17 votes

Buying a Car

I've found myself in the market for a vehicle, and am looking for opinions. What I currently drive is very old, and I'm unlikely to get any meaningful trade-in value for it. Normally I would simply look to repair what I consider to be a transportation appliance, but due to its age as well as the number and type of issues I've decided it's best to get rid of it. I've been interested in (and have been offered great deals on) the 2019 Nissan Rogue and 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. I drove options from Honda and Hyundai and was not thrilled. I'm uncomfortable with the fact that there is a network connection to the machine that controls my brakes, acceleration, steering, and safety system in each of these vehicles. Does anyone have any general advice, opinions, or other options I should consider?

22 comments

  1. [3]
    Akir
    Link
    Buy an electric car if your circumstances allow for it. They have so much fewer maintenance costs and you'll save so much in gas that you will wonder why you didn't make the switch sooner. Used...

    Buy an electric car if your circumstances allow for it. They have so much fewer maintenance costs and you'll save so much in gas that you will wonder why you didn't make the switch sooner. Used Nissan Leaf models before year 2018 are also very, very cheap, and if you get a new one you may be qualified for rebates.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Wulfsta
      Link Parent
      I would absolutely choose an electric vehicle if I didn't frequently drive long distances and lived in a different area. As of now I don't think it's feasible for me, and will probably wait for...

      I would absolutely choose an electric vehicle if I didn't frequently drive long distances and lived in a different area. As of now I don't think it's feasible for me, and will probably wait for the technology to mature and be more widely adopted. Most likely my next vehicle will be electric.

      5 votes
      1. Artrax
        Link Parent
        Why not a plugin-hybrid? You've got the option to use gas to drive for a long distance but you can profit from electricity being the main power source

        Why not a plugin-hybrid? You've got the option to use gas to drive for a long distance but you can profit from electricity being the main power source

        1 vote
  2. [7]
    Autoxidation
    (edited )
    Link
    There are lots of opinions to be had on vehicles since most people have owned several during their lifetime. It is hard to find reliable data. I've used an aggregator of vehicle auction statistics...

    There are lots of opinions to be had on vehicles since most people have owned several during their lifetime. It is hard to find reliable data. I've used an aggregator of vehicle auction statistics to inform myself on vehicle purchases called the Long Term Quality Index. I would highly recommend perusing it to get an idea of past vehicle quality from classes and manufacturers.

    I would echo @Akir's comment about electric vehicles. They will likely have higher upfront costs but a far lesser cost as time goes on, both due to no gasoline and lack of general maintenance required on the vehicle. Hybrids generally do not get this benefit as strongly as they still have all of the regular car components plus the electrical drivetrain, though they are still improved over a combustion vehicle. Just look at the Toyota Prius's excellent reliability score.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      Wulfsta
      Link Parent
      This is excellent data, thanks a ton! I've since added a 2019 Lexus UX hybrid to my list of interest, since its MSRP is similar to the other vehicles I was looking at. It's good to see that Lexus...

      This is excellent data, thanks a ton! I've since added a 2019 Lexus UX hybrid to my list of interest, since its MSRP is similar to the other vehicles I was looking at. It's good to see that Lexus and Toyota have such high reliability. I would absolutely go for an electric vehicle, but the area I live in and long range driving I tend to do are not conducive to owning one. I will probably get one as my next vehicle.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        If the UX Hybrid is in your budget range, I would give the Tesla Model 3 a serious look. This may or may not work out with your circumstance but supercharging is surprisingly quick and the cars...

        If the UX Hybrid is in your budget range, I would give the Tesla Model 3 a serious look. This may or may not work out with your circumstance but supercharging is surprisingly quick and the cars are deceptively large inside. I'm not sure where you live, but check out Plugshare to see how common charging stations are now, and if you'd like to see how an electric vehicle would handle your long trips, check out A Better Route Planner.

        It's also really easy to charge from work and/or home, and that's part of the big appeal of electric vehicles.

        2 votes
        1. Wulfsta
          Link Parent
          More excellent resources! One of the problems with the Model 3 is that I won't get the same discounts due to high demand and lack of dealers. Not to discount the other issues that currently exist...

