By on October 25, 2018

I can’t claim to know what Millennials want — I don’t consider myself a member of that particular cohort. Depending on the source, I’m either one year into that demographic or one year removed, but given that my circle of friends starts at about five years my junior and tops out at 20 years my senior, I’ll accept one older aquaintence’s assertion that I’m “the ragged edge of Generation X.”

That said, social media makes one a sometimes unwilling observer of this curious group of people and, amid their incessant political tweeting, the Millennial’s automotive angst emerges. Basically, cars are too expensive, OEMs have abandoned them, and the Boomers stole their future. And I thought Gen-Xers were supposed to be miserable grumps.

What automotive balm would soothe these pains?

Before I’m accused of being an aloof, cigar-chomping plutocraft, allow me to say that slow wage growth, inflation, and ballooning education costs haven’t left the average young worker in better car-buying shape than their Nixon-era predecessors. And that’s rough. The annoying stories written over the past few years about Millennials ditching car ownership has more to do with money than attitude or ideology.

Put some cash in a Millennial’s pocket and they’ll likely show up at the dealer, assuming they’re living in or around a city that doesn’t make vehicle ownership prohibitive. (Also, assuming they’re not convinced their personal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is the tipping point between paradise and annihilation.)

Yes, vehicle prices are on the rise, and the threatened status of low-end cars doesn’t spell a rosy future for youngsters hoping to buy a sub-$20k car in the years ahead. But are cars really that more expensive? Not really. Adjusted for inflation, a 1989 Honda Civic DX hatchback would retail for $17,760 before delivery. A 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier RS coupe, combining a 3.1-liter V6 and five-speed manual? $19,238. Getting into a 1989 Suzuki Swift GTi (1.3-liter) would set you back $18,312.

It’s not the cars, it’s the wallets. But is there an argument to be made that today’s products lack a certain passion or, dare I say it, soul? A Twitter user who’s far more experienced than I suggests product is indeed the problem. Cash-strapped buyers need more practicality, he argues.

I’m of the mind that the Suzuki Jimny would be a bona fide hit if offered here, though even that fun, rugged little SUV would run into the same pricing problem. Base price of an overseas-market Jimny? A tick over $21,000. The inflation-adjusted price of an entry-level 1989 Suzuki Samurai? $20,305.

Looking at (sinking) sales stats for truly cheap cars, I’m not convinced it’s possible to pull off the creation of a successful Millennialmobile; younger buyers often demand a certain level of technological content and refinement. OEMs would probably balk at the development costs and tiny margins. Even if a bottom-end vehicle rose above the appeal and utility of a Mirage or Versa, there’s no guarantee buyers would leave the used market behind or stop biking and Ubering to  sign the note. Still, this is an exercise in imagination.

What does an automaker have to do to lure low-paid Millennials? What type of vehicle would draw twentysomethings like a Beto O’Rourke rally? Let your mind go wild, and don’t hesitate to toss out price points.

[Image: Mitsubishi Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

114 Comments on “QOTD: What Millennials Want?...”


  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Little Robert Francis O’Rourke himself doesn’t draw any crowds. If he gets Willie Nelson to sing, then yes. Because weed.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Yeah. I’m sure Willy brings all kinds of weed and distributes it to the crowd.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Yes because Rafael Edward Cruz is such a sincere human being. I’m amazed he wasn’t laughed out of the state for not punching Donald J. Trump in the face when he came after his wife and then tried to imply that Rafael’s father was involved in killing JFK.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Curious he dropped from the limelight very shortly after the JFK thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Willyam

          I find myself agreeing with you yet again, Dan. I’m back and forth to that state all the time and I lost all respect for a man that wouldn’t defend his own wife (I’m not making a political statement, just an ethical one among the nominees – say what you will about Carly, but she took no crap). BTW, there was a very nice bio of Heidi online recently, and she comes across much more positively about that entire incident, if a little tone-deaf about compensation.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            As a Texan, I loathe Ted Cruz as our Senator. But I have to disagree that he didn’t defend Heidi – I believe he did, strongly, telling Trump to leave families out of their wrestling match.

            From all indications Heidi is a warm person, wonderful mom, and very astute business woman. I respect her a great deal.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      And your comment has to do with affordable new cars exactly how?

  • avatar
    gtem

    Avocado toast.

    But more seriously, it’s as simple as if you make enough to shop new, many are buying crossovers, trucks, depending on the demographic. Some that went through the recession and have that job climate seared into their minds are perhaps more frugal, and are fine driving something older and used. An unaccounted for factor is that cars are lasting longer than ever, as evidenced by the average age of the US vehicle fleet. Why replace something that does everything well already?

  • avatar
    DedBull

    I’ll preface this to say that the readers of this site are the worst people to ask this question. By default, we are “car people” we actually pay attention to our cars. We antagonize over the differences between options and look at design differences that go over the head of the majority of car buyers.

    At 35, I’m in a similar position to the author, I’m on the ragged edge of being a millennial. It depends on what end of the spectrum you look at to define what they want.

    First and foremost, the majority of vehicle buyers see their vehicle as an appliance, a tool to get them where they need to go. They treat it like any other appliance, ignore it until it breaks then complain that it is junk. The ideal millennial-mobile would communicate it’s need for service directly to the owner or perhaps the dealer. Long service intervals are a must. That means hard tires, hard brakes, and extended drain oil.

    Next, there is no “one size fits all” solution to the type of vehicle. If you ask those people in the big east or west coast cities they probably want small cars or CUVs that navigate traffic easily and park in smaller urban lots and street parking. In the more rural parts of the country it’s all about the truck you drive. In those parts of the country with significant winter, AWD/4WD is a key selling point, but not so much in the southern US.

    While the mechanicals of the car mean little to the average buyer, the outward appearance is critical. A car is an extension of the buyer’s personality. A wide selection of colors would be important, something to differentiate your toaster from your neighbor’s. Bold styling, either masculine or cute depending on the target demographic will catch buyers eyes. Full integration with the electronic world we live in is also key. Inclusion of a heads-up display might encourage keeping your head up and eyes forward.

    With a wide array of customization, it may be a challenge with the instant gratification generation. A car that is designed to allow for a large percentage of the available options to be dealer installed rather than factory configured could help meet a wider range of buyer’s wants.

    Lastly, it’s all going to be about numbers games. Rather than the big bottom line, cars will be sold on monthly payments. just like $1000+ iPhones, they can be justified if the payment seems small enough. Leasing may become more common when ownership means less than possession/use.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      +1

      Low cost of ownership and styling are key, just as they are for any age car buyer. Millennials aren’t THAT much different from older people, no matter what 10,000 breathless opinion pieces might lead one to believe.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      So, are you saying that millennials are like real people who buy what suits them and what they can afford? Amazing, who would have thought?

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Dedbull basically nailed it. Who can speak for all Millenials? In Canada alone we have millenials who are urban high earning, urban low earning, rural western, rural northern and rural in Atlantic Canada, plus Quebec. Each distinct markets and requirements.

      So the answer could be large pickups, or stripped manual hatchbacks, or small a CUV, or a Tesla depending on where you live and your perceived needs. Not to mention your bank balance.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “Who can speak for all Millenials?”

        the Boomers seem to think they can, considering how they seem to know what all of them are thinking at any given moment.

        • 0 avatar

          Just like their elders did to them, back when the Boomers were young hippies.

          Just like today’s Millenials will one day be complaining about “these lazy kids and their bionic implants.”

          So has it always been, so shall it always be.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            We’re already experiencing our first “I used to be with ‘it’, but then they changed what ‘it’ was” moment with Gen Z and Fortnite.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      Maybe it should be millennials vs centennials?

      millennials want something that works for 2-3 years with latest tech

      centennials want something new every 6-8 months to peak their interest

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    They want CUV active lifestyle thingies and size depends on if they have kids and how many.

