Need good used car

Good morning- In an effort to cut back my car payment and gas expense, I am selling my 2012 Mazda5 and looking for a good used car. I would really like a 4-5 year old Honda Fit, but in my area of the upper midwest the only ones for sale are from dealers and seem expensive.

Does anyone have any suggestions for other cars that would be equally gas efficient and reliable? My only other requirement is that I need to be able to put 2 dog crates in the back, so I need good cargo space equivalent to what the Fit offers.

I am not looking for anything fancy, just something to get around town in that will have good gas mileage and be reliable. Maybe a Yaris?

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated- thank you!

I should add that at this time, there are only 3 Fits for sale by dealers within a 25-30 mile radius. Two of them are pretty low mileage and look like viable options, but they are very expensive. The third has high mileage (150k) but is affordable. So there really aren’t many options if I want a used Fit I will need to spend almost as much as for a new one.

People have forgotten that car sales collapsed in 2006 and really did not recover until 2012. So there are very few used cars of that vintage on the market…The few that are available command high prices, more than they are worth in most cases…

If you are looking for a “Dog Car” a 4-cyl pick-up with a shell is a good choice but they are hard to find too…

Do you owe more than you can get for selling the Mazda5? If so, you either have to pay off the loan in cash or roll it over into your new loan. If you roll it over, you might trade the Mazda, and the trade-in value is a lot less than what you might sell it for on the open market. You will save about $2500 in 5 years in gas driving the Yaris/Fit compared to the Mazda5, but the other expenses associated wit the transaction might eat up all the savings. If you figured all this into your decision already, then go for it. BTW, that savings is based on driving 15,000 miles per year. If you drive 10,000 miles each year, the savings drops to about $1650.

You have already lost a ton in depreciation by having a 3 year old car. Everyone knows what kind of gas mileage they get on their car, but believe the EPA numbers on the car you want to buy.

Since you have to sell at wholesale and buy at retail you won’t lower your payment unless you extend the payments more into the future, always a bad Idea for a used car.

I would think a Mazda 5 would be an ideal car for someone who wants to haul two dog crates.

Don’t forget the added sales tax and registration fees for selling what you have and buying something else.

Now that I have told you all the reasons for not doing it, you are going to do what you wanted to do in the first place. You just wanted justification for doing it. Maybe another poster will give it to you.

As other posters have said, relook hard at #'s of hanging onto your Mazda5. FITs are expensive and honestly older ones have relatively poor highway MPG if you are seeking a vast improvement.

Interesting responses, thank you.
I got what I wanted, another perspective and some good unbiased information :slight_smile:
Yes, the Mazda5 is great for the dogs and overall I like it, but my gas mileage stinks.
When I ran the numbers for a fuel efficient used car it looked like I could cut my auto expenses by between $100-150/month, so it made sense to me to go that way. But now after reading your advice, it seems like maybe the most cost efficient thing to do is to keep it and pay it off.
I have about $4000 + in equity; I was planning on selling it myself so hoped to get about $13500 for it- low miles only 28000 and great condition. My equity would go straight into down payment for used car.
I got into this because people were telling me that a used car would be cheaper and I could pay it off sooner and save $ in my budget every month. I don’t know- now you all have me re-thinking this plan.

@"oldtimer 11"‌ - "Everyone knows what kind of gas mileage they get on their car, but believe the EPA numbers on the car you want to buy"
Yes, that made me laugh- very good!

You want another good laugh?

I’d wager that many people . . . perhaps most . . . don’t really know what fuel economy they’re getting

Here’s my idea about that . . .

Fill up the tank, until it clicks off
Reset the tripmeter
Drive normally, until it’s time to fill up again
Fill up the tank, until it clicks off
Note the amount of fuel required to top off
Note the tripmeter reading
Divide the miles driven by the amount of fuel required to top off

Here’s another observation . . . many people actually get worse fuel economy than they believe

I say this because a lot of people don’t calculate their fuel economy the way I do. They just guess and throw out a number. Others only know it takes x amount of dollars to fill the tank. This is perhaps the most ridiculous. What if the price of fuel went up? What if they don’t run it down the same amount every time?

