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Safe and reliable family sedan under $7000

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


I live overseas but my family is going to be staying for about 6 months in California. We need a safe reliable car during that time that wont depreciate quickly when we well it at the end of our time. Looking at 2000-2005 Accord or Camry, but thought about the smaller Civic or Corolla. Must be available as a manual as my wife wants to get comfortable before we move back overseas where manuals are the norm.

Priorities: Safety & braking / Reliability & durability / Depreciation

Preferred Bodystyle(s): Sedan / Hatch

Car Needs: Family transporter

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 125000
Maximum age: 15 years

Maximum price: US $ 7000

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Response from mkaresh

9:50 pm May 5, 2014

If you don't want to lose much money on the deal, you'll want to be able to buy and sell the car private party. Selling can be tough if the car is a midsize sedan with a manual transmission, as the market is typically limited. But, by the same token, you might find someone desperate to sell such a car, and get a great deal.

I'd also suggest finding a car with less than 92,000 miles on it, so you can add a few and still sell it with less than 100,000. Once over that mark any car can require some work, if usually relatively minor things like suspension pieces, and the resale value takes a hit.

If the car has a timing belt, check when that has to be changed, and if around this mark, if it has been changed. Often somewhere around 100,000 miles.

Same with the clutch.

Problem is, it's hard to meet all this criteria in the California car market, where values are higher than elsewhere in the country.

Searching for a Ford Focus 2008 or newer or a midsize Ford Fusion 2006 or newer (reliable years), I found just a few of each out there. IF you can find one of these, it would be a way to get a newer car for your price limit.

Going older and likely over 100,000 miles, you're on the right track--one of the Hondas or Toyotas. The Civic will probably be easiest to find, and to sell later. There also appear to be a few Corollas. It will be harder to sell a Toyota with a manual. I'd try to minimize the number of miles even with one of these. You'll most likely find one of the lower trim levels at your price, but having few features will help with reliability.

On the Toyota side, you might also be able to find the Matrix (or the nearly identical Pontiac Vibe). These are roomy and practical hatchbacks, but do have an odd driving position, especially with the manual.

Finally, I see one Honda Fit listed at a low price, but since it's the only one something seems fishy.

Whatever you find, be sure to have it thoroughly inspected before buying.


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Honda Civic

Response from nasowas

12:24 am May 7, 2014

The Honda Civic seems to be the most logical choise. It is better to have a few of the same model to choose from. It makes it easier to walk away from an uncomfortable deal.

The popularity of the Honda Civic with manual transmission will help with the resale.


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Honda Civic
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