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The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:23 am
by Chan_va
Folks,

The time has come for my to finally replace my aging car. As I was looking for replacements, I got to thinking about what would make the perfect boglehead car. The assumption is that you would buy a used car and drive it into the ground.

1. The car should have a depreciation curve that falls steeply in the first few years, and then levels off. (This allows you to buy a 2-3 year old used car at a steep discount to MSRP, but retain value thereafter)
2. It should be a versatile car - To me, that means luxurious, fun to drive, cargo hauler, all in one. I am personally a fan of stick shift german wagons.

Any suggestions on a car that would fit these criteria?

Thanks,

BC

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:34 am
by yukonjack
If you are going to drive into the ground why not start with new. Many of the Asian mid-sized sedans would fit the bill.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:35 am
by Mill
If youre going to drive it into the ground, then its eventual worth will be zero. Therefore, depreciation wouldnt be a factor in the decision.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:36 am
by Chan_va
yukonjack wrote:If you are going to drive into the ground why not start with new. Many of the Asian mid-sized sedans would fit the bill.


I hate the thought of driving a car off the lot and losing 5-10% immediately. And although I plan to drive it into the ground, I like having the option value of being able to sell it on should something change.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:40 am
by Philliesfan
Based on most of your criteria, I would vote for the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:42 am
by Wagnerjb
The title is misleading. What you are asking for is "The perfect car for me". There are many different Bogleheads with many different tastes and many different requirements and many different income levels.

Best wishes.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:44 am
by Chan_va
Philliesfan wrote:Based on most of your criteria, I would vote for the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI.


Thanks. As an aside, what is it about wagons that Americans hate? Audi for example has taken its wagon, raised it by 2 inches, put some horrid rubber cladding on it, and is now calling it an "Allroad" - whatever that means. The have achieved the impossible of ruining the look and handling without adding any actual allroad capabilities in one fell swoop.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:46 am
by Chan_va
Wagnerjb wrote:The title is misleading. What you are asking for is "The perfect car for me". There are many different Bogleheads with many different tastes and many different requirements and many different income levels.

Best wishes.


Good point Andy. I would argue that my #2 criteria is subjective, but #1 is universal. If there were a site with depreciation curves for cars, that would be invaluable.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:55 am
by camaro327
hate the thought of driving a car off the lot and losing 5-10% immediately. And although I plan to drive it into the ground, I like having the option value of being able to sell it on should something change.


I don't think so with Honda and Toyota products. The real hit is taxes and plates (depending on the state). I agree with the comment that if you are going to drive it into the ground depreciation will not matter.

Perfect car would depend on a person's needs. I would pick one of the top third rated brands in CR and then decide if I needed a Sedan, Wagon, SUV, Mini-Van, etc. (no coupes, these are impractical).

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:16 am
by Fallible
Chan_va wrote:Folks,

The time has come for my to finally replace my aging car. As I was looking for replacements, I got to thinking about what would make the perfect boglehead car. The assumption is that you would buy a used car and drive it into the ground.

...


There is another aspect to a Boglehead car: pay cash.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:20 am
by Jeff7
What region of the country? Snowy? Is AWD something you might be after?

I'm rather partial to Subaru cars at the moment, though their biggest advancements in fuel efficiency appear to have arrived with the 2012 models. It looks like they're reasonably good at retaining value. My mother's 1992 Subaru Legacy, FWD only, still likely clocks in at somewhere around $1100-$1800 Blue Book for private sale. (I had to use 1993, as they only go back that far; I shaved $100 off of the dollar values it gave.) Switching the option to AWD added another $400.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:34 am
by tadamsmar
My last car was a late-model used Honda Accord. I wanted to get a Malibu because I thought it was a better value, but my wife wanted an Accord.

My criteria is something in the Accord/Malibu size class with an I4 engine and leather seats. For me, that size class is the Goldilocks range for safety. And I think leather seats mitigate the fact that cloth seats get worn on a used car. Leather seats seem to last forever, all you need to do is inspect them before you buy. I like the I4 because I personally include considerations of energy and environmental conservation as well as operating costs.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:08 am
by tphp99
wagons with manual shift -

Caddy CTS-V
BMW 3 or 5 series
Audi 4 or 6
Mazda 3
Subaru Impreza

They are all limited when you actually need to haul something.

