Is better to buy a higher mileage Gen 3 for ~12-13k or a lower mileage Gen 3 for ~16k+?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by i<3theventurafwy, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. i<3theventurafwy

    i<3theventurafwy New Member

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    I'm actually not in California anymore, but I don't really get the sense that car prices are appreciably cheaper where I moved (you get one guess!). It's essentially the best I can find from a dealership that I don't feel squeamish about. I don't think I can talk them down, sadly, because they are no haggle, but I'd try it if I got more serious about the car.

    So it's a defensible purchase if not a great deal? At some point, given the car I am replacing with this, it's hard to justify holding out for $1000 dollars.

    To both of you, or anyone else: one thing that is helping me feel comfortable about this is the realization that Prius' maintain their value very well. I was concerned about dropping 13k on this car when potentially ten years from now there will be an affordable EV/much more hybridy hybrids (i.e. the Prime matures)/much more widespread safety technology, but then I looked at 2004 Prius' and saw that they were still going for 4-6k depending on usage and treatment. Is it reasonable to assume that this 2013 would be valued at that in 8-10 years? Much more palatable, like I said, knowing that I'd really only be sinking 8-9k in the long run.
     
  2. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Active Member

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  3. Moving Right Along

    Moving Right Along Active Member

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    If safety technology is a high enough concern for you, every 2017 model year Toyota comes with Safety Sense (lane departure alert, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, collision avoidance). The decision would be whether it's worth it to pay considerably more for a new or slightly used 2017 model in comparison to a model that's a few years old and would be much less expensive.

    It's very difficult to predict with any certainty what any car would be worth several years in the future. The Prius definitely has a slower depreciation curve than most, but it's hard to determine the car market in 8-10 years, because electric drivetrains and automated driving technology may have a significant effect in that time.
     
  4. i<3theventurafwy

    i<3theventurafwy New Member

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    The cheapest Gen IV I can find in my area is roughly 20k, and if I'm paying in that price range, I might as well get a new 2017.

    As a highly satisfied owner of a 2017 Two, I am well aware of this, but sadly, I don't think I can justify spending another 21-22k right now. If I could afford one easily, this thread would not exist. :(

    Thank you for the input on the depreciation; I did not consider the effect those technologies proliferating might have on the future resale value of older hybrid vehicles. I'll definitely keep it in mind.
     
  5. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Active Member

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    I’ve never bought a car locally, if I did I could have any minivan or pickup I wanted.

    Last year 2016’s could be had for as little as 12k in February, wait and watch and be willing to travel and you can like do better regardless of which Prius you buy
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Lapsed Cargo Cultist

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    Used car condition is a lot more than raw mileage: test drive, and thorough check-over is mandatory, and a talk with the current owner (if possible). You can have a trashed low-mileage car, flood damage, neglected oil changes, unreported and/or poorly repaired collsions.

    One car might be garage stored, regularly washed and waxed, babied. Another, with similar or lower miles, spent it's life sitting in the street, baking/freezing.

    Then there's owners that "know better" what the car needs, maybe threw in alternate transaxle fluid for example.
     
  7. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    I have never had a problem with a high mileage vehicle.

    Last year sold my 2008 Prius with 190K on it (bought at 145K).
    Then over summer sold my 2007 Prius with 210K on it (bought at 201K).

    Then just recently bought a 2012 Plug In with 221K miles on it!

    Based on my experience it is safe to assume you probably won't have any mechanical issues for a long time with either of your options. So I would figure out what you want to spend. $12,000 or $16K+ and go from there.
     
  8. i<3theventurafwy

    i<3theventurafwy New Member

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    How far beyond your "local" area do you look, in terms of driving hours?

    This is a good point, and it's frustrating that it's hard to ascertain that sort of information. In this case, the car I am looking at is at a dealer, so I don't know if it is possible to contact the owner that traded it in. I'd like to (for another reason as well), but I don't think I can count on it.

    Is there anything I should be looking for in particular on the test drive? I was already planning on taking any candidate to a mechanic if I was serious about it.

    This is nice to know. Thank you.
     
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Lapsed Cargo Cultist

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    Lots of things, not the least of which: your "spidey sense". I recall looking over a car with my son when he was shopping, and noticing there was a lot of rust on the seat hold-down bolts. Just little things sometimes, you have to play detective. A few ideas, just exterior inspection, before the test drive:

    1. Check the tires, condition: do they match, how does the tread look, the wheel well condition. How are the rims, particularly the edges, particularly on the curb side. A bit of road rash is inevitable, but has it been touched up, or left to oxidize?
    2. Look underneath, anything hanging, the front is particularly vulnerable. A bit of scraping is ok.
    3. Pop the hood, and just for giggles check the oil dipstick, what's it showing: near the top, low, clean, filthy?
    4. What's the condition of the engine bay? Are there a lot of leafs around the wiper cowl (possible neglect). Spills, spray? OTOH, does it look like someone recently steam cleaned it within an inch of it's life? Trust your instincts here.
    5. Examine the headlights: are the resin shells starting to frost over, sign of a car that's sat in the sun a lot of it's life. Go around all the corners, check all the lights, signals, license plate and so on.
    6. Pop the hatch, take out the floor, check the spare, the tool tray, condition appearance. Look the 12 volt battery over. If you've got a tester, something like a Solar BA5, or at the least a multi-meter, see what the battery reads.
    7. Look the paint over carefully, check in the corners/trim for overspray. A car that's been in an accident and been carefully/professionally repaired is NOT a deal breaker. As long as the seller has disclosed it.
    8. Check for unaddressed chips/dings in the paint. If there are some, even when someone's trying to show the car in it's best light, not a good sign.
     
