The following is a post by staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers living expenses, saving for your future, and the fun stuff along the way.
Since my car has let me down majorly a couple of times in 5 years, I’m starting to think of my options. I won’t be rushing into a purchase since I hate car payments more than I despise my car, but here are the 5 main criteria on my mind:
1) Sales Price
I can never imagine myself buying a $30,000 vehicle. I know you should never say never, but the idea of spending that much literally gives me a small panic attack. Keeping that in mind, I will probably be looking for a brand-new car that is $20,000 or less or a used car that is $10,000 or less. I am only willing to raise those limits for a hybrid like a Toyota Prius.
For anybody who may ask why I’d even consider buying a new car since they depreciate so quickly, I simply dislike absolutely ALL car problems. By buying new, I can hopefully get about 5-7 carefree years out of a car that only needs oil changes, tire rotations, and maybe one extra set of tires. I put a high value on my time and silly car errands tick me off.
That said, I would consider buying a certified used car and selling my old one at a cash-for-cars place. My husband’s 2007 Prius hasn’t given us any problems in 2 1/2 years, so Certified Pre-Owned Toyotas are pretty high on my list.
2) Gas Mileage
Other than price, gas mileage is the biggest deciding factor when I buy a car. Again, I hate car stuff and errands, so stopping for gas every 2-3 days would drive me insane. My Aveo only makes 27-30 miles per gallon, but I can still usually get by on one fill-up a week.
The Prius is actually towards the top of my list since I’d only need to fill up every 3 weeks thanks to a semi-short 25-mile round-trip commute and the awesome 500 miles to the tank efficiency. I lust after my husband’s almost every time I park next to it in our garage.
Hopefully, cheaper electric cars will be on the market when I am, but if not; a hybrid or a super-efficient sub-compact is probably in my future. I’m currently leaning towards the Toyota Prius (47-52 mpg), Toyota Yaris (30-35 mpg), or the Hyundai Accent (28-34 mpg). We’ll see what’s available when my Aveo drives its last mile with me…
I need a car that will reliably get me from point A to point B every time for years and years. I do not enjoy big spending like car purchases and rather not think about it for AT LEAST 7 years – preferably 10 – but I set the bar lower for my own sanity’s sake. Taking this into account, Toyota, Acura, Honda, and the most recent Hyundai models come to mind. The friends and family we know that own those makes are extremely happy with their cars.
4) Interior Room
As a short 5’2″ lady, I don’t need much headroom or legroom, but I would like my 5’11” husband to fit comfortably as well. I also need enough room in the back for a medium-sized dog cage since I take our pups to the majority of their vet visits.
I’m not asking for a stretch Hummer in this category, but it’s surprising how hard a rectangular cage is to fit into some cars. Hubby’s Prius definitely has enough room and it even fits surprisingly well into my Aveo. I’d have to take the cage with me to see if it would fit into any of the other cars I have in mind.
5) Overall Look
I don’t think I need something sleek and perfect with a convertible top, but I also refuse to drive something that makes me laugh (in a bad way). For example, please do not take offense if this is your car, but all of those square-looking things on wheels are not up my alley. I don’t want to drive a box. That’s my line. :-)
What do you keep in mind when you’re in the market for a new-to-you car? Do you have any ideas based on my criteria? Does anybody want to yell at me on behalf of their box-like car? ;-)