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Help! I need to buy a car!

Ontheblackrock15

Shiny_Rock
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Joined
Jun 8, 2017
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161
We moved to Chicago earlier this year and brought our BMW X1 with us. It unfortunately has rear wheel drive. We were hoping that we'd not be driving too much and could make it through the winter with our existing car, but we drive pretty much everywhere except work. So, we need to trade in for a car with all wheel drive.

I hate buying cars, and I feel like everytime I've bought one I've made a poor financial decision. What's the best thing to do? Buy new? Certified used? Lease? We're thinking about the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
 

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amoline

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
220
Stereotypical to my Colorado self, you can pry my Subaru Outback out of my cold, dead hands. Love the hatchback, it was a good value, it eats snow for breakfast, and it's just all around reliable. Funny enough, the even numbered model years seem to us to be the best driving ones, so I'd at least consider a Subaru in the mix.

Just my 2c.
 

msop04

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
9,343
We moved to Chicago earlier this year and brought our BMW X1 with us. It unfortunately has rear wheel drive. We were hoping that we'd not be driving too much and could make it through the winter with our existing car, but we drive pretty much everywhere except work. So, we need to trade in for a car with all wheel drive.

I hate buying cars, and I feel like everytime I've bought one I've made a poor financial decision. What's the best thing to do? Buy new? Certified used? Lease? We're thinking about the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
This is only my opinion...

I don't think it ever makes good financial sense to buy new, unless it's for business purposes and serves as a tax write off. A new car loses lots of value the minute you drive it off the lot. We like to find used cars (that are 2-4 years old) with lower mileage, because we can get a much more expensive car that we would've NEVER been able to afford new. Lots of times, the style hasn't even changed, so it still looks new.

Let the first buyer take the hit...
 

moneymeister

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
1,210
I'm another happy Subie owner! Outback 2017 touring 3.6. We bought after a friend was in a wicked accident and walked away.
 

moneymeister

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
1,210
A Subaru runs through snow like it has icepicks for tires. Driving with a Subaru in the snow is next level. Google Subaru in the snow and watch videos.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,469
I never buy new cars anymore, they drop thousands in value the second you exit the car yard. A well kept, 2 year old used car is still under warranty and still enough like new but much much cheaper.
Leasing is only sensible if you get tax deductions and you chose a model that holds its value.
I wouldn’t buy a hybrid, the whole premise that they are cheaper to run / better for the environment is debatable. They can be very expensive to fix if bits go wrong,
And after my Mercedes nervous breakdown I’d have to say go with a Suburu or Honda. They cars have excellent pedigrees and don’t fall apart and then need hugely expensive servicing and repairs.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 30, 2005
Messages
26,766
This is only my opinion...

I don't think it ever makes good financial sense to buy new, unless it's for business purposes and serves as a tax write off. A new car loses lots of value the minute you drive it off the lot. We like to find used cars (that are 2-4 years old) with lower mileage, because we can get a much more expensive car that we would've NEVER been able to afford new. Lots of times, the style hasn't even changed, so it still looks new.

Let the first buyer take the hit...
Not being a gambler I won't potentially "take the hit" of buying a car that someone wants to get rid of.

I buy a new high-quality, fully-warrantied, entry level new Honda or Toyota ( but one that was made in Japan ... the VIN will start with a J) that is rated highest resale value, MPG, reliability, and resale value.
I pay cash, then get my revenge against the depreciation-monster by keeping it forever.

IMO this is the cheapest way to buy reliable transportation, though I forego fluff like self-closing doors. :rolleyes:

But, as always, to each their own.
 
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Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
Messages
3,469
We were initial going for the hybrid because we thought it was better for the environment :(2
The hybrids use petrol engines which provide some power via the generated electricity. This is a fine theory and works well in stop / start traffic but if you do highway driving you won’t get the same benefit. And of course the more complicated the engine, the most expensive servicing and spare parts are.
 

sunandsky

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2013
Messages
77
I don’t like to disagree on pricescope, but with our environment on fire I felt I had to share - with all respect to bron357, the data I’ve seen has shown that hybrids are clearly better for the environment and I hope you continue to think about one. As of 2017 we decided to only buy electric or hybrids going forward.
 

snowballs mom

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
65
I just bought a 2019 VW Arteon. So far I love it. I have owned two Fords, two Toyotas, a Subaru and a Mercedes. Would never buy another Subaru or Mercedes - had major trouble with both.The Fords and Toyotas were fine. I have always lived in a snowy climate, and the Subaru Forester was the only vehicle that ever got stuck in the snow. My sisters and coworkers have owned them and loved theirs, but I cannot recommend. VW has good incentives on all of their 2019s right now. I went in looking for a Tiguan (their smaller SUV), but ended up with their new all wheel drive sedan as a replacement for my 2012 E350. The 2019s have six year warranties, which is another plus.
 