    #29 Mendel Leisk, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  10. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    You can enter the VIN into the Toyota Owners site to see all dealer maintenance performed. Some people use CarFax too.
     
  11. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I'm a big fan of higher mileage cars with many replaced mechanical parts. Price is cheaper and most repairs done
     
  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Lapsed Cargo Cultist

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    If you do that with ours, you'll come to the conclusion it's a piece of clanking junk...
     
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  13. i<3theventurafwy

    i<3theventurafwy New Member

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    I'm going to check out the car today and see how it is. Thanks for the guidance about what to look for.

    This requires a login?
     
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  14. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Free to get an account.
     
  15. i<3theventurafwy

    i<3theventurafwy New Member

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    I test drove the 2013 Two mentioned earlier in the thread and disliked it coming from a Generation IV for numerous reasons:

    A. The drive quality felt worse, in every facet. This is understandable considering it is an older car, but put it on thinner ice relative to other issues.

    B. The controls and displays were busy everywhere. I saw a picture of the interior before I test drove and although I noticed there was a lot, I thought I could tolerate it. That was incorrect. Between the amount of buttons on the center panel, the small primary display screen, the information overload on the speed display panel, and the drastic visual quality disparity between those two, it was unpleasant and off putting.

    C. The center panel was extremely confining and lacked any semblance of at hand level storage. I felt more trapped than I would have wanted for a car and thought it would very irritating to not be able to keep things accessible.

    With that I mind, I started seriously reconsidering Gen II models again and managed to find a 2009 that is a very good candidate. It drove smoothly on the test drive (I managed mid 50s MPG in mixed city/freeway) and felt, if anything, lighter and closer to the Gen IV experience than the newer car. It also has a package that includes both a backup camera and VSC, so it satisfies the safety requirements I was looking for from a car of this price level. (It also has a navigation system, which is nice, but definitely not necessary lol.) I am going to check it out again soon and take it to a mechanic for an inspection, but in the meantime, I had a few questions that I thought it might be nice to have answered. To wit:

    1. The car has roughly 100k miles and is roughly $9000. My intuition said that this was a good price given the mileage, year, and options - is that correct? This place may allow for some haggling, but I don't want to waste the time or energy if it's not worth it. (I'll check KBB and Edmunds too, don't worry, but it's always nice to have more information.)

    2. The second owner bought the car in my state and registered it there, but all the intervening service records indicate that they used the car in a different state, including an emissions inspection, before returning to my state to trade it in. This seemed a little odd on the surface - is there any explanation for this that would make sense/is it something to worry about?

    Thanks again for all the help everyone here has provided through this process. It has made it much easier, and I genuinely appreciate it.
     
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  16. tennis5

    tennis5 Junior Member

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    I am not afraid of miles on a Prius as long as you can tell it has been taken care of. You can try calling the local dealer the car was serviced at and getting the service records...my local dealer would not give me a printout but told me the records over the phone on my first Prius...Carfax also a good source. Also take it to a mechanic...well worth the $100 they charge. I bought a 2004 with 97k miles on it in 2011 for $7k...today it has 240k on it and I've put one set of brake pads, 1 standard battery, 2 sets of tires, oil changes, and one water pump (about $200 repair). Hybrid battery still going strong. Last week I purchased a 2012 with 110k on it for $7200 and expect similar results (fingers crossed). Pricing on vehicles is obviously less here in Atlanta...but so is everything else. But as long as mechanic says the car has been taken care of, I wouldn't let miles scare me.
     
  17. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    Before purchasing I would double check with Toyota's HQ that the car qualifies for a CARB warranty on the traction battery. With 100k miles, you'll want the extra 1.5-2 years for the warranty.
     
  18. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    You can enter the VIN on the Toyota owners site to get the dealer service history.
     
  19. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    I would say that is about $3000 too high. I don't think I've ever seen a gen 2 prius for close to 10k. Where do you see the resale value at a few years from now when it's got 150-160k? I think you're looking at a car that is only going to be worth $3500 in 2-3 years and 9k is too high.
     
    #39 MilkyWay, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  20. Moving Right Along

    Moving Right Along Active Member

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    Depending on condition and extras, $9000 can be a fair price for a 2009 Prius with 100,000 miles. Mine was advertised at $8000 when I bought it last year with 105,000 miles and I ended up paying $7600 (plus taxes and fees, so $8233 out the door). Mine also has backup camera and stability control, but no navigation.

    The best (good) explanation I can imagine for someone buying and returning the car to your state but using it somewhere else is if the dealer has better prices or a better reputation and is close to the state border.
     
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