What have you got to haul around?

Have you considered a sports car/sedan AND a pick up truck?

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:13 am
by crowd79
New cars never make sense. Buy a new car at $30,000, drive it 5 years, and sell it for $15,000. Total loss (not even including repairs) is -$15,000 + interest.

Buy a used car at $8,000, drive it 5 yrs and sell it for $4,000. Assuming $1k in repairs per year, that is -$9,000. Savings of over $1k per yr.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:20 am
by bungalow10
crowd79 wrote:New cars never make sense. Buy a new car at $30,000, drive it 5 years, and sell it for $15,000. Total loss (not even including repairs) is -$15,000 + interest.

Buy a used car at $8,000, drive it 5 yrs and sell it for $4,000. Assuming $1k in repairs per year, that is -$9,000. Savings of over $1k per yr.


Have you priced used cars lately? They are astronomical. New cars can definitely make sense in this market. You don't have a lot of options for $8k - not like a few years ago.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:49 am
by LadyGeek
This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (cars).

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:53 am
by BigFoot48
I've been thinking lately that I deserve in my old age to have a more refined, quieter vehicle to either replace or supplement our Honda Odyssey cargo van. When I raised this issue with the DW she initially scoffed at the prospect of spending money unnecessarily (she's a Boglehead but doesn't know it!), but then said we should at least get something that gets better mileage than the 18/24 that the Honda does. I thought about that and decided it indeed might be a good time to become a hybrid owner and enter that brave, new world.

When I started reading reviews and watching video test drives, one car came to the forefront as far as being refined, quiet and having the cargo room we like - the Ford C-Max Hybrid. While it has been slammed for the EPA mileage figures of 47/47 that few are able to achieve (it's more like 40), it's fit and finish and "fun to drive" characteristics keep popping up. So that's the top one on my list for a test drive should this foolish purchase get finally approval. Stay tuned.

I liked this website's long video review: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/12/review-2013-ford-c-max-hybrid-video/

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:02 pm
by Saleen
I second the subarus. My family is on its 3rd WRX wagon. Just took a 600 mile road trip in the 2011 and it is very fun to drive and we averaged 26 mpg. Not the greatest, but we weren't exactly going for fuel economy up the curvy 101 on the coast.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:18 pm
by WHL
I am 200% against hybrids. Disgusting vehicles that claim to be "green." Where does that monstrous lead acid battery come from?

Usually, you can get extremely close to the hybrid fuel mileage with a good vehicle like the Honda Fit or a VW TDI. When the price difference is factored in the higher MPG benefit of the hybrid is quickly lost.

Fit - $16,113, 27/33 MPG = 30.0 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 400 gallons * $3.50 = $1400
Prius - $24,231, 51/48 MPG = 49.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 242.42 gallons * $3.50 = $848.48
Jetta TDI - $23,102, 30/42 MPG = 35.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 338.03 gallons * $4.00 = $1352.11

So, excluding the expensive TDI, at 12k miles per year, it'd take roughly 16 years for the Prius to make up the difference in fuel economy. At 24k miles per year, roughly 8 years.

The battery has shown to have a very durable life, and they aren't very expensive anyways, so I wouldn't say that is a huge negative anymore.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:34 pm
by Confused
[Blanked for privacy]

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:34 pm
by PowDay
I don't disagree with the math below if MPG is your only concern, but comparing a subcompact fit, to a midsize Prius isn't a fair argument. I updated your post below using the same methodology and the breakeven point is much quicker. 12k miles a year is also fairly low yearly miles, increase that to 15-20k per year and the break even is much sooner.

Though its impossible to predict, a hybrid is a hedge against gas prices.



WHL wrote:I am 200% against hybrids. Disgusting vehicles that claim to be "green." Where does that monstrous lead acid battery come from?

Usually, you can get extremely close to the hybrid fuel mileage with a good vehicle like the Honda Fit or a VW TDI. When the price difference is factored in the higher MPG benefit of the hybrid is quickly lost.

