What car would you get for under 20k?

Analyst 1 in Consulting

Title says it all, currently need one for work and am looking at a number of different options. Going to buy used and up front (no leasing lol). I'm a big fan of Audi, and am looking at 2014-2016 A4s and A6s. I know German cars = expensive repairs in the states, but its not necessarily a deal breaker. Need something that can survive all four seasons, and ideally is 4WD.

Comments (31)

Jan 10, 2020

If you don't have money (hence buying a car for under 20k) get a Honda Accord.

The thousands you'll save on maintenance and repairs can be put towards a S4 or something when you're more financially secure.

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jan 10, 2020

What about a Toyota Corolla or Camry?

Jan 10, 2020

Corolla is way too small. Camry would be fine.

Jan 10, 2020

I've had my Corolla since 2013 and zero problems. Granted I've only driven it 35k miles

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Jan 10, 2020

This was my first thought. I was actually 99% sold on this. Maybe im just being irrational now, but the idea of spending only a couple thousand more for an Audi is so enticing. However, I think you are describing the most rational decision, as the additional thousands in maintenance costs will get old quick.

Jan 10, 2020

a 2012 - 2014 Audi is definitely within the 20k budget. German cars are usually expensive and as you've said, repairing could be an extra cost that is significant. A friend of mine had a BMW 325i for only 11K but he spent at least 7-9K on repairing different parts.

Japanese cars not less fancy, but Mazda could be a good option if you like BMW --- this doesn't seem to make sense but it is trust me.

Jan 10, 2020

As someone who has driven Mercedes and Porsche, I now drive a Honda Accord and its quite honestly the best auto decision I have made. The '14-'18 model have all the bells and whistles you need, it looks sleek, andthe engines are configured so not every electrical issue results in having to fork over $1-2k to pull the engine out (a common theme when I had a Mercedes and with my Audi/BMW buddies). The cabin has an insane amount of legroom front and back.

Best part about it is (unless I am driving like a fkhead) the car stays out of the shop. You can abuse this thing, never change your fluids besides oil, and it will drive just as smoothly at 75k miles as it did at 35k miles. In the worst case scenario, you can buy and replace the engine for sub-1k if you have a good mechanic with connections out east.

Coming from a '14 owner who bought his at 30k miles for $14.5k (after tax in Cali, mind you). I do not miss going to the mechanic every 2-3 months and dropping a couple grand.

*Edit: Didn't see the 4WD request in OP, I believe some of the packages have this option, mine doesn't but I have stress tested this car escaping a blizzard in the Rocky Mountain before.

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  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Jan 10, 2020

This is really REALLY helpful, and has sealed the deal on my decision. Thank you for this. What specific version would you recommend? As I mentioned above, this was the rational decision I almost made a month ago, then I started fantasizing about getting something thats a little more fun and stylish, but totally impractical.

Jan 10, 2020

Sport or EX-L. The former has an upgraded black cloth and black interior (not sure on the newest models) and the EX-L has leather options and both have sportier tires (but replacements aren't particularly expensive)

The models changed in '16 and '19 I believe. My general rule of thumb is to never get a car that is the 1st year of the new model in case if there are major bugs that weren't fixed until the following manufacturing cycle. Your safest bet would probably be '14-'15 (looks a little more outdated on the lights nowadays), or the '17 (lights are more stylish and the back end looks sleeker without the whole fullblown '18'-'19 "Tesla-look).

My only complaint about my '14 sport is that a year or two ago, someone tried to break in and ended up messing up my autolocking mechanism ( one of the back doors will not autolock while driving or from the driver control). Its a minor issue but a slight annoyance, because if a friend leaves that door unlocked, my car will keep trying to autolock. I am too lazy to fix it but the beautiful thing is that I know I can fix it myself if I wanted to avoid the shop, since the parts are easy to acquire.

Always try to negotiate the price, especially if dealing with a dealer-resale. Avoid actual honda dealerships when negotiating because they always try to sneak shit into the contract.

