Choosing a Used Car Model

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Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by lump532 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:58 pm


I tried searching to no avail, so sorry if this is a repeat question.

Any suggestions on choosing a used car model? Actually, more like vehicle type. Let me explain.

My wife and I are looking for something bigger. We have two kids in car seats and we'd like something with AWD and third row seating so that we can carry others with us when needed. We're mostly looking at Hondas (Pilot) and Toyotas (Sienna, Highlander), but are open to others for the right price/car. My wife has only ever driven sedans and is nervous about driving a bigger vehicle. She wants to test drive some to get a feel for what size she's comfortable with.

We're trying to figure out the best way to do this. Test driving new doesn't seem to make much sense when we're going to buy used and we don't really want to deal with the sales pressure. We don't really want to hit up the used car dealers for similar sales pressure reasons. On the other hand, we're taking our time deciding and are not ready to buy so we don't want to waste the time of private sellers. We don't know anyone who drives what we're looking at.

Unfortunately, we can't think of any other ways to do it. We just don't want to waste a bunch of time, our's or other's. Suggestions?

Thanks everyone!


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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by Balefire » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:05 pm

Mazda CX9.
3 rows.
AWD option
More luxury than Honda pilot and Toyota Highlander.
Drives like a car.
I've owned two and both were bulletproof reliable.

There's no harm in test driving.
That's what convinced my wife to get it.
Last edited by Balefire on Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:05 pm

Test drive at a dealer.
Toyota Highlander, 4 runner, etc.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by megabad » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:11 pm

If you are buying used, I would add Nissan Pathfinder to your list. I suspect that small Toyota and Honda SUVs will fetch top dollar on the used market (almost no depreciation) so Nissan or another not quite as popular brand may net your more bang for your buck.

Go to a Carmax. In my experience at the one near me, they don't bother you as much as normal dealers and you can get a test drive without wanting to kill yourself. Doesn't mean you have to buy there. Otherwise, going to the car dealer in dirty sweat pants and putting on my best thick southern drawl tends to keep the salespeople away (I am male though and I am usually alone when I do this, your wife might not be able to get away with this).

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by livesoft » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:17 pm

What do your friends and family drive that are in similar circumstances? They should let you test drive their cars.
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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by delamer » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:48 pm

If there is a CarMax near you, you can test drive a few different types of vehicles with minimal sales pressure.

The sales people do work on commission, but it is a flat fee per vehicle. So getting the sale is more important than trying to upsell you.

Prices are not negotiable, but by using or you’ll be able to tell if the asking price is fair.

We have have had very good experiences there.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by jcchen » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:54 pm

We also have 2 kids and dislike driving big cars so have 2 sedans.

Maybe you can also consider getting new car seats instead a 3 row SUV/minivan? Eg, Diono Radians are very narrow so can fit an adult and 2 car seats in the back row. Google 3 car seats in a row.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by tivattom » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:49 am

Second recommendation for CarMax. They have a huge inventory and will be happy to let you test drive all models to your hearts content.

We ended up purchasing a Ford Flex that we LOVE, but were not initially searching for thanks to test driving all models our local CarMax had. Our experience at CarMax was phenomenal.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by lostdog » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:36 am

Toyota Highlander.

Toyota's are very high quality vehicles that will last forever.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by Rupert » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:50 am

Your wife is not going to get a feel for driving a larger car on a short test drive. After driving a sedan for a long time, I found that it took me a couple of weeks to adjust to driving a minivan. Now I'm completely comfortable in it. If you pay close attention to minivans you see in parking lots, you'll notice that many of them have a scrape on the right side just past the sliding door. That usually happens in those first few weeks :( I recommend if she's really unsure about driving a big vehicle that you rent one for a week or two. That's the only way she'll learn if she's really going to be comfortable with it.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:04 am

If you're buying a lightly used Honda or Toyota, you may be better off just buying new. The price difference is a "few thousand dollars". (Just went through this four days ago.)

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by Sasquatch » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:42 pm

When we had 2 little ones in car seats we switched from a Camry to a minivan. Boy, the sliding doors were so great on mom & dads back for getting them buckled in. Holds a ton of kid cargo too.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by Hulu » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:32 pm

Because of higher relatively sticker cost of Toyota/Honda I looked at the Equinox, Sorrento, Pacifica Hybrid, Tahoe and Traverse. Everything except the Tahoe drove similarly...partly due to the frame. I was coming from a sedan and found it more difficult to drive initially. I'm glad/grateful I made the change because of safety, space and environment however these cars are much more complicated now. At least they are safer assuming you're not distracted by the lights and beeps.

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Re: Choosing a Used Car Model

Post by LMBFlorida » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:07 pm

Toyota Highlander or maybe the Toyota RAV4 if you are looking for something smaller.

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