    We may make merciless fun of Ford’s advertising for the EcoSport but the marketing is correct – the product on the other hand…

    Signed,
    Gen Xer Married to a Millennial

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Do most millenials care if the product is bad (from our perspective)? It functions, it’s styled right and its relatively cheap. I doubt they care about handling and road noise and so on.

      Some do, but they’re not the target for such a vehicle anyway.

  • avatar
    Garak

    You need a reason for a millennial to go outside in the first place. Most stuff can be done online nowadays, even shopping for groceries. Millennials also don’t have kids to cart around that often, removing another reason to buy a car.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    A manual transmission, a mechanical handbrake, a DIN-format radio so I can put in a system worth a damn, cruise control, and an engine that’s nice to listen to. Extras can include ventilated seats.

  • avatar
    TimK

    My millennial son in law is a typical young guy who thinks his car is an extension of his manhood. That silly notion will eventually fade, but who am I to spoil his youthful fun? His wife drives a CRV (smart girl my daughter) and she gives me hope that her generation might have more going for it that we geezers can admit.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      If your car stops being an extension of your personality then you’ve become an NPC.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        can we leave that reddit/4chan filth over there instead of sh**ting this place up with it?

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Alright IBx1’s killed it folks, it was fun while it lasted.

      • 0 avatar
        Dilrod

        Car market bad.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        What the hell is an NPC? Having been a D&D nerd I’m hearing non-player-character…

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          that’s exactly what it means. “NPCs” are something from the bilge of the internet. it basically means “anyone who disagrees with me is a mindless automaton who can’t think for him/herself.”

          you know, just like the phase every 18-year-old college freshman goes through:

          https://xkcd.com/610/

          • 0 avatar
            IBx1

            Besides the political angle, I use NPC to describe people who have given up and usually drive camrys or highlanders, buying cars solely based on residual values, and prefer automatics.

            Bonus points for denial when they think their hinged-door minivan is “cool” or “sporty”

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            IBx1, what do you do outside of your automotive hobby that should have us convinced that you’re the cool and exciting guy that you think your car makes you?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          NPCs basically making fun of the fact that leftist all automatically use/like/follow the same monotonous talking points over and over without any real thought.

          Testing this theory a bunch of people made Twitter accounts basically parroting all the left wing talking points (i.e. White people are racist, Donald drumphe is Hitler, and all the other mindless dribble typical from the left). As expected people on the left quickly started following these accounts and liking them. Proving to everyone just how unintelligent and prosaic the typical anti-Trumper really is. Twitter then quickly shut all of the accounts down when they realized how effective the tests were.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Doubling the fun are instances where celebrities like and followed these “insightful” NPC accounts parodying talking points. On top of that were news stations showing on live TV NPC comments taken as actual people’s opinions on whatever issue they were reporting on.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “NPCs basically making fun of the fact that leftist all automatically use/like/follow the same monotonous talking points over and over without any real thought.”

            huh, sounds a lot like Trump supporters too.

            Physicians, heal thyselves.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The extreme-right morons (as stupid as extreme-left or extreme any dogma) have fully embraced the idiotic NPC meme, as evidenced by the full body hug and dry humping of it something meaningful and revealing as a broad stroke reflection of younger persons in U.S. society by none other than the Tag Team of extreme right wing imbeciles, brothers Back/Jack Jaruth/Baruth & Bark/Mark Maruth/Baruth.

      *p.s. Delicious Tacos is crawling back out of his shell slowly to the thunderous applause of Jack “Clap For The Wolfman” Baruth (maybe Delicious Tacos can run ads in Road&Track, eh Jack?)

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    You’re assuming that the problem is the cars. It’s not: there’s nothing wrong with the perfectly delightful econoboxes and small crossovers (or used crossovers and Accords) we have today. The problem is that a car just isn’t as necessary as it was 20 or 50 years ago. Millennials disproportionately live in cities and inner suburbs, and can get where they need to go using public transportation, Uber or Lyft, so why bother spending $400 a month on a car payment, insurance and gas when you don’t need to, particularly if you came of age during an economic downturn?

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I would have to say that the wage stagnation over the last 40 or so years has come home to roost on the Millenial generation more than others. Their late Boomer/early Gen X parents didn’t have the earning power earlier pre- and post- war generations did, therefore little to pass on.

    This is exactly the situation my kids are in, so they have sat out buying new cars (for the most part) as they get their stuff together and are focused on job mobility and/or security and a place to live.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t some decent vehicles available out there for the kids who have the money necessary to buy them. I helped a young man look for a car this summer. His credit and lack of patience to get it in better shape resulted in a used car rather than new.

    But many still seem to be sitting out of the new car game and other services have evolved to meet their needs, like Uber and car sharing if they can’t pull the financial lever. Or they settle for used cars, like many other young people have over the generations.

    What needs to happen is to end the wage stagnation, but there are too many factors not willing to accomplish this. Cheaper stuff will only get you so far and the fake inflation rates we’ve been fed for over 30 years don’t help, either. If the real wages aren’t there, something has to give.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    Just yesterday my dad was trying out my soul red ‘15 Mazda 3 after I picked him up somewhere, so we were talking about the merits of the car. Having previously owned no car newer than 2004, I can’t believe all the things it offers for the price: decent looks, comfortable interior including heated seats, nav, auto headlights and wipers, decent handling, and enough power to hit 125 MPH, as well as getting up to 40 MPG when cruising on the highway. You get all of this on the mid-trim of the most affordable car Mazda sells in North America.

    If a young childless person chooses to buy more car than this, they don’t get to whine about the high cost of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      This is the choice my daughter made. She’s Gen-Z, but only by a whisker. She doesn’t live in a city where parking/Uber/walkable distances make car alternatives possible, and her older Mustang was unreliable going any distance. She works close to full time (though the business does not allow full-time hours) goes to school tuition-free at a community college, and purchased a ’15 Mazda 3 all on her own. While money is tight, that car does everything reliably, cheaply, and with some fun thrown in. When her brother turned 16, he bought an ’08 with a stick.
      I really agree that it’s a situation of salaries and real buying power rather than a change in interests, although the smartphone has drastically changed the world in ways we only begin to see.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Millennial here (24). I agree with Dedbull in saying we are not the site to be polling what Millennials want to drive. I saved up and bought a GTI because I’m an enthusiast. It’s practical in fun, perfect for my age.

    There’s no exact answer to this, obviously. Many I know in my age range just want something cheaper that will be safe and reliable to get them to their first job (something in the 10-20k range). I’ve noticed ones straight out of college aren’t demanding Touchscreens, they mainly just want a good Bluetooth stereo.

    Older millennials with a more expendable budget do seem to care more about a luxury badge, but many just want a lifestyle vehicle that’s stylish, safe, and has some decent tech.

    Although CUVs are very popular among us currently, I know many who just want a decent reliable sedan (i.e Civic). So there’s no real answer, variety is great, CUVs are fine, we do buy cars (shocker). That’s just my rambling thoughts.

  • avatar
    cammark

    math.

    average millennial makes $35k/yr.
    average new car price $36k

    with good credit, no money down and a 4 year loan they’re looking at $845/month or about 31% of their income. this doesn’t include fuel, maintenance, taxes, insurance or other running costs.

    most experts say 10-15% for monthly payments after a 20% down payment. So $336/month for 48 months.

    my banks loan estimator says I need to be looking at $17,160 for my next car purchase (assuming I’m making the salary of the average millennial.)

    So Mirage, Sonic, Versa or Fit. If the auto industry’s goal is to sell to millennials, they need to focus on making these models more desirable than the used-market competition without changing the price.

    But the auto industry’s goal is to make a profit. selling to $35k earners doesn’t make much profit. selling $65k pickup trucks does.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “and a 4 year loan”
      “after a 20% down payment”

      HAhahahaha!!!!
      *Wheezes*
      HAhahahahaha!!

      I think the *average* auto loan term these days is about 70 months.

