sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Admiral
Posts: 3017
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Admiral »

What are the board's thoughts on the above? We would like a used wagon. This will be driven by a 17 YO driver--not primarily as we don't drive that much, but this will be the car she will use; our other car is a classic vehicle. Hence, will not buy new. It will also be parked outside.

in general, I have felt that around 30k miles (or 2-3 years old) one owner cars are a good tradeoff between price and miles. Reasonable savings versus new, still reliable. We don't drive a lot and keep cars a looong time.

I like wagons. Not a fan of SUVs. In general I could find a used Audi Allroad, BMW 3 wagon, Volvo, or Outback for 30kish. Examples:

https://www.edmunds.com/audi/allroad/20 ... ?radius=25 (Audi)

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/outback/ ... ?radius=25 (Outback; I won't buy the 2.5 liter engine)

https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/WBA8K3C5XJA024000 (BMW 3 series wagon, only 22k miles)
livesoft
Posts: 73338
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by livesoft »

That Outback is really a SUV. I have an Outback that sits in my garage next to a Lexus RX-350. They are the same size within inches of each other, but the Outback has higher ground clearance because the Lexus has the exhaust pipe blip of Toyotas.

I bought that Lexus as a 3-year-old used car for under $27K. The Outback link you gave was asking $22,455 for a 4 or 5-year old 2016, so that seem high to me. Back in 2018, brand new Outback 3.6R Limited were going for about $33K.
Last edited by livesoft on Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
snailderby
Posts: 1215
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:30 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by snailderby »

1. I like that 2 to 4 year old range as well.

2. If you can, get the car checked out by an independent mechanic before buying it.

3. I would also check the reliability ratings for any cars you buy. See, e.g., http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/BMW_3_Series.html, http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Audi_Allroad.html, and http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Subaru_Outback.html.
Topic Author
Admiral
Posts: 3017
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Admiral »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:17 am That Outback is really a SUV. I have an Outback that sits in my garage next to a Lexus RX-350. They are the same size within inches of each other, but the Outback has higher ground clearance because the Lexus has the exhaust pipe blip of Toyotas.
Granted. But the layout and parcel space is like a wagon. I have driven the Outback (though not in the last year) and don't like the less expensive motor.
livesoft
Posts: 73338
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by livesoft »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:19 am Granted. But the layout and parcel space is like a wagon. I have driven the Outback (though not in the last year) and don't like the less expensive motor.
The 3.6R will get admirable envy from the Subaru service techs. I like that engine myself. The inside of the Lexus RX-350 and Outback are nearly equivalent including behind the back seats, so I am not sure what you mean by layout and parcel space. Remember: I have both of them.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
stomie
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:03 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by stomie »

Check prices on carvana to get an idea of mileage and options
atikovi
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:20 pm
Location: Suburban Washington DC

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by atikovi »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am https://www.edmunds.com/audi/allroad/20 ... ?radius=25 (Audi)

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/outback/ ... ?radius=25 (Outback; I won't buy the 2.5 liter engine)

https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/WBA8K3C5XJA024000 (BMW 3 series wagon, only 22k miles)
Those are WAY too much cars for a 17 year old driver. The insurance alone is going to be very expensive. Why not a $3-5K car with liability only, at least until they get some driving experience.
tibbitts
Posts: 11874
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by tibbitts »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am in general, I have felt that around 30k miles (or 2-3 years old) one owner cars are a good tradeoff between price and miles. Reasonable savings versus new, still reliable. We don't drive a lot and keep cars a looong time.
I think you are somewhat off-base here, because it depends entirely on the specific model and year you're looking at. I do think there are some market inefficiencies you can sometimes exploit based on buyer preferences - unpopular vehicles or ones that have fallen out of favor can be better buys at different times in their lifecycle. In general I find 2-3 years is not the optimal time for cars I'm looking at. I'd look for younger cars, although sometimes "two years old" as in 2019 right now would be worth considering, since it's just barely two years. Also keep in mind for many cars you're coming up on warranty expiration if you start at 30k. Remember that Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise count as "one-owner."
Last edited by tibbitts on Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
Admiral
Posts: 3017
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Admiral »

atikovi wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:26 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am https://www.edmunds.com/audi/allroad/20 ... ?radius=25 (Audi)

