2003 Protege 5 123000 miles at a dealership. How much?

Hi Guys! Thanks a lot for helping me out with my earlier questions. I had thought of buying a car that is both fun to drive as well as good to run. There is a Mazda Protege 5 2003, with 120,000 miles on the car. It has had two owners, and the Autocheck score is also pretty good. Its in good condition for 120,000 miles. How much is a reasonable price to offer the dealer in this case?

LINK to the car:


Kbb private party is 5500 for this one.

I also might just pass up and go for an acura or a civic si with a little more cost, but higher reliability.

Regardsless of how the car looks, the mileage is 'way too high. Even though Proteges are good cars, you will be replacing a lot things in the next two years if you buy this car.

I would shop for a private sale from a senior who is selling a similar car and would likely have no more than 40,000 miles on it.

But then I would be paying way too much for the car , wouldn’t I? I have a friend who bought a 100,000 miles civic from private party, for 6000$ 2 years back. In the next two years, he has just spent 65$ in repairs.
I do know that the protege is a good car, but the dealer may have bought it from an auction. In that case, it becomes an unreliable thing, which may soon require a lot of repairs, especially if he does not know the previous owners.
Do you recommend I go for private party sales then?

Civic Si or acura(integra) are top stolen cars. They also carry an aura of perceived reliability that translates into top dollar.

I have not heard of many positive things about theft and houston but maybe just bad luck amongst my acquaintances.

Agreed on both counts. http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS203666+21-Aug-2008+MW20080821

and the Si especially has a notchy shifter which might need replacement later. But again, I am prepared to keep three clubs in the car and put in a kill switch. I 'll take only liability if I buy an rsx, and use all the theft prevention devices I can. Might also put in 700$ for a lojack.
Or do you think that this seems to be a fruitlessly complicated exercise, and I should go for the easiest, cheapest, lowest mileage Civic Manual tranny that I can find, rather than bother with the Protege’s unreliability and the Acura 's stealability???

Also save some money on gas mileage…because I am student from abroad in Houston, and I’d like to drive around and see the country

By the way, there is a yellow beetle with 100,000 miles avalailable to me for 3000$ , its my gfs car. I have driven it for 5 months, and I only had to replace a startet while I was there. The car is in NY state, and I shall have to fly there and then drive it back. Beetles have bad reliability, and this one may be a ticking time bomb, even though I havent seen anything happen while I was there.

I’m not recommending you buy a Civic or a Toyota Corolla, or any other car selling way above what they are really worth. In your position, your best buy is a low mileage Chevy Cobalt or Cavalier or Pontiac Sunbird, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Chevy Malibu, Ford Taurus or Hyundai Accent from a senior who is downsizing. Buy the simlplest model, 4 cylinder, no sliding roof or any sports options. Those cars are reliable and sell for very little. They will see you through college with a minimum of expense.

If you want Sportiness, Prestige, or just want to show off on your budget, I would forget it. It will cost you a lot. An aqaintance’s son is in college and bought a sporty Hyunda Tiburon, previously owned by a kid. Nice car , but it was a disaster.

My 92 year old mother in law will soon sell her 1994 Pontiac sunbird which has only 45,000 miles on it. It’s not perfect, but it will likely fetch only only $1000 or so. You get the picture.

My son worked his way through school (1996-2000) with a 1984 Impala which had already 200,000 miles on it, but I had put those miles on. He drove it for 8 years and spent some money on repairs, but the car held up well until he sold it for $700 with over 300,0000 miles on it. That car would have cost him only $1500 or so had he bought it.

In summary, don’t pay too much, get a car with a lot of life left in it, and use those savings to have some fun and budget for possible repairs. Most of the cars you have looked at so far will make your college life miserable, unless your parents are going to pay for all the repairs.

Girls don’t really care what you drive as long as it 1) starts, 2) has a good heater or A/C and 3) they can actually get in and out of it without acrobatics.

I would stay away from any Beetle; you are right they may be a ticking time bomb. A $3000 Beetle with 100,000 miles on it will likely incur about another $3000 in repairs and maintenance in the next 2 years! Your girfriend is not doing you a favor by offering you this car, especially since you want to “drive around and see the USA”.

I don’t what country you are from but you still need to learn a lot about car ownership on a budget in the USA.

Get a job…

Thank you all. This is what happened in the end.