Fit - $16,113, 27/33 MPG = 30.0 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 400 gallons * $3.50 = $1400
Prius C $19,080 53/46 MPG = 49.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 242.42 gallons * $3.50 = $848.488
Prius - $24,231, 51/48 MPG = 49.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 242.42 gallons * $3.50 = $848.48
Camry - $22,230 25/35 MPG = 30.0 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 400 gallons * $3.50= $1400
Jetta TDI - $23,102, 30/42 MPG = 35.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 338.03 gallons * $4.00 = $1352.11

Compact Breakeven $552year $2967 MSRP Delta = 6 Years
Midsize Breakeven $552year $2001MSRP Delta = 4 Years


So, excluding the expensive TDI, at 12k miles per year, it'd take roughly 16 years for the Prius to make up the difference in fuel economy. At 24k miles per year, roughly 8 years.

The battery has shown to have a very durable life, and they aren't very expensive anyways, so I wouldn't say that is a huge negative anymore.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:01 pm
by hicabob
WHL wrote:I am 200% against hybrids. Disgusting vehicles that claim to be "green." Where does that monstrous lead acid battery come from?

Usually, you can get extremely close to the hybrid fuel mileage with a good vehicle like the Honda Fit or a VW TDI. When the price difference is factored in the higher MPG benefit of the hybrid is quickly lost.

Fit - $16,113, 27/33 MPG = 30.0 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 400 gallons * $3.50 = $1400
Prius - $24,231, 51/48 MPG = 49.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 242.42 gallons * $3.50 = $848.48
Jetta TDI - $23,102, 30/42 MPG = 35.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 338.03 gallons * $4.00 = $1352.11

So, excluding the expensive TDI, at 12k miles per year, it'd take roughly 16 years for the Prius to make up the difference in fuel economy. At 24k miles per year, roughly 8 years.

The battery has shown to have a very durable life, and they aren't very expensive anyways, so I wouldn't say that is a huge negative anymore.



Lead-acid batteries have been recycled for years - besides hybrids don't use lead acid (too heavy for power density) - prius uses nimh batteries which are also recycled - in fact Toyota will pay you $200 for a dead one.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:42 pm
by ryuns
WHL wrote:I am 200% against hybrids. Disgusting vehicles that claim to be "green." Where does that monstrous lead acid battery come from?

Usually, you can get extremely close to the hybrid fuel mileage with a good vehicle like the Honda Fit or a VW TDI. When the price difference is factored in the higher MPG benefit of the hybrid is quickly lost.

Fit - $16,113, 27/33 MPG = 30.0 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 400 gallons * $3.50 = $1400
Prius - $24,231, 51/48 MPG = 49.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 242.42 gallons * $3.50 = $848.48
Jetta TDI - $23,102, 30/42 MPG = 35.5 avg MPG @ 12,000 miles per year = 338.03 gallons * $4.00 = $1352.11

So, excluding the expensive TDI, at 12k miles per year, it'd take roughly 16 years for the Prius to make up the difference in fuel economy. At 24k miles per year, roughly 8 years.

The battery has shown to have a very durable life, and they aren't very expensive anyways, so I wouldn't say that is a huge negative anymore.


The Fit is a great car, but it's nothing like the Prius. I'm not a huge fan of the Prius liftback, but it's a super pleasant car, and by no means a subcompact. A better comparison is the Prius C, which costs about $4k less than the Prius liftback (I'd have to go look up the standard features to get an apples to apples), so then you're looking at a payback of under 8 years.


Battery recycling rates are in the high 90%s for hybrids and hybrids have NEVER used a lead acid battery. But since you make your claim with such gusto, perhaps that makes up for it? There are, of course, environmental impacts from battery construction, recycling and all of that. Including the impacts of local air pollution, GHG emissions, and lifecycle impacts of construction/destruction, the Prius C was actually considered a "greener" car than the electrics: http://greenercars.org/highlights_greenest.htm

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:02 pm
by stoptothink
bungalow10 wrote:
crowd79 wrote:New cars never make sense. Buy a new car at $30,000, drive it 5 years, and sell it for $15,000. Total loss (not even including repairs) is -$15,000 + interest.

