiddx13xkiddx13 Posts: 122
    the '06 hybrid will be out in april, but then what does that matter if your saying to wait for two years to get a used car.
    plus you got the honda backing. it is already febuary, you can get all the info you need on the hybrid to design the exact color style accesories that you want in it and have it deliverd right to your house...

    though the BMW 325 is a good pick as well, even though you wont be able to get one fully loaded for under $30k
  • when is someone gonna suggest a Milano?!!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,424
    are you suggesting it?

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 137,444
    Do you mean the old Alfa Romeo?

    Or, the Pepperidge Farm cookie?

    Or, the Mercury Milan?

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,424
    see that?
    Its so incredibly uninteresting we can't even be bothered to remember its name. ;)

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • yes yes - you are both right

    the "Milan"

    they say it gets over 30 mpg - so it meets that "spec" - not sure about the others

    I think I need a thread - "Most Fun Cars that get 30 mpg and that you'd be willing to drive at 80 mph on a freeway every single day back and forth to work 20 miles away? (no price limit)"
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I'll take the cookie. :P
  • If a person needs a lot of room, Hyundai Azera or Toyota Avalon, brand new.
  • I'm an old guy so how about a 3 or 4 year old LS430? I also like the new Azera pick.
  • irv88irv88 Posts: 1
    I went through this process two years ago when we needed a second car...although on a slightly lower budget. I agree that looking at new cars and quality used cars around the same pricepoint is beneficial and a good way to shop. I looked at American, Japanese, and European makes (I found this to be the most important classification).

    I looked at new and used Buicks (I know), Ponitacs, Fords, Chevy's, etc. On the surface I wanted to buy American just because I'm a bit patriotic I suppose. The interior/exterior design and materials are just sub-par compared to the other cars in the market. They generally boast more HP and options, but you can't feel it or see it when you're driving the car. I realized American cars weren't going to work after a lot of wasted time test driving Grand Prix's, Impala's, and the like. I went to the Japanese market.

    I tried a new Mazda 6, new/used Accords, new/used Camrys and Avalons, and new/used Altimas. I liked the idea of a Japanese make because of the affordability, reliability, and all the rave reviews. I just couldn't do it. I am a tall driver, and couldn't even get in the Camry even though it's front leg room measurements are better than most (goes to show that the numbers aren't everything). The Japanese cars are relatively expensive on the used market and the feel of the cars is "tinny" inside and out. Light doors, light steering, light brakes...I just didn't like them. Of the Japanese segment, I was down to an Altima or Mazda 6 which offer a lot for the money and drive pretty well.

    Off to the European segment. Used BMW 3-series, Audi A4s, Saab 9-3 and 9-5, and new/used VW Passats. The BMW is hands-down the best pick except they hold their value well and, like the Japanese segment, are expensive on the used market. The Saab's are a great value, not as tight as the BMW, plus there isn't a service provider near me. I wound up purchasing a two year old VW Passat CPO with 25K miles on it for half the price of this thread's market. When I drove off the lot I had what sums up to be a 4yr-50K warranty and a car that was still worth what I paid for it if not a little more. The car drives well thanks to it's German pedigree and has every option except an automatic xmsn and leather (my only regret).

    I don't think I'll ever BUY a new car again. I'll either buy used 1-4 years old, or lease new (I'm a car addict, it just may make more sense). If I had more money I would have gone with the BMW. For the money I paid for the VW I would have ended up with a 98-99 328 with 75K on it or more and no warranty which was a bit more used than I wanted. It seemed to me that all the American cars were about the same, Japanese cars about the same, and European cars about the same. Really, the European cars have the biggest difference across the market segment in my opinion.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,424
    The Subaru Legacy GT just won a 7-car AWD sedan comparison in one of the big mags (either C&D or R&T, i can't remember) against big hitters like the BMW 325 and G35. At 26 mpg, its a bit below the desired 28 mpg, but, for a 7% gas penalty, you get WAY MORE than a 7% performance gain. :)

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • calancalan Posts: 5
    I may be taking a job in the near future that will require me to make a two hour commute each day. So I am in the market for a comfortable large or midsized sedan.

    Given the fact that GM will more than likely end up in bankruptcy in the next 6 months to a year, I am not considering any GM cars.

    So Far, I have looked at the Nissan Maxima, Ford 500, Honda Accord V6 EX, Ford Fusion, Toyota Avalon, and the Volvo S60.

    Nissan Maxima
    Honestly, There have been a couple of factors that have all but counted out this car. First was when I went to www.nissan.com, and got a website for a computer company. The company claims it is being sued by Nissan America for copy right infringement, and claims they were using the name long before Datsun switched over to Nissan. Weather or not this is true, it makes Nissan America look quite bad. The next strike was at the Dealership. I ended up taking a test drive with a 'Salesman' who was just barely 20, and I knew a lot more about the car than he did. His sales manager did not help much when he told me Ford could not make a reliable vehicle. Apparently, he didn't see the Ford Escape I drove onto the lot (and have been driving for 2 years without a problem). I checked out a couple of Maxima websites, and there appear that the current generation of cars has had more than it's share of teething pains. I like the styling of the car, but I don't think it will hold up very well to my 25k a year driving habit.

