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Best used car for about 7 to 8 thousand dollars?

I would like to buy a clean, very dependable used car for about 7000-8000 dollars.



The most dependable used cars, according to consumer magazines, are the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. I find that a six year old Accord or Camry (2002 year) with 60,000 miles on it, goes for about 10 to 11 thousand dollars. Ouch!



What other 2002 or 2003 model year cars should I consider?
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Comments

  • edited October 2007
    Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and, if they were still selling them in '02 or '03, the Chevrolet Prizm, which is identical to the Corolla.

    The Corolla/Prizm is one of the most reliable cars on the planet, and the Civic is right up there with the best of them.
  • edited October 2007
    I've had very good success with Ford Taurus. Have had 8 of them for myself and two daughters over past 15 years. Get one with the standard 3.0 6 cyl( 12 valve engine). They are easy to work on, not that expensive to repair, are good in collisions( have seen several close up after daughter's wrecks) - one of them would have been killed if in any type of Honda. If you perform maintenance as required, you'll be amazed how long they will last.
  • edited October 2007
    I don't put a lot of faith in consumer magazines and surveys as there is just too much of an opportunity for bias to exist.
    The Taurus/Sable cars are a good option. The Sable I had was still running/driving well when I sold it 2 years ago and it had 420k miles on it.

    That being said, a used car is a used car and a lot depends on how it was driven and maintained by the previous owner. A thorough checkover and a lengthy test drive always helps.
  • edited October 2007
    Surprisingly, they are all about the same. The market decides. If there were one $7-8000 car that was clearly superior to the others it would sell for $10,000.

    What I'm saying is that you should consider everything in your price range. Rule out nothing. Since many American cars depreciate faster than the Japanese cars you can find 2-3 year old domestics selling for the same as a comparable 7-year-old Japanese model.

    So learn how to check out a used car in general rather than focus on a small group of make/models. Again, the market decides.
  • edited October 2007
    If you define "dependable" as being freedom from repairs, given that the maintenance schedule is followed, here is problem. Many Hondas and Toyotas require a timing belt change at about 60,000 miles. This is considered maintenance, but this maintenance runs about $400. The Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala do not require this maintenance. I've also found that parts such as alternators are less expensive for the Fords and Chevrolets than for the Toyotas and Hondas. One of my vehicles is a 2003 Toyota 4Runner. It has a very good reliablility record. I had quite a problem when we first got the car--the serpentine belt made a terrible squeaking noise. The dealer replaced the belt three times and the problem would always reoccur. In one belt replacement, the belt wasn't put on correctly and it pulled out the crankcase oil seal. After suggesting the dealer buy it back under the lemon law, the dealer replaced the tensioner and after 50,000 miles, the 4Runner hasn't had a repair. My other vehicle is a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. According to Consumer Reports, this vehicle has a terrible repair record. In 32,000 miles, the biggest repair, covered under warranty, was for the fuel gauge sending unit. The Honda and Toyota minivans have a better repair record, but for the $10,000 difference, I decided to by the Uplander. Both vehicles, the 4Runner and the Uplander, have been dependable for me.

    As you look at cars in the 2002 or 2003 model year, the Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, Buick Century or Regal may be good choices as a compromise between freedom of repair and cost of upkeep.
  • edited October 2007
    At the price range you are looking at, a low mileage Hyundai Elantra is a good bet. They are reliable, easy to maintain and repair and fuel mileage is acceptable. Toyotas and Hondas are overpriced because of their popularity. A Mazda Protege is another possible choice. They are extremely durable cars, fun to drive and easy on gas.
  • edited October 2007
    It depends on what you are going to use it for. Give details!
  • edited October 2007
    Buick Regal. The price is in your range and it is reliable.
  • edited October 2007
    I sold my 2002 Nissan Altima for about $8200 a few months ago. It was a great car, and a lot of space in it too. The back seat had tons of room even with the front seats slid all the way back, and the trunk was immense. And I loved the styling. Too bad I had to get rid of it!
  • edited October 2007
    Consumer magazines in general that may be true. Consumer's Report last time I checked has never lost a lawsuit on these accusations that they are biased. People who claim to know better than CR on reliability are usually with no basis for their opinion, except they really really want to be taken seriously.
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