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/outback/ ... ?radius=25 (Outback; I won't buy the 2.5 liter engine)

https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/WBA8K3C5XJA024000 (BMW 3 series wagon, only 22k miles)
Those are WAY too much cars for a 17 year old driver. The insurance alone is going to be very expensive. Why not a $3-5K car with liability only, at least until they get some driving experience.
Sorry: to be clear this car will be OUR primary car. It’s just that it will OCCASIONALLY be driven by a 17 YO.
livesoft
Posts: 73338
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by livesoft »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:28 amSorry: to be clear this car will be OUR primary car. It’s just that it will OCCASIONALLY be driven by a 17 YO.
We bought used and new. The used cars were Lexus RX's that had come off of a 3-year lease and had about 50,000 miles on them. In this geographic area there are so many of them that their prices are generally depressed. So this is a bit counter-intuitive to the "out of favor" comment previously made. These RX are essentially beater cars in our area. Lots of Subarus nowadays, so they will be beater cars in a few years. Every kid I know that was driving a BMW totaled it.

I conclude that "sweet spot" will depend on where you live.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.
retiredjg
Posts: 41881
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by retiredjg »

I've had very good luck buying 2 to 3 year old vehicles over the years, mostly Toyota. Mileage has usually been low but did buy one Toy stationwagon with 95k+ miles (it was wonderful).

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the ones you are looking at. Be sure you actually like the Subaru CVT transmission before you buy it (I thought I liked it at first, then hated it within 6 months).
Nowizard
Posts: 3014
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Nowizard »

Not sure about price but car dealer said 60,000 is ideal time for trading one, at least for the dealer! It has always appeared that the deduction for a "Demo" is less than I would accept in every case where purchasing one has been attempted.

Tim
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 20657
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Watty »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am This will be driven by a 17 YO driver
......
In general I could find a used Audi Allroad, BMW 3 wagon, Volvo, or Outback for 30kish. Examples:
Be sure to get insurance quotes for those cars before your buy one since with a teenage driver it might be a LOT higher than you are expecting.

One big question is what your plans are for the car when your kid goes off to college or moves out on their own. If they are likely to take the car with them then something like a new Toyota C-HR or Corolla Hatchback could be bought for around $20K and it would have most of the new advanced safety features and a full three year warranty. Hyundai also has a number of cars in that price range and have a full five year warranty that would take your kid all the way through college.
alfaspider
Posts: 3035
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by alfaspider »

What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
atikovi
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:20 pm
Location: Suburban Washington DC

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by atikovi »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:28 am
atikovi wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:26 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am https://www.edmunds.com/audi/allroad/20 ... ?radius=25 (Audi)

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/outback/ ... ?radius=25 (Outback; I won't buy the 2.5 liter engine)

https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/WBA8K3C5XJA024000 (BMW 3 series wagon, only 22k miles)
Those are WAY too much cars for a 17 year old driver. The insurance alone is going to be very expensive. Why not a $3-5K car with liability only, at least until they get some driving experience.
Sorry: to be clear this car will be OUR primary car. It’s just that it will OCCASIONALLY be driven by a 17 YO.
OK that makes more sense. Insurance probably still going to be high. Can you buy another cheap car just for the kid to drive exclusively so as not to impact the insurance of the expensive car? Or won't the insurance co. do that?
wootwoot
Posts: 577
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by wootwoot »

Topic Author
Admiral
Posts: 3017
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Admiral »

alfaspider wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
I like them. Have driven one. Spouse will not support VW due to corporate malfeasance (though the ethics are murky since this would be the secondary market).
megabad
Posts: 2964
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by megabad »

Depends on the car. I would say the “luxury” models plummet in value the second you drive off the lot and have a lot of leases so you might see some savings once you hit the off lease time frame 3 yrs, 30k miles or so. I would say savings on Subaru would be close to zero so I would consider new there. Not sure about Volvo. If you are buying Honda or Toyota, there is no savings and possibly a premium for used so you want to buy new there 99% of the time.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12643
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Everyone's buying SUVs and crossovers. Thus:

Outbacks are overpriced.
Foresters are overpriced.
Crosstreks are overpriced.

