So, the car search is tentatively on.
Here’s what we want. It will be a four-door, at least 1500cc and we’re looking to spend up to about $5k. Maybe a little more. Preferably a Toyota (Corolla, Corona). Toyotas, well, go forever.
I suppose we might be willing to entertain the thought of another Mazda (or equivalent Ford), possibly a Nissan. We’re staying away from Hondas, Hyundais, and anything European. (I know you Yanks all seem to have a thing for Hondas, but the Dog and Lemon guide disagrees. As do I; I have observed a sharp decline in the number of old Hondas I’ve seen on the roads in the last couple of years, and that’s probably for a good – or bad, rather – reason).
Reliability is key. Safety, not to much. In fact, Dog and Lemon deemed our current car reliable but an accident risk, simply because it was “small and light” nor did it have airbags. Which is sweet with me; the odds of being in a serious accident concern me far less than the likelihood of a breakdown.
When it comes to narrowing the field, we’ll be looking at:
Mileage. Obviously, the fewer the better; around 100,000km would probably be about right. Even less would be ideal. This also means we have to be hyper careful and ensure the cambelt has been changed.
Age. The newer the better. In this price range, mid to late 90s would be realistic, bordering on hopeful. Seeing as Toyotas and Mazdas are such longlifers, they’re valued accordingly.
Engine capacity. We don’t want anything below a 1.5l, and if we end up getting a wagon, 2l would be better. No 1.3l Corsas for us!
Consider ease of procuring replacement parts. Ideally, a fairly common model so we can continue to visit Pickapart when things break.
This probably goes without saying, but it needs to be a petrol car. No diesel versions for us; road taxes suck, as do emissions, and repairs should things go south.
We’ll probably go for a private sale again, but this time we might consider dealers or auctions.
What factors do you consider when car shopping?