Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

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Admiral
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Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Admiral » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:15 am

We are considering a second car based on the following factors:
1. Current car is a non-DD classic vehicle, 2500-3000 mi/year. Not appropriate for a new driver.
2. Possible new (aka used) car would be a family car, non DD, 5000 mi/year max, mostly for road trips so should be reliable. Would keep for a long time.
3. Car will be used for ski trips and trips to family cabin, so wagon/4WD (or cheap snows)/relatively high clearance important. Kids want SUV, I'm not convinced, I like wagons.
4. Car will be parked outside on street, so don't want a car I will obsess over every ding/dent
5. Car will have two teens in back seat, plus gear, so it can't be tiny

We would pay cash. My main issue is should we pay very little (like 6-8k) for an older car with high miles, or should we pay more (10-15k) for something like a 5-7 year old Outback with 50k miles. Other cars in this range are Mini ALL 4 which may be too small. I have driven the CR-V and don't like it, so I probably wouldn't like the RAV-4 either.

I could probably find a decent BMW wagon with 60-80k in this upper price range. Spouse will not consider VW for ethical/moral reasons (dieselgate) though personally there are lots of Alltracks around in our price range that I would look at.

I guess my main quandary is should I pay very little and just assume I will then be paying for some repairs/general maintenance on a regular basis (unless I'm really lucky), or should I pay double or triple that for something off lease and hope for the best?

In general I'm fine with a well maintained car with higher miles (say over 60k), so I would likely be ok buying one if I could see the service records.

Kid is 16 in three months.

Opinions?
Last edited by Admiral on Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Used car purchase, non DD, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:23 am

What's a "DD" (or "non DD") car?

All I can think of for "DD" is Designated Driver, but that's not a characteristic of the car itself.

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Admiral
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Re: Used car purchase, non DD, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Admiral » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:24 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:23 am
What's a "DD" (or "non DD") car?

All I can think of for "DD" is Designated Driver, but that's not a characteristic of the car itself.

RM
Daily Driver. Edited subject line, sorry about that.

ohai
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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by ohai » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:39 am

I like wagons too, but the reality is that selection of these vehicles is limited, and you'll get a better deal and have more selection with an SUV (which nowadays is more like a wagon than a truck anyway).

Any German car with 80k miles does not sound like a great idea if you care about reliability. *I know some people will come here and be like, "Well, MY 1999 Audi RS6 didn't break", but consistency of unit upon unit matters, not individual experiences.

Why did you not like the new CRV? Was it something specific to that car, or do you just not like new cars in general? If it's the second one, I understand, but everyone needs to accept how cars are built now at some point.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Admiral » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:43 am

ohai wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:39 am


Why did you not like the new CRV? Was it something specific to that car, or do you just not like new cars in general? If it's the second one, I understand, but everyone needs to accept how cars are built now at some point.
I drove a 2018 model at the dealer last year. It was like driving a refrigerator. Fine in terms of a driving appliance, but no road feel. I think if I was to go that route (small SUV) a Mazda CX-5 would be more my style.

EDIT to add: yes, in general I don't like new cars, don't like CVT, don't like tons of electronics, etc. I get that these things are now unavoidable, but I'm a manual transmission type (which are also disappearing). It will be interesting to see if driver's ed even uses MT cars in their classes.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by GmanJeff » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:52 am

BMWs are expensive to maintain, so if you're trying to economize that's probably not the way to go. Minis are not known for reliability, and are not very big, either, which likely makes one less than ideal for your use case.

AWD wagons are a small part of the market, so by focusing on that type of vehicle you're limiting your options considerably. A Subaru might be your best bet within that universe. Volvos could be another option, but also tend to have spotty reliability.

There are many compact SUVs out there you can consider - Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai , and others. They will most likely all offer better ground clearance than any wagon and since it doesn't sound like handling is a particular priority for the vehicle there's really no reason to prefer one with a lower center of gravity unless you think the driver will make a serious effort to roll it.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by ohai » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:56 am

Perhaps a smaller hatchback such as Mazda3 or Honda Civic might be less offensive to your tastes. They still have electric steering and modern qualities, but are designed to provide a more traditional driving experience, unlike larger cars like CRV.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:16 am

Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:15 am
....mostly for road trips so should be reliable. Would keep for a long time.
3. Car will be used for ski trips and trips to family cabin, so wagon/4WD (or cheap snows)/relatively high clearance important. Kids want SUV, I'm not convinced, I like wagons.
4. Car will be parked outside on street, so don't want a car I will obsess over every ding/dent
5. Car will have two teens in back seat, plus gear, so it can't be tiny

We would pay cash. My main issue is should we pay very little (like 6-8k)
I don't think that you will have much luck finding a car in your price range that fits all your criteria. There have been lots of threads about 4WD drive cars and for normal ski resorts a front wheel drive with good snow tires or chains should be fine.
Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:15 am
...and just assume I will then be paying for some repairs/general maintenance on a regular basis (unless I'm really lucky)....
One problem with this is that if you are using the car mainly for road trips then any car problems will likely show up when you are out of town.