Compare a Legacy. That's an outback in sedan form minus the stilts. They depreciate like a Camry. I bought a 1 year old limited for $22k. You can get the premium (mostly a limited minus leather) for well under $20k. For a 17 year old? Who cares what engine it has. The H4 is more than enough to pull the car. Easy enough to find one with eyesight, which puts it in line with the latest safety features. For the unknowing who will scream "Head Gaskets", no, the only Subaru with the EJ engine anymore is the STi. The Legacy has the HTCVT which has had zero issues. The low torque, regular CVT had problems back in ancient times. Sort of the same time period that Toyota was forced to recall all its Tacoma and 4 runner frames for rusting holes in them to unsafe levels. All Subarus except the STi now have timing chains. They all have electric steering assist (hydraulic steering pumps were problematic in older cars).
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 20657
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Watty »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:28 am
atikovi wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:26 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am https://www.edmunds.com/audi/allroad/20 ... ?radius=25 (Audi)

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/outback/ ... ?radius=25 (Outback; I won't buy the 2.5 liter engine)

https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/WBA8K3C5XJA024000 (BMW 3 series wagon, only 22k miles)
Those are WAY too much cars for a 17 year old driver. The insurance alone is going to be very expensive. Why not a $3-5K car with liability only, at least until they get some driving experience.
Sorry: to be clear this car will be OUR primary car. It’s just that it will OCCASIONALLY be driven by a 17 YO.
Be sure to check on all the permutations of the insurance. In some situations it might make sense to not have the teenager be a driver of a $30K car and instead buy them their own $5K car without collision coverage

You also need to check how have an additional driver and car would impact the cost of your umbrella policy.
tibbitts
Posts: 11874
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by tibbitts »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:43 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
I like them. Have driven one. Spouse will not support VW due to corporate malfeasance (though the ethics are murky since this would be the secondary market).
Well, yes, but we all know people who won't buy German or Japanese because of WWII, GM since the bailout, Ford because of how Henry treated people and the Pinto, Chrysler because it's really Fiat (see WWII)... and the list goes on. You might suggest she's showing some selective outrage there.
Topic Author
Admiral
Posts: 3017
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Admiral »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:58 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:43 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
I like them. Have driven one. Spouse will not support VW due to corporate malfeasance (though the ethics are murky since this would be the secondary market).
Well, yes, but we all know people who won't buy German or Japanese because of WWII, GM since the bailout, Ford because of how Henry treated people and the Pinto, Chrysler because it's really Fiat (see WWII)... and the list goes on. You might suggest she's showing some selective outrage there.
Lol. Recency bias perhaps. It’s a losing battle. LMK when you want to come over and advocate for me.
User avatar
tcassette
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:20 pm
Location: Southeast Tennessee

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by tcassette »

megabad wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:44 am Depends on the car. I would say the “luxury” models plummet in value the second you drive off the lot and have a lot of leases so you might see some savings once you hit the off lease time frame 3 yrs, 30k miles or so. I would say savings on Subaru would be close to zero so I would consider new there. Not sure about Volvo. If you are buying Honda or Toyota, there is no savings and possibly a premium for used so you want to buy new there 99% of the time.
+1 The last 2 Outbacks I have purchased, I initially hoped to find a 2 or 3 year old example at a good price. The ones I find in that age range were not priced very low, so I ended up buying new. The 2007 is still running fine, and the 2018 has been great as well.
Helo80
Posts: 1761
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:47 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Helo80 »

My favorite quote on BMWs: "If you can't afford a new BMW, you sure as heck can't afford a used one."
TropikThunder
Posts: 2538
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:41 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by TropikThunder »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:06 am
tibbitts wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:58 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:43 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
I like them. Have driven one. Spouse will not support VW due to corporate malfeasance (though the ethics are murky since this would be the secondary market).
Well, yes, but we all know people who won't buy German or Japanese because of WWII, GM since the bailout, Ford because of how Henry treated people and the Pinto, Chrysler because it's really Fiat (see WWII)... and the list goes on. You might suggest she's showing some selective outrage there.
Lol. Recency bias perhaps. It’s a losing battle. LMK when you want to come over and advocate for me.
Yeah it's more of a "what have you done to me lately" kinda thing. :P
User avatar
snackdog
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by snackdog »

