$10kish used car – input needed
June 27, 2016 5:35 AM   Subscribe

Looking to spend around $9k-$10k (plus tax) on a used sedan or hatch back for city driving in Toronto. Priorities are – reliability, low risk of costly repairs in the next 4-5 years, decent gas mileage, 4 door, automatic, AC, reasonable truck space.

Don’t really care how it looks, or about extra features ie. sun roof, blue tooth etc. This is a utilitarian purchase. Planning to buy from a dealer. Not wanting to put a ton of time and energy into this transaction, but also not wanting to make a bad purchase. Paying cash. Searching Auto Trader, and doing a little bit of research, the likely contender is a Hyundai Accent. There are a number in my area , 2012 and 2013 models with <60,000km. Question is this – how should I prioritize age vs. KM when evaluating ie . is a 2012 better than a 2013 if it has 15,000 km fewer? Or is it a wash and I should go for a newer model?

Other cars that seem to pop up under my search criteria include: 2013 Mazda 3 GX, 2012/2013 Kia Rio, 2015 Nissan Micra. Would you strongly recommend these over the Accent? If so, why?
posted by walkinginsunshine to Shopping (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Add Kia to your search. It's the "sister" brand to Hyundai, and very reliable. The Kia Soul has lots of usable cargo room with the rear seat down. The Kia Forte has a decent sized trunk, with a pass-through with the rear seats down.

I've had my 2010 Kia Forte Koup for 5 years, have 75,000 miles on it, and have had zero mechanical issues. All I've ever paid for is oil, tires, and a front-end alignment.
posted by The Deej at 5:42 AM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Newest model with lowest miles you can afford, regardless of make.

Most of the Hyundais and Kias would be good for this. Also the Fit or the Yaris.
posted by Thistledown at 5:43 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've had to buy two cars in the last two years, both right in your price range, so I've test driven everything relatively recently. FWIW I bought Toyota both times.

All else being equal the newer model will have one less year of environmental exposure on it - so less road salt from Toronto winters, etc. Really any Honda / Toyota / Mazda is going to be a fine pick. Hyundai is not bad if you stay with the mid-sized Sonota. I find the ride in their entry level vehicles to be a little harsh. Same with Kia, same basic vehicle as Hyundai, but the fit and finish doesn't seem to be as tight , and the ride, wind noise, etc. not as refined. But mechanically they are sound.
posted by COD at 5:55 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


FWIW when I was doing this same search with roughly the same criteria last year, I ended up buying a new Kia Soul. Base model was $12K after incentives (finance with the dealer to get the rebates, then pay it off). It was a little more than I was hoping to spend, but the difference between what I could get used for $10K and what I got in this new car (safety features, warranty, etc.) were, IMO, well worth it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:09 AM on June 27, 2016


Here's how AutoTrader answers your question:

Our view is that age and miles don't matter as much as you think. Instead, it's the way the car has been taken care of during its life that makes it so important. A 5-year-old car with only 50,000 miles may have many more problems than a 10-year-old car with twice the odometer reading. It all depends on the type of vehicle, the type of owner and the type of maintenance that's been performed. This is one of the reasons why we always recommend prepurchase inspections before buying a car -- and it's why you can't judge a car's condition based solely on its age and miles.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:10 AM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


Speaking as a Mazda3 driver, they're brilliant.

I took ours (a 2008 model) to a new mechanic recently, and was a bit intimidated because there were a lot of classic muscle cars in his shop. However, the fella (a crusty old bloke of uncertain vintage, ratty ponytail and brushy moustache) didn't come out with the usual 'only decent car is a big V8' crap you get from Aussie mechanics. Instead, he crowed, "Aw, mate, these are great little cars. Just keep goin' and goin'. Can't fucken kill 'em. Lovely little car.'

This has been your anecdotal advice service.
posted by prismatic7 at 7:25 AM on June 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Our view is that age and miles don't matter as much as you think. Instead, it's the way the car has been taken care of during its life that makes it so important. A 5-year-old car with only 50,000 miles may have many more problems than a 10-year-old car with twice the odometer reading. It all depends on the type of vehicle, the type of owner and the type of maintenance that's been performed. This is one of the reasons why we always recommend prepurchase inspections before buying a car -- and it's why you can't judge a car's condition based solely on its age and miles.

Continuing down the anecdotal advice route, but speaking to this paragraph, I'll say that my 2007 Toyota Yaris has had zero things done to it except for gas, tires, oil (tranny and engine), and one belt replacement. Not even my brake pads are due for a change yet according to the techs who last looked at them, much to their amazement. Why? As the only owner, part of the reason I got a new car was to treat it as a first person experiment/experience on how well a car can do when A) taken care of properly (timely and quality oil and filters since day one) and B) driven conservatively and properly (no riding clutches, jackrabbit accelerations/braking, or high revs due to anger/need for speed/testosterone). Sample size of one and all that but it's been nothing but a pleasure.

So, yea, find a little old lady selling a decent brand made in the last 2 decades that has a great record of proper service and pay whatever you need to and then have it looked at by a mechanic and then... pray. That's about all you can do.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:02 AM on June 27, 2016


Are you a Costco member? If so, they'll get you a good price (with none of the "I have to go talk to my manager" bs) at a local dealer. After you've figured out which car you want, just input that into their car-buying service online and they'll send you to the dealer. We saved about 3K on a used Subaru Forester a few years ago - it was so easy, I'll never buy another car without going through them (I hate car sales with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns).
posted by dbmcd at 9:11 AM on June 27, 2016


I'll say that my 2007 Toyota Yaris has had zero things done to it except for gas, tires, oil (tranny and engine), and one belt replacement.

I was coming in to recommend the Toyota Yaris. (They make a two-door model so if you're looking online, be sure to check if it's a sedan.) I have a 2007 that's been very good also. I have a friend who has had two since she likes them so much.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:17 AM on June 27, 2016


I have exactly the car you're looking for. In 2013 I bought a 2007 Corolla for the price you're looking at, used, from a dealership. It's a great car and I'm very happy with it three years later.

I went on the low mileage side of the equation (as well as buying a car known to be reliable over many, many miles) rather than the choice to go newer. I'm very happy with my decision.

That said, I live in California, where winter salt and rust aren't a factor.

FWIW unless you are a master negotiator I don't think you will get a 2013 vehicle that meets your criteria for $10K. Unless cars are a lot cheaper in Canada than they are in the US?
posted by Sara C. at 9:28 AM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


Honda Fit. I bought mine new in 2007 and so far at least I've just had to replace the OEM battery and tires. That's it.
posted by My Dad at 10:51 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd reiterate what COD says: the only selling point on the Accent or Rio is initial cost, otherwise they're not super loveable little critters. Out of all of the little subcompacts, the Honda Fit seems to be the best designed and engineered, at a somewhat higher price but better resale value.

If you go for a used Corolla, Civic, or Mazda3 that's been taken care of decently, you'll be fine.
posted by ovvl at 4:43 PM on June 28, 2016


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