QOTD: Can You Hit 'em Where They Ain't? (Bottom of the Barrel Edition, Pt. 1)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd can you hit em where they ain t bottom of the barrel edition pt 1

This week marks the first of a three-part QOTD series where we’ll discuss everyone’s favorite topic here at TTAC: used cars. And for this first installment, we’re on a tight budget.

This week’s post about the current state of the used car market painted a grim picture of things. The growing supply of off-lease vehicles, which was anticipated by people who think about supply and demand, is meeting with greatly increased demand. Used car prices are thus on the rise, not helped by new car transaction prices that recently increased to a heady average of $36,848.

All this puts pressure on the used car buyer. But are there still gems out there? As buyers ford through the rough and sometimes dirty waters of the classified ads and used car lots, where should they turn? We aim to help.

Today’s budget is pretty low. Cash for Clunkers ensured the destruction of many of the potential “good $5,000 used car” examples, and not enough time has elapsed since for a renewal of older and cheap used cars. That in mind, our bottom of the barrel budget is $8,000.

For our budget buyer, some qualities to consider:

  • General availability
  • Likely miles on odometer
  • Reliability/longevity
  • Not popular

Now glance back to the title at the top. Today we’re looking to hit ‘em where they ain’t. That means the standard easy recommendations of Camry and Accord are off the table. As the top two no-brainers, we don’t need to talk about those – at all.

Let’s talk body styles. To help as many people as possible here, how about considering:

  • Sedan
  • Truck
  • Wagon
  • Minivan
  • Hatchback

The $8,000 budget buyer is generally going to trend away from the convertible, and likely the coupe, as well. But I suppose if you’ve got a really great idea for those two, go for it. Hitting the used market where other buyers aren’t is a good way to get more car for less money. Let’s hear ’em!

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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  • Ermel Ermel on Sep 28, 2018

    $8k is "bottom of the barrel"? My most expensive car ever, by far, cost less than that -- and it was a reasonably nice 1970 VW Bug Convertible, which I heartily recommend if you can find one for that price today. :-)

  • Aajax Aajax on Oct 03, 2018

    '09 or '10 Acura TL AWD. Under $8000 in private sale. Great car.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.