I find sweet spot these days is just over 100k miles. A psychological cliff. A decent Toyota or Lexus IS easily good for another 100k and the depreciation is gone.
acegolfer
Posts: 2281
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:40 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by acegolfer »

atikovi wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am Can you buy another cheap car just for the kid to drive exclusively so as not to impact the insurance of the expensive car? Or won't the insurance co. do that?
Curious about this too. My guess is it's not allowed.
acegolfer
Posts: 2281
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:40 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by acegolfer »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am What are the board's thoughts on the above? We would like a used wagon. This will be driven by a 17 YO driver--not primarily as we don't drive that much, but this will be the car she will use; our other car is a classic vehicle. Hence, will not buy new. It will also be parked outside.

in general, I have felt that around 30k miles (or 2-3 years old) one owner cars are a good tradeoff between price and miles. Reasonable savings versus new, still reliable.
I'm in a similar shoe and have similar opinion. I'm also shopping for a 1-owner 2-3 yr old 30k mile used car.
tibbitts
Posts: 11874
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by tibbitts »

snackdog wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:35 pm I find sweet spot these days is just over 100k miles. A psychological cliff. A decent Toyota or Lexus IS easily good for another 100k and the depreciation is gone.
Except the OP doesn't want a Toyota or Lexus, and identifying a "decent" one is problematic.
inbox788
Posts: 7586
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by inbox788 »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:58 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:43 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
I like them. Have driven one. Spouse will not support VW due to corporate malfeasance (though the ethics are murky since this would be the secondary market).
Well, yes, but we all know people who won't buy German or Japanese because of WWII, GM since the bailout, Ford because of how Henry treated people and the Pinto, Chrysler because it's really Fiat (see WWII)... and the list goes on. You might suggest she's showing some selective outrage there.
That's leaves Volvo, but now that it's owned by Geely, some might cross it off too. Renault, but they don't import to US anymore, and they may find the Nissan connection too objectionable.

That still leaves Hyundai/Kia, Tesla, Jaguar/Land Rover, any opposition?

You might find used Delorean, MG, Triumph, etc.
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 amin general, I have felt that around 30k miles (or 2-3 years old) one owner cars are a good tradeoff between price and miles. Reasonable savings versus new, still reliable. We don't drive a lot and keep cars a looong time.
How long is a long time? You might consider buying new or newer car and selling a low mileage under 50k 5-10 year old car for maximum value. Or you could buy a newer used car with high mileage 75k, so by the time you sell it, it's average mileage for middle age or older car. Ideally, you find an off lease 3 year old highway driven car with 60k+ miles. It's slightly higher risk, but the cost of the extra miles is docked already, and you'll be driving the cheaper depreciated miles.
palaheel
Posts: 381
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:35 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by palaheel »

inbox788 wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:35 pm
tibbitts wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:58 am
Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:43 am
alfaspider wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:41 am What about a new VW? You can get an alltrak for mid 20s. They have fairly long warranties now.
I like them. Have driven one. Spouse will not support VW due to corporate malfeasance (though the ethics are murky since this would be the secondary market).
Well, yes, but we all know people who won't buy German or Japanese because of WWII, GM since the bailout, Ford because of how Henry treated people and the Pinto, Chrysler because it's really Fiat (see WWII)... and the list goes on. You might suggest she's showing some selective outrage there.
That's leaves Volvo, but now that it's owned by Geely, some might cross it off too. Renault, but they don't import to US anymore, and they may find the Nissan connection too objectionable.
It's been a while, but Volvo was caught with a deceptive ad. They and their ad agency were fined $150k each :

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm ... story.html
The Volvo commercial, which aired in October, 1990, featured a structurally reinforced Volvo withstanding the weight of an oversized truck rolling over it. Rival vehicles that appeared in the ad were structurally weakened to be crushed by the truck
Our march toward an empty set of acceptable car manufactures continues... :beer
Markets crash. Markets recover. Inflation takes your money FOREVER.
User avatar
wander
Posts: 3250
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:10 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by wander »

