Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

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Brian96
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Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Brian96 »

Now that my wife and I are retired and traveling more by car, we are looking to replace our 2001 Honda Civic ex (55,000 miles). Although it’s mileage is low, repairs are beginning to mount, engine noises are concerning, acceleration has become an issue, and the 5-hour drives we take several times a year are exhausting due to noise and vehicle vibration. So because we are frugal, and still park on NYC streets, we are looking at upgrading to a used car in the neighborhood of $12-17K but unclear as to what to look for in a more recent vehicle. We would be doing mostly city driving with approximately 5 trips of over 500 miles per year. We know we want to have:

- Safety features
- Reliable/dependable for at least 5-years with reasonable maintenance & repairs
- Good acceleration for highway entry
- 4-wheel drive if possible at this entry point
- Awesome air conditioning
- Gas mileage = 35-40 mpg
- Easy to use GPS system

We have read good things about Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav-4, and Suburu Forrester but not sure they are necessary for our needs. Although I have an affinity for them (LOL), I am open to other models. We would greatly appreciate your thoughts/recommendations on vehicles that match our concerns...Thanks so much!
- Brian
Last edited by Brian96 on Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
02nz
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by 02nz »

You need to figure out what your prioritize, because you cannot get a car that has good acceleration, AWD, and 35-40 mpg that also matches your price requirement. A 2012-2014 CR-V, for example, is roughly in your price range. But with AWD it gets 22 mpg city/29 highway. And acceleration will be no better than your Civic. If AWD is that important to you, a Subaru Impreza or Legacy may fit the bill. But they aren't going to accelerate any faster, unless you get turbo versions that are more expensive and thirstier. And 99% of the country doesn't need AWD and would be much better served by winter tires.

Forget about GPS. Use Google Maps on your smartphone. It's a better navigation system than every single factory GPS I've ever used.
h82goslw
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by h82goslw »

Agree with 02.....AWD and 40 mpg are mutually exclusive.
Actually...everything he said is spot on.
CoastalWinds
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by CoastalWinds »

Has Honda fixed the dreaded oil-gas dilution issue in its CRVs?
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beyou
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by beyou »

Bought 2015 Forester for about 19k 2 years back (in 2017). We live near NYC, great car for city driving/parking.
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Brian96
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Brian96 »

02nz,

Thanks so much for helping me prioritize. Gas mileage is of greater concern than AWD and enhanced acceleration. I realize that safety features are the most important to me.
- Brian
02nz
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by 02nz »

CoastalWinds wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:35 am Has Honda fixed the dreaded oil-gas dilution issue in its CRVs?
It's a nonissue in model year 2016 and earlier, because the affected engine (with a turbo) wasn't even offered then. And the stated price range puts '17 and newer CR-Vs out of reach.
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Brian96
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Brian96 »

beyou wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:38 am Bought 2015 Forester for about 19k 2 years back (in 2017). We live near NYC, great car for city driving/parking.
Hi Beyou,

Could you expand a bit further on the Forester’s maintenance, performance and safety features?
Thanks!
-Brian
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beyou
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by beyou »

Safety ratings for Subaru models have been good for many years. Maintenance wise seem fine and rates well. I like the small footprint (easy to park on streets of a major city yet spacious inside).

We take on longer drives regularly. Of course a bigger car will feel smoother in the highway, but less nimble in the city. Forester has been adequate for our long drives, excellent for local driving. MPG on highway over 30, 20+ locally.
Last edited by beyou on Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
bloom2708
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by bloom2708 »

The 2020 Ford Escape (not out yet) looks promising.

https://www.ford.com/suvs-crossovers/escape/2020/

It has both a Hybrid and a Plug-In Hybrid version. The Plug-In Hybrid (similar to the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi) would get you your combined 40 mpg.

Otherwise, AWD and 35+ MPG is probably a Forester. The Rav4 Hybrid likely gets that MPG too.

SUV for the most part are not aerodynamic enough to achieve the higher end of the MPG spectrum like some of the smaller cars.
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02nz
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by 02nz »

Brian96 wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:40 am 02nz,

Thanks so much for helping me prioritize. Gas mileage is of greater concern than AWD and enhanced acceleration. I realize that safety features are the most important to me.
- Brian
Crossovers will always get worse fuel economy than similarly priced sedans. But they are worth considering especially for older drivers - they are easier to get in and out of. The seat is at a height where you neither have to lower yourself nor climb to get in and out. You also have a somewhat more "commanding" view of the road than in your Civic. They are also shorter and easier to park than sedans offering similar space (as the crossovers are more upright). I would try this in person and decide if it's something you like over a traditional sedan like the Civic. If so I'd look at the CR-V, RAV4, Forester, and Mazda CX-5.