Buy a used car at $8,000, drive it 5 yrs and sell it for $4,000. Assuming $1k in repairs per year, that is -$9,000. Savings of over $1k per yr.


Have you priced used cars lately? They are astronomical. New cars can definitely make sense in this market. You don't have a lot of options for $8k - not like a few years ago.


Yep. Just bought a new car January 1st, a very "boglehead-ish" subcompact. All of the vehicles I was looking at, 2-3yrs old with 35K+ miles, were selling for 85%+ of original MSRP. I ended up buying used ('09 with 40k miles), but it was only $4k cheaper than a new '13 which is a much updated model. If I wasn't paying cash and didn't have a very strict budget, probably would have been smarter just to spring for the new one. The used market for fuel efficient vehicles is absolutely terrible right now.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:29 pm
by Chan_va
stoptothink wrote:The used market for fuel efficient vehicles is absolutely terrible right now.
[/quote][/quote]

True - which is why I don't think that this is the time to buy a used fuel efficient car. Price efficiency in the used car market is very high for high volume, high demand cars.If you don't put a stupendous # of miles/year on your car, the boglehead thing to do right now is buy a 4-5 year old luxury car. They are trading well below MSRP, and still give you acceptable ~20 mi/gallon. If gas prices do shoot up, you can always unload and buy a new hybrid.

In the meanwhile, you will get a great deal. Not to mention the "fun to drive" factor.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:06 pm
by reisner
Points to consider:

Late model used car prices right now are often higher than new.

German and Swedish cars are very expensive to maintain. My last VW (Passat) went through three ignition coils before 80K, and 1K each. It also
burned a quart of fully synthetic oil every 1300 miles, and I'm told that's standard.

Maybe an older used car is wiser, as fuel efficiency is likely to grown by leaps and bounds in the coming years.

That said, if I were buying new right now, it would be a Honda Fit. 33mpg and fun to drive in a stick. Easy entry for me and the dogs. Flexible interior with huge hauling ability. No need to disassemble a 9' fly rod.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:16 pm
by madbrain
ryuns wrote:Battery recycling rates are in the high 90%s for hybrids and hybrids have NEVER used a lead acid battery.


Correction : hybrids do still contain a small 12V lead acid battery, just like every other vehicle on the road.
But that's not the battery that powers the drive train, of course.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:20 pm
by Dave76
Perfect Boglehead car? My 1987 Chrysler New Yorker.

$900 bought the following:

1. Leather interior.

2. Electronic Voice Activation.

3. Economical fuel injected 4 cylinder engine.

4. 6 passenger seating.

5. 3 ashtrays.

6. Front-wheel drive.

7. Electronic climate control.

8. All power options including seats and mirrors.

9. Cruise control.

10. My very own car, not the bank's car.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:34 pm
by Peter Foley
I would be inclined to look at car based SUVs. They a similar to wagons and hold their value better. Lots to choose from.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:45 pm
by Fotivator
Once had a college professor that said "the best kind of car is the paid off kind." All the rest is subjective.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:48 pm
by tim1999
Dave76 wrote:Perfect Boglehead car? My 1987 Chrysler New Yorker.

2. Electronic Voice Activation.


"Don't forget your keys."

"A door is ajar."

I like those New Yorkers, especially with the pillowy "buttoned and tufted" leather seats.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:08 pm
by pennstater2005
bungalow10 wrote:
crowd79 wrote:New cars never make sense. Buy a new car at $30,000, drive it 5 years, and sell it for $15,000. Total loss (not even including repairs) is -$15,000 + interest.

Buy a used car at $8,000, drive it 5 yrs and sell it for $4,000. Assuming $1k in repairs per year, that is -$9,000. Savings of over $1k per yr.


Have you priced used cars lately? They are astronomical. New cars can definitely make sense in this market. You don't have a lot of options for $8k - not like a few years ago.


