Dear DT: Beaterless In San Diego

Dear DT;

Inspired by an article in The Verge, I decided to get a Carvana quote for my 2013 Fit (base model, auto, low miles, no accidents, some fading paint). The offer came back at $13.5k, not too far off from the $15k that the car cost when new. Although I don’t really want to get rid of the car (it is a perfectly functional, if dull, vehicle), maybe now is the time to act, given this outrageous evaluation.

If I were to sell it, though, I’d need something reasonable to replace it with. Our needs have changed a bit since we bought the Fit, but here are some potential requirements.

  • I drive very little so fuel efficiency is really not a big deal
  • Must have a backseat for hauling two kids, but it doesn’t have to be huge – no more car seats!
  • AWD or 4WD would be awesome for the occasional trip to Big Bear
  • Airbags and ABS would be nice
  • No real preference on Manual vs Auto
  • The plan would be to hold onto this for ~5 years and 30k miles
  • It really can’t cost more than ~$8-9k – I’m not interested in this unless there is at least some financial windfall
  • Must be somewhere in SoCal


Beaterless in San Diego

Dear Beaterless in San Diego;

First, I want to congratulate you in your decision to jettison the prosaic mobile that has shackled you into the pallid life of arriving at your destination at time. And I say this next thing with zero pith or sarcasm or mirth– you never REALLY need to be anywhere at a given time. NEVER. You can be where you were before. It isn’t a big deal. Well..maybe if you are a fireman, you should be able to get to fires to extinguish them, but if you are a regular guy/gal that ISN’T in a life/death job, there is nothing that is so critical that you can’t skip it every once in a while. Work — easily once a month you can call in with car trouble. Kid’s activities — your kid didn’t want to go to ballet practice any more than you wanted to burn the 45 minutes between drop off and pickup by playing Angry Birds in your car. Church/Temple/Mosque/Buca-di-Beppo– God won’t curse you if you miss every once in a while, especially if you drive a classic Saab. Every-other-destination — Disneyland will still be there tomorrow. Okay, with that out of the way, this opens the door to any number of awesome automobiles that you could drive for less than $9k.

2012 Ford Flex? Yup, I dig chicks and dudes with basic tattoos and flat brim hats.

1961 VW Meyers Manx. Yes, my kids don’t mind wearing goggles on the way to school.

2014 Mini Cooper Clubman. Yes, I prefer handling to straight line speed.

2008 Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas. Yup, I’m a man and I’m not afraid of my mechanic.

2004 Toyota 4Runner V8: Yes, I like burning gasoline but I want reliability.

1990 Jeep Wrangler Chevy V8 Swap; I want a Jeep, but I want mohr power.

2007 Audi Q7; I’m not afraid of multi-thousand dollar Audi repair bills.

2005 Nissan Xterra 4WD: I love plastic bumpers.

2001 Ford F150 4X4 Supercrew: I might start a lawn care business if my boss keeps yelling.

1998 Jeep Cherokee: I know what a slip yolk eliminator is.

2004 Volvo V70R: How much can maintenance really cost on a 224k mile performance Volvo?

1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ: Herculiner is better than carpet.

Those are just a few suggestions, but I’m sure the DT commenters will be able to help more in the comments.