Time for a new vehicle

Both P and I drive fairly old cars. The Honda Civic is the 1998 model and the Jeep is from 1999. Both are starting to show some signs that they are about to die – and really we need a more reliable vehicle. Every time we take a road trip somewhere we have to rent a vehicle because we are worried that the cars will not make it far and well both are rather uncomfortable to drive in. Plus with all the vehicle problems (and the breakdowns in the middle of traffic), I do encounter a bit of anxiety from time to time driving either car. The other day the fans in the Jeep stopped working and as soon as I got home, I asked for a sledge hammer so I could beat up the car (real mature, I know).

stupid Civic!

stupid Civic!

But – P likes the Jeep. It is his project car and until it blows up, he will not get rid of it. However, with the fact that I will be commuting more than 2 minutes to work next year and just general wear , we need another vehicle for me to drive that is way more gas efficient and reliable. The idea would be that we would park the jeep (especially over winter) and use the two other cars to get around. P plans to drive the Honda until it “blows up” and then buy another s***-mobile when the time comes. Generally every 3-4 years, P buys a car that costs less than $2000 and drives it to death (he drives 100+ KM a day).

What are we looking for?

It is complicated (well maybe not)

What we required:

1) A gas efficient car – meaning it will cost me about $45 to fill and lasts almost all week. The Honda currently does this

2) A car seat friendly car – The jeep isn’t car seat friendly, at all! Neither are many other cars

3) A/C

4) Not a Mazda, Dodge (actually no American cars except Ford) Caliber, or super sport cars

5) No previous owners who smoked or got into an accident

6) Less than 115,000KM

What would be nice

1) Auto transmission – Both of us can drive either transmission, but driving standard in traffic = awful

2) Power everything – The Honda has nothing powered

3)  A car that we can do oil changes ourselves – we cannot change the oil in the Honda easily


We will not be purchasing a brand new car. I am pretty sure we cannot afford it – especially considering that my employment is sporadic. We will be using my summer school income as a bulk of the payment for the car as well as some savings. Ideally I would like to spend between $5000-10,000 on the car.

So – Thoughts? Suggestions?

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  1. Amy

    Ugh. Used car shopping is difficult. Civics and Corollas are good, fuel-efficient, reliable cars that can last a long time. Recent Mazdas and Fords also tend to be generally reliable. I would just do a lot of research to figure out what you want (sorry-generic advice) and then do a lot of online used car searches for that specific make and model. The hardest part is figuring out what you want. And I am sure I did not give you any useful advice there. Many people swear by certain makes, but I would keep you eyes and ears open. Good luck and keep us posted!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      I’m pretty sure we are going to go with a Honda Civic again, or Ford Fusion (my parents have one – so I know it works for car seats/gas). But it is just finding the perfect one 🙂

  2. Stephanie@nowirun.com

    There is no useful advice that I can give here besides doing your homework on which used vehicles are the best bet for safety and longevity. My thought is that a Honda will end up being your choice… but I’m just hopeful you find everything you’re looking for. My friend, Ellie, swears by Subaru!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      I’m pretty sure we are sticking with Honda or maybe a Ford Fusion. Hondas are good lil cars! Even though my Honda now is a bit old – I always see my car twins zooming around town!

  3. beka

    I’ve owned a TON of cars – 10 to be exact and everything from sports cars to grocery getters… To be honest, If I was you I’d look at a newer – 2007-ish civic sedan. They are so low maintenance and great gas mileage and I’m pretty sure that you won’t run into any of the same troubles you have had with a car that is 10 years newer 😉 I had a 2 door 2007 civic and I loved it- came with power everything as an LX model, but I traded it in a few months ago for a faster sports car again. Like stephanie said, I’m betting you stick with a Honda. Good luck on your search!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      I bet I will 🙂

  4. Nicole

    I love/hate cars!! I love driving a fancy, fully loaded car but I hate that they are expensive and I am so dependent on them. I hate that they depreciate so quickly.

    Except for my first car at 16, all my cars have been brand new or only a couple years old. We leased one vehicle (VW) and will probably never do that again. I like the warranty that a new car has but the monthly car payment is sickening. Plus regular maintenance is not cheap!

    We currently have 5 year old small SUVs that we bought when they were a few years old. Thankfully (knock wood, fingers crossed) we haven’t had to spend much to maintain them, yet. Hubby has started doing oil changes on them himself so that helps. I used to have a Honda civic which I LOVED and wish I had just bought a 4 door version instead of the VW.

    Hubby has a Ford Escape Hybrid so it’s pretty gas efficient considering it’s an SUV. He insisted on an SUV since he is tall and dislikes being crammed inside cars. I don’t mind this vehicle and it is fully loaded but I do prefer the finishings of foreign vehicles. Friends have a Fusion and they LOVE it.

    I drive a Nissan Rogue which is also fairly gas efficient for an SUV but still nothing compared to a Civic. I love the variable transmission that most Nissans have. I drove a Sentra as a rental when I was in an accident and it was pretty nice to drive. Comparable to a Civic. I can’t speak for car seats though. I know having a RF car seat in my Rogue is tight so hubby can’t comfortably sit in front of the car seat. Not sure how tall you and P are so this might be a non-issue.

    My MIL drives a Honda CRV and I tried it when I was testing vehicles. I was so disappointed in it. Not that it’s a bad vehicle but I much prefer the drive of the Rogue.

    Also, until my Rogue, all my vehicles were standard. I much prefer to drive a stick, although they are a pain in traffic.

    Good luck with your search!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      We are so used to not paying car payments that any payment is totally foreign and a bit scary for us. Ideally we would like a hybrid SUV, but I really need to have a steady job first – and really a bigger home is more on our horizon before a brand new car, but one day!

      Paul is just short of 6 feet and I’m 5’5 – I sit closer while driving stick though because of the clutch, although not as close as I did when I was first learning, haha!

      We have a lead on a car right now and P is checking it out! It is an ’05 Honda Accord!


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