          More excellent resources! One of the problems with the Model 3 is that I won't get the same discounts due to high demand and lack of dealers. Not to discount the other issues that currently exist in my case with electric vehicles, but the 2019 UX Hybrid is on that list because I can get a deal on it - the new model year is out, I have offers on other vehicles, etc.

          2 votes
    2. lakhs_24
      Link Parent
      I've generally found Consumer Reports and Lemon-Aid guide to be accurate as well

      I've generally found Consumer Reports and Lemon-Aid guide to be accurate as well

      1 vote
    3. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      I've actually been looking at new cars since answering and wanted to add something I learned; if you are buying in the US, the federal rebate is as much as $7500. Your state may also offer...

      I've actually been looking at new cars since answering and wanted to add something I learned; if you are buying in the US, the federal rebate is as much as $7500. Your state may also offer additional incentives; in California, the total combined discount maxes at around $10000. If you can get that kind of discount, it at least puts you in the same price as your average mid-range car, and there is very little reason to stick with an ICE vehicle.

      Well, unless you are in an extremely hot or cold area, or if you need towing, or if you need a van, or if you live in an apartment that is unwilling to provide a charging spot.... 😺

      1 vote
      1. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        I actually have an electric car and would highly recommend owning one, even in a cold environment.

        I actually have an electric car and would highly recommend owning one, even in a cold environment.

        1 vote
  3. [3]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    Since you haven't told us what you want or need from a car, I'm going to assume that you're willing to consider just about anything, so let me throw out three suggestions: Don't get a SUV. Get a...

    Since you haven't told us what you want or need from a car, I'm going to assume that you're willing to consider just about anything, so let me throw out three suggestions:

    I'm not fucking around either. I daily drive a 1995 Miata and I'll tell you right now it's the funnest damn thing I've ever sat my ass in. Why would you buy some ugly, overpriced, environmentally destructive boomer SUV when you can buy the best sports car in the world?

    Alternatively, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere that you can ride year round (like Texas or California) and you don't want to waste tens of thousands of dollars on some rolling cage that depreciates faster than a rough shit, buy a motorcycle. They're cheaper to buy, cheaper and easier to maintain, probably have a less bad impact on the environment, and are just plain neato.


    The more information about what car you want, why you want it, and how you would use it would make the process of recommending something much easier.

    5 votes
    1. Nmg
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I just wanted to second, Don't buy an SUV. Recent federal data shows that even as fatality rates of those inside cars have gone down, they have increased tremendously by a wide margin over the...

      I just wanted to second, Don't buy an SUV.

      Recent federal data shows that even as fatality rates of those inside cars have gone down, they have increased tremendously by a wide margin over the past few years for those outside them: pedestrians and bicycle users. This isn't chump change. 37,000 Americans die in car collisions every year, and it is the number one killer of Americans ages 18-49. Kills more than guns and wars. What you choose to drive today can have a profound impact on the quality, or continued existence, of someone's life down the road.

      If a sedan hits a pedestrian, their legs take the impact and they fall on the hood. With an SUV, it is literally a big heavy metal object that runs right over them. No wonder pedestrians are several times more likely to die in the latter case.

      @Wulfsta, it sounds like you feel like your life situation requires a single occupancy motor vehicle. Can you buy something that is less bad for the environment and for public safety? If an (electric?) motorcycle isn't your thing, what about a prius or a smartfortwo?

      3 votes
    2. mat
      Link Parent
      The Mazda MX5 is the second most fun thing I've ever driven on public roads. It was beaten only by my Mini Cooper (not those awful BMW things currently wearing the 'mini' name, a proper one)

      The Mazda MX5 is the second most fun thing I've ever driven on public roads. It was beaten only by my Mini Cooper (not those awful BMW things currently wearing the 'mini' name, a proper one)

      1 vote
  4. [7]
    Parliament
    Link
    Are the 2019 options new or used? I assume they’re new but with good deals because 2020 model year is out. My best advice is to save yourself some money, and don’t buy a new car. You can find...

