Buying the right car

I will be moving to Spokane, WA, hot summers and cold winters with snow. I am looking for about a three year old used car that gets good mileage. Will probably drive about 12k per year. Two adults and a medium sized dog. Any suggestions? Thanks :slight_smile:

What are you driving now?

97 Honda Civic & 94 Mazda MX6

Get a Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix, they are the same car. You’ll get 30mpg in town and you can put a full size clothes dryer in the back if you feel so inclined. These cars are basically Corolla wagons, so very reliable as well. And buying one won’t break the bank.

If these cars suit your needs, take them with you to Spokane. Where do you live now?

Either of these cars, with winter tires mounted, will perform admirably in winters with snow. The tires make all the difference.

If you want a newer car that gets good mileage, I will recommend the cars I always recommend to anyone. Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Having said that, I wouldn’t give up a '97 Civic for anything. You will have a hard time finding a newer car that gets better mileage, or is more reliable, than the car you already have.


You’re welcome.

I second mcparadise’s suggestion of keeping what you have. Those two cars are great, and there are plenty driven in that area by locals.

However, should you decide to get a new vehicle, I’d suggest anything by Hyundai in your age range (ie 3 or less yrs old.) They are as reliable as the Asian competition, but cost much less, with similar, or even better, options packages. Plus, I’ve found Hyundais cheaper to ensure than their competition. But, still, I think you should keep what you have now.

Yeah, keep what you now have. Maybe in two or three years you will want a replacement, but by then you will know what the other residents prefer.

The only thing that might be different for you than before would be the snow.  For that get a set of  [b] four - Winter [/b] tyres.

The father site of this forum has great tools. Try their product advisor:
It gives you new cars but just take their advise and apply it to an older model.

Moving is enough to deal with. Keep both cars until you are settled in and see what everyone else drives. Both cars should handle snow well. If the snow is too deep to drive, you probably should stay home anyway - unless you are an emergency worker. Even then, there are often volunteers that provide emergency transportation.

I live in NH and Civics are one of the most popular cars here. My daughter is on her second. And MX6 Mazdas are common here too.

The tricks to winter driving are

  1. good winter tires
  2. winter wiper blades
  3. leave lots of room
  4. anticipate
  5. do everything S—L---O—W---L—Y
  1. Stay at home at least until the plows have come through.

Equipped with winter biased all-seasons(Nokian WR) my wife’s old 97 Civic never got stuck once in NH snowy roads. My wife drove out no matter what the conditions due to her job in the hospital field.

yup. if you NEED 4/AWD to go somewhere, chances are, the plows aren’t gonna be around for a little while.

Spokane doesn’t really get a lot of snow, so you are in luck on that account. Cold will not keep a Toyota from starting. These days, most cars start well. Narrow tires are better for going in snow, so don’t get a car that has wide tires.