Agree. I bought a used 2007 Honda Accord LX back in 2008 with 36000 miles and paid $15k for it. I do wish I would've sprung for the leather though. Someone above was talking about the cloth seats wearing out sooner and that is true, at least for the Accord. It does retain a decent portion of it's value though.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:23 pm
by gwrvmd
Dave's 1987 Chrysler New Yorker also doesn't need any Collision Insurance Coverage which is a big Boglehead saving...Gordon

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:25 pm
by Toons
Honda Fit :happy

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:32 pm
by mike143
When we were looking for a replacement for my wife, we ended up with a 2012 Honda Civic. After looking at used Civic's within $3k of new, we went new. Figured by the time our future kids are old enough to make a larger vehicles a reality my Accord will have 200+k and I will take the Civic and get something larger for the wife/kids. What makes sense for you won't make sense for everyone else. We want low ownership cost: fuel efficiency, reliability, maintenance and depreciation.
pennstater2005 wrote:Agree. I bought a used 2007 Honda Accord LX back in 2008 with 36000 miles and paid $15k for it. I do wish I would've sprung for the leather though. Someone above was talking about the cloth seats wearing out sooner and that is true, at least for the Accord. It does retain a decent portion of it's value though.

I bought an 04 Accord LX I4 Manual Sedan 108k for $10k end of 2007. I use and abuse my car, it has cloth interior and I am a large person, I have no problem with wear at now 167k.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:44 pm
by bigspender
Probably the best bogleheadish car would be a 10-15 yo corolla or civic. Good gas mileage, reliable, easy to repair which they would rarely need. Probably can get good examples for between 3 and 5 thousand bucks.

Now my Testla model S on the other hand I am still waiting on, not a very bogleheadish car.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:48 pm
by jane1
Until now, we had always bought used cars, but after checking prices (craigslist, dealer used, kbb, edmunds), we decided new would be the most price-efficient going forward.
We are considering Honda Civic (28/39 mpg) or Mazda3 with Skyactiv (28/40 mpg).
Taking initial cost, ongoing maintenance, fuel as well as reliability, these 2 seemed the best options for my needs.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:53 pm
by mike143
I do all my maintenance so when I bought my 04 Accord I was in the market for a reliable 4 cylinder manual transmission sedan. Reliability and maintenance cost came with consideration for a timing chain rather than a belt. That meant 06+ Honda Civic or 03+ Honda Accord, at end of 07 an 06+Honda Civic was out of my budget, which left me with the Accord. It has been reliable minus A/C clutch coil, cruise control switch and center console hinge.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:03 pm
by telemark
I drove Jettas for about ten years, then switched to Mazda and never looked back. Just as much fun to drive and substantially more reliable. But the bogleheadish thing to do is to make a short list of acceptable makes and models and then look for a deal. If you set your heart on getting a particular model, you'll end up paying more than you need to.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:38 pm
by StormShadow
The perfect Boglehead car? A bicycle. :D

In all seriousness, I vote for a 3-4 year old Toyota/Honda.

Pickup Truck: Tacoma
SUV: Highlander, Pilot
Small SUV: Rav4, CRV
Sedan: Camry, Accord
Compact: Corolla, Civic

You can't go wrong with any of these. All are very reliable, albeit price is on the higher end for a pre-owned vehicle. Then again, the reliability is what will save you more money (and headache) in the long run.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:52 pm
by thomasbayarea
I thought the quintessential boglehead car is the Crow Vic, or Grand Marquis. Nobody here drives one?

Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, run forever, comfy and safe.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:18 am
by Busting Myths
thomasbayarea wrote:I thought the quintessential boglehead car is the Crow Vic, or Grand Marquis. Nobody here drives one?

Cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, run forever, comfy and safe.

More of a Fatwallet Finance car.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:41 am
by yeledbed
Toons wrote:Honda Fit :happy


+1!
Fun to drive, surprisingly roomy interior (two bicycles + car camping equipment + backpacking equipment + fishing gear + luggage for one week for two people easily fit in the back with the seats down), Honda quality all for well under 20k new. I'm hoping to keep mine for at least 15 years (my civic lasted nearly 17). Really, isn't any car paid for in cash and kept for 15+ years Bogleheadish?