I purchased my Lexus at 209k and it is still running great at 270k miles. I got it for less than $1,000 which I can call a sweet spot.
capsaicinguy
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:00 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by capsaicinguy »

For depreciation check https://caredge.com/. Someone on here posted that website a while back and I found it interesting reading. The quick takeaway is for most cars it's right around the 3 year mark. :sharebeer
snailderby
Posts: 1215
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:30 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by snailderby »

capsaicinguy wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 7:41 am For depreciation check https://caredge.com/. Someone on here posted that website a while back and I found it interesting reading. The quick takeaway is for most cars it's right around the 3 year mark. :sharebeer
+1. It's not perfect, of course, but I've found that website to be a quick way to compare the depreciation curves of different vehicles.
Jags4186
Posts: 5119
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 7:12 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Jags4186 »

I like the concept of wagons, but the reality is luxury wagons are wayyyyy overpriced compared to SUVs. I am not paying $1000s extra for a wagon.

For example:
The cheapest 2017 BMW 330i xDrive Wagon on autotrader by me is listed at $29,900. It has 49,000 miles on the odometer.
The cheapest 2017 BMW 330i xDrive Sedan is $26,900. It only has 16,000 miles on the odometer.
The cheapest 2017 BMW X3 XDrive SUV is $22,450. It has 28,000 miles on the odometer.
User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 2289
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by jabberwockOG »

The sweetest used car spot is finding a well maintained creampuff Toyota or Lexus 8-10 years old with just slightly over 100k miles. These are typically $6-9k cars and are still super reliable and will run another 100k easy.

Much more expensive but also a sweet spot is the 3 year model Honda/Nissan/Toyota/Mazda brand(s) with low enough miles so it is still 4-8k miles left in warranty
finite_difference
Posts: 1978
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:00 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by finite_difference »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:17 am That Outback is really a SUV. I have an Outback that sits in my garage next to a Lexus RX-350. They are the same size within inches of each other, but the Outback has higher ground clearance because the Lexus has the exhaust pipe blip of Toyotas.

I bought that Lexus as a 3-year-old used car for under $27K. The Outback link you gave was asking $22,455 for a 4 or 5-year old 2016, so that seem high to me. Back in 2018, brand new Outback 3.6R Limited were going for about $33K.
+1. A used 3 year old RX-350 for $27k is definitely a sweet spot.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
friar1610
Posts: 1804
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: MA South Shore

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by friar1610 »

I'm both a wagon guy and a Volvo guy. If you want a used Volvo wagon you will have to find a 2016 or earlier XC-70 or V-60, available in both AWD and 2-wheel and still made. A couple of years ago I wanted to replace my worn-out 2005 XC-70 with a late model, low mileage used wagon and I looked at the V-60, the XC-60 (an SUV, not a wagon) in addition to the XC-70. I also looked at new Outbacks. I found the V-60 to be fine in the front seat (and I'm > 6') but too small in the back seat and cargo area. The prices were pretty reasonable with many of them coming off leases, particularly to car rental companies. The XC-60s were OK but I didn't really want an SUV. Both the used XC-70s and Outbacks made it to the final round. I found a beautiful high-end 2015 XC-70 with < 30K miles. It was about $33K, a price I thought was high but I decided I really wanted one more XC-70 before they aged out. (None of the XC-70s I looked at were as cheap as I'd hoped they would be, so I suspect demand was pretty high.) I could have bought a new Outback for about the same price but, so far, I'm happy with my decision.

I keep cars for at least 10 years and I just turned 75 so I don't know if there are any more car purchases in my future. If I were buying one now and XC-70s were out of the picture, I'd probably go with an Outback.

