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Used car advice

HeartofDixieHeartofDixie 320 replies12 threads Member
I just started a new job June 8th and am now having to drive about 30 miles each way to work and back. It was my intention to start looking at getting a newer vehicle next spring since mine uses a lot of gas and is getting pretty old. I had to have it towed home Monday night because it wouldn't crank, probably ignition switch or starter or possibly multiple issues. My dad also says it needs tires right away because they are dangerously slick. It is a 2002 Yukon XL with about 186,000 miles and I'm thinking now that I might need to go ahead and look for something.

The thing is that it has been years since I have looked for a vehicle, checked financing, or any part of the process and have no idea where to begin. I would like something with better gas mileage but after years of driving a big vehicle(before the Yukon I drove a Z71 extended cab pickup) I don't think I can switch to a small car. I'm thinking about a small suv, crossover, or mid-size car. I would prefer something under $15,000 but might could go a little higher but definitely need to stay under $20,000. Any ideas on what might fit my needs or any specific ones to stay away from?
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Replies to: Used car advice

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83753 replies743 threads Senior Member
    Toyota Prius, second (2004-2009) or third (2010-2015) generation? Even a current generation (2016 or newer) Prius may be under $20k used ($25k new).

    It is a mid size car (although on the smaller end of the mid size range) with good fuel economy and reliability -- although actual condition and history of the car is highly important with a used car.

    Somewhat larger but still good in fuel economy would be the Ford C-Max or Toyota Prius V.
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  • bookwormbookworm 9282 replies74 threads Senior Member
    Would you consider a hatchback? That would open up Honda’s, Subaru’s, and other manufacturers.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78473 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    This is a good time to buy a car around here. Lots of 0% financing for example.

    No matter what you get, it’s going to get better gas mileage than a Yukon. Cars now are all getting more energy efficient.

    The Subaru Crosstrek is a decent car. You might find a used one at your price point.

    I would suggest looking at a Mazda CX-5 which is a really nice smaller SUV.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 11022 replies236 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    Second the recommendation on the Subaru Crosstrek, but it will feel tiny after driving the Yukon. (It feels tiny & low ceiling-ed after driving a Toyota RAV4...) You might feel more comfortable in a Subaru Forester. Bigger, higher ceilings, better ground clearance than the Crosstrek which is built on Subaru's Impreza frame.

    If you do look at the Crosstrek look at 2015 or later models to get the rear view camera.

    I have 2007 RAV4 with a V6 engine that's still running great. Decent gas mileage (19 city, 25-26 highway and that's with a V6, the 4 cylinder has slightly higher gas mileage). Consumer Reports show a high owner satisfaction and high reliability for older models, years 2010 to 2018.

    The only downside of the RAV4 was until 2013, it has a rear door for that swings out from the side, making it harder to open fully in tight spaces.
    edited July 4
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6642 replies2 threads Senior Member
    What state are you in?

    The thing that made me think to ask is that your CC user name "Heart of Dixie" seems to imply that you might be in an area where snow is not much of an issue.

    Where we are I am happy when it snows to have all wheel drive with my Subaru Forester. One daughter is very happy with her Honda Civic, and just does not drive in the snow (she got it for a summer internship). Either would be a lot more fuel efficient than what you have now, and for $15,000 you should be able to get a used one which it not too old. The Forester is larger than the Civic, which would make it less of a change from what you have now (but it would still feel a lot smaller).

    To some extent when looking for used cars you need to see what is available where you are. There should be a lot of options however.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83753 replies743 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    https://fueleconomy.gov/ has EPA fuel economy numbers from 1984 to current (pre-2008 numbers are adjusted to be comparable to current numbers).

    From there, a 2002 GMC Yukon XL has estimates of 10-13 city and 14-17 highway, depending on engine and 2WD/4WD. For comparison, a 2015 Ford C-Max has estimates of 41 city, 36 highway, and a 2015 Toyota Prius V has estimates of 43 city, 39 highway.
    https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=18074&id=35738&id=35782
    edited July 4
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  • CMB625CMB625 459 replies10 threads Member
    I drive a 2009 Honda Pilot and it is awesome! The size would be good, gas mileage is not great but pretty good for a large vehicle (better than a Yukon). Honda CRV would be a smaller vehicle but they drive great! Good luck!
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  • SybyllaSybylla 5053 replies60 threads Senior Member
    edited July 4
    I had a crosstrek for a while, I wouldn't buy one again. For sure I would not overpay for a 4 wd outside of the snowbelt but my forester is useful in Houston where things like road maintenance is apparently only for wussy liberals.
    edited July 4
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  • boudersbouders 2720 replies188 threads Senior Member
    I have a 2016 RAV4 hybrid that I love. It's AWD and gets about 35 mpg. The newer (2019+) models get even better gas mileage.
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  • HeartofDixieHeartofDixie 320 replies12 threads Member
    I live in NorthWest Alabama, right at the Mississippi line and about an hour from the Tennessee line. We don't get much snow and if we do it shuts things down because we aren't equipped to handle it. I live inside the city limits( so not a dirt road or anything) of a small town. I went over to Tupelo, Mississippi today and looked at some car lots to get a feel for things. It is at least 50 miles to anything much from where I live as far as car dealerships and such. Some of the cars are really nice, they are just difficult to get in and out of after being used to vehicles that sit higher. I really like some of the smaller suv's, but there really wasn't anything much $15,000 or under without being pretty high mileage. I'm going to check on financing and if I can find out what interest rate I could get and do some budget calculations see exactly what I can afford. I was thinking that I would put maybe $4,000 down.