I would take a hard look at just renting a car when you take the road trips, you can find rentals with a ski packages. You can rent a car for a lot of trips for what it would cost to buy a five year old Outback.

You can then just get a modest car for local use for the teenage driver.

Also be sure to get insurance quotes on what the car insurance will cost for the teenager. It might make sense to just get an inexpensive car where you only get liability coverage.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:22 am

Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:43 am
....but I'm a manual transmission type (which are also disappearing).
It sounds like you will have two teenagers who will be learning to drive on this car.

A good case can be made that it would be best for them to learn to drive on an automatic transmission car especially if they will be learning to drive in city driving.

Teaching them to drive a manual transmission at some later time is a good idea but I would save that for later.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Admiral » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:24 am

Watty wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:16 am
Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:15 am
....mostly for road trips so should be reliable. Would keep for a long time.
3. Car will be used for ski trips and trips to family cabin, so wagon/4WD (or cheap snows)/relatively high clearance important. Kids want SUV, I'm not convinced, I like wagons.
4. Car will be parked outside on street, so don't want a car I will obsess over every ding/dent
5. Car will have two teens in back seat, plus gear, so it can't be tiny

We would pay cash. My main issue is should we pay very little (like 6-8k)
I don't think that you will have much luck finding a car in your price range that fits all your criteria. There have been lots of threads about 4WD drive cars and for normal ski resorts a front wheel drive with good snow tires or chains should be fine.
Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:15 am
...and just assume I will then be paying for some repairs/general maintenance on a regular basis (unless I'm really lucky)....
One problem with this is that if you are using the car mainly for road trips then any car problems will likely show up when you are out of town.

I would take a hard look at just renting a car when you take the road trips, you can find rentals with a ski packages. You can rent a car for a lot of trips for what it would cost to buy a five year old Outback.

You can then just get a modest car for local use for the teenage driver.

Also be sure to get insurance quotes on what the car insurance will cost for the teenager. It might make sense to just get an inexpensive car where you only get liability coverage.
Right, and renting is what we have been doing. However, at $500/trip or more, 2-3 times per year, it begins to add up. It seems silly and uneconomical to continue to rent AND to purchase a car. And, of course, on road trips in a rental, the teen cannot drive the car.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:27 am

Watty wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:22 am
Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:43 am
....but I'm a manual transmission type (which are also disappearing).
It sounds like you will have two teenagers who will be learning to drive on this car.

A good case can be made that it would be best for them to learn to drive on an automatic transmission car especially if they will be learning to drive in city driving.

Teaching them to drive a manual transmission at some later time is a good idea but I would save that for later.
This is what I did, and I actually had to sell a manual and buy my first (to that date) automatic.

I wanted them to concentrate on acceleration, BRAKES, and OTHER TRAFFIC/PEDESTRIANS.
Later.... they learned to drive a manual and deal with shifting.

I had learned on a manual, but that was in a very rural area where I lived for a relatively short time.
Almost zero other traffic on the roads I started with, and *no* pedestrians. Just "me and the car" (and the person helping me).

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by elcadarj » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:36 am

Put your specs into a search engine, see what happens: https://www.iseecars.com/cars/awd-manua ... ssion-cars

ETA: Did a little more digging. Is wagon a requirement? How about a good sedan with a roof rack? E.g. from US NEWS car reviews:

2019 Genesis G70
$37,900 | USN Overall Score: 8.9/10 | USN Performance Score: 9.0/10
The 2019 Genesis G70 is a sporty four-door sedan that comes with a six-speed manual transmission available when you choose the 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder base engine. The lively turbo-four is one of the more powerful base engines in the segment, with little turbo lag to get between you and the fun.
The manual gearbox is a $3,000 option.
or

2019 Honda Accord
$26,180 | USN Overall Score: 8.7/10 | USN Performance Score: 8.4/10
The 2019 Honda Accord is a unicorn in the midsize sedan market. It’s the only midsize sedan currently available with a manual transmission option. A crisp-shifting six-speed comes standard in the Accord Sport, which can be had with either 192- or 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
Last edited by elcadarj on Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:42 am

Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:24 am
However, at $500/trip or more, 2-3 times per year, it begins to add up.
It would be good to make a spreadsheet and crunch the numbers. If you buy one of the cars you mentioned that are in the $10-$15K range I would think that they would depreciate by a similar amount each year.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:48 am

Our first two teen drivers both got into fender benders with their first cars. Nothing serious, but hard on the cars themselves. One was not fixable. One I fixed.

We did lower value/liability only insurance cars. Insurance is still steep. There seems to be a hole in our area of cars in the $6 to $9k range. Everyone is shopping in that range.

The best value right now seems to be 2012 to 2014 Subaru Legacy or Outback with 80k+ miles. I am shopping for the oldest in college right now. Last winter was rough on FWD cars. Lots of snow and college parking lots not cleaned out much all winter. No garage. Outside all the time. I'm going AWD. Legacy, Outback, Forester or Impreza. Ford Escapes 2012 to 2014 are also on my radar. AWD are harder to find. Reliability is always an issue under $10k. Maybe even under $15k these days. Any used car has potential issues. Something we just have to deal with.