      In the real world a Millennial buying a car today will be $0 down (let’s say few $K trade-in for whatever they’ve got ATM), a interest rate in the high 3% range, and 72 months.

      • 0 avatar
        cammark

        yes of course. I did smirk as I typed that out.

        But my goal was to mirror what I felt a financially responsible but average-in-every-other-way millennial would do. maybe someone who went to trade school (limited loans to pay back) got a steady job, has a modest apartment or other affordable living arrangement but really needs their car to be new for whatever reason.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Financially responsible millennial making $35k should buy an older but well maintained Taurus/Lesabre/Avalon/Accord/etc for $3000 from an older relative (or craigslist) and call it a day.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            “Should” and “will” often don’t coincide. Most style-conscious young folks would rather walk than be caught in a retirement center special.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’d actually recommend leasing some kind of entry level car. Let’s make some assumptions:

            1) The kid doesn’t know how to work on cars.
            2) The kid doesn’t have a lot of cash on hand to deal with something like a $2,000 repair bill (like I had to cough up to keep my old Buick on the road a few months ago) and Daddy isn’t in the mood to finance that kind of stuff once the kid’s on his or her own.
            3) A $3,000 car is going to last for maybe 3-4 years before it either quits, or requires some kind of major repair.

            That’s three grand for the car, plus an unknown amount for repairs. Let’s call the repair/maintenance figure a grand. The kid’s in for four grand, all in, plus taxes.

            You can do that, or you can lease something like an Elantra or Jetta for zero out of pocket, $200 a month, including taxes. That’s $3600 over three years, all in, and you don’t have to worry about it quitting.

            As long as you’re not buying something “bougie,” buying new is plenty responsible, if you ask me.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I’ve looked for those “$200/mo all in” lease deals and never see them locally, FWIW. Add in full coverage insurance to your monthly bill too.

            Certainly it’s not without risk, but I’ve been doing the beater thing for 3 years, yes as a mechanically inclined guy, but I have yet to have a ‘show stopper’ mechanical issue on ANY of the cars I’ve driven every day to get to work. Maybe I’m just lucky? But that’s going on 6 cars now, not a single breakdown. Cheap liability insurance, and these full depreciated cars can generally be resold for about what you have into it with a simple wash and wax.

            With a bit of careful shopping, I don’t see a whole lot of mechanical risk in something like an older Camry/Avalon or whatever. Keep an eye on fluids and enjoy. Sure the struts or brakes or tires might need some attention at some point from wear, some exhaust welding, whatever. Nothing that costs $200/mo consistently.

            I can see the rational argument in favor of the cheap new car, but there’s just a lot of hand-wringing over daily driving an older car.

            Also WTH is going on where you’re dumping $2k into a $2500 Buick? A bunch of deferred maintenance?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “$200 a month, including taxes. That’s $3600 over three years, all in.”

            Am I missing something with the math here?
            $200/month for 36 months would be $7,200.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            good catch ajla, I thought that seemed rather low.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Buy generic Camry with a maintenance record (t-belt, decent tires):

            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/2001-toyota-camry-ce/6720851308.html

            Drive for 3 years with minimal hassle, resell it for $1500 within a day of listing.

            Hard to beat that.

          • 0 avatar
            cammark

            As I understand, the general consensus is that $3000 cars are risky and make you look poor.

            But I agree with you personally. I’m a millennial and back when I was making closer to $35k I bought a $3200 car. within the first year I had replaced two burnt valves and spun a rod bearing, locking up the engine.

            But I’m a statistical outlier in both my age group and probably the general population. I have the skill, tools and determination to rebuild an engine and keep an old car on the road indefinitely. I wouldn’t even expect that of most enthusiasts.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            We’ve been through this dance many times. In the GTA $3,000 will get you a 2008 Corolla with just over 200,000kms (125,000 miles). Probably on its 2nd or 3rd owner, with deferred maintenance and 10+ years exposure to road salt. Which works wonders on suspension bits, fuel and brake lines.

            OK for a male who can perform routine maintenance himself, won’t get fired if he is late/misses work, knows what to look for when inspecting a vehicle and has access to an area where he can perform said work or knows an honest independent mechanic.

            However not so good for anyone for whom the above does not apply.

            And one catastrophic failure means kiss that $3,000 goodbye.

            The other (in my estimation better options) are:
            1) Lease a new car. An Elantra/Accent/Forte etc. It will be under warranty for the entire period. Perform only oil and filter changes for 4 years. Zero worries for you, your employer or your parents.
            2) Join a car sharing group. Use one of their cars when you need it and and augment with public transit/taxis/uber. Saves the cost of insurance, maintenance, parking and payments. Which is what a great many urban dwellers are now doing.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yep, math is good to know, ajla. I stand corrected.

            Still, $7200 for three years’ ownership is far from bad. I’d rather spend the extra and get something I’d be 100% certain of reliability-wise. No need to stress about potential repairs. Plus, it’d have all the latest safety stuff.

            If I knew how to fix cars, I’d advocate for what gtem’s talking about, though.

          • 0 avatar
            SixspeedSi

            $3000 cars in my experience are a pain. For one, I would rather have a little debt than drive around a vehicle that is generally not as reliable and safe as something in the 10-15k range.

            I get it they work for you and other people, but most just want something safe that will provide trouble-free transportation for more than 2-3 years. Buying something with a small loan (while building some credit) I think is the smart way to go.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @SixspeedSi

            I have several of those at the moment and have owned several more. The trick is to find one with a solid drivetrain and deal with the rest as it comes.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            It’s not without risk, but I would argue on balance, most out-of-college kids joining the workforce would be served just fine by that Camry example. Yes certain areas have very legitimate corrosion concerns, brake and fuel lines are a good one to watch out for Arthur. But a full brake line replacement at an independent shop would be what, about $500-700? What sort of catastrophic engine failure are you anticipating on a 2.2L Camry motor assuming you don’t flat out ignore oil changes? Okay it takes a crap. Sell the non-running car on CL to a handy flipper for $500 and take the $2k loss. Again, You’d have to have a truly awful string of luck to a) be stranded even once and b) to have multiple serious failures so that you burn through $7200 (plus extra insurance cost) in the hypothetical 3 year time period.

            I think it is a question of you guys with kids being super risk averse, and I (for the time being) with my beater ownership under my belt am more willing to stick my neck out to save a non-trivial amount of money.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Can’t stop vicarious cheap car shopping now:

            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/d/2003-toyota-avalon/6729615993.html

            Higher mile Avalon with a few rough edges from the good part of town and a fresh timing belt = winning
            1) Haggle down to $2k
            2) Take it down to the auto glass place in the hood and have them install a new windshield for $150 while you go get lunch.
            3) Change oil and start piling on the miles.

            Actually I just saw that trailer hitch on there…. I’d ask a lot of questions about what was towed, check ATF color/smell and take a nice long test drive and check that the transmission shifted without delay when standing.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      What relevance does the $36k “average price” of a new car have when you’re talking about cash-strapped millennials buying a car which meets their needs? Well under $20k will get you a brand new car which does all the things a car needs to do, unless you happen to need to haul more than half a ton, go offroad, or transport more than 4-5 people. And that’s assuming you decide on the luxury of having a brand new car, instead of something that’s 3-5 years old and considerably more affordable.

      The fact that the “average price” of a new car is $36k shows that people still have money to spend, or at least believe that they do. Otherwise that figure would be much closer to the cheapest cars which get the job done.

      At 35, I’m a millennial. Have never owned a new car, and not because I couldn’t. I find my ’15 Mazda 3 (paid for in cash) to be a great tool for the job at hand, and even my ’04 Concorde was fine until it blew a brake line and I decided it wasn’t worth hauling home and sorting out anymore. My ’99 Miata in my garage is nothing fancy at all, but lots of fun. People even seem to give it a second glance when they see it, if such things happen to matter to you.