    I didn't see any subaru's of any kind. There were some hyundai santa fe's and tucson's that were in the $15-20 range. I only saw a couple of Toyota's in that range and a Mazda. There were some Nissan Rogue's and a couple of others.
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  • boudersbouders 2720 replies188 threads Senior Member
    Check out cars.com to see what the going price is for some of the cars you are interested in. You can find which dealerships have them too.
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  • lemon droplemon drop 73 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Used car prices are on the rise nationwide. I would consider what has been suggested, but I would look at some of the solid, less popular brands and models. Don't rule out GM sedans or CUV's from Buick. These tend to depreciate more than Subarus or Toyota and Honda, but are well made and overall very safe and reliable.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78473 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    You probably could get a Nissan Rogue in your price range. Which Mazda did you see? The CX5 is a terrific smaller SUV.

    I know you are used to driving a large vehicle, but maybe it’s time to consider getting comfortable with a sedan of some kind. They would be less costly and get far better mileage.
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  • HeartofDixieHeartofDixie 320 replies12 threads Member
    I saw a mazda cx5, it was really nice, I only saw one today though. There was one that I was looking at online. I was really hoping to stay under 50,000 miles or so but that might not be realistic for the price range and type of vehicle, I'm not sure.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78473 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    When I was looking at cars, I almost bought the CX5. It handled well, got great mileage, and also got great reviews. I have friends who have this car and love it.

    At the end of my search, I got a sedan. I just didn’t need a SUV (I will add, we have a Subaru Outback also because we live in a hilly part of the northeast with tons of snow).

    Does the CX5 still come in a front wheel drive version? That was less costly than the all wheel drive one.
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  • lemon droplemon drop 73 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Aside from the seating position and 4wd SUV's and CUV's often have inferior gas mileage and slightly more expensive upkeep than a sedan. I lived in the '90's in Vermont and only drove two Honda sedans. They were each equipped with 4 snow tires in the winter. I never felt unsafe or got stuck in the snow in the 9 years I lived there.

    An example of higher maintenance costs is tires. The bigger tires that come on SUV's tend to be quite a bit more expensive. Some SUV's also burn through tires wearing them out in as little as 20K miles.

    To their credit and reading Americans strong preference for CUV's the manufacturers have worked hard to improve gas mileage and all the latest tech in their offerings.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30834 replies198 threads Senior Member
    Where do you do your banking? Both of our credit unions have car buying services - pick the model and they do the dickering on price. AAA offers this too. Our credit unions will help members find both new and used cars.

    If you are tempted by the Prius, look for a Prius V. Last model year was 2017. We have one. The head and leg room are definitely better than for the regular Prius. But this is definitely not high off the ground like your current vehicle.

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  • sushirittosushiritto 5460 replies21 threads Senior Member
    lemon drop wrote: »
    Aside from the seating position and 4wd SUV's and CUV's often have inferior gas mileage and slightly more expensive upkeep than a sedan. I lived in the '90's in Vermont and only drove two Honda sedans. They were each equipped with 4 snow tires in the winter. I never felt unsafe or got stuck in the snow in the 9 years I lived there.

    An example of higher maintenance costs is tires. The bigger tires that come on SUV's tend to be quite a bit more expensive. Some SUV's also burn through tires wearing them out in as little as 20K miles.

    To their credit and reading Americans strong preference for CUV's the manufacturers have worked hard to improve gas mileage and all the latest tech in their offerings.

    You cannot make the above statement regarding tires, without knowing the comparison of SUV vs. car. Just as an example, in the 2020 Honda line, the tires for an 2020 Accord (245/35-19) Touring can be just as, if not, more expensive than the CR-V Touring (235/55-19).

    As for “burning through tires,” that’ll depend on the treadwear rating of each tire. The sportier tires have soft compounds and can wear much faster. For example, my SUV with Michelin all-season tires can last 30,000-50,000 miles, while my sportscar with Michelin tires can last 20,000 miles or less.
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  • HeartofDixieHeartofDixie 320 replies12 threads Member
    The bank that I have used for years is a regional bank and my new job is at a bank, also a regional bank. I am going to try and find out this week what kind of financing I could get from the bank but I don't think they offer any kind of car buying services, also not a member of AAA. I think my Dad got some discounts of some kind when they bought their 2015 Equinox so I will ask him about that.

    Considering the budget and preferences, what do ya'll think of the following vehicles: Chevy Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe or Tuscon, Toyota Rav4(there aren't many in my budget), Mazda CR5, Dodge Journey.

    I also want to get something that is easy to find someone to work on it or perform maintenance. I don't want to have to drive 2-3 hours away every time for servicing.

    Are there any that are worth paying a premium for or accepting a higher number of miles? Any that are known to have problems to steer clear of? I'm not concerned with resale value since I normally drive one until it is worn out.
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  • sushirittosushiritto 5460 replies21 threads Senior Member
    As I’ve mentioned on another recent used car purchase thread, I’d focus my efforts on Honda’s/Acura’s, Toyota’s/Lexus and Mazda’s. I wouldn’t buy a Hyundai, Dodge or GM product. I prefer cars with strong resale value, ease and cost of maintenance and reliability.

    I like a few German cars too, but you have to close your eyes and open your checkbook, when it comes time for maintenance and parts. :smiley:

    But that’s JMHO. Good luck!
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