It's no Prius at the pump; bought 2009 Acura MDX as 2nd car

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by srellim234, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Now that we're settling in here in Laughlin, NV, we needed a second vehicle for taking visitors down to the Colorado River, the casinos, over Christmas Tree Pass, etc. Budget was $8,000 cash; we don't do car payments. The goal was a comfortable SUV, 4x4, under 125,000 miles, 25+ mpg., clean record with regards to accidents and service history.

    Couldn't find too much we could be comfortable with. Rav4s, CR-Vs, Foresters, etc. we could be comfortable with quickly fell by the wayside due to higher resale prices. We began compromising on our search parameters. In the process I spotted this 2009 Acura MDX at the dealer we bought both Prii from.

    2009 Acura MDX For Sale in Covina, CA - PREFERRED MOTOR CARS

    Well, it was love at first sight for my wife. When I pointed out the sub-20 mpg, need for premium gas, need to install a transmission fluid cooler out here, etc. she didn't care. Fortunately our long-time mechanic is not too far away from that dealer so off it went to get checked out. After a thorough inspection he gave it a totally positive review, including the transmission. So, we're now the owners of a really nice vehicle that gets about half the gas mileage of anything we've owned in the last 20 years and uses premium gas. Thank goodness we won't put many miles on it and we can take advantage of lower gas prices across the river in Arizona.

    I guess after 41 years of marriage I finally have my wife right where she wants me.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats!

    my partner owned a few of them, and they were very comfortable and rock solid.
     
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  3. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Congrats!

    Review, expected..... ;)
     
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  4. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    If and when I get a chance to drive it I will. Guess who's driving it right now from SoCal here to Laughlin? :whistle: Big hint. It's not me.
     
  5. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Congrats! Acura SUV for sub $8K is amazing. Yeah, it's hard to swallow sub 20 mpg mileage after driving Prius for many years. But if I saw something like that in our market I would have jumped on it too. We were in search of second car, either SUV or Minivan to replace our Sienna early this year. Thought about a new RAV4 hybrid, but could not pull the trigger on a new vehicle. Looked for used SUV with decent mileage (meaning hybrid), but Rav4 hybrid, Highlander hybrid, and Lexus hybrid were all priced way too high for our liking for the years and miles on them. I ended up picking up 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, even though it is not as fuel efficient as I wanted it to be. And yes, with my wife's approval. She loves it. That's all it matters in the end. Enjoy your new (but used) guzzler!
     
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  6. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Mother had a 2004 TL from new to over 100k miles. I believe it got regular gas most fills.

    Very few engines actually need the higher octane listed for them, and the majority that do are six figure supercars. There are benefits for using the higher octane, but unless the price increase for premium is small, cost per mile isn't one of them.
     
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  7. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    I've been reading things from a few different Acura dealer sites and they do point out that the premium is recommended but not mandatory. I figure I'll use the mid- or premium grade gas anyway. The fuel price difference is only $4-6 per tank and the car will be in the garage most of the time; only needing a fill every two to four weeks. At least that way I won't have any concerns over pre-ignition or knocking.
     
  8. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    I was very surprised we were able to get this one down to almost $7,000. The fact that we have been customers there multiple times before and have referred others to that dealership probably had a lot to do with the final price.

    The sub-20 mpg mileage would have been a deal breaker if we still lived in CA or elsewhere in NV. Out here gas is a full $1 per gallon cheaper just 7 miles away on the AZ side of the river, making the mpg bearable.
     
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  9. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Let the spending begin! I can't get her out of the Acura and back in the Prius. They went back to SoCal again this morning and my wife insisted on taking the MDX. She called this afternoon to tell me she doesn't care if it does cost around $60-70 more each trip she's going to take the SUV every time she makes the drive. :( She loved the comfort and performance that much. At least that means I get the Prius all day, every day. :)

    Fortunately we'll be saving a ton on our electric bill soon. The installers were here to put in a solar panel system on the house today. Now we just need the county inspector to come out next week to approve the work and NV Energy to come out in January to install a new meter before we can turn the system on. Once that's all done we should save an average of $200 a month on the electric bill. :D
     
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  10. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    That sounds familiar. My wife also loves to drive our newly acquired Pathfinder not PRIUS. Not only it is costing 2-3 times on gas, but it also costs more on a new set of winter tires and wheels, rustproofing, and oil change (every 5K), transmission fluid change (every 30K), and brake fluid change (every 20K). :( She still does take Prius for longer trips occasionally, but lately making more and more excuses to take the Pathfinder instead. Oh well, here goes my plan to install the solar panels on our roof. I have to rethink our budget before I can give the final go. Congratulations on your successful installation of PV.(y)
     
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  11. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Sounds like you need to make more trips;).

