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  • Used Car Buying

    Joining a new practice in September and will unexpectedly be in need of a car to commute out of the city.
    I currently live in a major metropolitan city and rely upon public transportation for my current position.

    My daily commute will be approximately 40 miles round trip.
    Looking to purchase a used car with excellent fuel economy and was looking at 2016-2017 Mazda 3, Prius (despite its hideous appearance), Corolla, Civic, etc.
    Planning to budget ~16-17K.
    I'd rather spend extra on a relatively newer car with less mileage and more reliability in need of fewer repairs than purchasing a used car for 5-7K with 150,000+ miles on it.

    I currently plan on paying for the car in full with my signing bonus. However, my emergency fund could benefit from the extra cash if I financed the car with a short-term loan (24 months). Having been debt free for some time now, the thought of taking on debt does bother me though. My wife and I otherwise max out her 401k and my 403b, 457b, HSA, and my backdoor Roth.

    Thoughts on car choice and paying for vehicle in full versus short-term loan?

  • #2
    I’d get a 2017 Honda Civic with <40,000 miles. I personally wouldn’t take on more debt to add to an emergency fund.

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    • #3
      In October I bought a 2018 Mazda3 GT fully loaded manual with 50k miles, and certified/12 month warranty. I paid $16k. It drives great and gets 38+ mpg.

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      • #4
        The spread between a new car and one that is a few years old is pretty thin these days. I would buy new, finance it as long as possible at as low a rate as possible, and invest the money you were going to spend on a car. Year 15 on my Corolla. Would get the Corolla hybrid if doing the same thing now.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by coastal View Post
          The spread between a new car and one that is a few years old is pretty thin these days. I would buy new, finance it as long as possible at as low a rate as possible, and invest the money you were going to spend on a car. Year 15 on my Corolla. Would get the Corolla hybrid if doing the same thing now.
          In my life, including cars purchased for wife and family, I have purchased 8 new cars and 8 used cars. Overall, the better value for me were the new cars.

          YMMV
          Last edited by VagabondMD; 06-04-2021, 08:36 PM.

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          • #6
            The Prius hybrids are probably the best cars on the road... better eco effect and use cost than electrics, more practical than EV, very cheap parts (brakes are free), good safety, ample cargo space, can get worked on anywhere, 50mpg most weeks, etc. I fully agree they look like a joke, but it's your commuter. If you want to pay a bit more for decent looks, Corolla or Camry is fine or a smallish Honda.

            Personally, I go for looks at a decent price and buy lightly used Italian sedans nowadays... but hey, I'm not fresh out of residency anymore.

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            • #7
              I think you are on the right track for car selection. I'd imagine a Prius with parallel park assist may be useful in a metro area.

              The investment arbitrage on 16-17k is probably not enough for me to want to finance it. If you had other debts to service then maybe I'd consider it, but there just isn't enough to be gained to go thru the hassle.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Max Power View Post
                The Prius hybrids are probably the best cars on the road... better eco effect and use cost than electrics, more practical than EV, very cheap parts (brakes are free), good safety, ample cargo space, can get worked on anywhere, 50mpg most weeks, etc. I fully agree they look like a joke, but it's your commuter. If you want to pay a bit more for decent looks, Corolla or Camry is fine or a smallish Honda.

                Personally, I go for looks at a decent price and buy lightly used Italian sedans nowadays... but hey, I'm not fresh out of residency anymore.
                So a porche ? Nice

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                • #9
                  German...

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                  • #10
                    Never buying another German car. The cost on the repairs....

                    Not worth financing to build up an EF. Buy cash and build up your EF with your first couple paychecks. The strange market has raised prices on used cars, the scarcity has changed the market so I would look at both new and used and compare pricing as well as dealer flexibility. My advice was almost always to buy three years used, but recently I had better luck getting a dealer to negotiate on a new car than a used car. YMMV

                    doesn’t really matter whether you get a Honda or Toyota. But I would go with one of those two brands for reliability. A Prius is practical and looks like a turtle. Get a Corolla or Civic and call it a day. Mazda is a third choice.
                    Last edited by Fugue; 06-05-2021, 07:45 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Costly repairs indeed. But those Germans do make a mean machine.

                      What I was saying, though, is that Porsche is not Italian. It's German. Alfa Romeo and Maserati are Italian. As well as another little-known company with a black stallion for a logo.

                      Slightly different price range than the Prius/Civic/Corolla/Camry, though...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fugue View Post
                        Never buying another German car. The cost on the repairs....

                        Not worth financing to build up an EF. Buy cash and build up your EF with your first couple paychecks. The strange market has raised prices on used cars, the scarcity has changed the market so I would look at both new and used and compare pricing as well as dealer flexibility. My advice was almost always to buy three years used, but recently I had better luck getting a dealer to negotiate on a new car than a used car. YMMV

                        doesn’t really matter whether you get a Honda or Toyota. But I would go with one of those two brands for reliability. A Prius is practical and looks like a turtle. Get a Corolla or Civic and call it a day. Mazda is a third choice.
                        FYI Consumer Reports rates Mazda the most reliable brand, Honda has been way down the list but jumped ten spots to number 5 in 2020.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dontgetthejab View Post

                          So a porche ? Nice
                          Lamborghini?

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                          • #14
                            Ferrari

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sjkk0608 View Post
                              Ferrari
                              EMD?

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