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Sell Lexus LS400 or Honda Accord to buy Prius?

We have three cars in our three person household—a 2000 Leuxs LS400 with 60,000 miles, a 2003 Subuaru Forester with 50,000 miles and a 1992 Honda Accord with 45,000 original miles (yes that’s not a misprint). It seems like all three cars get somewhere between 19-23mpg in city driving. We definitely want to keep the Subaru Forester because we of it’s a small SUV and nice to haul stuff in, but we’re torn on whether or not to sell the Honda or Lexus to get a used Prius? The Honda is somewhat of a rarity with its extremely low mileage and it seems like they are still in high demand today. Dad says sell the Honda due to its age and keep the Lexus because of the luxury ride. I say keep the Honda and sell the Lexus because it depreciates a lot every year. What do you all think?

We are fortunate to be able to afford to continue driving our cars despite the high gasoline prices. We don’t like it, as we do a lot of city driving, but it won’t put us in the poor house. We purchased our cars when gas was under $2 a gallon and gas prices weren’t a factor. No question the Lexus is the pinnacle of a luxury ride, I’m trying to help my father understand that a lot of wealthy people drive a Prius and that it must ride nice for them and that a Prius doesn’t have much depreciation at all. It doesn’t matter to me whose position you take, I would just like your opinions.

Selling any of those cars to buy a Prius will not save you any money. Gas would have to go up to $25 a gallon (a guess not a calculation) for you to off set the cost of the new vehicle with the better gas mileage. If you really want to make an impact on the environment keep the cars you have and save the earth the resources it takes to have a new car manufactured.

and to save the resources it takes to dispose of an old car.

The prius will be more efficient for city driving and more environmentally friendly. I am surprised that the honda has a 19-23 city milage though. You do not mention issues like are you in a car age friendly area like LA or in someplace like boston which rusts cars just for sport. Look at the body work, the older car will need every thing rubber replaced just due to age. It would be best to sell me the accord since I don’t drive city at all and might get closer to 30 mpg on my commute;-)

Economically your best choice would appear to be to sell on of the three cars and drive the other two like you are a little old lady to get the best mileage out of them. You can’t save money doing what you propose.

Your statement on depreciation if buying new is seriously far fetched. Your Prius will lose 40-50% of value over five years which is really significant. Thats about $12k.

The key to older cars is a decent (non dealer) mechanic and have a spare car or being okay without a car for short periods. You’ll save far more money keeping all three.

How can you possibly save any money by selling one of them and buying a Prius?? Have you done the Math??

With the very low miles you put on every year it’ll take you 30 years to break even. This is NOT a good financial decision. Keep all three until you NEED a new vehicle.

Sounds like the Accord needs service…19-23 mpg city sounds awfully low. My Accord usually got @ 30mpg city. If I were you, I’d wait to see what comes out next. The next generation of hybrids, plugin hybrids and electrics are looking like they will be much better than the Prius or any other current hybrid on the market. Also, if you buy a used Prius, you will be looking at eventual battery pack replacement and inheriting someone elses headaches. With your Honda and Lexus, you already know their histories and what problems they have had.

Agree; selling a thirsty car will do nothing for the environment. The next buyer would have to drive a lot less than you do. The only permanent way to help the environment would be to destroy the thirsty car. The manufacture of a new car takes about 15% of the total LIFE CYCLE energy the car uses. This statistic never seems to sink in!!

As mentioned befor, people who need a thristy car for some reason should keep it and drive it less and purchase a very economical car for their daily use.

If you have three cars, get rid of the thirstiest one and the one that costs the most do keep running (Lexus).

I’d keep them all. You’ll get very little for the Honda - far less than you think, probably. If I had to sell one, it would be the Honda. Have you seen the commercial with the woman seated between two cackling dorks on the plane? It then flashes to her sitting in first class. I think you understand the parallel.

And why do you want to buy a Prius? Let’s say you pay $25,000 for a Prius and you get 46 MPG, vs. the 23 on the Honda, and gas is $4/gallon. It will take over 140,000 miles to make up the difference. Why bother?

To buy a Prius?

What you save on fuel you will hand over double to the dealer repair shop.
Most of you all probably don’t do your own work but please consider the added complexity when mating an electric motor and battery system to a gas engine.

Folks that buy such things as Prius are crazy and rich enough not to care about the added costs of maintenance and repair.

My own attitude is if you can’t build an electric for yourself, or effectuate the conversion of your gas engines to natural gas (LNG), or propane (LP), you just looking for trouble with a prius, trouble that will just pour your money into some dealers pockets.