Miss Marple

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 19, 2018
Messages
187
I’m a fiend about car research before we purchase, and have a number of thoughts.

Automotive engineering has gotten much better, and many manufacturers are now sophisticated enough to design major systems to fail in close proximity (what I’ve heard is around 150k miles). I’ve also heard that the longer times/more miles between maintenance recommendations play into the lifespan and more frequent maintenance may prolong the life of the vehicle (particularly fluid changes).

some manufacturers (including Toyota) have decontented vehicles over the years to meet certain price points. These cars are not as overbuilt as previous generations and probably wont last as long. So if somebody with a 1990’s era Toyota or Honda recommends the brand because the vehicle will easily last 200-300k miles with no problem—take the advice with a grain of salt. May not be the case for 2010’s vehicles.

the best deals on used cars are, by far, luxury sedans. Trucks and small to mid-size SUVS—not so much. Also, the more loaded used vehicles typically have better discounts on used models than the base versions. Do some homework before deciding whether used is worthwhile.

Make sure you research make, model and year. Manufacturers with good reliability reputations may design a clunker of a vehicle. Other manufacturers that don’t necessarily have a great reputation for reliability can end up with one or more excellent vehicles. And if the ratings are mixed, then you should suspect lack of good quality control in the manufacturing. Totally agree with Kenny to look for Toyotas with a J at the beginning of the vin number (if the vehicle is manufactured in Japan at all—some are not). Also, the first year of a new redesign is likely to have some bugs that get fixed in the next model year or two.

Finally, when I decide whether to buy new or used, my calculation is based on the price per mile with an assumption of a 150k lifespan. If used, I personally want a good price per mile discount over new to make me take the risk of used. I don’t particularly trust “certified preowned” from dealers. Their inspections are typically not that thorough. The real value is in getting the extended bumper to bumper warranty. Also, I find it difficult to determine a reasonable price for used. Too many variables. It’s much easier to determine a fair price for a brand new vehicle.

and if anybody else has experience that contradicts my conclusions (I’m not really a car person and not in the industry), I’d be curious to hear about it.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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26,766
Being an early adopter, I've owned 3 hybrid cars.
The first two I sold, no problem.

The third I kept till the $4000 hybrid battery died and needed to be replaced.
The KBB on it was $3000, so it was worth negative $1000.

However, it drove just fine without the assist of the electric motor.
It could still go full speed on the freeway, but had low power if you floored it.
(I never did that anyway, so it wasn't a problem).

My SO's family (fully informed) bought it for $1500 because they loved the car even though it had only about 80% of the original power.
That was plenty for them too.

Last hybrid I'll ever buy.

Also 15 years of driving one to 'hypermile' (google is your friend) taught me you don't need a hybrid to get astonishing MPG.
Today I hypermile in my entry-level Honda or Toyota NON-hybrid and average over 44 MPG, even though EPA rates it at 30/40.

I get great MPG and will never be stuck with replacing a $4000 battery when the car is around 10 years old.
So, buyer beware.

Electric cars sound groovy, but grooviness depends on where that electricity comes from.
If it's from wind/solar/hydroelectric dam, that's groovy and green.
If from burning fossil fuel, especially coal, especially especially DIRTY coal ... not so groovy or green.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 30, 2005
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26,766
The hybrids use petrol engines which provide some power via the generated electricity. This is a fine theory and works well in stop / start traffic but if you do highway driving you won’t get the same benefit. And of course the more complicated the engine, the most expensive servicing and spare parts are.
Careful.
What you wrote about hybrids only helping in stop and go traffic may be what is widely published, but my 15 years of personal experience differed dramatically.

Why?
I studied how the hybrid technology works and used that knowledge vastly change HOW I drove.
Maybe I'll start a new thread on this.
EVERYONE can vastly improve the MPG of whatever they drive, if they follow my unconventional advice.

