$20k to spend on car , what to get ?

Microsoft TpzS10
Apr 28 53 Comments

Family of 3 needs another car , this will be second car - mostly for
traveling between Kirkland and Seattle.

Other car is a 2009 Ford Escape with 120k miles , i service it often so works great. Don’t need 4WD

Only want to spend $20k, happy with older used model.

Concerns: safety, long term ware and tear, enough room for little kids (sports equipment), and big for tall people.
Also no sedans - im very tall and low to the ground gets me a bit motion sick.


Suggestions appreciated!

TC: $310k Seattle

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TOP 53 Comments
  • Microsoft FFSake
    Mazda 3 sedan
    Apr 284
    • Oracle / Engjom
      Honda is better in terms of maintenance cost?
      Apr 28
    • Microsoft FFSake
      Don’t know. I spend like 60-90 $ per maintenance in official dealership. Never had any breakdowns (which is expected for a car below 5 yo). Car price depreciates a lot though, so drive it till there is nothing left to sell
      Apr 28
    • Microsoft FFSake
      And don’t take hatch if you have kids who need stroller - won’t fit in there
      Apr 28
    • Adobe / EngKauaiSun1
      Totally agree. I have an almost-7-year-old Mazda 3 I purchased brand new in August 2012. Runs like a top. I maintain it meticulously and have had no issues. I have the SkyActiv engine, so it’s great for mileage.

      I’ve got 110,000 miles on mine - daily commute and we never take my husband’s car anywhere - and it still drives wonderfully. My mechanic said it takes at least 60K miles to break in a Honda or Toyota and the same is true for Mazda; they just don’t get as much love as both brands.

      Personally, I feel Mazda has more soul than Honda or Toyota when it comes to the driving experience.
      Apr 28
  • BluVector sparked
    Lightly used CX-5
    Apr 280
  • Google Locomoti
    VW GTI
    Apr 280
  • Northrop Grumman / Eng
    CzrI13

    Northrop GrummanEng

    BIO
    Recent graduate engineer
    CzrI13more
    I don't want to sound rude, but given your TC are cars just not something you personally like spending much on (which I totally understand) or is cost of living in Seattle just that high? I'm a naive East coaster and I'm genuinely curious.

    Also, Mazda CX-5 or late model Volvo XC60
    Apr 296
    • Amazon Redux
      Seattle is pretty humble when it comes to cars, especially compared to NYC/LA.

      The “outdoor” culture is really popular here, so Subaru’s are very popular in the PNW.
      Apr 29
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng
      CzrI13

      Northrop GrummanEng

      BIO
      Recent graduate engineer
      CzrI13more
      Oh cool, makes total sense. I got scared for a moment that 310k meant a very modest lifestyle out there cause to me that still seems like a ton of money.
      Apr 29
    • With 1 kid and potentially just the one income, 310k is a modest lifestyle and 20k/car for 2 cars is about the max you'd wisely spend unless you really like cars beyond the utilitarian purpose.
      Apr 29
    • Northrop Grumman / Eng
      CzrI13