For sedans, I'd recommend the Civic (avoid model year 2012, on which Honda went too far cutting corners), Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda3, Mazda6, and Hyundai Sonata. I would avoid the Corolla, a reliable but pretty terrible-driving car (unless you're looking at the redesigned 2020 Corolla, which would be $20K and up).

The main safety features you'd gain with a late-model used crossover or sedan over your Civic would be stability control and maybe a backup camera. The former should be on all used cars in this price range; the latter is definitely worth looking out for.
Last edited by 02nz on Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
02nz
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by 02nz »

bloom2708 wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:48 am The 2020 Ford Escape (not out yet) looks promising.
The Escape starts around $25K, about twice what OP is looking to pay.

And I wouldn't buy any Ford until they demonstrate they've moved on from this: https://jalopnik.com/ford-knew-how-defe ... 1836273922. It didn't impact the Escape specifically, but what it demonstrates about Ford's culture, in terms of engineering and customer service, is absolutely appalling.
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tadamsmar
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by tadamsmar »

The GPS requirement severely limits your choices given your other parameters.

Do some checks with the cars.com used car screener using your criteria. You have to add GPS as a search field. There will only be a few cars left. There will be many more if you drop the GPS requirement.

Check the "stability control" box, that is a must-have safety feature in your price range. This only eliminates a few vehicles made before 2012.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Golf maniac »

Agree that you should look at something a little higher than a sedan because as we age it gets more difficult to get in and out of a lower sedan. Think crossovers even if you lose a little on the gas mileage.
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Brian96
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Brian96 »

Thanks, Everyone! Lots to think about...the crossover height, getting in and out of the vehicle, is an excellent point!

- Brian
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by fundseeker »

I highly recommend the CR-V or similar small SUV. You'll enjoy the better visibility, ease of getting in and out, and most importantly if it has it, the rear view camera that comes on when you put it in reverse. It's an awesome feature, especially when parking. Good luck!
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by snackdog »

2019 RAV-4 AWD hybrid. 39 mpg. $29,000. America's best-selling non-pickup.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by mpnret »

Subaru CrossTrek. SUV, nice small footprint for city streets, AWD, MPG, lots of safety features, popular with retirees, etc. Seems to hit all your needs. If you need bigger move up to Forester also popular with retirees. One of the most liked features of the Forester is it's panaramoric view. You sit up sightly higher and have a good 360 degree view without any blind spots.
My only slight hesitation with any vehicle is you listed retired and easy to use GPS.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Chip »

To add to tadamsmar's point, consider dropping the GPS requirement and use a smart phone for navigation. If the car you choose has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto you will be able to display maps on the car's display screen.

I'm a long time user of standalone GPS devices but the phones have them beat hands down. I think this would also apply to most built in vehicle navigation systems. I understand that most (if not all) of them require expensive map updates on a regular basis. That's not an issue with a phone.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Bigguy14 »

Mazda CX-5 can be found with fwd and gets good mpg for the class of vehicle. Still good in the snow, reliable, and easy in and out. Small footprint and reliable and good safety. Buy a GPS at Costco for $200.
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Watty
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Watty »

Brian96 wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:58 am So because we are frugal, and still park on NYC streets, we are looking at upgrading to a used car in the neighborhood of $12-17K but unclear as to what to look for in a more recent vehicle.

.....

Although I have an affinity for them (LOL), I am open to other models.
It would be a much different cars than the ones you mentioned but you can get a new Corolla for a bit more than $16K(plus tax and registration) if you shop for a good deal. It would have a lot more of the advanced safety features than most of the cars that are few years older models. It would also have a full warranty. I bought one last year and while it is not a luxury car it has been fine when I have taken it for long drives.
Brian96 wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:58 am - Gas mileage = 35-40 mpg
- Easy to use GPS system
It was not clear how many miles you will be driving but with as few miles as you were driving the Civic I would suspect that the gas mileage should not a big issue even with the road trips you are planning.

I intentionally avoid buying cars with a built in GPS since updating the mapes can be expensive when you have to buy the update from the dealership. In ten years the car manufacturer may not even have have updates available.
Brian96 wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:58 am - 4-wheel drive if possible at this entry point
Unless you are doing something like snow skiing you may really not need to drive in snow.

One of the nice things about being retired is that when there is a lot of snow on the roads I just stay home for a couple of days until the worst of the snow has melted.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

2 year old Legacy limited
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Nowizard »

If one has had larger SUV's but wants a smaller vehicle, it is difficult to consider a sedan with a lower profile, but also a challenge to consider a smaller SUV such as a CRV (My vehicle is a 4Runner now). Safety features are important, but it is somewhat like downsizing a home. You know the time has come to do so, but it is an adjustment. Someone with a Civic might be very comfortable with a CRV, but others with 4Runners, Expeditions, Sequoias, etc. might be more comfortable with Highlanders, Passports, etc.

