“Fine, go ahead – get a new family car… or a new used family car, whatever you think is right, you always make the right decision”
-Mrs. Hoonette Kaluski
Gawddamit woman, you can’t leave this that open-ended!
Now, some explanation is needed. Like 97.36% of people who read this site, I too prefer to buy my cars used. Unfortunately the used car market for 3-4 year old cars is kind of dead-ish. There have been much fewer new vehicles sold in the past three/fours years than in decades before due to the recession. This translates into a fewer used cars on the market. The the demand for used cars hasn’t changed, however. Basic economics leads us to believe that used car prices are very high… and they are!
The above is the reason why I was looking at new cars. Combine that with incentives, low interest rates, warranties, and that new car smell, and it would have been silly even for a seasoned hoon to ignore the new car market. If there was ever a good time to get a great deal on a brand new car, it is now.
After spending a good amount of my Saturday at various dealerships, often knowing the product better than the people selling it, looking at leases on new cars, I got home and grabbed a cold beverage. I then started thinking, which is never good:
- We’re a one-car family.
- In my very conservative budget I concluded that I could swing a $25,000-ish used car.
- The Missus is a horrible driver, one of the worst, a skill she inherited from her father.
- Our insurance is already high due to Missus’ bumper car adventures.
- Boston’s excise tax on a new car will be around $1000. ($90 for the MDX!)
- We don’t drive much (reason why I was looking at leases)
- I know cars well and I can fix or tend to most things (I worked as a mechanic’s assistant through college).
- Why in the hell would I “rent” a new car for three years?
- But we do need a reliable and safe car.
- Bonus points for “luxury” items such as heated seats, satellite radio, camera, sunroof, etc.
- I have one very important thing on my side – TIME! I am in no hurry.
Naturally, the first thing I did when looking for a new used car, was to see what kind of a Mercedes G-wagen I can get on that budget. Nope, a ten year old, 100,000 mile G500 is not the right answer.
But the G-experiment reminded me of the fact that I now want a true 4×4 vehicle capable of trekking across the world in any kind of condition. Yes, it will be serving as a bumper car for my wife and transport to grandma’s house for my two little kids, but damn it, that’s what I want and that’s it. Go ahead, judge me, I don’t care.
The second, most obvious, thing for me to look at were Land Rovers.
No. Nope. Just no! Maintenance and repairs on a used Land Rover of any kind will cost as much as a lease on a brand new LR4 and I cannot afford that. It’s simply a bad idea and I have had enough cars where I had to say a prayer before turning the ignition switch. Nope.
Then I looked at Toyota Land Cruisers. 80- and 100-series usually have a lot more than 100,000 miles. While I have a lot of respect Toyota’s best trucks, I simply don’t want a vehicle with that many miles. There are also Lexuses (Lexii?) LX450s, LX470s, GX460, and GX470s.
The 2006-2008 GX470 actually fits the bill perfectly; a 4Runner in make-up and fancy clothes with similar dimensions to my MDX. Their deprecation puts them even with 4Runners but most 4Runner buyer seem to forget that these exist. Used 4Runners are typically high priced and not as nice, especially inside. FJ Cruisers are off the list due to weird doors and limited visibility, but I do love those.
There is also the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Not as comfortable but as long as it’s got the basics (hardtop, A/C, power windows, etc), I can make it work. In reality, that’s probably the vehicle that I want the most, yet it’s the vehicle that is the least comfortable. I love the idea of a family car without a roof and I understand that it requires compromises. It’s a Jeep thing and y’all should understand.
What is out there I would want for $25,000?
Option #8746 is simply keeping the MDX until it poops* the bed. It is certainly the most cost efficient choice and it’s been a damn good car. I am simply just bored with it.
*Chief blooger forbid cursing on the site, so I can no longer use words such as s***, p***, f***, c***, c***s*****, m****f****, t***. 🙁