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Old February 26th, 2014, 11:25 AM   #1
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Talk me out of it - Buying a new econobox car

I currently drive a 2001 Chevy pickup that gets 15-17mpg. I drive about 10-12k miles a year. I bought it when gas was about $1.50 a gallon. If I had bought a car that got 30mpg, the < $500 a year difference in gas price was not significant to me.

I do use it to go to Home Depot often enough that I haven't been willing to sell it/trade it. Renting a truck from HD is only $20. Even if I did it 4 times a month (and I don't), it'd only cost me $1000 a year.

The repairs on my truck typically cost me $1500 or so a year.

Now $3+ gas appears to be here to stay. If I buy a new, shitty little econobox like the Chevy Spark, I could be getting 35+mpg, saving me about $1600-2000 a year, or $130-$170 a month.

Making the following assumptions...
  • I sell truck for $2000
  • I buy Spark for $12,000
  • I get 0% APR via PenFed for 36 months
  • My repair (not maintenance, just repair) bills for 3 years are $0
  • My repair bills for years 4-6 total $3000.
  • I rent a truck at Home Depot 2x a month
  • I save $150 a month in fuel; i.e., gas stays at or above $3.25/gallon
  • I sell the Spark for $1000 at the end of 6 years

For years 1-3...
-$275 loan payment
-$40 truck rental
+150 gas savings
-------------------
$165 monthly cost, $5940 total cost

For years 4-6...
-$0 loan payment
-$40 truck rental
-$83 for repairs
+150 gas savings
-------------------
$27 monthly savings, $972 total savings

And my total cost of ownership winds up being...
-$5940 (cost years 1-3)
+$972 (savings years 4-6)
+$1000 (sale of vehicle)
-----------------------
$56 monthly cost, or $4013 for 6 years


And now I have succeeding in talking myself out of it. $56 to lose the convenience of my truck and have to drive a shitty car isn't worth it.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 11:35 AM   #2
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This also happens to be about the rosiest scenario one could imagine (very low mpg vehicle -> very cheap and efficient vehicle) and the numbers still favor repair over replace. Short of the vehicle not meeting your actual needs (e.g., your family owns just one car, it's a 2-seater, and you have twins on the way) I have trouble imagining when it ever makes sense to buy a new car.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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Old February 26th, 2014, 02:09 PM   #4
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The spark is a boring, ugly car that will be miserable to drive and isnt even really THAT good on gas (considering thats its main selling feature).

You could likely buy something like a Ford Fiesta for around the same price. It gets 27 mpg and is a good car thats actually fun to drive and will probably be worth more when you go to sell it. Or for a bit more money you could get something like a Mazda 3 which is much better in every conceivable way than a spark and will do 30 mpg.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 05:22 PM   #5
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I don't have much to add, but that's an ugly ass car! If it's going to cost you roughly $56 a month to have a Chevy Spark, then I'd just keep the truck. You sound like you're at Lowes/Home Depot as much as I am, and to lose the convenience of your truck for $56 a month savings just isn't worth it. Even if you can rent a truck, that doesn't mean it's always going to be there waiting for you when you need to use it. I know the Spark would be more reliable and have warranty, but if I was in your shoes I couldn't do it for that car.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 06:50 PM   #6
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If you're looking for low cost of ownership, reliability and gas saving... American is not the way to go. Personally, outside of a pickup and a GT40, I would NEVER buy an American made car.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 07:05 PM   #7
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Don't buy that shit. Had both those small Chevy POSs as rentals. You have to incorporate quality of life into the equation,like spek said you will be miserable. They are terrible little fucking things, you get blown off the road because there is 0 handling they just suck. Nowhere near the quality of the Fords.
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Old February 26th, 2014, 08:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by speKtor View Post
The spark is a boring, ugly car that will be miserable to drive and isnt even really THAT good on gas (considering thats its main selling feature).

You could likely buy something like a Ford Fiesta for around the same price. It gets 27 mpg and is a good car thats actually fun to drive and will probably be worth more when you go to sell it. Or for a bit more money you could get something like a Mazda 3 which is much better in every conceivable way than a spark and will do 30 mpg.
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Don't buy that shit. Had both those small Chevy POSs as rentals. You have to incorporate quality of life into the equation,like spek said you will be miserable. They are terrible little fucking things, you get blown off the road because there is 0 handling they just suck. Nowhere near the quality of the Fords.
...what they said. The Spark is abysmal, the Fiesta is easily a better choice in this class.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 12:41 AM   #9
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Spend more, get the Mazda 3, and have fun driving it.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 09:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by speKtor View Post
The spark is a boring, ugly car that will be miserable to drive and isnt even really THAT good on gas (considering thats its main selling feature).
Boring and ugly is just fine. This is to commute to the train station. I don't care about appearances. I'm not impressing anyone with it. We've got another car for our longer, more comfortable drives. I want something that I won't give a shit about when it gets dinged up.

