What Can You Buy That Costs Less Than A Bus Pass?

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
what can you buy that costs less than a bus pass

After taking a look at product planning and marketing for new cars, it’s time to take a step back into the supposed domain of Generation Why; used cars. And not just any old CPO Audi or two year old Civic either. We’re talking beaters.

As a pure thought exercise, I wanted to see what kind of car could be had for less than the cost of a monthly transit pass in Toronto. An adult Metropass, purchased monthly, is $126 ($115.50 if you commit to buying one every month via a subscription). Assuming a budget of $1512, I hit the Kijiji, a craigslist-esque site owned by Ebay, but widely used for selling cars in Canada, to see what was out there. Yes, I know, gas prices, maintenance, insurance all matter. Thank you for that bit of wisdom. That’s not the point here.


1989 GMC Jimmy: 342,000 km but supposed “very clean”. $500

1996 Honda Odyssey: Supposedly has 100,000 km and a new engine. Sounds dubious, but I like them because I got shuttled around in one for a lot of my childhood. It’s basically a tall Accord wagon with a third row. $500

1992 Ford Aerostar: That bitch made him take THREE Aerostars! $500

1990 Suzuki Sidekick Custom Buggy: This is real Canadiana. Probably not road legal. $500


1999 Honda Civic: Manual, fairly low mileage, lots of new parts. Can’t go wrong. $1200

1994 Ford Taurus SHO: Oh yeah, my Grandma had one just like that! $1400

1997 Ford F-150: You may need a truck in your life. $1000

1997 Acura EL. The sub and amp are $150 extra. Remember that.

$1500 – The cream of the crop

1989 Volvo 240DL: The classic “beater” car. $1500

1990 Acura Integra GS: Lots of new parts. Automatic. $1500

1987 Ford Crown Victoria: “Senior couple selling their well pampered Crown Victoria.” It’s Brown. Paging Sajeev.

2000 Nissan Maxima: These apparently have automatic transmission failures. Get it checked by someone more knowledgeable than your friendly neighborhood TTAC writer.

This is just a small sample of what can be bought on the cheap. There are literally thousands of beaters available under $1500. Not all of them are crap. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to see a man about an Audi 5000 Quattro Turbo with a 5-speed…

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  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Apr 13, 2012

    I still see old 240's here plying the roads and there have been several parked near my apartment on Seattle's Capitol Hill though some look to be well past their prime by the looks of them. Hondas, Toyotas, Mazdas, Nissans, Hyundais, they are all popular here along with just about everything else to one degree or another. I got $1000 trade for my 1992 Ford Ranger with issues and just shy of 237K documented miles but the body, interior were still in very decent shape for its age. Heck, even the paint was in great shape as well, no peeling clearcoat on it anywhere, not even the matching canopy and the body was mostly straight too, what dings/dents were very, very minor at that. Yes, it still ran, but like I said, it had its issues. Leaking oil badly, the AC didn't work, leaky cooling system, a loose wheel bearing, a loose U-Joint, worn out serpentine belt and a battery on its last legs and had a dying idle air controller valve, but it ran! :-) Bought a Mazda Protege5 to replace it.

  • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Apr 13, 2012

    I've managed to keep my 1986 Audi 5000 Quattro Turbo alive since 1999. However, it has cost me significantly more than the $1500 purchase price. It is a labor of insanity...

    • See 2 previous
    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Apr 15, 2012

      @Derek Kreindler 13 year car ownership isn't a bad trip depending on where you live. If you live somewhere that rots cars with winter salt, I'd dump cars as often as I could afford to and always buy used. All of my current cars have been long term ownerships. It's not that I don't like an ever changing stable of cars but simply that we chose not to invest much money in cars over the past 15 years. I did a driveway oil change yesterday and my car remains rot free underneath at 230K miles and the original CV boots are intact.

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