I would stay away from any of the luxury brands. Just too expensive to fix and maintain. The two closest shops are Ford and Subaru and I am going to stick in that area.
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Admiral
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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Admiral » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:55 am

elcadarj wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:36 am
Put your specs into a search engine, see what happens: https://www.iseecars.com/cars/awd-manua ... ssion-cars

ETA: Did a little more digging. Is wagon a requirement? How about a good sedan with a roof rack? E.g. from US NEWS car reviews:

2019 Genesis G70
$37,900 | USN Overall Score: 8.9/10 | USN Performance Score: 9.0/10
The 2019 Genesis G70 is a sporty four-door sedan that comes with a six-speed manual transmission available when you choose the 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder base engine. The lively turbo-four is one of the more powerful base engines in the segment, with little turbo lag to get between you and the fun.
The manual gearbox is a $3,000 option.
or

2019 Honda Accord
$26,180 | USN Overall Score: 8.7/10 | USN Performance Score: 8.4/10
The 2019 Honda Accord is a unicorn in the midsize sedan market. It’s the only midsize sedan currently available with a manual transmission option. A crisp-shifting six-speed comes standard in the Accord Sport, which can be had with either 192- or 252-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
Thanks. Those are new cars and well beyond the price range.

To be clear I do not plan to buy a manual transmission for a 16 YO. I noted that was MY preference, it's not a requirement (and as another poster mentioned it's best they learn to drive a stick later and not ruin mine!)

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Winston19 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:01 am

With the AWD and being comfortable enough for Road trips with teens in the back I think your best bets are probably a used Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Subaru Outback or maybe a Mazda CX-9. They may be more expensive then what you want to pay.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by 02nz » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:05 am

Steer clear of used German cars (whether made in Mexico or Europe) - far too costly and risky in terms of reliability. I'd get a previous-gen CR-V or CX-5. What didn't you like about the CR-V? If you're looking for brilliant driving dynamics, and reliability, and space, and low cost, and AWD ... well something's got to give.

Winston19
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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Winston19 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:00 pm

Another option if you don't want an suv and you want your teen to feel profoundly uncool is an AWD Toyota Sienna.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Admiral » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:12 pm

Winston19 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:00 pm
Another option if you don't want an suv and you want your teen to feel profoundly uncool is an AWD Toyota Sienna.
We would BOTH feel proudly uncool in that behemoth.

I just want to reiterate to all: this car will not see a lot of miles. 5,000 mi/year at the very outside. That's not to say it should not be reliable--and clearly we don't want to be stranded--but an older car with low miles would probably serve our purposes. Also AWD is not a necessity: we could buy 4 snow tires on steel wheels with the money we save by not buying an AWD car.

I drove the CX-9 and liked it (for a big SUV with middling gas mileage) but have not driven the CX-5. However, looking on AutoTrader those would be at the high end of the range (15k). Very few Honda Pilots available near me under 15k.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Winston19 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:33 pm

You might get lucky and be able to find a used Mazda CX-7. They stopped making those in 2012.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by doraemon » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:16 pm

I'd suggest considering a late model, low mileage Subaru Forester or Outback.

I would pass on a BMW (expensive maintenance) or Mini (reliability).

An outside-the-box choice might be a Toyota Venza. I think it was available with all wheel drive. It was discontinued in 2015, but given that it was Camry-based, I think finding parts wouldn't be a problem. Also, it's a Toyota, so should be reliable.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:30 pm

Used Nissan Xterra.
Your price range is a bit low for a dependable car.
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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by livesoft » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:44 pm

An Outback is pretty much a station wagon and an SUV, so there's that. I suppose a Volvo could work as well.
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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by elcadarj » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:36 am

Admiral wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:55 am
Thanks. Those are new cars and well beyond the price range.

To be clear I do not plan to buy a manual transmission for a 16 YO. I noted that was MY preference, it's not a requirement (and as another poster mentioned it's best they learn to drive a stick later and not ruin mine!)
Fair enough on car selection pool; however, I am of another opinion on new drivers driving a manual. The clutch and transmission in a modern, modest 4 cyl. Japanese car -- Toyota, Honda, Subaru, etc. -- are very forgiving. My youngsters drove 2005 manual Honda CRV. I found that they were better drivers with the manual. Much more focused on their driving skills. Tough to be "digging the scene with the gangster leans" while upshifting and downshifting. Difficult to text, too. Bonus: other teen drivers can't borrow the car (this carried on into college) because very few can drive a manual.

ETA: the 2005 CRV had full airbags, skid control, AWD, saved my sons life, walked away from a 45 mph head-on when other driver crossed over into his lane.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by jabberwockOG » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:46 am

I like the suggestion of a 2012 to 2014 Subaru Legacy or Outback with 80k+ miles. The key is to find a gently used one that was always garaged, with excellent maintenance records, from the right owner (rich/well to do), and it will most likely be a great used car.

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Re: Used car purchase, non daily driver, new teen driver, thoughts please?

Post by sktn77a » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:21 pm

2004+ Lexus RX330/RX350 AWD. Pretty bulletproof with a little style. It'll have high miles (>100,000) in your price range but these cars will do 200,000 miles no problem.

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