Fun driving never enters the equation. My commute is miserable. There are zero opportunities for anything resembling fun on the road.

What cheap car is significantly better on gas? I'm only considering a purchase if the car winds up paying for itself and giving me some savings on top of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmAsHeD IxNaY View Post
If it's going to cost you roughly $56 a month to have a Chevy Spark, then I'd just keep the truck. You sound like you're at Lowes/Home Depot as much as I am, and to lose the convenience of your truck for $56 a month savings just isn't worth it.
I'm really overstating how often I'm at home depot buying something of significant length/size. Nonetheless, I'd need to come out ahead by a few grand ($5k?) to consider dumping the truck at this point. I made some mistakes in the numbers that I have to revisit to see if it makes a big difference.[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Z_E_R_O View Post
Don't buy that shit. Had both those small Chevy POSs as rentals. You have to incorporate quality of life into the equation,like spek said you will be miserable.
So did I. It couldn't be more miserable than driving my truck is now. No heat, no radio, inconvenient to park (extended cab, long bed in the most densely populated state in the country).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syndicate View Post
...what they said. The Spark is abysmal, the Fiesta is easily a better choice in this class.
I was going to say how the Fiesta is more money, but TrueCar buying sites are showing just under $13,000 and gas mileage is pretty comparable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahn View Post
Spend more, get the Mazda 3, and have fun driving it.
Look, if I wanted a fun drive, I'd just buy the Chevy SS. It's the car I really want. I can afford it too. It just doesn't fit into my life, as I don't really have much opportunity or need for fun driving.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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Forgot to discount truck repairs. Might tweak some other assumptions too...

Assumption changes:
  • 6 years of $1000 repairs on truck not needed
  • Rent HD truck just 6 times a year. I'm not always buying lumber when I go there.
  • Spark will have repairs of $500/yr for years 4-6
  • If I chose a Fiesta, the numbers are similar.

For years 1-3...
-$275 loan payment
-$10 truck rental
+150 gas savings
+83 truck repair savings
-------------------
$52 monthly cost, $1860 total cost

For years 4-6...
-$0 loan payment
-$10 truck rental
-$42 for repairs
+83 truck repair savings
+150 gas savings
-------------------
$182 monthly savings, $6540 total savings

And my total cost of ownership winds up being...
-$1860 (cost years 1-3)
+$6540 (savings years 4-6)
+$1000 (sale of vehicle)
-----------------------
$79 monthly savings, $947 annual savings, $5,680 total savings
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Old February 27th, 2014, 01:45 PM   #12
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You could likely buy something like a Ford Fiesta for around the same price. It gets 27 mpg and is a good car thats actually fun to drive.
That 27 mpg must city, right? If not, that's not very impressive.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 04:38 PM   #13
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God you sound like my mother. I know you're not trying to impress, and want "essential", but fuck man! Every car that passes you at any speed causes the vehicle to shake and almost get airborne, the sensation of driving a golf cart is only reasonable on a golf course. Sounds like you want to waste the money you are saving! You will care if it gets dinged up, seriously you will. The reviews beyond performance/comfort/looks are also horrendous. Common complaints of poor mileage. I think it is rare these cars hit their mileage, not that most cars hit advertised mileage but when you get 20 out of a car like that...no. Or is this brand loyalty? Brand loyalty will rob you blind.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 05:37 PM   #14
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I'll red into this a lot more and do my own math..but i'm in the same exact boat frank.

I have a 2007 tundra...just accepted a job with a 46 mile round trip commute every day, opportunity was too good to pass up.

I'm thinking about getting a 2005 accord or maybe even a 2008 benz 300c so i have a nice car for dates with the fiance...etc. i'm looking in the 5000-12000 range....because the point of it is to offset the gas cost of $170 more a month i'll be spending.

I also looked into a used EV....but ehh they all suck.


So my thought was this....keep the truck pay it off for the 2 year i have on it...keep it because i use it way too much.

Then i'm going to etiehr buy a Model S or a Model X....so gas cost nothing or somethingthat similar.

We'll see...i have a lot more research to do.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 05:58 PM   #15
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That 27 mpg must city, right? If not, that's not very impressive.
Yeah that's city. Hwy is 38 mpg (according to car and driver at least).
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Old February 27th, 2014, 06:54 PM   #16
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God you sound like my mother. I know you're not trying to impress, and want "essential", but fuck man! Every car that passes you at any speed causes the vehicle to shake and almost get airborne, the sensation of driving a golf cart is only reasonable on a golf course. Sounds like you want to waste the money you are saving! You will care if it gets dinged up, seriously you will. The reviews beyond performance/comfort/looks are also horrendous. Common complaints of poor mileage. I think it is rare these cars hit their mileage, not that most cars hit advertised mileage but when you get 20 out of a car like that...no. Or is this brand loyalty? Brand loyalty will rob you blind.
This.