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:04 am
by dewey
One important factor for a Boglehead should be safety. Buying used cars, even if not much older, means they lack the latest safety technology. Since many used cars are now quite expensive, buying new assures a warranty plus the current safety upgrades. Taking care of our portfolios as we do should be matched on some level by how we take care of ourselves. New cars may cost a shade more but the safety advantage shouldn't be ignored. There are lots of non-Boglehead drivers out there...

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:37 am
by jidina80
adamcate wrote:I second the subarus. My family is on its 3rd WRX wagon. Just took a 600 mile road trip in the 2011 and it is very fun to drive and we averaged 26 mpg. Not the greatest, but we weren't exactly going for fuel economy up the curvy 101 on the coast.

I also second Subaru, especially if safety and reliability are among the most important decision factors. Subaru consistently comes in well on safety and reliability rankings.

This year I'm retiring my 13 year old Subaru Forester and intend to buy a 2013 Subaru Outback. I'm buying "new" because this vehicle will mostly be used for long road trips where reliability is paramount. Buying new does cost more, but it comes with a 3 year warranty and I control the maintenance schedule.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:43 am
by tadamsmar
dewey wrote:One important factor for a Boglehead should be safety. Buying used cars, even if not much older, means they lack the latest safety technology. Since many used cars are now quite expensive, buying new assures a warranty plus the current safety upgrades. Taking care of our portfolios as we do should be matched on some level by how we take care of ourselves. New cars may cost a shade more but the safety advantage shouldn't be ignored. There are lots of non-Boglehead drivers out there...


In this respect, getting a used car with electronic stability control (ESC) is the most important consideration. It's the most important non-retrofittable safety feature in history (with the possible exception of the collapsible steering wheel). Field studies indicates that it is preventing about 1/3 of fatalities. It's 10 times more important that side air bags.

ESC was mandated for the 2012 model year. If you are buying an older used car, then check my blog post on how to find a used car with ESC:

http://epicurusgarden.blogspot.com/2011 ... h-esc.html

Also adding "stability control" as an additional keyword at cars.com can be a useful (if imperfect) screen for ESC.

Also, http://www.informedforlife.org can help sort out the safety of used cars.

Food for thought: We often hand down the old car to our children when they become new drivers. These days that often means that the kid is getting a car without ESC while we are driving a much safer vehicle even though the kid has a statistically higher chance of being in a wreck.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:57 am
by Chan_va
Thanks all. All this talk got me thinking. If cars were investments, what would they be?

1. U.S Bonds: Late model Japanese Sedan. Historically bulletproof, but have they peaked?
2. TIPS: Hybrids - Is the cost of gasoline inflation protection worth it?
3. TSM: Late model US Big 3 Sedan - mainstream, a little riskier than bonds, but better value long term
4. TISM: Jetta TDI or Subaru WRX - A little exotic, a little fun, but very practical
5. Facebook: Tesla - Potentially revolutionary, but at what multiple?
6. Mortgage: 10 year old German luxury sedan - you regularly throw monthly repair payments at it.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:30 am
by KyleAAA
The perfect Bogleheads car is whatever car you get the most enjoyment out of owning for the money. For some Bogleheads, that's a Toyota. For others, it's a Porsche. People often equate Bogleheads with thrifty. That's not true, in my experience.

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:51 am
by Toons
yeledbed wrote:
Toons wrote:Honda Fit :happy


+1!
Fun to drive, surprisingly roomy interior (two bicycles + car camping equipment + backpacking equipment + fishing gear + luggage for one week for two people easily fit in the back with the seats down), Honda quality all for well under 20k new. I'm hoping to keep mine for at least 15 years (my civic lasted nearly 17). Really, isn't any car paid for in cash and kept for 15+ years Bogleheadish?


+1 Ditto on all the above. When I think back on what I paid for the new
Fit, I couldn't ask for more bang for the buck. :happy

Re: The perfect Boglehead car

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:02 am
by lightheir
Curious why depreciation shouldn't matter if you're driving it into the ground.

Assuming you buy a used car, you may have to replace it a few years earlier than if you had bought a brand-new one assuming roughly equal life (from brand new to full dead) but you're skipping over those years of max depreciation. So if you save, say $5000 by buying a car 4 years old, and repeat with another used car when it dies, you'd be avoiding that initial new car depreciation hit. Or am I missing something here?