Background: I’m used to buying used, high reliability, high fuel efficiency commuter cars. For example, a few years ago I purchased a 2004 Honda civic with 90,000 miles. For reasons I won’t go into here, I’m now selling that civic and I’m trying to figure out what to buy.
My needs have changed dramatically and my financial situation has improved… so
- Gas mileage is still important to me, but much less than it used to be because I work from home now
- I’m looking for something with storage space to carry stuff like, for example, camping gear
- I would like to be able to seat 5 adults with relative comfort.
- My original budget was in the $15,000 range, but I’ve now expanded to 20,000 (and higher if it’s absolutely the best choice)
- I am not mechanically inclined (which makes used vehicles more expensive for me when it comes to repairs)
I’m trying to figure out the best bang for my buck. Before I really started thinking, I was just going to buy a new Honda Fit because I was still in commuter car mode. But as I was thinking about what I really wanted (something to take the kids camping or on road trips) I thought I should perhaps consider my first every (compact) SUV purchase. I have been researching cars like never before (consumer reports, edmunds, etc) and looking at the following three vehicles:
- Mazda CX-5
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota RAV4
I could buy a CX-5 new in the base model with the manual transmission for just over 20,000. In theory, I can buy a used CR-V or RAV4 at that price, although it’s difficult to find one with low enough miles to make me feel its worth it. I was partially interested in the RAV4 because of the optional third-row seats, but the used models I’ve been seeing at dealers and on Craigslist don’t have that.
Sorry for this long post, but finally, here are my questions.
- What vehicle would you recommend for me (it doesn’t have to be one of the three listed above)?
- I’ve always thought poorly of Mazda’s… does anyone have an opinion about the reliability/longevity of the CX-5?
- This is my first time considering a new (as in 0 miles) car; is it worth it? If not, what is the “sweet spot”?
- I’ve read that buying a car at the end of summer is a great time because the new models are arriving. If this is true, how much better of a deal can I try and negotiate? (in other words, is it worth waiting?)
Any answer to any question will be much appreciated!