      When my girlfriend and I bought our first house this summer after a decade of renting an apartment in the city, we put 20% down on a 2,700 sq ft house on 25,000 sq ft property and double garage with zero financial help from our parents. My profession: flight attendant (although I do have a business degree and auto mechanics diploma). Girlfriend is a translator and makes a good bit less than I do.

      From where I’m sitting, life is still pretty sweet as long as you don’t blow all your money on stupid nonsense every month. A perpetual car payment is near the top of my list in that category.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Nice post.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @Juniperbug; That auto mechanics diploma changes everything in regards to what cars you can afford to maintain.

        And @Gtem is correct in that as parents we select and view things differently. Which is why as people age they tend to become more ‘conservative’ in their outlook and take less chances.It took only one phone call from one of my daughters stranded at night with a ‘fried’ ECM on a car that was ‘only’ 9 years old and had just 125,000kms on it, to convince me to ensure that she only drove vehicles that I was 100% sure of in regards to their history/maintenance/dependability.

        In GTA for $3k you are looking at a Camry that is either 20 years old or that has over 300,000 kms. For example a 2004 with 311,000 kms for $2,850. Or a 1997 with 185,000 kms for $3k.

        At a certain point in life being stranded on the side of the road, even once, or having a child/spouse stranded, demonstrates either some poor life choices or misplaced priorities.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Actually, the diploma changed very little; I would’ve learned more by spending those 18 months and tuition money on an old beater and the internet. What changed things was the interest in learning to do things for myself and the willingness to get my hands dirty. I’m doing the same now in learning to maintain my newly-acquired house. Yes, it takes considerably more effort than paying someone else to do everything, but it’s not rocket science.

          I guess I’m lucky in that my 74 year-old dad is still giving me the right example by still rolling up his sleeves and fixing and maintaining his stuff; whether it’s things he learned to do over decades of sweat equity or something he’s never done before. And he doesn’t lack the funds to pay someone else to do things for him, either. Want to guess why?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            My niece’s fiance is completing his apprenticeship in diesel mechanics at the Albuquerque John Deere Dealer – just went out and bought a Camaro.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Please excuse the last paragraph of my previous posting. I tried to edit it but could not.

          Where I am employed over 80% of our staff are immigrants. When I left work this evening there were 147 vehicles in the employee lot, 119 were Toyotas or Hondas. Yeah tracking this is part of my duties.

          When one of our hot shot corporate sales reps complained about having to park his leased Euro luxury vehicle beside an older Corolla our CEO explained to him “that what you refer to as a s**t box, represents a way for that person to get to work, do the groceries and transport their family. It is as much a chariot to them as yours is to you.”

          He was of course correct.

          How I was able to primarily ensure that my family was driving/riding in newer vehicles was to shop for the best value ‘ace of base’ types. Would rather drive a ‘newer’ base with the same powertrain than an ‘older’ model with unwanted, pricey ‘frills’. Yes a consumer rather than an enthusiast attitude. And I cost all my vehicles by kms driven.

          And remember that in most of Canada used car prices are considerably higher than in the USA and most cars tend to ‘rust out before they wear out’. Hence my advocacy of Krown.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Well stated JuniperBug. Unless the bottom totally falls out on the housing market again (which it very well could, of course), I’m sitting pretty on a 15 year mortgage at sub 3%, no car payments, not much money tied up in cars period. In fact, over the last 6 “beaters,” I’m up about $2500 in total. Cars are an irresistible hobby, but these days I prefer to put my time and effort into yard/home improvement. I love cars, don’t get me wrong, but I see much beyond the realm of “it gets me to work reliably and comfortably, with a bit of fun” as kind of a lost opportunity for my money to make more money elsewhere, preferably tax free. I knocked out my wife’s medical school loans this spring, she starts working next year. To me, more so than any automotive pleasure is the pleasure of frugal living and financial security. Your mileage may vary! The reason I always get into these “drive an old car vs lease” duels, I sold my paid off but depreciating 2012 Civic soon after we bought the house to recoup some savings, and never looked back.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          Sounds like you and the wife have worked hard to set yourselves up for success, gtem. Good for you. As long as you guys look at your house as a place to live and not a retirement plan you’ll probably be fine.

          People seem to forget that cars are an expense – a big one. Yes, if you have extra money, a nicer car is an enjoyable thing to have, but at the end of the day they’re a tool for transportation.

          I fail to see the joy in driving a Benz over a Ford in rush hour traffic while on your way to a job you don’t like just so you can pay the note on the Benz that you drive through rush hour traffic to get to the job you don’t like.

          People regularly freak out over “getting stranded” in an unreliable car. I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t live in the Serengeti, nor in a bad neighbourhood where an adult needs to worry about getting robbed or attacked the second their car comes to a stop. Especially today, if your car breaks down, you pull over to the side of the road, make a phone call, and wait for a tow truck to pick you up. This has happened to me I think twice in the 16 years I’ve been driving decade-plus-old cars and bikes, some woefully neglected with maintenance deferred in my younger, broke years. Total cost in that time has been maybe 3 hours of my time and a couple hundred bucks.

          What’s the cost of leasing or perpetually making car payments over 16 years?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I don’t necessarily get the freak-out over a statistically unlikely breakdown as well. We’re talking about a young adult with a college degree or whatever secondary schooling, people are acting like a breakdown is an automatic firing and/or certain death. We’ve grown rather soft in this hemisphere methinks. My dad’s first car for our family when we immigrated was a $750 rusty ’82 Civic since that’s all we could afford. We upgraded to progressively less rusty Civics, our ’90 was bought with fairly low miles, and even that blew a headgasket at 60k miles from a manufacturing defect. It used to just be part of being an adult and figuring things out.

            I drove a complete piece of junk Maxima with a rotten core support, leaking and slightly slipping transmission, and CEL illuminated for coils and an oxygen sensor fault, all summer 2 years ago. After the first few days of keeping an eye on engine temperature and monitoring fluid levels, I became completely at ease with its mechanical condition and it never gave me a lick of trouble. I put some struts and brakes on it and actually rather enjoyed it before selling it on. My two Rangers were both rather imperfect in more ways than one, yet both never once hesitated to start and get me to work. Okay, the ’94 had a sticky IACV that kept it from idling in 30 degree weather on a cold start. Hold the throttle open for a bit and it sorted itself out. Probably a good third of the country drives cars like this for their every day commuters, in the US anyways.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      How about the Nissan Kicks?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @JuniperBug and Gtem: Obviously you are both younger, healthy males. Heck, I don’t worry about being stuck by myself. But how would you feel if your wife and/or kid(s) were stuck on the side of a 12 lane highway, or a 2 lane rural road, or in a rural environment or in a bad urban area during a winter storm, or late at night or even during ‘rush hour’?

        Statistically many people do get killed on the sides of highways, including police officers.

        And even in peaceful Canada, women have been murdered in this situation. More than one serial killer actually used this M.O, stalking women driving alone at night on highways between urban centres.

        And tow trucks can take hours to arrive. Call the AAA or CAA during bad weather and see what their ETA is. An independent tow can cost into the hundreds of dollars, a regular complaint for consumer advocates.

        Driving an old car appears to be ‘virtue signalling’ on your part. A vehicle is an appliance. Like a stove, fridge, mobile phone or computer. Do you also purchase the cheapest, used appliances or computers? What about your tools? Do you use cell phones or computers from 1999?

        The logical approach is to purchase the ‘best tool for the job’ that falls within your budgetary constraints.

        I challenge you to calculate your cost per mile, using independent mechanic rates for the work that you do yourself or have relatives perform. Then calculate the lost opportunity cost for any down time on your vehicle. Compare these to a ‘cheap’ car lease or purchase of an inexpensive ‘base’ model.