BTW, I guess Americans by and large don't like wagons. But when I travel in Europe I see a number of nice ones (e.g., Toyotas) that aren't available here.
Friar1610
illumination
Posts: 860
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by illumination »

I personally think 30k miles is still "too new" in terms of a decent discount. 5-6 years old and 50-60k miles seems to be where you can see more depreciation and you won't have major headaches. And that's still a very nice vehicle to give to a teenager (way better than most of us had for our first car)

Vehicles like Audi, BMW, Volvo, etc are usually going to have much higher service costs than something like a Toyota. Subaru may be a good compromise (As a former Subaru, I think they are overrated but not bad)

Sedans are a real bargain used, if you can get past the need for an SUV, you can really get a lot more car for your money. Wagons just aren't widely available anymore (I like them also) but it almost forces you to go to a European luxury car.
av111
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:27 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by av111 »

Admiral wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am What are the board's thoughts on the above? We would like a used wagon. This will be driven by a 17 YO driver--not primarily as we don't drive that much, but this will be the car she will use; our other car is a classic vehicle. Hence, will not buy new. It will also be parked outside.

in general, I have felt that around 30k miles (or 2-3 years old) one owner cars are a good tradeoff between price and miles. Reasonable savings versus new, still reliable. We don't drive a lot and keep cars a looong time.

I like wagons. Not a fan of SUVs. In general I could find a used Audi Allroad, BMW 3 wagon, Volvo, or Outback for 30kish. Examples:

https://www.edmunds.com/audi/allroad/20 ... ?radius=25 (Audi)

https://www.edmunds.com/subaru/outback/ ... ?radius=25 (Outback; I won't buy the 2.5 liter engine)

https://www.carfax.com/vehicle/WBA8K3C5XJA024000 (BMW 3 series wagon, only 22k miles)
Used 2010 to 2014 Prius with under 100k miles. Best car for a new driver. Safe, reliable and amazingly cheap maybe 5k to 6k?
AV111
User avatar
whodidntante
Posts: 9097
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm
Location: outside the echo chamber

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by whodidntante »

That's one lucky 17 YO. I would prefer something older and less expensive. You might have more money than I do, though.
User avatar
Sandi_k
Posts: 1464
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Sandi_k »

I owned a Subaru Legacy wagon, and drove it for 10 years. It was the best car I have ever owned in terms of reliability and cost to maintain it (note I had the 4 cylinder engine). 128k miles, and the only non-maintenance expenses were to replace the alternator, and one wheel bearing that went bad.

I looked at them again when I bought my next two cars, and didn't feel that the technology or interiors had kept pace with the market - they felt very much as if Subaru were still marketing a car with a 20 year old interior, so I couldn't be excited enough to buy it.

What I have bought: a Lexus RX350 (it was taller than the Subie, but maybe not now, given the Outback's higher stance). And recently a RAV4 hybrid. Both were in the $42k range OTD.

I considered a wagon again this time, but many wagons are low, and my old knees found entry and egress harder.

Personally, I would not consider a Volvo or BMW, as reliability and cost to own are two of my highest priority. Dealers in our area are very high-priced, and if I wanted luxury, I find a Lexus buy serviced by Toyota or local mechanics to be a more financially prudent path.

Other wagons/small SUVs I considered:

- Hyundai Kona or Ioniq
- Subaru Forester or Crosstrek
- Chevy Volt (now doscontinued) or Bolt (too cheap an interior, and hard-riding)
- Lexus NX300h
hudson
Posts: 3232
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by hudson »

Admiral,

There's a long time trusted used car dealer where I live.
Many including me drop in and tell them what we want and what we want to pay.
Since they know the market, they educate us on the price and our expectations.
In a week or two, they'll call and say, "Come take a look."
If you like it, you buy it. I don't try to negotiate. The price is always fair and usually what was discussed.
I think they go to car auctions online, and then in person to find the vehicle.
Maybe there's a dealer like that near you?
atikovi
Posts: 929
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:20 pm
Location: Suburban Washington DC

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by atikovi »

I do that occasionally, find cars at auctions for people, but unless it's an easy to sell model I'd expect a deposit up front in case they flake out. And most people have unrealistic expectations of what auction cars go for. No, I can't get a 2 year old Camry that sells for $20,000 at the Toyota dealer, for $10,000.
inbox788
Posts: 7586
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by inbox788 »

av111 wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:53 pmUsed 2010 to 2014 Prius with under 100k miles. Best car for a new driver. Safe, reliable and amazingly cheap maybe 5k to 6k?
Asking prices on craigslist are around 8-10k.
whodidntante wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:09 pm That's one lucky 17 YO. I would prefer something older and less expensive. You might have more money than I do, though.
Lucky to have a car, yes, but no teenage driver wants to be driving around in a station wagon. If it's 4wd and comes with ski rack and skis, then maybe.
Sandi_k wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:13 pmOther wagons/small SUVs I considered:

