Im buying a "new" used car



my boyfriend totaled my 2001 new beetle a few months ago. so now i am forced to buy a new used car. i have three options and i need your advice. (if i had the choice i would rebuy my bug in the same shade of red because it was the greatest… but i cant)

1. 2004 Volvo S60 $11,000. 65,000 miles and relativly new. a few cosmetic isssues but has been well cared for.

2. 2004 Toyta 4runner $7,000. 100,000 miles but in great shape. Again, a few cosmetic issues.

3. 2001 Volkswagen Jetta $9,000. 40,000 miles and in great shape all around but its stick shift.

Im a senior in college and living my life. I know how to drive stick but i hate it. I am also about to incur the payments to my student loans so the maintence/gas prices are a huge factor as well.




Your shopping list is too short. There are plenty more cars for sale than these three. I’d go for something more common with more dealers.


I agree keep looking.


Dump boyfriend! Go to the library and look at Consumer Reports Magazine for good used cars.
How much do you have to spend, really? Do NOT finance a car at this point, PLEASE!!!
If you can only afford a $1200 beater for now, do it. You don’t need any more debt at this point.Or you could just not buy a car & get familiar with your city’s bus system.
I don’t know where you are, but lots of city’s have great bus systems! You could go ‘green’! Think about how you’d helping the planet out. You could walk or ride a bicycle, too. Can’t beat walking/riding a bike to discover your neighborhood & get some exercise.
Think of the money you’d save on insurance & car repairs…
You could use it to pay off the college loans.
I’m only semi-joking here, but think about it…


I agree with all of the sentiments above. Your list is too short. I wouldn’t normally touch any of those cars. My idea would be to find something older, cheaper.

Do not finance – use your insurance money to pay cash. If you have no cash because it all went to pay off your Beetle loan, you can see one drawback to financing. But, of course, everyone has his own idea of personal financial management

You don’t necessarily want a “beater” but there’s nothing wrong with a decent middle-aged car until you graduate and get a real job with real income. Then you can move upwards.


Keep looking. There are PLENTY of used cars from which to choose. Don’t limit yourself to these three.


$7000 for a 2004 Toyota 4Runner seems awfully low. Are you certain that it is in “great shape”? We own a 2003 Toyota 4Runner and it has been very reliable and trouble free. While the gas mileage is good for an SUV (15-17 around town, 22-24 on the highway), there are certainly more economical vehicles. Tires are also expensive.

I would agree with the others to look for a car different than the above. Whatever you purchase, you probably should make it at least $1000 less than what you think you can afford, so that you have a reserve for the inevitable repairs.

Also remember this: the student loans for your education are an investment for your future. Borrowing money for an automobile is not an investment. Automobiles depreciate. Calculate how much you may pay in interest for an auto loan. The amount may surprise you. I had my students calculate the interest on a $20,000 loan at 8% and calculate the cost of gasoline at $3 a gallon. We chose an average of 20 mpg and 12,500 miles per year. Do the calculation and you’ll see where the expense is in runing an automobile.

  1. Buy an automatic

  2. Do not take on another loan to purchase your new car.

What is your cash budget? The choices you list are all terrible.


no way guys. i only have these three options because they are all company vehicles at my moms work and she can get them way under value.

and dont worry… i have 10,500 from the insurance company so i can pay cash for all of them.

maybe i will keep looking but im running out of time!

thanks :slight_smile:


Unless that Toyota has been used in off-road competitions, 100,000 miles should be just nicely broken in. That is based on Toyota reliability, but individual cars can vary.

Do heed the advice on gas mileage, though. If you drive a lot of miles around town, gas can eat you up at $3 a gallon.

Except for gas mileage issues on that Toyota model, it would be no choice at all. Do try to have any car you buy checked by a mechanic.


The 4Runner is the best of your three choices. It has the lowest price. As long as it has been properly maintained, 100k miles is not a problem. The only down side is that you won’t get Corolla gas mileage.

The Volvo and Jetta have higher prices and will be more expensive to maintain. Although they will get better gas mileage, one expensive repair will wipe out several years gas savings.