There are better cars at a similar price. The Compact offerings from any manufacturer will be much much more livable and with a similar cost of entry. Get a used Focus, Civic, or Mazda3.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 09:39 PM   #17
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Look, if I wanted a fun drive, I'd just buy the Chevy SS. It's the car I really want. I can afford it too. It just doesn't fit into my life, as I don't really have much opportunity or need for fun driving.
...I took a look at a SS and it's a very nice ride, I just couldn't justify getting one. Anyways, while it isn't a SS I have heard good things about the new Accord Sport. It's a good size for family hauling and not boring to drive from what I understand. It also is relatively affordable, burns regular, and has decent mileage (26/34).
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Old February 27th, 2014, 09:57 PM   #18
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...I took a look at a SS and it's a very nice ride, I just couldn't justify getting one. Anyways, while it isn't a SS I have heard good things about the new Accord Sport. It's a good size for family hauling and not boring to drive from what I understand. It also is relatively affordable, burns regular, and has decent mileage (26/34).
TSX owner here....I'd get the Accord Sport anyday.
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Old February 27th, 2014, 11:08 PM   #19
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I recently went through this, traded in my 2007 Tundra for a Mazda CX5. It's averaging 34MPG with a mix of hwy and city.

It's saving me 100 in gas a month and the payment went down 150 (decided to give leasing a try)

I really miss my truck, but I dont have a job that requires one. And those random times I need to pickup something from Home Depot I have one of my dads fleet of construction trucks at my disposal. All in all, I know I made the right choice to save money.

I think after my lease is up, I'm just going to get a beater as I just drop the kids off at school and go to work in it.
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Old February 28th, 2014, 09:57 AM   #20
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God you sound like my mother. I know you're not trying to impress, and want "essential", but fuck man!
I don't get many opportunities to go faster than 55mph on my commute. I'm not worried about how capable the car is.

There's some brand loyalty at work here, but only because I have a GM credit card that will allow me to knock another $1000 of the price.

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There are better cars at a similar price. The Compact offerings from any manufacturer will be much much more livable and with a similar cost of entry. Get a used Focus, Civic, or Mazda3.
Focus is $15,000
Civic is $17,500
Mazda3 is $17,000

$3000-$5000 is enough to make keeping the truck the more sensible option. At this point, I'm thinking that I'm going to keep the truck for another 3-5 years or $1000 repair, whichever comes first. Then I'll get something that's a little more fun, but still something I could pass onto my daughter in 10 years (5-7 years from then) when she gets her license.
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Old February 28th, 2014, 10:10 AM   #21
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...I took a look at a SS and it's a very nice ride, I just couldn't justify getting one.
The gas alone makes the SS a costly dumb idea
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Old February 28th, 2014, 10:19 AM   #22
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Then i'm going to etiehr buy a Model S or a Model X....so gas cost nothing or somethingthat similar.
I was thinking of the "affordable" car that Tesla's developing - The Model E. I'm also hoping the Supercharger network expands a bit and I can get one on near one of the major highways near where I live/commute.
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Old February 28th, 2014, 05:05 PM   #23
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I don't get many opportunities to go faster than 55mph on my commute. I'm not worried about how capable the car is.
I am just going to shake my head here. Those pieces of shit are a chore to drive at 20 mph. Part of safety and safe driving is having some degree of handling involved. These cars hit the road like a fucking square wheeled paper model. I was getting shaken by cars at the Taco Bell drive-thru!
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There's some brand loyalty at work here, but only because I have a GM credit card that will allow me to knock another $1000 of the price.

Wow. I'm cheap but when it comes to a car fuck a thousand bucks. LOL. You're going to end up with another POS Chevy.

Buy a used Focus, what is with this expecting to pay for repairs business? Three or four years we've replaced a battery post in our bought used Focus. Coupons for oil changes. I understand the whole concept of anticipated repairs, the whole cost of life as advertised by Consumer Reports, but fuck! A used Focus is still going to be a car that is safe in ten years for a first car driver. Fuck, a Smart is easier to drive than one of them little things. In ten years the only people driving Aveo/Titan/Sparks/Whatever they are is going to be Haitians. They will never even achieve Geo Metro respect.
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I would just prefer it to be a sausagefest.
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Old March 1st, 2014, 10:18 AM   #24
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The gas alone makes the SS a costly dumb idea
Well, that and its a sports sedan from Chevrolet. Actually its not even, its a re-branded Holden.
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Old March 1st, 2014, 10:52 AM   #25
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In November, I sold my Mercedes C Class and leased a new Honda Accord Sport. The mileage was getting up there and I didn't wanna get stuck paying high repair costs, not to mention time and headache. I just needed a new car that was under warranty that had decent gas mileage. The Accord was really the best deal and had the most bells and whistles for a base model. Ended up paying 230 a month and nothing down and 15k miles per year. I've bought new cars and used cars, and it is my experience that leasing is the easiest bet (for me at least). I change cars every year or two anyway. I'm 29 and i've already had 10 cars. No.. i didn't total any of them.
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