    Ford Fusion
    I sat in a fusion at the dealership, and I might schedule a test drive soon. The price is right for me (around $24k with the options I want). I like the exterior styling of the car, but the interior is somewhat lacking. I know Ford is using the same double din radios in most of their cars and truck, and the same AC interface, but after seeing the Honda Accord, and the Toyota Avalon, I think Ford needs to try to get away from this habit in favor of an interior that flows better, and does not appear to have been designed by the finance comittee.

    Ford 500
    I looked at the limited, with AWD, and the cvt, and just about every option. It drove nicely, and I could get used to the smoothness of the cvt. I have the same complaints about the interior as I have about the Fusion, plus, my wife thinks the car is UGLY. I could live with the looks of the car, but for the $30k price tag, I could be driving an Avalon.

    I will hand it to Ford, of all the dealers I have been to, their sales people were the best. I told them up-front I was just shopping, and they still spent a lot of time with me, and appeared quite to know there products quite well.

    Honda Accord V6 EX
    Is it just me, or does every honda car pretty much look the same up front? I have owned a couple of Honda's in my day, including a CRX, and an Insight. The interior of the Accord reminded me a lot of the Insight. All of the controls felt the same, and the dash layout was similar (with the obvious exclusion of the speedometer). My biggest complaint about the car was with the ergonomics. I am a big guy (5-11, 205lbs), and I felt like my elbows were too low, and the steering wheel was too close. Honda deserves kudos for getting away from a standard din radio, but I think they may have taken it a bit too far by combining the radio with the AC controls. It took me a while to learn to operate the AC in my Insight, and I imagine there would be a learning curve on the Accord Radio/AC system.

    Toyota Avalon
    I think this would be the car for me if it weren't for the price tag. I admit, I want leather, I want the heated seats, I want the navigation option...Unfortunatly, all these wants add up to over $37k msrp. I have considered buying a used one, but it appears that used 05's with under 20k miles are quite hard to come by. If I do buy one, it will be a XLS.

    Volvo S60
    I sat in one at my local show room. (Im sorry, I didn't SCHEDULE a test drive). Coming from Fords and Honda's, the layout of the control on the Volvo seemed very foreign. The AC control seem down right goofy to me, with the dial temperature controls. To ge the options I could get on the Honda or the Avelon, I am afraid I will end up spending quite a bit more than $30k.

    So there you have it, the ramblings of a car shopper. I still have not made up my mind...
  • blaneblane Posts: 2,017
    calan,

    You wrote, about the Honda Accord V6 EX, "My biggest complaint about the car was with the ergonomics. I am a big guy (5-11, 205lbs), and I felt like my elbows were too low, and the steering wheel was too close."

    Perhaps you didn't realize that all Accords have tilt and telescopic steering columns. The EX-L also has 8-way power driver seat adjustment.

    Those ergonomic amenities should permit you to customize the driving experience to your satisfaction.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,424
    you might want to try out a Nav-equipped Accord. With the voice controls, all you have to do is tell the car what temp you want it at. Doesn't get much easier than that. :)

    On the S60, they are about $5k off sticker right now. So carsdirect tells me that a 2.5T with premium, convenience, and climate packages would run me $30,442. So I think the street price might be right there in competition with the others.

    Since you are looking at the Ford products, you might want to check out the Mercury and even Lincoln equivalents. The interior upgrades might suit you better, and the exterior styling might please your wife more.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • calancalan Posts: 5
    you might want to try out a Nav-equipped Accord. With the voice controls, all you have to do is tell the car what temp you want it at. Doesn't get much easier than that.

    Ok, I didn't know that, and it borderlines on cool...

    Actually, last night I took a took at the Acura TSX, and that may be a contender.
  • I'm not telling you to buy one, but do go look at and test drive a new 2006 Hyundai Azera and a new 2006 Sonata LX. You can get either one brand new for less than or even way less than $30,000. Buy one new for less than the used cars you might be considering. Check out HyundaiUSA.com to find out what rebates you qualify for.
    Either car has more features than any of the competition and at lower prices too. The performance and quality are excellent. The warranty is a great feature: 5 years/60k miles bumper to bumper and 10 years/100k miles on drivetrain.
  • So how much, before adding tax license and title, did your used Passat cost? Is it a 2003? Or a 2004? And what motor does it have? Is your warranty good until the odometer reads 50,000 miles? What date does your 4 year warranty expire?
    Although your post is not clear on it, I am guessing you paid $15,000 plus tax license and title.
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