    We just did our annual SoCal trip and this time it was in the rx450h:).

    Got the big girl to 30.3 mpg for the entire trip(y).
     
  12. John321

    John321 Active Member

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    The MDX is a very nice, easy to see why your wife would prefer to travel in that vehicle!
     
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  13. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Knowing we were moving to a very hot section of the desert we really prioritized putting solar on the house. Since our budget allowed for a certain price for a home we limited ourselves to $30k below that so we could pay cash for the PV system. The leftover part of the $30k + some money we already had built up in our car fund paid for the Acura in cash. Our federal credits for the solar installation will go directly into the savings account since everything else is already paid for.

    I see you're in New England. Is solar really that cost effective where you're at? Out here we'll recoup the cost of the system in 7-8 years and it's warrantied for 25. I'm guessing your cost recovery time must be lengthier because of both the weather and the less intense sunlight further north.
     
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  14. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Just be aware in the hot desert lands that heat affects the solar production;).

    We have family in Cathedral City and they put solar in their house last year. They said they had to account for ~40% efficiency losses due to summer heat:cool:.

    While not cheap, they still did it and the electric bill is much less:).

    I know I can’t do the desert in the summer as I need more places to see other than the inside of buildings or a pool. Good luck in Laughlin(y).
     
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  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Maybe a tangible advantage of owning a Prius is that you can own a secondary vehicle that doesn't get great gas mileage, and if it is only a specialty vehicle for limited usage, still have pretty economical overall gas bills.

    But that does require the discipline of making sure the Prius remains the primary usage vehicle.


    I hope the enjoyment of the Acura MDX can have a durable shelf life against the reality of premium gas and rather poor gas mileage.

    Personal opinion, subjective, but one thing I like about the Acura MDX is even though a 2009 is approaching 10-11 model years old, I think the styling looks fresh. So it doesn't look dated or like a older vehicle. I think the body styling was ahead of it's time, and it's holding up well. Of course all this hinges on whether that matters to you or not.

    Enjoy.
     
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  16. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, our preliminary analyses showed our pay back time is much longer than yours. It was ~15 years. But that was before we tightened our electrical usage. We have upgraded many of inefficient appliances and made energy saving changes, so that our monthly electrical use is now ~30% less than the number analyses is based on. One thing is that our electricity rate is probably higher than yours at $0.19/kWh, making the free solar electricity more attractive than places where the cost of electricity is quite low. I wanted to take advantage of a full federal credit by installing PV this year, but I could not get everything ready in time. Hopefully next year while the credit is still reasonably high.
     
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  17. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    One step closer to solar. The county code inspector went over the installation and signed off on it this morning. Final payment was given as per the contract once the inspector signed off on it. We also signed off to have the power company replace our meter with a two-way meter. Once that's done in a couple of weeks we'll be able to turn the system on.

    We're really looking forward to drastically reduced electric bills when the temperature hits 115*F out here this summer.
     
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  18. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    Well, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when you buy a used car. With the transmission coolant line still routed through the radiator we've decided to replace the radiator before corrosion winds up mixing transmission fluid and coolant together. Add to that the fact that the catalytic converter just went out and needs to be replaced. $2,000 worth of repairs and preventative maintenance we didn't originally plan on. Hopefully this MDX lasts a long time without any other major bills cropping up.
     
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  19. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    I just realized I haven't updated things here for a bit.

    The Acura - Things have settled down a bit. I still can't get my wife out of it but it looks like all the maintenance, repairs and accessories have been done for the time being. Fortunately there are only two more trips to California on the books so the high cost of California gas will be out of the expense side soon. The car is currently at $2.03 per mile since purchase. For the last month it's only been $0.15 per mile so that two dollar figure should drop quickly. Even so, it will still never approach the Prius' low cost to operate.

    Solar - Things are great. We received our first monthly electric bill that covers the panels working for the entire period. We sent them more energy than we used. The total bill was only the $19.00 charge for having the house hooked up to the grid. We will have a little bit of energy banked to offset some of the the high cooling costs this summer. :)
     
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  20. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    The latest update on the solar panels. They are quietly performing beautifully. We've been running the air conditioning units with the thermostats at 80*F along with multiple ceiling fans on low settings. It's been quite comfortable because it is so warm outside. Yesterday was our first day over 100+*F. The heat wave is supposed to stay over 100*F through next Friday. After that the weatherman is pretty much saying we'll be at least 90-115*F through at least the beginning of September.

    We'll see where it goes but our last two electric bills were $13.00. This sure beats the hundreds of dollars it would be without those panels.
     
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