Can't speak for the hybrid versions of these cars, but my '14 gets about 26mpg street/traffic and can regularly hit 37-38+ mpg when on freeways (assuming its not through a really hilly area). I assume if it has a v6, these drop somewhat.

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Jan 10, 2020

Get a fucking gently-used mid-2010s certified pre-owned Volvo V60 or XC60 with the unlimited mile warranty financed in bud
Buy one out in the suburbs and make sure it was owned by some nice Jewish lady.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

Jan 10, 2020

Look at the 16 Acura TLX. Tech isnt quite there but the drive is super smooth and luxury. Car is reliable as hell and really nice overall. Plus the maint is affordable. Im sure the newer the model, the better the tech of course.

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Jan 10, 2020

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  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Jan 10, 2020

Haha fuck me all three options are tempting. Cant do nearly 80k miles already tho, even for a sweet ride

Jan 10, 2020

What do you need the car for specifically for work? Will you be transporting clients in the car or generally just meeting with people? How important is impression?

If commuting, the honda accord is a good option and looks fine. It doesn't fit my personal needs but the newer models look really good on the road.

If you are looking for the most affordable luxury that still carries an impression it is difficult to beat the Lexus LS line in my opinion. The interior is great and maintenance costs are basically the same as driving a toyota. In 2012 they changed the front end style a bit, if you can get a 2012 or newer they really don't look all that different from the newer models, especially in black. Unlike most luxury cars these are safe well over 100k miles as long as routine maintenance is kept up. If snow is a concern, just get the AWD model. There is an opening in the back seat that allows you to throw skis in the trunk and as long as the tires are decent I prefer driving it in the snow over even a 4WD truck. It has a lift that raises the car a couple of inches for snow driving, I've never had any trouble and have driven in up to 6 inches of snow.

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  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Jan 10, 2020

@JVRE Thank you for the insight. I should specify that I will not be driving clients around. I work for a regional consulting firm, so the car is needed to reach various client sites. Love the Honda Accord, and pretty confident I will go that route. Based on my research, the only LS's under 20k are 2010 and earlier, which is too old for me. Any other comparable models you would recommend?

Jan 10, 2020

With that in mind the LS is pretty bad on mpg so it likely wouldn't be worth it for your needs.

The IS or the GS might be worth looking into. I would research the AWD capabilities as I haven't personally driven either. The accord may be your best option.

Jan 10, 2020

why not get a slightly used Rav4 or Ford Escape?

Jan 15, 2020

2018-2020 corolla new or used.

I tried.
Jan 15, 2020

BMW 430i

Jan 15, 2020

Nissan Altima, I've had mine since 2014 it's a great model and haven't had any problems with it.

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Jan 15, 2020

Go ham and get a mid-00s WRX STI

Jan 15, 2020

Infiniti G37/Q50 with the 3.7. I've driven just about any car worth a shit between 10-20k and G is a balance of performance, space, sound, and luxury. I've owned one for 4 years and have never had to take it into dealership for service, as the only things I've needed to do is tire rotation/fluid changes

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Jan 15, 2020

Maint. Costs will be lower than any BMW or Merc (Merc has annoying wood grain creak anyways, stay away). Will gap any sedan or 4 seat coupe from japan except STI (you arent a child, are you) or an accord v6 coupe (honestly another good buy). Wouldnt look at anything domestic, they're all shit

  • Analyst 1 in Consulting
Jan 15, 2020

This is awesome advice, looking into the G37 right now. thanks for the heads up

Jan 15, 2020

I'd stay away from used Audi's...made that mistake myself.

The move is to buy a car coming off a two year lease from one owner (in my opinion) with relatively low mileage. A car depreciates the most in the first 2-3 years, so you can find some great value/reliability there.

I've been driving a Lexus and have had zero problems with it. Japanese reliability is tough to match. Just my 2 cents

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Jan 15, 2020
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Jan 16, 2020
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