My New (Used) Car: An FAQ
- Dear God, what is that *thing*?
It’s a 2001 Toyota Prius.
- And you bought it?
The reasons are as plentiful as they are interesting. Or maybe not. Depends on your definitions of terms. For one thing, I didn’t want to be driving my big ol’ pickup around in Pittsburgh — it’s expensive to operate and too big to fit on city streets.
- So you’re selling your truck?
Not sure yet.
- So why a Prius?
It was a good deal and it’s fuel-efficient.
- How much?
- But — a Prius?
I was looking for an econobox. My first choice would have been something like a Honda Fit or Scion xA, neither of which are ego-enhancing, but both of which are fuel-efficient and small enough to fit in Pittsburgh and more fun to drive than a Prius. However, thanks to (I’m guessing) the current economy and (I’m also guessing) Dear Leader’s societal engineering projects (read: Cash for Clunkers), the prices on used cars, small ones in particular, are insane.
- Saying small car prices are insane is racist.
- Like — how insane?
Like ElEff bought a 2008 salvage title Fit two years ago for $8K. Today, a 2008 salvage title Fit will cost you $9,000+ — unless you want one that actually runs right, in which case add another thousand or just buy non-salvage for $11K. Similar story for the entire category — Scion xA’s, Civics, Mazda3s, Matrixes (Matrices?), et al.
- So why didn’t you just sell your truck and buy something more expensive then?
Because I wasn’t going to buy a salvage Fit for $9K. And then because if I’m going to spend $10K+ for a car, it should be a car I kind of want and would enjoy driving, not one I’m buying for the sake of being pragmatic for a while. Nothing that’s any fun to drive and that’s under 80K miles and eight years old costs less than $17K right now. And I’m not in a position to spend $17K on a car. All hail reality.
- So does this make you some sort of environmentalist now then?
It’s just a car.
So I’m not necessarily *excited* about the car, but then again, it’s not a car I bought for the sake of excitement. It’ll definitely get good mileage. I bought it from a known source that I know isn’t trying to scam me. It was cheap enough that if it spontaneously combusts RIGHT NOW, I’ll recover financially. It’s not pure driving excitement, but OTOH it handles and responds better than the second-gen Prius I drove from Phoenix back to OC, so — you know.
ElEff called this car the vehicular equivalent of the house I’m (hopefully) buying in Pittsburgh. Sounds about right. At least I’m enjoying a new level of consistency.