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  1. #1
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Vancouver Island, BC

    In the market for a vehicle, would love some advice

    We had a 2007 Honda Fit that we had bought new, and we loved that little car, but we found it was already small with a dog and one child. We also live somewhere that we can walk to a lot of places and our bus system is pretty decent. We realized last year that for the cost of our payments on it, we could buy a much cheaper car, and if we needed to still be able to afford to rent a nicer car for trips. We ended up selling it last December, and tried out a few cars but after our little Honda couldn't love any of them. A friend was away for a few months and let us use her Accord while she was gone, and then she came back and my dad told us we can use his car for the six months he's going to be out of the country this fall/winter.

    Around when he gets back, my husband's parents are planning on buying themselves a new vehicle and have said we can have their 1997 Honda Odyssey if we want it. However, they're in a different province so we'd have to do an out-of-province inspection. They haven't been maintaining it that well because they're planning on buying a new car soon. So it's quite likely it will be easier for us to just buy something here. We've started looking now as we want to test drive a bunch and get a real feel for what we like and what would work for us, and so that if something that's a really good deal comes up we'll know that it's a good deal. But looking at all the cars/vans out there, I'm a bit at a loss.

    We were thinking of getting an older, cheaper car or van (like under $5k), driving it for a few years, and then investing in something a little nicer at that time. But I don't want to save some money at the expense of safety. We really don't drive much; DH carpools or bikes to work and we walk a lot, so it would be silly to buy another car that we'd have to finance for years, but we could potentially go a bit over our budget and finance for a short period of time, especially if it was a vehicle that would last us long term.

    I don't even really know what criteria I'm looking for. The Honda Fit was perfect for our needs when we got it, but since then we've moved, had a baby, and have another one on the way. We want one that would comfortably fit two kids in car seats, two adults, and preferably at least one other passenger. I have a good friend who has two kids and we're both stay-at-home moms and she has no car during the day. It would be great to be able to drive all four kids around, so I'm leaning towards a van, but we manage to get by without now so it certainly isn't a priority. We have a dog, she's not big (35 pounds), but she's tall, so her crate is fairly large. We want enough room to bring her along with camping gear or other travel gear for trips. Car seats should be relatively easy to install, though I don't have a Radian and likely never will and from what I've read they often cause the most problems. (Though my friend I mentioned does have one of her sons in one.) I don't care too much about latch, I've never had a problem installing our Marathon with the seat belt and we don't move it around much. We prefer imports, like Toyota and Honda, but are open to domestic cars if they have good safety ratings and are reliable. They're definitely cheaper to buy and maintain.

    It seems like most of the makes I like (Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Volvo) in our price range are all older-90's. Fords and Mercuries seem to be affordable in the early 2000's still. Neither of us love Dodge or GM. I think Kia might be an okay option too though. I know that older cars have less safety features, though someone told me that Hondas and Volvos are ahead of their time in safety features. I don't know how true that is though. Anyway, I would love to hear some pros or cons of buying an older vehicle and what we should look out for.
    Lindsay - Crunchy, ERF-ing mama ~ CPST/CRST
    M: Aug 2007 ~ boostered in an Evenflo Amp
    F: March 2010 ~ ff in a Frontier XT
    G: June 2013 ~ rf in a Foonf

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  3. #2
    CPS Technician skipspin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: In the market for a vehicle, would love some advice

    Well, a Mazda5 might work. It seats 6, but is more the size of a mid-size car. There isn't much cargo room with the back two seats up, but if you just need the two middle seats for trips it might work. Other than that I think you'll have to make the car/van decision.

    9 yr old in a pink zebra NBB and 5-stepping
    6 yr DS1 old in a Harmony
    4 yr old DS2 in a Nautilus and Radian
    18 mo DS3 rfing in a MyRide65

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