A few days ago I parted with my 2006 Mustang in favor of a new 2012 Honda Civic.
Things change a little bit when a single-person one-car situation turns in to a married-couple two-car family.
When we got married, Shawna had a nice 2006 Chrysler 300 with 90,000 miles on it. And I had a 2006 Mustang with just over 80,000 miles. Both great cars. But as I was thinking about practicality and the future, I sort of figured that one really nice car is enough. Our other car should be more sensible and more economical.
While a smaller two-door car would be ok for us most of the time, we know there will be times when we need something larger with four doors. So the logical choice was to trade in my Mustang on an economy car. Then just keep the Chrysler 300 for those times when we need a four-door.
So I started thinking about trading in the Mustang on something more lower-end. I was initially leaning toward a Nissan Versa or a Toyota Yaris. But we decided to go a notch or two up with the Honda Civic. We found one online at a local dealer that was two years old and "certified pre-owned" with only 12,000 miles on it. A four-door Civic with an automatic.
We went to the dealer with a pretty solid plan for negotiating. We decided if they didn't meet our price requirements that we would just flat walk out. Turns out they had sold the car we wanted. So instead we started eyeing a brand new bright red two-door Civic with a 5-speed.
Oddly enough, the price of a two year-old used Civic was not very different at all from the price of a new one. After talking to a number of people about this, it seems to be true. The used car market is weird right now when you're looking for low-mileage cars.
Their asking price for the new car wasn't bad. But they initially made a pretty low offer for the trade-in allowance on the Mustang. However we knew exactly what it was worth. So we held firm and sent the sales person back to his boss about four times before they finally came back and gave us a good price.
While we said yes on the deal, we said no on virtually all the options and extras they wanted to sell us. There was an extended warranty, undercoating, clear bra, and a bunch of other things. We said no to everything except one. That was the theft protection where they etch a serial number into all the glass in the car so that it makes identification and recovery easier. Since Honda Civics are near the top of the list of cars being stolen these days, it made sense.
So far Shawna has been driving the new Civic to work each day since she has the longer commute. And we'll probably take the Honda on most longer trips like up to the Portland area. Should work out rather well and also prevent adding too many miles to the Chrysler 300.
P.S. The red car in the picture is the exact car we ended up with.