        As for ‘catastrophic failures’ that you believe could be so rare on a $3k vehicle, aside from structural problems (rust, collisions), and poor maintenance (infrequent fluid changes, over revvving, etc) what about the following 1) dexcool induced gasket failure, 2) Toyota sludge build up, 3) Subaru gasket failure, 4) direct injection carbon build-up, 4) Chrysler transmission failure, 5) Toyota and Hyundai premature clutch wear, 6) Honda automatic transmission failure. Then of course there are the electrical issues associated with many popular European vehicles.Those are issues that are not uncommon and apply to many popular vehicles. Any of the above could make a $3k used vehicle an expensive lesson in ‘value buying’.

        You might not fall victim to the above issued due to your education/training, but the majority of consumers do not have your knowledge/experience. That is one major reason why used car dealerships have acquired a ‘reputation’.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          All valid concerns Arthur, and reasons in general to be the “car guy” to help kids/relatives/friends find decent used car options that aren’t rusty heaps with hidden issues. Certainly I wouldn’t tell them to go to any old used car lot and hope for the best. I’d ask friends and family for any leads on good used cars they’re looking to trade in, or I’d scout out good private sale cars.

          I’d argue you’re moving goal posts with saying “would you want your female spouse with kids in the car.” We started the thread talking about a hypothetical highschool or college grad making $35k a year.

          That Camry example I pulled up with a service history on the timing belt and fresh tires, with how the body looks it’s fairly safe to assume that the fuel and brake lines have years of life left in them. That generation of Camry will generally run up to 200k+ miles on all original suspension even on our crappy roads, a testament to how well they’re built. When something does start to go, it’s something cheap or non critical like the swaybar bushings or links (dirt cheap even at a shop) or the strut mounts starting to bang around (not safety critical, but not expensive either). Suppose the CV boots tear or a radiator starts to leak. Axle is a $200 job including a reman axle at a shop, a radiator is $400 or so with a flush. The math might be different in Canada with all of your regulations. Regarding pattern failures, the sludge issue is a statistical anomaly at this point. If it made it this long and a look under the oil cap doesn’t show anything worrying, I’d say you’re in the clear. There really and truly isn’t much else that goes wrong on those old Camrys, the transmissions are long lived, with a few fluid changes will run up to 300k+.

          I will gladly take that “per mile” calculation and bet on the old car winning, again, especially after you factor in the added insurance cost.

          I’d argue owning a “good” old car starting out can teach some good life skills and moxie. Learning a few things about cars will always come in handy, learning how to do a bit of comparison shopping and learning about car service options in their city as part of that is helpful too. Is simply asking coworkers for recommendations on where to get a car fixed affordably too much these days? An Indian coworker with a high mile Camry told me about an excellent source of cheap brake work recently that he learned from a different coworker. A guy nearby with a body shop does easy repair work on the side: bring him the parts from autozone or wherever and he’ll install a set of rotors and pads for $60 a pair.

          I will defend the position that a fresh-out-f-school young adult making $35k a year paying $7200+insurance for transportation in the form of a lease where at the end of three years that money is gone forever could have been a $2500 car+1500(?) set aside for maintenance/repairs over that three year period, where they still have a running car worth $1500-2000 at the end of it. I’d even relent and say shifting over and financing a cheap new or lightly used car for $15k or whatever looks better than the lease in that case. At the three year mark you have a car that is still worth $10k and has another 5+ years of good life in it with minimal repairs and just a pair of brakes and tires as far as pricey items to budget for, and you could consider switching it to liability-only at that point.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Here’s a few clean Toronto based older Camries that I can just about gaurantee won’t have corrosion related issues:
            http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/markham-york-region/2000-camry-ce-99-444km/1393263827?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

            toronto.craigslist.ca/tor/cto/d/90s-jdm-classic-1992-camry/6702908993.html

            Here’s a mobile mechanic that can work on them affordably:
            http://www.kijiji.ca/v-other-skilled-trades/mississauga-peel-region/mikes-home-auto-motorcycle-repair/1202602155?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

            It’s not rocket science.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            A Camry which qualifies for antique plates as a daily driver?

            Sorry after 25+ years of Southern Ontario road salt exposure, I would be very, very careful before purchasing such a vehicle. That is why we Ontarians import most of our collectible cars. And what about all of the rubber drying out? And the previously mentioned concerns regarding fuel and brake lines. Plus the fact that it will require regular (constant?) maintenance and is not as fuel efficient or safe as a ‘modern’ vehicle. An instance of buying based on price, not value.

            You can lease a 2019 Elantra Manual for 60 months at $45 per week using that $1,500 as a down payment. That works out to $6.41 per day in payments (over and above the $1,500), so less than public transit costs. And the car will be under manufacturer’s warranty the entire time. Change the oil two or three times per year. The engine and cabin air filters annually. Defer all other maintenance until it is turned in.

            As for insurance, in Ontario, with our no fault insurance, the savings between insuring an old and a new(er) vehicle is negligible. I pay $125 more per year for our 2017 CUV than I pay for our 2009.

            And then there is the fact that a vehicle from 1992 is certainly not the safest. Ask Jack Baruth about his feelings and experience in that regards.

            Those in less severe climates tend to underestimate the wear and tear on vehicles that experience severe climate changes (hence the difference in require maintenance) and the daily exposure to road salt.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Arthur I owned a ’96 ES300 (read: ’92-’96 Camry) with visible rust in the rear quarter panels, and the only element underneath that looked remotely worrying was the filler neck (and it held fine, a replacement would be a $70 part and an hour of labor). Brake lines looked fine. It didn’t leak anything, the control arm bushings were intact and solid, even at 209k miles of less than nice Indiana roads. You seem to be operating off of hypotheticals and doomsday scenarios, I live and breath these old things and know specifics. Change the oil, check for obvious leaks, it’s that easy. In fact my Lexus was bought for a kid going to college, the car-guy dad inspected it thoroughly and I think they got an awesome car for the money that would cruise through the next 4 years of college use. The average age of cars on the road is 12 years, and even commuting in a large metro area rarely do I see a car break down on the side of the road that isn’t a flat tire.

            Saving $5k or so in transportation costs over that lease period of 3 years for someone pulling in $35k annually is quite non-trivial. It could be a nice rainy day fund or a start to an IRA, or saving for a house downpayment.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            The government of Canada commissioned studies on vehicle age.

            1) They found that the average age of cars and light trucks was 7.6 years in 2005 and is now at 9.6 in 2016. Of course we realize that average is not a valid measurement as the ‘classic’ old time cars help to skew that number and many older cars (as per point #2) are not daily drivers.
            2) They also found that the ‘old’ (meaning average age over 8 years) cars and light trucks that were on the road were driven considerably less than other cars. Not unsurprising.

            As for strategies, hope for the best and plan for the worst. The reason that I ensure that all of the family vehicles have jumper cables, road flares, a tool kit, a first aid kit, a flashlight, etc.

            When you have children driving through rural southern Ontario in the dead of winter, or your wife and/or child(ren) driving to ski trips, hockey tournaments, etc regardless of weather conditions, you will understand why a safe and reliable vehicle becomes a priority.

            And if ‘broken down’ cars are so rare, then why do auto clubs still exist and why are there so many tow truck companies? And why does the government still operate highway emergency vehicles/patrols in some areas?

            As Baruth wrote many times, one ‘catastrophic’ car failure can lead to job loss, or break a budget. Whereas a new vehicle should have a readily predictable cost. Perhaps outside the budget of those who are ‘living on the edge’, but unfortunately I have seen too many people pour good money after bad into vehicles that should have been scrapped. Or buying a used ‘luxury’ or higher end vehicle rather than a new or newer less expensive vehicle. An almost guaranteed waste of money.

            As mentioned before a vehicle is for most, a ‘tool’ and any good tradesperson understands the efficacy of purchasing the best tool that they can afford, rather than making do.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @Arthur Dailey: Once my family got to a certain point, I started leasing cars for my wife to drive. She did most of the driving when the kids were little, to me it made perfect sense. I ended up leasing three GM vehicles in a row, all with OnStar in the event a cell phone was inop or lost.