In the last 15 years I've driven 3 hybrid cars.

My first hybrid was a 2002 Honda Civic Hybrid.
EPA rated it at 50 MPG.
If rated with today's EPA standards that falls to 40 MPG.
But, over the years I owned it my lifetime average was 62 MPG.
I know that because I never zeroed one of the trip meters, plus geeky Kenny recorded every gas fill up, gallons and miles driven.
My best full tank of gas was 72 MPG, and that was 99% freeway miles driving to work on LA freeways.
Honest truth.

Hybrid or standard car it's mostly about HOW you drive it.
Most people drive to get there in minimum time.
I learned to get there using minimum gas, screw the time.
 
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Austina

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Feb 24, 2017
Messages
3,333
We have previously bought the dealer’s demonstrator cars, both were almost brand new, loaded with all the goodies and discounted 1000’s from the ‘new’ price. Came with full warranties and had been thoroughly checked and valeted before we took delivery of them.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
26,651
Certified pre owned gets my vote. You are getting a car that is in excellent condition and guaranteed to be and keeping it that way through the dealer. And saving a substantial sum too. Win win IMO.
 

jordyonbass

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
1,608
Electric cars sound groovy, but grooviness depends on where that electricity comes from.
While the source of the energy is an issue, there's no doubt with hybrids that the electric drivetrain is a far more efficient way of utilising the energy that is derived from the fuel that is powering it.

Although those Lithium batteries are far more toxic when they blow up than any part of a regular ICE car
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
4,425
My husband has my old Rav4 2006, and it's going strong. To be honest, even our old VW Jetta did well in snow, with no 4WD. I have a Nissan Rogue Midnight now, and it has locking 4WD that will not automatically disengage. The Rav4s have the 4WD that isn't locking. This was a feature my DH wanted, locking 4WD. So make sure the vehicle you are looking at has that feature if it's important to you. His old Jeep also had it.
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
30,357
I get great MPG and will never be stuck with replacing a $4000 battery when the car is around 10 years old.
So, buyer beware.
Yup, there goes your 10 yrs of saving on gas, plus don't forget that an hybrid will cost you a few thousand $$$ extra on a brand new car.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,006
We have several Toyotas in our family, and I really only look at Toyota and Honda as they last a very long time and score very high in reliability and resale value (and that includes models 2009 and newer some with over 100,00 miles). My husband's brother and sister both have Subaru Outbacks in their families, and I had one prior to my current car. I liked it but don't need 4 wheel drive in the southeast, so I switched to a Toyota Venza and plan to replace with a Highlander and give the current car to one of my kids in the next year or so. I would not get a hybrid at this point for reasons already mentioned on the thread.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Yup, there goes your 10 yrs of saving on gas, plus don't forget that an hybrid will cost you a few thousand $$$ extra on a brand new car.
Well, some see using less gas and lower emissions as something we can do to reduce our carbon footprint a little bit.
Climate change and all that.
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Apr 3, 2004
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30,357
Well, some see using less gas and lower emissions as something we can do to reduce our carbon footprint a little bit.
Climate change and all that.
Yeah,but what are they gonna do with all them dead car batteries in the future?
 

msop04

Ideal_Rock
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Dec 3, 2011
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9,343
...the best deals on used cars are, by far, luxury sedans. Also, the more loaded used vehicles typically have better discounts on used models than the base versions. Do some homework before deciding whether used is worthwhile.
This is so true of luxury sedans. We bought a one owner used Lexus LS460 that sold new for $72K... we paid... NOT $72k. Not even close. 8-) It was like freaking new... well, it was until our child took care of that. :shifty:
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 25, 2014
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5,868
Why not buy an old Jeep or Toyota HiLux to use in winter, and keep the X1 tucked up in the garage if/when it snows?

Winter tyres make most things perfectly driveable in reasonable winter conditions, although when it's a foot deep, nothing without knobbly tyres is getting through, regardless of which end of the vehicle is doing the pushing/pulling!
 

snowballs mom

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
65
I did get a great deal on my E350. However, it was a lease return and we had a ton of problems with it, I think having to do with the way the previous owners drove it. Just something to be aware of. That was my first and last used vehicle...
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
10,693
All of this positive Subaru talk---makes me sure I got a lemon. This 2015 Outback is the only Subaru I will ever own and I CAN NOT WAIT to get rid of it.
 
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