Let me give you another alternative. By the 2009 (or at the latest, 2010) model year, there will be a number of vehicles available with the new Blue Tech diesel technology–i.e.: they do not smell like an old bus, they accelerate as well, if not better than a gasoline engine of comparable power, and they can be counted on for 50 mpg or more.

According to reports from Europe, where they are already on sale, the diesel-powered Accord is capable of at least 56 mpg, and some owners of the diesel-powered Subaru Legacy/Outback are reporting 60 mpg.

IMHO, hybrids like the Prius are merely transitional vehicles until something better comes along, and they will be old technology within a couple of years. And, then you have the considerable cost of replacing the batteries at (?)~120k (?).

In truth, nobody knows exactly when the batteries of a Prius will have to be replaced, but the cost (several thousand $$) is definitely a potential operating cost to consider when deciding whether to purchase one. Even though diesel fuel now costs more than regular gas, according to Business Week, a modern diesel car will still have 15% to 20% lower operating costs per mile, as compared to a gasoline engine car.

This is definitely something to consider, as long as you can wait a year or so for the wide selection of diesels that will be on the market by that time.

Amen, Doc. I didn’t know the % figures, but I have long known those who recommend junking a gas hog are never considering the cost, both financial and energy, to make the new car. Good job, thanks.

Buying a new Prius will consume more resources than driving a combination of these three cars since they’ve already been built. I’m also assuming they have no major problems because of low mileage. Also, remember that proper tire inflation, driving habits, clean air filters, and having your vehicles engined tuned from time to time will improve your gas mileage. I’m guessing that the Accord could have a couple of these things done so you could get significantly better gas mileage.

Thanks for all your comments. I didn’t realize it would take that long to recoup gas mileage savings or that the Prius will depreciate that much. I was thinking that since the Prius is so hot that I could buy a used (2006) model, drive it for two years and then sell it for not much less than I paid because of the demand. You all may be correct about electric cars and hybrid’s just being an interim technology since I read today that a Norwegian company plans to introduce an electric car in 2009 for US$25,000 that can go up to 110 miles on a single charge. I live in Phoenix and just filled up the Honda and got 25mpg in combination short stops city driving and freeway driving going 55mph for a long distance with cc on. It’s an automatic transmission.

To buy a Prius?

What you save on fuel you will hand over double to the dealer repair shop.

An electric motor is at LEAST 10 times more reliable then ANY internal combustion engine. This system has been around for about 10 years now and is PROVEN to be very very reliable. Last I checked (about 2 years ago)…Toyota had NEVER replaced one of their electric motors for failure. There are far less moving parts which makes them really reliable.

Folks that buy such things as Prius are crazy and rich enough not to care about the added costs of maintenance and repair.

Actually there’s a DECREASE in maintenance. Brakes for one need less service because a good portion of the braking system is to recharge the batteries. Also since the engine doesn’t run all the time you can extend oil change interval.

I will agree that a Prius is NOT for everyone. But if your commute is mainly city or rural driving and you put 20k+ miles a year…the Prius will SAVE you money.

In truth, nobody knows exactly when the batteries of a Prius will have to be replaced, but the cost (several thousand $$) is definitely a potential operating cost to consider when deciding whether to purchase one.

The cost of the batteries keep coming down. By the time you need one it may be real cheap. So far Toyota has NOT replaced ONE of the hybrid batteries due to failure.

Am I correct in understanding that your dad owns all three cars? And you get to drive one?

If I’m correct, then it’s totally up to your dad. You’ve given your opinion, and that’s good, but it’s his choice and your job now is to respect it.

My daughter complained ONCE about the Pathfinder. Saying it’s too big. She wants a smaller car. I said…GREAT…go buy one. If not you can drive this one. I’m NOT about to replace a perfectly good running vehicle. She never brought the subject again. When she gets out of college I’ll let her keep it to trade in on a vehicle SHE CAN BUY.

Every so often there are environemntal groups who want to get older cars off the street, so as to reduce air pollution. Politicians don’t want to touch that one since many older cars are owned by senior citizens, (who bought them in good faith, drive little and maintain them well), and low income people, who can’t afford to buy a newer vehicle. Both groups are VOTERS!!

These groups always forget about the resources required to make a new vehicle. Carefully nursing older cars and maintaining them in good tune is the best option.

There are some situations where scrapping old equipment makes sense. if you own a large side-by-side front-free fridge from the 70s, you are consuming about 2500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. If it leaks Freon, you are helping destroy the ozone layer.

A new model the same size consumes only a little over 500 KW-HRS or so, just over 20%. Saving 2000kwh persyear at $.12, or $240 is real money.

Where I live we are being paid to scrap these energy hogs by getting a credit on new ones. The old fridges are recyled into new steel.