Buying used car


#1

I am looking at 2 different cars to buy -both seem in very good shape -which is more reliable? One is a 2003 Jeep Liberty with 49,000 miles and the other is a 2005 Ford Escape with 67,000 miles. Both are V6 engines -the Jeep is 4 wheel drive and the Ford is front wheel drive. Both are around $9000.00


#2

It depends on how they were treated. If both were well-maintained, the Ford is probably more reliable, especially since it’s 2 years newer. See if either owner has repair and maintenance records. The one that does is likely to be the most reliable in the future.


#3

Neither of these cars has fared well in the latest Consumer Reports automotive summary issue in long term reliability. A car the “seems” in good shape can only be cosmetically dependable.

Without stepping over your reliability advice request, I would plan on spending more money and include RAV4 and CRVs as well as other more dependable models if a compact SUV is what you’re looking at.

If $9K is the working number, compacts like Focus, Corolla and Civics give the best transportation bang for the buck. $9K can turn into a lot more with a few unplanned repairs with these compact SUVs you have mentioned. For only $9K, I’d avoid cars with awd/4wd and a fwd Escape SUV has little going for it that a compact wagon can do much better.


#4

The Jeep Liberty will need more repairs and is less reliable than the Escape.


#5

4 wheel drive means more expensive to own. The word “Jeep” also usually means more expensive to own, at least compared to a Ford Escape (or Rav4 or CRV).


#6

You can get a nice 2007 Focus SES for about $8000. A comparable 2007 Corolla S will cost over $10,000. A 2005 Corolla S is worth about $8000. I’d look for a well-cared for Focus and pocket the extra $2000.


#7

As said it depends more on how they were maintained and treated.

For those who recommend the RAV4 & CRV, you realize that within that price range they are going to have over 120KM, and if you want to buy one bellow 80KM the price tag goes to around $14-15. This wipes out a lot of cash upfront in the hopes of lower repair bill and you know a used car is going to need some work one way or another. So financially buying a car that depreciates more, makes more sense. You have to realize that there is a reason for the depreciation and be able to live with it, which involves the occasional visit to the repair shop.

On the same note, even consumer report in a recent article admitted that the gap between the best and worst cars has narrowed a lot and even though they still rank the cars, in real life it depends more on your luck than on the brand of the car you buy.


#8

good insight!!!