Older Car with less Miles or Newer Car with More Miles?

Older Car with less Miles or Newer Car with More Miles?

I’m trying to decide between:

  1. 2010 Hyundai Tuscon with 19,500 miles (1 owner) (power train warranty ends in 2 mos, traded to dealer a month ago)

  2. 2011 Hyundai Tuscon with 39,400 miles (2 owners) (power train warranty ends 2016)

  3. 2012 Hyundai Tuscon with 22,000 miles. Listed as $1,000 more than the other two. (powertrain warranty ends 2017)

All the same trim level & features. Leather, back-up cam, sunroof, etc.

At first, I thought the first one was the obvious best pick… I assumed the lower miles was better, but with a 5 yr old car that only has 20k miles, is that a red flag for a car that hasn’t been driven? But then I’m not sure how you tell?

Then the warranty is confusing me too, like maybe it’s better to get the one with the warranty… But maybe the power train warranty isn’t really much of a positive factor, since I’ll most likely have to buy an extended warranty anyways to cover bumper/bumper… I submitted a few quotes online.

Anyways, just wondering if #1 with the lowest miles is the obvious choice, even though it’s a 5 yr old car… Versus a new year

I’d go for a good deal on #3 first. Without the getting into an extended warranty.

+1 for UncleTurbo because that’s my same suggestion. Just make sure to have a mechanic completely check out the one you decide to buy.

Agree #3. Maybe they have come a long way but I’d want a warranty as long as possible and a good dealer.

Another vote for number three option…it has both “fewer” miles and is newer which is just as important for longevity as actual miles driven. Newer is better and worth the $1k difference in price. The key now becomes…a color you can live with. For a some guys or gals, this might not matter much. But, if you abide by “color me beautiful” and care to match your skin tones, it becomes important. :wink:

chalk up another one on the board for #3 Mr Costanza

If the maintenance records were available for the 2010, and they matched up with the owner’s manual service schedule, then it could be a good buy.

I drive my car back and forth to work 5 days a week and to the grocery store sunday morning, usually. I just put new tires on the car, as the factory tires were getting worn down. I can provide records for all the oil changes I’ve had done, and everything. My car was bought brand new in May 2010 with only a couple miles on it. Today I have about 18,300 miles on my car.

The difference between 19500 miles and 22000 miles is nothing in the life of a car. That’s one road trip to visit the grandparents at Christmas.

#3 seems to be the best option to me, though for any one of them I’d ask for maintenance records. If the car was serviced at a dealer–any Hyundai dealer-- that should be easily available.

Never buy an extended warranty on a used car.

Drive each of the cars and see which one you think is the best. Then, take this car to an independent mechanic for an evaluation. If it doesn’t pass, then go back for your second choice. Some years back, the university where I was employed bought a fleet of the Chrysler K-cars. The cars were maintained in the same way and an attempt was made to equalize the mileage the cars were driven. There was a number assigned to each car. I had an extension class I taught which was about 65 miles away from campus and would be assigned a car. It was amazing to me how cars that were exactly the same with the same maintenance could drive so differently.

#3 seems well worth $1000 more than the other two. The age difference is not critical if they are of the same generation (as I think these are) and you plan on keeping it indefinitely. If you planned on selling it in a couple of years the newer model would be worth more, all other things equal. If resale value doesn’t matter, buy the one in the best condition that you like. Don’t talk yourself into buying a vehicle you don’t like much because it’s a good deal. My mother had an Escort for a few years that she absolutely despised that she bought despite some reservations. She isn’t a fussy person, but that car really go to her. Don’t let that happen to you.

Part of the equation is the part of the country involved. If these cars are in the rust belt, age trumps mileage any time. #3 is the clear choice and even more so in the rust belt.
Paying for a warranty on a used car means you are someone I would like to play cards with. You clearly can’t calculate odds.

I can’t speak to the merits/demerits of the cars you listed, but I’d prefer a new car with more miles than an older car w/fewer.

The only way I’d go for option #1 is if a) you drive a LOT of miles per year, say 25,000 and b) don’t intend to keep the car for very long, say 4 years. At the end of 4 years the car would be 9 years old with 110,000 miles, just about right for the average car of that age. It then becomes a normal sell without scary high or scary low mileage.

Otherwise pick option #3