My main passion is automobiles, and I’ve been ensconced in the car culture for over two decades now. People around me know this, so I sometimes get asked for my advice on purchasing. The problem is, and this is shared with many people who are into cars, my recommendations often get ignored, and the person asking ends up going with a counter option. Not that I’m so high up into my ego that I get hurt when people don’t listen to what I say, mind you. The bottom line is that car buying is highly emotional, so the logical minds of car enthusiasts like me don’t quite fit that mold.
I still continue to give advice, though, because that’s called being nice.
The latest such episode is when my cousin asked me what car he should buy. His criteria is a sedan that’s reliable, and something he can own for at least the next 10 years reliably. He doesn’t care about driving dynamics; just a decent runabout for city driving.
For me, the solution for such criteria is obvious: buy a sedan from either Honda or Toyota, the two Japanese brands famous for utmost reliability and super low cost of ownership. To drill down further, I recommended to my cousin the latest Toyota Corolla Hybrid, a fabulous compact sedan that gets 50 miles to the gallon, all for the going price of low $20,000s. It’s a lot of car for the money, and on sheer reputation alone, the new Corolla will run easily run trouble free for the next decade. Plus, the first two years’ maintenance is free.
Whenever someone is looking to buy a car to keep for a very long time, my suggestion is always to buy new. Not only do you get to fart in the seats before anyone else, but more importantly, you get the peace of mind from knowing the entire history of the car, something you can’t say for certain when buying used.
So what does my cousin do? Of course he ignored my advice, and instead bought a slightly used Mazda 3 sedan, for a savings of $6,000 compared to buying the Corolla Hybrid new. No arguments from me; he’s free to do what makes him happy.