            As adults, I try to make sure that the kids cars are roadworthy. I’ve also insisted they get cars that have remote locking, so they can approach a locked car in a parking lot and unlock at the time of entry. These are the kinds of things I look for in cars for them.

            Essentially, once you’re a parent, you never stop being a parent.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Median age in the US is 10.8 if classics skewing the numbers is a concern. Certainly my old neighborhood had a lot more older cars, folks in the northern suburbs drive newer cars.

            It sounds like overall you take the most risk-averse approach and are willing to tolerate the higher cost. I’m taking a higher risk (in my mind well managed risk) to gain some crucial savings at the beginning of a young person’s working life. I grew up less than well off and spent a lot of time in working class environs and feel entirely comfortable putting trust in old cars, I know enough about them to do that. Modern fuel injected cars with electronic ignition are truly a wonder in how well they can run, even with multiple failed sub-systems. Even with a bad misfire, failed mass-airflow, faulty oxygen sensors, etc a car will not strand you. With the most rudimentary amount of attention to things like oil and coolant level, there are any number of makes/models that can be kept running for hundreds of thousands of miles.

            Here’s some rough numbers for some hypothetical costs for something like that old $2500 Camry:

            Depreciation over 3 years (bought for $2500, sold for $1500, although I’d argue it’d lose less): $1000
            Suppose it ends up needing a radiator and an axle at some point in its life: $400 rad installed, $250 axle installed
            Suppose it ends up needing a set of tires: $350 for a good quality value brand
            Oil changes we’ll call a draw with the new car option, but if the new car has the 2 years free maintenance (basically 2 oil changes, once every 10k miles): $250 for 6 oil changes in those 3 years, being generous.

            So that’s about $2k over 3 years. That in my mind is budget-friendly motoring.

            Out of school, I helped a good friend of mine buy some cheap wheels to get to and from work and visit a gf (now his wife) in NYC, a 4 hour drive away. I found him a ’91 Accord with 128k miles and a bit of quarter panel rot that he bought for $1000. He ended up buying a power steering hose for it and a new set of front rotors (stupid captive rotor design), had a local indie Honda guy do the work. We also put a thermostat in it after we noticed it was slow to warm up, did it right in the driveway with a $6 part in about 20 minutes. A shop may have been like $100 for the same job. He drove that car for 2 years including trips to NYC and back. I helped him clean the car up and write an ad, sold it for the $1950 asking price in less than a week.

            I have way too much hands-on experience between my own vehicles, friends’ vehicles, and seeing what comes into my brothers’ and his friends’ shop to be convinced that I’m advocating for Russian roulette by suggesting a good older used car to someone instead of a perpetual cycle of leasing.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          @geozinger didn’t you used to run a few old J-bodies as your kids’ cars? You got quite some good use out of them as I recall.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Gtem as you know as well as anyone, anecdote is not evidence.

            I can provide a similar anecdote with a totally different result. Inherited a one owner, approximately 10 year old, reliable vehicle with low mileage. Had to install new tires (age), new battery (age). Since we had the wheels off, also completed a brake job. And also due to the age of the vehicle changed the ATF and coolant. It had to pass a safety certification and an emissions check before being plated. Insurance was/is just over $100 less than on a new CUV. The catalytic converter required replacement, probably due to the car sitting for extended period, being run for only short drives and never/rarely on the highway prior to us getting it. Then a fuel line required replacement due to rust. Then the ECM failed, while on the highway leaving the car and driver stranded.

            In total the cost of parts and labour ended up exceeding the retail/replacement/trade value of the car.

            For a car which scores very high on reliability issues and which was a one owner, dealer maintained, low mileage vehicle.

            And there are still minor flaws/issues, popping up on a semi-regular basis.

            In return for all the time, and money spent on maintenance and repairs, we have a vehicle that is (can be?) used only for short neighbourhood trips by my children and which I run on the highway once every weekend. Which does not have the safety features of a newer vehicle. If my wife or children have to go out of town, out at night, on the highway they take one of our other vehicles, for safety reasons, fear of another breakdown. And whose lifespan is limited by exposure to salt. The total cost per mile driven, is actually more than for the new CUV.

            As for your 3 year savings of $5k. That amounts to under $5 per day or less than public transit. And since condos in Toronto cost an average of over $400k that $5k does not go far for a downpayment. and with rent averaging over $1,200 per month the savings amount to about 10% of average rent. So the money is possibly better spent on better transportation allowing someone to extend their job search to a greater geographic area or to take on a part-time job that they can travel to safely and reliably.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Arthur what car was this? And how much did you end up spending on the tires+cat+fuel line+ECM+brakes+fluids? I’m a bit leery of extra-low mileage “grandma specials” myself, but once all that stuff was addressed, I would think the (free) car would at that point be a pretty solid runner and you’d still be quite ahead of buying/leasing anything else (new or used).

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            A built in Oshawa, 3800 Series III engine equipped Buick.

            An engine and transmission that in theory should outlast me.

            With that powertrain, and low mileage, and with all the service records from the dealership you would expect a ‘gem’.

            How could we have predicted a sudden ECM failure? Or the failure of the catalytic converter? Either of which would generally send a $3k car to Murilee’s domain.

            Now there are minor age related issues. Examples like all the rubber parts. A door handle. Recently replaced the wiper arm motor.

            The parts on the car, are separately now worth much more than the car itself.

            And with its history, it is no longer trusted for long trips, highway trips, bad weather trips for my children or wife.

            And that is the crux of my argument, with autos there is no absolute guarantee of 100% reliability. Even in some instances with Toyota. You have to ‘play the odds’. That is why new vehicles have warranties and why some people pay extra for these, or for extended warranties.

            All cars eventually ‘die’. The key is to not be the owner of the vehicle when that happens.

            I purchase many things used. Golf clubs. Books. Solid wood furniture. Kids skis and skates.

            Other things I would never touch used. Mattresses and pillows are one example.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @geozinger: Excellent points. Particularly in regards to the OnStar system. In an emergency it could truly be a lifesaver.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Either of which would generally send a $3k car to Murilee’s domain”

            Maybe where you’re from lol. Both at the same time? Eh that might nudge some people into a newer ride. Around here the most common form of cat “failure” is meth heads cutting them out. The neighborhood muffler shop will weld a new universal in for $200 or so, or a “test pipe” for $50-75 and you live with the CEL (no inspections or emissions testing).

            But these old H and W-bodies are still the bread and butter of many rural and urban American roadways, and mechanics are used to wrenching on them, for reasonable money. Here’s my brother’s friend recently tackling an ECM on a Lesabre:
            youtu.be/NAUkmDhjgEM

            And coincidentally, a cat converter on the same Lesabre:
            youtu.be/X9jXdD4ePwA

            ” Examples like all the rubber parts. A door handle. Recently replaced the wiper arm motor.”

            All of these are inevitable on anything to a degree (and are by no means show stoppers), although I’d argue a post-’97 H body is more likely than others to have some fiddly issues, they were very heavily cost-cut vehicles across the board compared to what preceded them.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            The new Ontario government recently announced the end of emissions testing as of April 1st.

            Previously if the check engine light was on, it was an automatic failure.
            Prior to that the vehicle was run through an emissions test/checker.

            Originally every vehicle had to be checked every 2nd year, after it was 3 years old.

            The safety inspection requirements were revised in 2016, making them much more onerous. The inspection has to be signed off by a licensed mechanic.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Sorry for the duplicate comment, the site ‘timed out’ on me.

            The new Ontario government recently announced the end of emissions testing as of April 1st.

            Previously if the check engine light was on, it was an automatic failure.

            Prior to that the vehicle was run through an emissions test/checker.

            Originally every vehicle had to be checked every 2nd year, after it was 3 years old.

