Does anybody have any recommendations for a good used car. The car is for my daughter who is college. She needs a car that gets good gas mileage and has low maintenance costs.
If she needs good mpgs because she’s driving a lot, I’d put the mpg requirement lower on the list, behind safety. I’d recommend an intermediate car (Camry, Accord, Malibu, Fusion) with side airbags. What is your budget?
A used Chevrolet Cobalt with low mileage is a good choice. They sell for a lot less than a used Toyota Corolla, or Honda Civic. Also look at a Mazda 3 or an older Mazda Protege. They are good value for money. In all cases let a qualified mechanic check out the vehicle before buying it. Reliability is important as well.
I would recommend against any Volkswage model (expensive to maintain) or Subaru with its complex AWD system.
I’d add Dodge Neon and Chrysler PT Cruiser to the not recommended list. The Chevy HRR is pretty reliable and has lots of room when it comes time to move in and out of the dorm.
How far away is college/home?
what is your budget?
lots of freeway driving or in city driving?
parking at college or riding public transport to college?
any road trips foreseeable?
How much time left in college?
will she still have the car when she needs to move out of the dorms and either back home or into a different house?
Regardless of what you buy, check out the service stations and dealers in the area and find someone you can trust. If you are going to fund the maintenance from afar, you will be writing out checks to a repair facility that could either be your ally or your foe.
Get the most recent car buyers guide from Consumer Reports and use this information to help assert reliability and use their recommendations as a good starting place. For example, if you have a choice between a Focus and a Mini Cooper, you won’t be as happy with your cost and repair choices for the Mini, where the Ford will give you many more options.
Lastly, don’t focus on one make but a list of car makes insteadl. A well maintained second or third choice may be a better buy long term them a lesser first choice. Also, " rust free" a mandatory consideration.
I find the best used vehicles come from retirees, they take better care of them and don’t drive them as hard. This will sound odd to you, but a late 90’s, early 200x Buick or Olds with a 3.8 engine. They get better gas mileage than you would expect from a vehicle that size, right up there with the Camrys and Accords especially on the highway. They are relatively cheap, quite reliable and are a favorite of retirees.
+1 for the Cobalt. I just bought a 2010 Cobalt LS with 14,500 miles for less than $10,000. Check around for similar deals. You might find a similar deal on a Cobalt LS or Ford Focus S.
Uncle Turbo; I would agree and also add Chevy Aveo, Misubishi, and any oddball models that are hard to fix or get parts for.