Nissan v. Toyota

I currently drive a 2010 Nissan Versa SL with 17k -I am thinking of trading it in (and it’s payments + the $2000. in equity) for a 2007 Toyota Rav 4 AWD with 34k. I live in VT and think going AWD is smart but yet the Versa (with studded snows) has performed just fine this winter so far. I love the Versa gas mileage too, but the Rav 4 is all around a nicer vehicle. I am nervous about going from a 2010 car to an older 2007. Any advice out there?

Selling a new car right away isn’t a very good financial move. You’ll take a big hit on the depreciation. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless the Versa completely failed to meet your needs, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

The satisfaction ratings of the Versa is lower than that of the Rav. It’s a good car, but idiosyncrasies bother enough people they may be looking for a reason to sell. The Rav is a better all round car but if you’r in a financial pickle, trading down and not up is the thing to do. it sounds like you’re looking for a reason and support to make the trade. You’ll have to evaluate your finances better and make your own decision.

Have you got a particular car in mind? I’m not sure all the numbers will work out. You could be overestimating the value of your Nissan and a 2007 Rav 4 is decent shape isn’t going to be cheap either.

The 34K Rav 4 could be due for new tires, new brakes, and is closer to major service such as timing belt change. Your potential savings could be reduced by increased costs on maintenance and repairs.

As you say are getting around fine with the Versa with snow tires. The AWD Rav 4 with all season tires might handle worse than your Versa. Are you ready to put winter tires on the Rav 4? If not, I don’t see any real advantage in winter driving over what you have now.

If you are in too deep financially on the Versa and have to sell it, then buy a less expensive FWD car and hopefully one that has the same size tires as your Versa. Then you can continue to benefit from the winter tires.

Let me get this straight. You think you might need AWD because you live in Vermont, but “the Versa with studded winter tires has performed just fine so far.”

Is that correct?

Is it the AWD or the “all around nicer vehicle” that you’re attracted to in the RAV4?

I think you don’t know what you want, and until you figure that out you should stick with the vehicle you have.

When you decide what’s really important you can decide which vehicle you want.

Personally, I’d stick with the Versa.

But you might feel you need an “all around nicer vehicle.”

I’d keep the Versa. If you get a Rav4, how long will it take until you are tired of it?

A finance man told me that if I was going to take a beating every time I traded a car that I would end up with nothing. I was getting close to the end of that road. You can stop right now with one good decision.

This cycle will try to start once again when you feel that you have some money. We’re all prone to that kind of thing.

Every time you trade, subtract $8,000 from your stored wealth. If you are without the wealth you are in negative territory. It’s tough to come from behind; just look at the Super Bowl results. I could use the $100,000 extra dollars I spent.

Yeah, that new Versa is a miserable heap. I’ll give you $6500 for it.

The newest car I’ve ever owned was a year old when I bought it. It has always amazed me how people never, ever get a car paid for. They trade every so many years regardless. Sure, it would be nice to always drive a fairly new car, but I also once read that cars are never a good “investment” because they will depreciate no matter what. A house usually helps build your equity. As much as I love cars, I tend to agree with that philosophy. If you use your vehicle for your business, I can see needing a newer car (which you can write off expense for) but a lot of people can’t be classified in “needing” a new car every few years.

“It has always amazed me how people never, ever get a car paid for.”

I suggest that you amend that statement to SOME people, Mitsy.
In my case, I have always paid good old American cash for my cars, and have then driven them for enough years to get a goodly amount of my “investment” back.

When I traded in my last car, I got over $7,200 for the trade, even though I had driven it for 10 years/110k miles. By paying cash, garaging the car, and maintaining the car better than is specified by the manufacturer, I had a trade-in that was still worth lots of money. As a result of that factor + good deal-making, I wound up paying less than $26k cash for a 2011 vehicle with a sticker price of over $37k.

Not everyone finances his/her new car purchase, and not everyone puts himself/herself in the position of being in constant debt. If I was able to do this on a teacher’s salary, almost anyone can do it–IF they practice fiscal prudence.