- Hyundai Kona or Ioniq
- Subaru Forester or Crosstrek
- Chevy Volt (now doscontinued) or Bolt (too cheap an interior, and hard-riding)
- Lexus NX300h
I was looking at the small SUVs, but they don't save much compared to CRV/RAV4 (Forester) and they depreciate about the same cost. You might pay $2k more but many years later, they'll still sell for about 2k more. You do save a little in gas. The Lexus is pricey, new and used.

Used Nissan Rogue is a sweet spot to consider in this mix and is a comparative value for about 10 year old vehicles more or less in the $5-10k range depending on condition and mileage.
User avatar
tennisplyr
Posts: 2686
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:53 pm
Location: Sarasota, FL

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by tennisplyr »

Just turned in my 2017 Civic Hatchback off a lease with 17,000 miles. Dealer told me he sold it first week to a 17 year old girl as her first car for ~$14,000-$16,000.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.
User avatar
David Jay
Posts: 9374
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am
Location: Michigan

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by David Jay »

snackdog wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:35 pm I find sweet spot these days is just over 100k miles. A psychological cliff. A decent Toyota or Lexus IS easily good for another 100k and the depreciation is gone.
Yes, I love new-ish, high mileage vehicles. One can’t put 100,000 miles on a 3 year old car without spending an awful lot of time on the highway.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
invest4
Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:19 am

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by invest4 »

3 year old cars are a popular spot because of the availability due to off-lease and good chunk of depreciation, etc. I have had good success here for the primary 'family' car where I am willing to spend a bit more...$25K for a Honda Minivan EXL for example. ;)

As others have mentioned, I would also suggest to talk with your insurance company about how your daughter will be setup on the car and its costs. You didn't give too much info. on how much she will be driving, but also consider whether a second car would make more sense...particularly if she has a job or is otherwise using it quite a bit. This may turn out to be cheaper and less of a nuisance as far figuring out the car shuffle.

If you should go this route, I don't think you need to spend anymore than $6K for a decent car with <150k miles. The beautiful thing about older cars is you can readily figure out which ones are consistently rated as duds or have costly problems. I also found some utility in looking at videos such as those from Scotty Kilmer.

Finally, adding a young driver to your umbrella policy can be expected to increase its cost appreciably (was my experience at least).

Best wishes
mcamp18
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:34 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by mcamp18 »

17 year olds are lousy drivers. I suggest a 8-10 year old car with lower mileage. Basic transportation.
If your child does not approve of that idea they can get a job and start saving for their dream vehicle.
They need their skin in the game. Make sure they pay their portion of the car insurance. The insurance
rates drop if they have taken a driver ed course. Rates also drop if they are a student with B average or
above. Lots of incentives need to be shown to your children so you prepare them to be independent in
just a few short years.

Mark
Topic Author
Admiral
Posts: 3017
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: sweet spot for used cars: Price and mileage?

Post by Admiral »

All, just for some clarity:

This is NOT a car FOR a 17 YO driver.

It is a car that would be ADDED (our existing car is a 20 YO BMW that is a low mileage classic vehicle that I don't want my 17 YO driving).

Point being, when she DOES drive a car, it would be the car we are considering.

I've narrowed it down to a more pricey used CX-5 (perhaps 2017 or 2018) in the 20-22k range, or a VW Alltrack (2017ish) for 13-15k or so (around 50k miles).

My main issue/concern is this:

Do I pay more (like 10k more) for a car with less than 30k miles, or much less for a car with closer to 60k miles?

I know that most newer cars are pretty reliable. Still, 60k miles (on some makes) is the spot where lots of things start to break (or need preventive repair).

So: spend a lot less for more miles, or a lot more for fewer miles?

Or, perhaps, something in the middle like this CX-5 with 32k miles for $18k?

https://www.edmunds.com/mazda/cx-5/2018 ... ?radius=25
Post Reply