      Northrop GrummanEng

      BIO
      Recent graduate engineer
      CzrI13more
      When we say wisely are you factoring saving 35+% of net income? Cause I feel like that's what that would allow assuming your home is modest. I'm also someone who sees cars as a hobby so it's a bit different, like you said
      Apr 29
    • Simply stated, traditional advice assumes 10% of your annual income = the out the door price of the car you can afford. At $310k, buying $31k of cars is what's affordable. 2x $20k cars is already stretching.
      Apr 29
    • Microsoft TpzS10
      OP
      Hey thanks for question - it’s definitely a trying to live modestly. Right now I’m making 310TC but I’m saving up to meet my retirement , 529 goals (college expected to cost 300k in 18 years) while also saving for my second home. I’m sticking to about 10% base salary for car (20k).
      Apr 30
  • Subaru Forester. Should be able to get one only a few years old, MSRP for base model new is $24k.
    Apr 285
    • Oracle / Engjom
      This is a good one and very spacious as well
      Apr 28
    • Microsoft TpzS10
      OP
      Thanks - what do you think about a slightly used outback (30k Miles) maybe 3 years old
      Apr 29
    • New / Engtsufublvud
      I have a 2017? Outback and very much enjoy it. Safe, drives more like a car than an SUV due to being lower and having a lower center of mass (due to the boxer engine), comes with nice features like backing camera, blind spot indicators, etc. Good size for things in front and back, and if you ever decide to take it offroad it can manage well enough or take it to Tahoe
      Apr 29
    • New eyhvu
      Important to buy Subaru with EyrSight for safety
      Apr 29
    • Ford UVyz23
      Unless you are a master at checking your oil every few days I could never recommend a boxer motor (whats found in subarus and porsches) I would honestly looking at an Explorer or an F150 you know you want a truck deep down this is America after all.
      May 1
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • Model 3 looks like a easily wreaked car
      Apr 28
    • Microsoft FFSake
      By all means Nissan Leaf is better
      Apr 28
    • Microsoft FFSake
      That safest car makes everything for you to avoid looking at the road and get into accident in a safest car there is. So yes, while it is sort of collision safe, interior design is ridiculous and makes you look away when performing routine tasks.
      Apr 28
    • I google a Tesla video and saw a self destruct feature that’s cool
      Apr 28
    • Tesla AutopiIot
      This is the only option
      Apr 29
  • Amazon Redux
    Be original and get a Subaru Crosstrek!
    Apr 281
    • New VreM84
      Not a bad advice if it has EyeSight.
      Apr 29
  • New QTdN03
    I like the cheap version of the Jeep Patriot. (Don’t recommend the variant with skid plates—it’s too heavy). It’s roomy, gets good mileage, and you can get it new for $20K.
    Apr 284
    • New QTdN03
      Forgot to mention 10 star safety rating.
      Apr 28
    • Adobe / EngKauaiSun1
      I’d stay away from Jeep. Quality has been going downhill for quite some time.
      Apr 28
    • New QTdN03
      Data, article, or anecdote? I’ve been pretty happy with my 2011, 2012, and 2015 Jeeps. I’m thinking about trading in my 2011 Patriot for a new, but I love it too much (and it’s paid off). I’ve never had issues, and I have abused these Jeeps (pulled more than maximum over mountain passes).
      Apr 29
    • Adobe / EngKauaiSun1
      All of the above - former owner, research, etc. Many friends and family members have had similar experiences (notably with the Patriot and Grand Cherokee; for me, it was an ‘06 Wrangler).
      Apr 29
  • Microsoft
    myan

    Microsoft

    BIO
    Sup, brah?
    myanmore
    CRV or CX5
    Apr 280
  • Credit Karma kqqo46
    Honda civic.... type-rrrrrrrrrr
    Apr 280
  • Palo Alto Networks _-_#
    Honda crv
    Apr 282
    • Looks like a boring family car
      Apr 28
    • Palo Alto Networks _-_#
      Yea. But $20k car
      Apr 28
  • Apple hakunanaMa
    Honda civic ex
    Mileage 45 if you are not harsh on acceleration provided you change oil diligently
    Apr 281
  • Agilent Technologies Jebb Fezos
    Pathfinder
    Apr 280
  • Prius or any hybrid with high mileage. Thank me later
    Apr 292
  • Airbnb Airbnb ‍
    Toyota Prius
    Apr 281
    • Ford UVyz23
      Accord and Camry are much better options and have a much higher coolness factor imo.
      May 1
  • Autodesk sodjdjekrm
    Used acura tsx/tlx
    Apr 290
  • Seagate toti420
    Tall huh, get a Camry with moonroof
    Apr 290
  • VMware / Engchigga
    CX-5 or Rav4
    Apr 290
  • Asks for non-sedans, gets 95% sedan suggestions... in your location, maybe a Subaru Forrester or the Mazda small suv
    Apr 290
  • Microsoft Tiffany&co
    A brand new camry SE could be close to 20-22k if you can find the right deal. It is one of the safest and reliable onesout there.
    Apr 280
  • Microsoft U_U
    Hyundai elantra
    Apr 280
  • GitHub 2legit2git
    Hyundai Santa Fe
    Apr 280
  • Google / Engshito
    My close friend is also considering. He is looking at Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. Not sure if it helps.
    Apr 280

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