Tim
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by tibbitts »

02nz wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:04 am Forget about GPS. Use Google Maps on your smartphone. It's a better navigation system than every single factory GPS I've ever used.
What prevents me from using my android/Google is that I still can't figure out how to download maps, points of interest, etc. in one step for all of North America in one step the way I can with a GPS. Obviously you may find yourself unexpectedly somewhere where you can't download that next chunk you need.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Rus In Urbe »

Bought our Forrester from Subaru in 2015. As the ads say, we "love" it.
---We take road trips of several days' duration, and the car is comfortable in all ways----we are never exhausted at the end of a long drive, as we were with a previous car.
---Handles well, great pick-up.
---AWD is terrific if you ever encounter snowy conditions.
---Easy getting in and out; you sit high off road so visibility is great.
---Plenty of storage for luggage for two.
---Heated seats option, take it.
---Great AC & heating systems.
----Mileage is around 24 city and 29 highway (our broad estimates, official count may be different)
----We bought a Thule hard case for top of the car storage when we take others on long trips.
----We paid around 28K new.
----I agree with upthread posters, use your phones for navigation.
Good luck on your decision.....

Our next car will be electric (maybe with solar panels, who knows) when they work out the kinks.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by mnnice »

Very unclear why car ownership is even a desirable.

Buy some non-owner insurance. Rent for your road trips. Walk, bike, mass transit, ride share, or cab everywhere else. Eliminate the hassle of worrying about having a seldom used car sitting around getting dents and having the tires rot.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by tibbitts »

mnnice wrote: Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:04 pm Very unclear why car ownership is even a desirable.

Buy some non-owner insurance. Rent for your road trips. Walk, bike, mass transit, ride share, or cab everywhere else. Eliminate the hassle of worrying about having a seldom used car sitting around getting dents and having the tires rot.
NYC covers a broad area and variety of locations, and it really depends on where you live and how often you drive locally. I can see not owning a car for some people but not for many others.
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travelogue
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by travelogue »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Aug 03, 2019 12:44 pm
02nz wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:04 am Forget about GPS. Use Google Maps on your smartphone. It's a better navigation system than every single factory GPS I've ever used.
What prevents me from using my android/Google is that I still can't figure out how to download maps, points of interest, etc. in one step for all of North America in one step the way I can with a GPS. Obviously you may find yourself unexpectedly somewhere where you can't download that next chunk you need.
Unless you're from outside the USA and don't have a US cell plan, Google Maps and Apple Maps will pull the latest and greatest from the cloud in real time and be far more up to date and accurate than a traditional GPS for both POIs and roads. Google lets you download areas for offline use if you drive through areas with spotty cell coverage.

With your criteria I think a Toyota Highlander could be a good option but likely out of your budget. Other options, as mentioned, might be the Forester, Outback, Impreza, RAV4, CR-V, or CX-5.
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by mnnice »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:14 pm
mnnice wrote: Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:04 pm Very unclear why car ownership is even a desirable.

Buy some non-owner insurance. Rent for your road trips. Walk, bike, mass transit, ride share, or cab everywhere else. Eliminate the hassle of worrying about having a seldom used car sitting around getting dents and having the tires rot.
NYC covers a broad area and variety of locations, and it really depends on where you live and how often you drive locally. I can see not owning a car for some people but not for many others.
Yeah I get that. Manhattan is different than Queens. But I was basing it on how little they currently drive. They are currently driving a 18 year old car with 55,000 miles on it. That’s about 3,000 miles a year. Apparently they really only drive it for road trips. Rent a vehicle best suited for the next trip not the best all round vehicle
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by Tribonian »

Have you looked into carshare for the city driving & other rentals for the road trips?
Standard rate for Zipcar is $8/mo + c.$12/hr. or $89/day, You might be able to find discounts.
Enterprise offers $40 annual then $8/hr or $69/day.

That could be pretty competitive if you are not daily drivers and can batch your car errands.

Always have latest model year (with latest safety features) for the 3 long roadtrips. And you can comparison shop makes and models if you decide you really must own.

Car ownership in a densely populated city just seems overly expensive and fundamentally inconvenient.

In any case, safe travels to you!
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (car).
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Re: Used Car Recommendations for Active Retired Couple

Post by BeneIRA »

02nz wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:55 am
bloom2708 wrote: Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:48 am The 2020 Ford Escape (not out yet) looks promising.
The Escape starts around $25K, about twice what OP is looking to pay.

And I wouldn't buy any Ford until they demonstrate they've moved on from this: https://jalopnik.com/ford-knew-how-defe ... 1836273922. It didn't impact the Escape specifically, but what it demonstrates about Ford's culture, in terms of engineering and customer service, is absolutely appalling.
Thank you for sharing. Very interesting article and I was considering a Ford at some point. Now I am sure I can pass.
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