Better Budgeting: Good Used Cars to Consider

Good Used Cars to Consider

Car Tips (featured column)
by Kyle Busch

The cost of new transportation is expensive. However, there are several used vehicles that you might want to consider. The following vehicles all have good ratings and current market forces have made them available at very reasonable prices.

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Four vehicles worth your consideration:

1. The Toyota Camry has been one of the best vehicles in America for years. New Camry LEs cost $18,500-$25,000.

Now that the redesigned 2002 Camry is circulating in the market, you can buy (if you shop carefully) a used 2000 Toyota Camry LE with 25,000-30,000 miles for about $10,500-$11,000. I consider this car to be an excellent value for this price. The vehicle should still have at least 6 months remaining on the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty and 2.5 years remaining on the power train (engine and transmission) warranty. This vehicle can be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles.

2. The Honda Accord has also been one of America's best selling automobiles. New Accord LXs cost $18,500-$26,000. The Accord was redesigned for 2003 (the new model arrived in showrooms during September).

You can buy (if you shop carefully) a 2000 Accord LX with 25,000-30,000 miles for about $11,000-$12,000. This vehicle should also have at least 6 months remaining on the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty and 2.5 years on the power train. This vehicle can also be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles.

3. The Mazda 626 has also been a reliable vehicle. New 626 LXs cost $17,500-$24,000. The 626 will be redesigned for 2003 (renamed the "6").

Mazda does not quite have the name of the Toyota or the Honda.You can buy (if you shop carefully) a 2000 Mazda 626 LX with 25,000-30,000 miles for about $9,000-$10,000. This vehicle should also have at least 6 months remaining on the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty and 2.5 years on the power train. This vehicle can provide many years of dependable transportation.

4. The Nissan Altima is also a pretty good value. New Altima 2.5s cost $17,000-23,000. The 2002 Altima was redesigned to be a much larger car than the previous model.

If you are on a transportation budget, you can buy (if you shop carefully) a 1995 Altima GXE with 60,000-75,000 miles for about $3,500-$4,000. At this age and mileage, the vehicle will likely not include any remaining manufacturer's warranty, however, the Altima is quite reliable and economical to drive. This car can provide a number of years of good transportation service.

If you are in the market for a vehicle, do your homework. Consult Consumer Report's automotive issue (April). Also, be sure to read a couple of archived new vehicle road tests (review road tests that were conducted at the time the vehicle was new) on the used vehicle of interest in auto magazines (many are archived at your local library) or Internet sources such as Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Road & Track, or MotorWeek. Information from the road tests will allow you to zero in on which of the vehicles discussed above will be the best for you.

For example, if you prefer a softer ride consider the Camry; if you prefer a stiffer more European ride, consider the Accord; and if price is the major consideration, consider the Mazda or the Altima.

Last, but not least, if you are going to buy a 2 to 3 year-old vehicle, try to get the 2000 model rather than the 199... model. Years down the road when you sell the vehicle, the 2000 model will be worth more than the "past century" vehicle.

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Copyright © 2002 by Kyle Busch. All rights reserved.
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