            The safety inspection requirements were revised in 2016, making them much more onerous. The inspection has to be signed off by a licensed mechanic.

            So a proper cat replacement to ensure passing the emissions test can run from $600 to $1,200 depending on the car and whether or not it is a dealer or an independent.

            If someone is dependent on their car to get to and from work, this could be a ‘killer’.

            For those who cannot afford the $5 per day, then hopefully they live in a community with good public transit. Public transit actually subsidizes employers by allowing them to recruit workers from a large cachement area and pay them lower wages. Supplement it with a car sharing membership. Belonging to a car sharing group also allows you to build an insurance record so that when you do purchase a vehicle you are not regarded as a ‘new’ or ‘previously uninsured’ driver and therefore lowers your premiums.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @gtem: Yes, at one time we had three in our fleet. A used 1995 Sunfire GT, which was my car as no one else cared to drive a stick. I had it up until I grenaded the Isuzu transmission and couldn’t find a replacement. It had over 200K miles. A used 1997 Chevy Cavalier (which had the power locks) which was a great car for kids. It had the standard motor and the 4 speed autobox. Fast enough for the freeway, but not for hooning. Both kids learned to drive on it. We had it until 265000 miles, but by then it was 18 years old and very rusty. My oldest got a 2004 Pontiac Sunfire from her grandfather on her 18 birthday. It had all the options (again, power locks), but she only had it two years, as it was totaled in a freeway accident.

            I would say we got decent service out of those cars. The 97 Cavy and the 04 Sunfire were virtually trouble free. The 95 Sunfire GT had been owned by a young man before I bought it. I came to find out he abused it, although some have just been from age, too.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Millennials are so 2000s, what do the Z kids want?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Gen Z? Is that the 4th Grade students whose classroom I just dropped by?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        18 and under (20 and under in Canada).

        EDIT: Not enough coffee. 22 and under, 24 in Canada.

        “There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends, but demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to mid-2000s as starting birth years.”

        “Statistics Canada defines Generation Z as starting with the birth year 1993”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Z

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Hey, 28…I’m (probably foolishly) contemplating buying a CPO Infiniti Q50 or A3, 2015 MY. Any chance you could gin up one of your magic wholesale price listings?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ask and ye shall receive Brother Freed.

            MY15 was the first year with changes for the G37/Q50, personally I am buying the MY14 G37 or I am skipping to MY16 for the Q50

            MY15 Infiniti Q50 RWD Prem

            10/24/18$18,00038,7094.36G/A- -FactorySoutheastNashville
            10/24/18$18,80035,7154.36G/AGrayFactorySoutheastNashville
            10/24/18$19,20043,3344.46G/AWhiteFactorySoutheastNashville
            10/23/18$16,80047,9893.96G/ABlackFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$16,25037,5844.56G/AGrayFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$16,00039,8524.46G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$16,250*26,5753.96G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$16,75033,4993.36G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$15,500*30,1984.06G/AWhiteFactoryWest CoastPhoenix
            10/23/18$15,00054,5373.46G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$16,00036,2602.56G/AGrayFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$17,50032,4603.36G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$15,50054,2413.26G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$17,00027,4342.26G/ABlackFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$16,75031,8583.76G/AWhiteFactoryWest CoastRiverside
            10/23/18$18,30037,5704.56G/ASilverRegularSouthwestHouston
            10/23/18$18,30040,7664.26G/AWhiteFactorySouthwestDallas
            10/23/18$16,60046,0733.86G/ASilverFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$18,20033,5513.86G/AGrayFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$20,40026,9194.56G/AWhiteFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$17,60031,3693.76G/ABlackFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$18,40036,3974.36G/AWhiteFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$18,00035,4893.76G/AGrayFactorySoutheastOrlando
            10/23/18$19,20031,8514.06G/ABlueFactorySoutheastGeorgia
            10/22/18$19,50027,0743.26G/ASilverFactoryWest CoastRiverside

            MY15 Infiniti Q50 AWD Prem

            10/24/18$18,80043,2854.26G/ABlackFactorySoutheastNashville
            10/24/18$19,60035,6674.56G/AWhiteRegularSouthwestDallas
            10/24/18$19,40029,6184.36G/AGrayFactoryMidwestMinneapolis
            10/24/18$23,9009,5724.56G/ABlueFactoryMidwestMinneapolis
            10/24/18$21,60033,1304.66G/AWhiteFactoryMidwestMinneapolis
            10/24/18$21,00031,0314.66G/AWhiteFactoryMidwestMinneapolis
            10/24/18$15,50058,0803.76G/ABlackFactoryMidwestMinneapolis
            10/24/18$20,40024,2894.46G/ABlackFactoryMidwestMinneapolis
            10/24/18$19,40045,5093.56G/AWhiteFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$18,20034,3903.66G/ABlackFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$17,90050,5523.86G/AWhiteFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$20,20037,1104.36G/AGrayFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$20,20041,2804.36G/AGrayLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$19,20027,1333.16G/ABlackFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$21,40022,2624.26G/AWhiteFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$19,80015,8043.16G/AGrayFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$16,90042,6002.66G/AGrayFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$16,600*24,6011.46G/AGrayFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$21,80020,8773.66G/ABlackFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$17,00055,3753.26G/AGrayFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$17,60036,0463.36G/ABlackFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$19,80024,5403.66G/AWhiteFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$21,40021,8084.06G/ABlackFactoryNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$22,40026,2234.36G/ABlackFactoryNortheastNew Jersey

            MY15 Audi A3 Prem

            10/24/18$16,00021,9642.74GT/AWhiteLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$13,50079,419- -4GT/ABlackRegularMidwestIndianapolis
            10/24/18$13,50048,143- -4GT/ARedRegularNortheastNew Jersey
            10/24/18$13,40032,0031.34GT/ASilverLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/23/18$15,00033,4044.34GT/ABlackLeaseNortheastBaltimore-Washington
            10/22/18$18,500*41,804- -4CY/AWhiteRegularSoutheastStatesville
            10/22/18$17,80035,436- -4GT/ABlackRegularNortheastNew Jersey
            10/22/18$12,30047,5941.94GT/ABlackLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/22/18$15,70051,1974.64GT/ABlackLeaseNortheastPennsylvania
            10/22/18$12,400*35,4131.34GT/ARedLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/22/18$15,00026,1952.24GT/AGrayLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/19/18$14,60045,9852.94GT/AWhiteLeaseNortheastPennsylvania
            10/18/18$14,50026,4712.44GT/ABlackLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$19,5005,1184.44GT/AGrayLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$15,00049,9794.24GT/AWhiteLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$15,25037,4574.64GT/AGrayLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$13,25033,5402.14GT/ARedLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$16,25017,4244.04GT/AGrayLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$16,50013,3782.84GT/ABlueLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/18/18$14,00027,4472.64GT/ABlackLeaseWest CoastRiverside
            10/17/18$14,90052,6954.04GT/AWhiteLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/17/18$15,80050,2454.34GT/AWhiteRegularWest CoastSan Francisco Bay
            10/17/18$14,80031,5422.34GT/ABlackLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/17/18$12,60064,5152.34GT/AGrayLeaseNortheastNew Jersey
            10/17/18$11,40085,1092.64GT/ABlackLeaseNortheastNew Jersey

          • 0 avatar
            make_light

            I’m 30 and bought a CPO 15 A4 earlier this year. So far so good, knock on wood, but what I was not prepared for was how much higher my insurance would be. Nearly doubled compared to my prior 2015 Subaru, it was awful.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I am experiencing insurance sticker shock as well. I was told due to hurricanes, its **** ya’ll you pay.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Thanks, 28. Is the A3 pricing for the AWD or the FWD? The FWD model ain’t worth it.

            Is there a reason why Infinitis drop like a rock in value? The ones I’ve seen seem damn solid and they appear to have decent reliability ratings. I saw a ’17 M37 (RWD, admittedly) for mid-20s. DAMN nice car for the money.

