Wednesday, January 03, 2024

What Car Should I Buy?

We got a payout from my mother's estate and I am going to use it to buy a new car. I haven't bought a car since 2003, when we bought a used Mitsubishi from Hertz. Our 2008 Mustang, which I inherited from my brother, still runs, but it has frequent problems -- right now the Check Engine light is on, for instance, so we're having to rent a car to get it looked at.

It seems I can buy a new Kia Soul for about $25,000. My main aim is finding a car Dr. Skull can get in and out of easily -- he has knee and back problems. But I'd also like one that will last about 20 years.

Anyone have any advice?


nicoleandmaggie said...

My MIL with similar concerns bought a car recently and went with a Toyota Camry. That's a little more than 25K (probably) and I don't know how it compares to a Kia Soul.

My family has had luck with Hondas, though sadly they've discontinued the Insight which I LOVE as a car. Our Hyundai Accent was literally disintegrating (plastic fatigue) after well under 20 years when I replaced it with the Insight, but from what I've been told, our old Honda Civic Hybrid is still working just fine with its new owner (though it has had repairs which is part of why DH replaced it back in 2018 after we'd had it for 12 years). If you are willing to wait, Honda is bringing back the Civic Hybrid sometime in 2024 (as a 2025 model), but I don't know what the price will be.

My main recommendation is to find several dealerships and play them off each other for price negotiation. Don't just go to one place in person-- take the price they give you to other dealers within a reasonable drive. Be wary of anything that seems odd, like last minute changes to what you agreed on. Be willing to just leave if they try to jerk you around.

Sorry about your mother. It is nice that she will be able to give you the gift of a reliable car. There's a lot to be said for not having to get repairs all the time.

Also: remember to budget for the fact that your insurance costs will go way up for the first couple/few years.

I can throw this up as an ask the grumpies on Friday if you want?

delagar said...

Yes, please!

And thanks for the advice!

Athena Andreadis said...

Personally I love hatchbacks. Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla & Honda Civic would be my recommendations, roughly in that order (though they're all very good & affordable).

Anonymath said...

My FIL had similar problems and they decided to go with a Subaru Forester. He found an SUV-height car to be easier to get in and out of. So far, the car has been doing well, but it doesn’t get driven much and Subarus can be hit-or-miss on reliability.

My DH, who also has some back issues, was looking for a higher car as well, both for his back as well as to provide a bit more clearance when the roads flood around here (something unfortunately not uncommon). We ended up with a Toyota Corolla Cross hybrid, as we have had good experiences with Toyota reliability for generations (my parents were staunch Toyota people), and have both liked their hybrid cars in the past. The hybrid version is new this year, but overall we expect good reliability. It’s also not as huge as most SUVs, which is more of an issue for me than DH, as I don’t like driving large vehicles. A base model starts at about $28k and has loads of safety features.

Athena Andreadis said...

The Subaru Forester (which is what the Silver Yeti is driving) is a terrific car -- great visibility, seat angle can be changed, easy to get in/out and of course the 4WD. If you find one that's slightly used, it will dip below your maximum price.

Anonymath said...

It’s a gas hybrid, non-plug in, so you don’t need any special equipment. It has a gas engine and an electric engine and uses the energy created when breaking to charge the electric batteries. It works very similarly to most Toyota hybrids like the Prius or Camry. We’ve had it about six months now and enjoyed it. Prior to that, we both had Prius, so we’re used to their hybrids. The electric batteries are warranted for 10 years, but we had driven DH’s for 13/300k miles and our mechanic said the batteries were in good shape. Cost to replace the batteries, which had originally been very expensive, has come down in price significantly, to the point where, if we had wanted to keep the car longer we could have easily replaced them.

delagar said...

Thank you, Anonymath!

Athena: I did find some used Subaru Foresters up the hill that are in our price range, and have less than 30,000 miles on them. We're going to go have a look!

Bardiac said...

I've had good luck with Subarus. My first one lasted 16 years, and that's up here in salt on the roads country. Buying used helps a lot.

delagar said...

We're definitely going to look at Subarus.

We rented a Kia Sportage while the Mustang is in the shop, and I like it quite a bit.

I think I've convinced Dr. Skull that we need to buy a used car -- or "pre-owned," as they seem to be called now.