I’ve also known people who’ve calculated their fuel economy the way I do, because I urged them to do so, at least once. Inevitably, the fuel economy is far lower than they thought it was

you can greatly increase mileage by changing driving style. and routes taken.

if you begin to anticipate stops and time your release of accelerator pedal so that you coast to the stop with out using the brakes as much and accelerate from stops at a gentle pace, it can make a big difference.

also by taking routes that avoid frequent stops and especially stop and go traffic, even if you have to travel an extra mile or two, it can save gas and even save time.

if your commute is at high traffic times in the morning, leaving 15 minutes earlier sometimes makes a big difference. certain times have less traffic. many start work on the hour. whatever hour. and have a commute from 15-45 minutes. so if you leave on the hour, you can have 15 minutes of lighter traffic.

that’s my experience anyway. it may be different in your area

I check my fuel mileage db4690’s method- actual miles driven divided by gallons consumed - and its consistently about 2 mpg worse than the readout I get from the car. And I’m not real good about checking it in winter because it takes a dive along with the thermometer.


I think those fuel economy displays in the cars are a neat gimmick

But that’s all I consider them to be

@db4690 my parents have continued to use the same method to track their mileage since the early 70’s (actual mileage divided by how much fuel used) and the display’s in both of their cars read around 3mpg high compared to the actual figures from the notebook.

On a recent trip of some 2700 miles in a 2008 Chevy Impala SS, the dash readout and actual MPG by the math method were usually within 1/2 MPG. Overall it got 23.4 MPG. I saved all the gas tickets. The meter showed different average MPGs at different stages of my trip, but when I checked individual fill ups it was very close.

Just for fun, I reset the meter at the top of the continental divide, (over 10,000’) and had a reading of 49.7 when I got back down to 5000’. It didn’t need to be filled, so I didn’t check the accuracy at that point. The reading continued to drop until I was home at 1420’, stretched over nearly 450 miles. On that long leg it truly averaged 29.0. The meter showed 29.3 MPG. After we got out of the mountains, a lot of that leg was done at 70 MPH or a bit more. The engine switched from 8 cylinders to 4 cylinders a good chunk of the time. Downhill matters.

Now if I could just get those stupid rear wheel tire pressure indicators to work properly (and cheaply) I’d be happy. What a lousy design. One tire dealer told me they usually go out after three years, so I’m lucky. Of course they may have been replaced before I ever saw the car.

I use the same method of tracking mileage as db4690. My driving is pretty consistent in approximate split between 50/50 highway and in-town so mileage doesn’t vary too much.
I kept thinking that mileage would improve once the engine got broken in, but it really hasn’t improved to any significant degree.

@db4690 the average MPG meter/tank is dead accurate in our 2005 Legacy and 2007 Acura MDX using the divided gallons/trip meter trick. The gimmick one to me is real time meter which goes from 5MPG in Subaru in full boost to 99MPG rolling downhill.

My daughter has a dog walking business and uses a Kia Soul. Good gas mileage, easy to park, over 80,000 miles with no problems and she can haul two large dogs in the back when she puts down the back seat.

The only way you can accurately measure fuel economy differences is to compare the EPA numbers for your Mazda5 and any car you want to compare. The EPA cautions that your mileage may vary and that the real use of the data is to compare different vehicles to each other. If you get better gas mileage with the Mazda,than the EPA average, then you will get better mileage that the EPA average for a Yaris, for instance.

one of our cougars had the real time mileage display. i liked it because it caused my better half to change the way she drove. instead of rushing to red lights and using the brakes and fuel un necessarily, she learned to coast when appropriate.

somehow she believed that little display more than my advice…

its taken 13 yrs and a BIG change in my attitude, but shes finally seeing my brilliance.
now if my daughter and i could only convince her that i m hilarious as well…