            (FYI, the Q50 was new in MY 14 and had infotainment issues, which got fixed in ’15.)

            Any other interesting tips for good bargain used luxury vehicles? Lexus GS seems to be a good deal around here @ mid-20s.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Freed I don’t think there’s any horrible gotchas with the Infinitis, I think they just lack the brand cache of the Germans and Lexus in the minds of many consumers. Having said that, I’d say an AWD pre-predator GS350 is worth a look, and a ’15-’16 Hyundai Genesis sedan (G80 before Genesis became a standalone brand). Those are the two that catch my eye these days anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            What elevation are you at? I know you’re in Colorado so if you’re @6000ft (or more) those naturally-aspirated V6s are going to get choked more than something with forced-induction.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            I don’t think it gave me an option for Audi 2wd.

            I’m not sure why Infiniti does what it does but it seems like its an opportunity. For similar money I would go Lex GS over Infiniti Q50 all day long and twice on Sunday.

            The ultimate in depreciation vs value is the Lex LS460. It is the only Lexus to depreciate as much as it does so quickly and delivers the most value for the money IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @ajla:

            Here in Denver (+/- 5200 feet), you don’t notice much of a difference. I don’t do a lot of mountain driving, but the 3.7 V-6 should do fine up there, I’d think.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Meth.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    I personally like the Mirage pictured. It is available with 3 pedals and fits the appliance needs of 90% of the population.
    It is also very fuel efficient and could be had in a brave anti-theft pink metallic.
    The icing on the cake is that it made the unique-to-North-America tire size on my Insight1 (165/65-14) mainstream so now there is a bigger choice in tires.

    • 0 avatar
      DedBull

      I haven’t driven a Mirage, but any time they talk about it they complain about the undersized and under powered engine. I don’t know why Mitsubishi didn’t just drop the 2L 4B11 out of the Outlander Sport into it and call it a day. The engine is old tech,solidly reliable, and would be a powerhouse in the small Mirage.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The compliments in your first paragraph apply to a whole slew of cars that are far better than the Mirage. Maybe not all can be had in pink, but I don’t think theft of a Mirage is likely an issue anyway, unless the jacker just needs a ride somewhere and its the only car in the parking lot.

  • avatar

    Add Lightness, you will probably be ripped apart in this forum like a zebra in a lion enclosure for that comment about the Mirage.

    But I agree with you. I like the Mirage too. It’s simple, durable, comfortable, and still has enough modern tech to make it contemporary.

    For those who clamour for simple cars, like in the good ol’ days, this is your car.

    I’m a millennial, as is my husband, and he really wanted a Mirage when it came time to buy a car for him this year. He settled on a Chevy Spark due to availability. But both cars offered what many millennials wanted; low price that doesn’t eat into a limited budget, good fuel economy to save money and the environment, a long warranty on the Mitsu for peace of mind, Apple Car Play on both, and easy to park in the congested city we live in.

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      I didn’t say I would buy one as to paraphrase Charleton ‘pry my Insight1 out of my cold dead hands’ or something like that.

      There are way too many great SIMPLE 7yo $1,500 cars out there to eat new depreciation. I already have too many halfshafts in my life to acquire 4 at a time so that takes half the vehicles out of consideration.

  • avatar
    ernest

    I’m certainly not a Millennial (63) but my kids are. Apparently they didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to be living in an urban area and suffering with low paying jobs. Son lives up on the San Juan Islands (Washington State), just bought a new Powerstroke this spring. His s/o drives the “girl truck” (her words)- a Chevy Silverado Crew Cab. They have a nice home, good jobs, and live in a sparsely populated but stunning part of the world.

    My daughter works for .gov as an Engineer. She’s a Department Head, and makes more than my wife and I- combined (She’s 26, fer crissakes). She rocks a Charger R/T when she isn’t in her “company” (GSA) pickup out in the field. Her husband is a Fed LEO, and he runs a Golf tdi, with a Ram 1500 and my Bronco at home most of the time. They live in a mid-size community in the Valley- nowhere close to the Portland Metro Area. This also made owning a duplex relatively affordable, instead of renting in the insanely expensive PDX market.

    I pointed this out because, like with many other things, it’s dangerous to paint with too broad a brush. Neither of my kids is interested in running an older “do me” car, unless it’s a project and not being used as a daily driver. Good jobs require reliable transportation- not excuses.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Well for some kids , it is pretty simple, the get the folks older but still in good shape car, the [parents get a new or CPO car. My daughter finished collage and he volvo got totaled, she could have leased a car but it did not make sense to rent a car long term and pay high ins,( metro NY) we offered her my wife 05 pilot, w 110k owned since new, she did not want a SUV, so she took the ins money and bought a older saab wagon, she is planning on grad school in a year, the pilot will go to my son when he gets his DL next year and the wife will get a CPO Infinity, A4 or a Volvo something. My daughter said she would rather spend her money on a apt than a car payment, she came out of collage w no debt and wants to keep it that way. Most of her friends who finished collage got their folks car and they folks bought/leased something new.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    Interesting discussion… I’m squarely on the Boomer/Gen-X fence. I didn’t buy my first new car til I was in my mid 30s. I always drove beaters… out of necessity. Not being particularly flush with cash, I HAD to take care of my car… or else. I put myself through school, got my engineering degree, only to enter a crappy, low-paying job market. I worked 2 or 3 jobs during summers, & usually part time during the school year. After graduation, I still had student loans to repay… which I did. I was late 30s when I bought my first house. My parents did not assist with either college or buying a home.

    Things are different today. People seem to be making careers out of entry-level jobs I worked in high school/college. I know… it’s a tough job market… but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Rising housing costs don’t help. Thinking back… in the mid 80s, I was making $180 a week (before taxes)… and paying $350/month for my apartment… paying all my own expenses… driving 80 miles (each way) to class (part time night school), and working odd jobs on the weekends for some extra cash. It wasn’t fun, but I did it… no choice. I drove a ’78 Pontiac Grand LeMans with 200,000 miles on it. I was nearly 30 before I ever had a new set of tires on my car (usually bought used @ $10-$20 each).

    It seems that everyone assumes that if you focus on academics, you’ll get a great job after graduation & be set for life. That may or may not happen. Most of the guys I work with who have kids pushed their academics… they graduate from college having never had a job before, and very little responsibility. I think that can be a bit of a handicap. But I digress…

    But anyways, when have 20-somethings EVER bought new cars in droves?

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    If you’re unlucky enough to be paying your own expenses instead of inheriting your parents’ car, and you’re not down with the wrenching, and you live somewhere gas isn’t dirt-cheap, then I think the bargain lease on the last model year of a generation of an unloved economy car is the way to go. There were insane deals on the last-gen Chevy Cruze and last-gen VW Jetta. Three blissful, reliable, economical, fully-warranteed years of affordable motoring pleasure, and no commitment beyond that.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      Last night, Ford ad. Zero down, 36 mo, 10K/yr lease

      Fusion- $219/mo
      Escape SE AWD $299/mo.

      Ad made no mention of “highly qualified,” but did mention the recent college grad program for credit approval and an additional discount.

  • avatar
    watersketch

    There is so much flexibility in the rental market i can see why many milennials dont want to own. Locally i can get an Enterprise weekend rental for $45 Fri – Mon. I can do Zipcar or Maven to get a car for a few hours. Then there are those peer to peer rental websites as well.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • ptschett: ‘Minnesota’ might be the problem there. When I was growing up in South Dakota the conventional...
  • NormSV650: Acura delays the Honda turbocharged announcment until another auto show.
  • forward_look: Power supplied by the highway?? We can’t even have long-range electric trains in ‘Murica.
  • forward_look: So buy a used Leaf. Cheap.
  • Felix Hoenikker: Given the absurd bed height of full sized pickups, any feasible gadget to lower cargo should be...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States