    Are the 2019 options new or used? I assume they’re new but with good deals because 2020 model year is out.

    My best advice is to save yourself some money, and don’t buy a new car. You can find gently used, 1-2 year old versions of the same cars that meet your needs without the rapid decline in value as soon as you buy them. Also if you plan to change cars in a few years, look at makes/models that hold value well for resale.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Keegan
      Link Parent
      As far as "gently used" cars go, some dealers have demo cars that the owners/workers or whatever use. (Or so they say). Very gently used, often under 3k miles for a two year old car, with a big...

      As far as "gently used" cars go, some dealers have demo cars that the owners/workers or whatever use. (Or so they say). Very gently used, often under 3k miles for a two year old car, with a big discount. Basically buying a new car, just an older model.

      2 votes
      1. Parliament
        Link Parent
        That's another good point. My mom benefited from that way back in 2002 when she bought a used car that the dealership owner's wife had been driving.

        That's another good point. My mom benefited from that way back in 2002 when she bought a used car that the dealership owner's wife had been driving.

        2 votes
    2. [4]
      Wulfsta
      Link Parent
      Those I mentioned are new. While I'd generally agree with this, I don't believe most warranties transfer with owners? I would prefer to not have to worry about catastrophic failure of some system...

      Those I mentioned are new. While I'd generally agree with this, I don't believe most warranties transfer with owners? I would prefer to not have to worry about catastrophic failure of some system early in the life of the vehicle. One of the benefits of the Toyota was that it seems to hold value wery well, but I haven't checked the Nissan.

      1 vote
      1. Parliament
        Link Parent
        Hmm not sure. When I bought my CRV used, it was under warranty, and I was able to get an extended mileage warranty through Honda later on. That was a long time ago though, so I’m having trouble...

        Hmm not sure. When I bought my CRV used, it was under warranty, and I was able to get an extended mileage warranty through Honda later on. That was a long time ago though, so I’m having trouble remembering the details.

        ETA: I bought used from a Honda dealer, so that may have made a difference. Can’t say for sure.

        2 votes
      2. Akir
        Link Parent
        I am fairly sure that warranties only transfer for most manufacturers if you purchase a slightly more expensive certified pre-owned car. That's true for Nissan, at least. Nissan makes pretty good...

        I am fairly sure that warranties only transfer for most manufacturers if you purchase a slightly more expensive certified pre-owned car. That's true for Nissan, at least.

        Nissan makes pretty good cars, but Toyota is kind of the gold standard. There's a reason why their warranty isn't quite as long as the competition; their cars are backed with a higher degree of quality.

        2 votes
      3. lakhs_24
        Link Parent
        In my case at least, I recently bought a 2017 used vehicle and the warranty transferred so it's worth looking into. I would highly recommend considering used cars as the post above says since you...

        In my case at least, I recently bought a 2017 used vehicle and the warranty transferred so it's worth looking into. I would highly recommend considering used cars as the post above says since you can save quite a bit of money, and especially if you choose the Toyota there will still be tons of life left in the car. If you do decide to consider a used vehicle, make sure to consult the carfax (Canada) report on it which will tell you about the maintenance, repairs etc. Maybe there's an equivalent to carfax in other countries.

        1 vote
  5. [2]
    cfabbro
    Link
    I don't have much experience buying cars, but everyone I know who does uses Kelley Blue Book. So that may help you get a better sense of which vehicle you're looking at is the better deal, and...

    I don't have much experience buying cars, but everyone I know who does uses Kelley Blue Book. So that may help you get a better sense of which vehicle you're looking at is the better deal, and figuring out if you old car actually does still have any value.

    p.s. Even if your old car is not worth anything for trade-in, my old landlord used to make decent money selling old, broken down cars to scrapyards. So if you still want to get a few bucks for it, you could always look into that as well.

    1 vote
    1. Wulfsta
      Link Parent
      I'm aware of KBB, but I appreciate you pointing it out!

      I'm aware of KBB, but I appreciate you pointing it out!

      1 vote