My parents are generously buying me a new car. I commute 160 miles total each day and my 1998 Civic CX currently has 588 K on it and they worry about me in it I guess. Any how they want me to get a new car (not a used car) and
I want to get one that will last and will give me the lowest total ownership cost.
If I were to get a Prius or any car where the total outlay is over $20k I would need to finance since I have minimal savings which I don't want to put into a car. So any advice on how to project total ownership cost over say 10 years?
As for the car to purchase I like hatchbacks but I will keep my cx so I have that. The Prius is interesting but for me expensive. I am happy with my Honda.
I read that the 2012 Civic HF will only be available as a sedan. Any clues about the prices for the 2012 civics? Any suggestions on other cars? Thanks.
I imagine that you'll want to stick with Honda and probably with a car similar to your old Civic. What about a Fit? You can get a well-optioned uplevel Fit for $20,000.
Since you're planning to keep it for a long time, you need to consider issues that I think some people ignore, like comfort...if you're not 100% perfectly comfortable then you may be miserable after a few years. It does open up cost-effectiveness for things like a set of winter wheels/tires though!
Projecting 10 years is tough because it's tough to project markets and your own conditions. Here's some variables to consider (probably obvious, but it helps to make a list):
- Fuel economy (obviously)
- Costs of parts and repairs (if you want you can also try to apply your own ideas of which cars are likely to need more or less repairs)
- Costs of regular maintenance; calculate based on the recommended schedule only if you would actually use it, otherwise calculate based on how you'd maintain.
- Costs of irregular maintenance - mainly what I can think of is tires. As an example, 195/65-15 tires are cheaper than 245/40/18 tires.
- Accessories such as a second set of wheels for winter tires.
Edit: One thing you don't need to worry about with such a long ownership is resale value.
I'm actually getting ready to buy a 5 door yaris with a stick shift and it is going to run me $13,700. it gets good mileage and has the toyota symbol on the front. it is low enough on their lineup not to have the gas pedal issue and at that price, I should be able to get out the door under $15,000 after tax, tag, title and what not.
personally, I would stick with honda or toyota. ironic considering I have a chevy right now but still.
Be the change you wish to see in the world
Since you're planning to keep it for a long time, you need to consider issues that I think some people ignore, like comfort...if you're not 100% perfectly comfortable then you may be miserable after a few years.
+1 on this.
www.fueleconomy.gov gives annual fuel costs for car models. The calculations can be adjusted for actual/expected price of fuel, total annual miles, and driving mix, highway or city.
Is your driving mostly highway or city by the way? For new cars, I can't think of any others that can match the Prius on fuel economy and usability. But it starts outside your price range. If your miles are mostly city, where its mileage is best, though, it is worth a look. If used is possible, the gen2 is just as good. I've heard it has a higher economy potential for a hypermiler than the new one.
The Insight II is a little cheaper, but smaller, and owners are reporting higher than EPA, which doesn't test cars in eco mode, mileage.
Ford has made improvements, so the Fiesta and new Focus might be worth the look. The SFE package Focus(only available on the SE sedan) is rated 28city/40highway.
there's a LOT you can do with $20K. If you like the Hondas, A base Insight will probably run slightly more. Honda also has a new Civic HF (41 mpg highway) that will be coming out soon as a 2012 model. (this spring?) I love my Fit, and the mileage is always better than its measly 33 mpg highway rating, even with my non-hypermiler wife at the wheel. Of course, Beef is correct in that a Yaris has excellent bang for the buck. There are too many others to list...
You should look at the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, which promises 40 mpg in all its trim levels. The Yaris and Fit aren't as nice, and don't match the Elantra's fuel economy ratings. For that matter, the Elantra beats the current Focus and ties the much smaller Fiesta and the Cruze ECO in combined mpg estimates.
The Elantra is a good choice. Hyundai has really turned up the heat over the past couple of years. I still prefer the fit's interior and packaging, but the Elantra has great numbers and sweet styling to boot.
You've got 588,000 miles on your Civic and you're asking our advice? Seems like you've mastered the recipe for car value. ConsumerReports lists 14 cars in their Best Vehicles Under $20,000 list. Honda's Fit is priced only $30 above the lowest-price Scion xD. The Fit is their Top Pick for Budget Car as well as ranking first in Least Expensive over five years. They rate it as returning 33 mpg in their own mixed driving testing, just one mpg off the top non-hybrid, non-diesel competitor.
From their current April issue:
A low sticker price doesn't mean a car will be a good value in the long run. It could turn out to be a big disappointment and a waste of money because of depreciation, reliability, and other factors.
We think real value is getting a lot for your money. Small, affordable cars are often considered value choices, but again, the numbers don't always add up. At $16,000, the Honda Fit is the top value of more than 200 vehicles in our analysis; the similarly priced Chevrolet Aveo is the worst value in its class, with a low test score and below-average reliability. The difference in owner cost could be $3,000 over five years, the typical period most people keep their cars. Our value scores the Fit, with almost twice the value of the average model.