Looking to buy a small/tiny car

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Realgud, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    Hello there.

    I'm looking to buy a small car since I live in a condo with a narrow parking spot (in a garage) and I don't feel comfortable having even a medium-sized car in there.

    I would appreciate if someone could help me pick a car based on this. I've obviously already started looking around and even tried some cars. But I am still unsure about the reliability of each model. For example, I've fallen in love with the standard 3 door mini cooper of 2019 (after test driving it). This model is obviously more expensive than other models I've looked at like the Spark, Fiat 500, Micra, Mirage...

    I wonder if the price difference of a mini cooper is worth it? Is it that much more reliable that it would be worth having because I might not have that many trips to the garage even after a few years compared to the cheaper models? I am pretty young (27) but my salary is pretty good too. I don't have a child (and don't really plan to have one) and I have a wife. I just don't want to feel like I am spending way too much for a car in general. The monthly difference might be close to 200 CA$ so it is quite a major difference. I've read great and average reviews about the cooper. The safety ratings do seem pretty high, and they do matter to me, but I have no idea as to what I should realistically think about them.

    This is my first car so I don't have the experience on my side. Also, I'd like to buy the car (with financing) and ideally a new one and not second hand. But second hand might be worth it? I don't know, but the people around me have had bad experiences with second hand cars...

    Thank you!
     
  2. Unholy Diver

    Unholy Diver Registered User

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    I had a Fiat 500 for 6 years and enjoyed it quite a bit, it was a great little car around a city where parking can be tight. I had very few problems with it for the first 5 years then was involved in a rear end accident and it wasn't the same after. Repairs were kinda pricey as they are a bit more rare than the Chevys/Fords/Hondas/Toyotas of the world but I would imagine it would be the same with a mini
     
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  3. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    How much would you say you were spending on repairs/maintenance per year after 5 years on your fiat?
     
  4. Unholy Diver

    Unholy Diver Registered User

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    Unless something like Tires or Brakes came up then I would guess 100-150$ for routine stuff like oil changes and inspections.

    I didn't put a ton of miles on it yearly, probably 8-10,000 or so.
     
  5. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    100-150$ a year?
     
  6. Winger98

    Winger98 Moderator

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    Personal experience with pretty much any new car is that they aren't going to soak you for a lot of money outside of routine maintenance for at least the first 5 years or so (outside of getting a lemon, etc.). If you're not going to put a ton of miles on the car, you don't beat on it (limited hard stop/starts, do the basic maintenance, etc.) you will probably be okay.

    I'd be open to a used car, too. Pay attention to car faxes, ask some friends if they have any good/bad experiences with dealers they've bought cars from, etc. A dealer should also allow you to take a car to a mechanic you trust to give it a quick once over. It's not a guarantee that whatever you buy won't be a lemon, but it's better than nothing. You can knock thousands off the cost by getting a car a couple of years old and 20K miles on it. Yeah, you're 20K miles closer to some of the scheduled maintenance and stuff breaking down, but if you can get enough knocked off the new car price, the repairs/maintenance won't come close to the original cost.

    In the end, for me, the question usually comes down to money. How much is a specific car worth versus another car?
     
  7. Unholy Diver

    Unholy Diver Registered User

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    Yeah,

    Oil changes were more expensive due to it using synthetic oil
     
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  8. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    Ok yeah, that gives me a clearer picture. Thanks for that.

    I am hesitating between getting a higher-end car or just getting a cheaper one, but I really don't know if it's worth it.

    For example, at the moment I am going back and forth between 3 different models that would satisfy the width requirement: Spark (around 130 CAD bi-weekly), Fiat 500 (around 199 CAD bi-weekly), Mini (around 235 CAD bi-weekly).

    Is it even worth paying for the Mini vs the Spark? It's almost twice as expensive. And for all of them it would be with financing over 7 years, is that a good idea? I can afford paying 470 monthly for a Mini, but I could also be saving 200 per month for something else. Tough question tbh!
     
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  9. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    That's cheaper than what I was expecting, thanks for the info!
     
  10. Winger98

    Winger98 Moderator

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    How many nice dinners could you and your wife have with that extra $200+ a month? Or just chucking that into a retirement fund/stock portfolio? At the end of the first year, you're looking at $2400 you wouldn't have had. Is the Mini worth that. It might be, especially if the Spark has issues the manufacturer is refusing to offer a recall on. Or if you just like the Mini that much more. The extra money would be nice but not if you thoroughly hate driving the car.
     
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  11. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    Yeah thanks, I'll think about it in that case. After doing my whole budget and including the mini, I still have an extra 700$ to do whatever I want with. I could put some more on the side for retirement or whatever. But since it's my first car, I was just not exactly sure what to expect when it comes to repairs/maintenance.

    Thanks again for your input!
     
  12. hotcarle

    hotcarle Registered User

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    I'm looking at an electric Spark, 2015 or 16. We now have incentives here in Quebec on used ones, but it's complicated.

    Being in the city, the mediocre range wouldn't really affect you.
     
  13. HansonBro

    HansonBro Registered User

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    No i will not be chiming in on this topic :laugh:
     
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  14. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    ?
     
  15. HansonBro

    HansonBro Registered User

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    Im a long time tahoe/yukon owner. No experience with any small cars. If it helps I dont think id buy brand new

    Now that I think about it I dont think my bmw parked any better then my Beretta
     
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  16. Suxnet

    Suxnet Registered User

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    I'd look at a Chevy Sonic or Honda Fit. Don't bother with new. You can get used with low mileage from a dealer which are pretty much in new condition but without the new pricetag. The maint costs for a Fiat or Mini might be an issue.
     
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  17. JMCx4

    JMCx4 Gateway to Hockey

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    +1 for the Honda Fit. Son & daughter-in-law very happy with their 4-ish year-old model.

    If size is a key determiner for you (like it was with my recent purchase of a Honda HR-V that fits in my garage), be sure to consider ALL dimensions. Width addresses narrow parking spaces, but length & even height may restrict your particular options.
     
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  18. Rubi

    Rubi F-15 Eagle photographed Oct 3,2019 at Nellis AFB

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    Buy a 2 dr Jeep Wrangler Sport. Relatively inexpensive, fun to drive (great in the summer with the top down), and Wranglers are always at the top of the list for vehicles that hold their resale value.
    Also lots of room to haul groceries, camping gear, golf clubs, other stuff, with back seats folded up. Nothing worse than having a tiny car that has virtually no cargo capacity and two useless back seats that are so cramped that nobody wants to sit back there.
     
  19. Eye Test

    Eye Test Chief keefe

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    I used to work at at rental car company for two years and have driven almost every single small car if you want you can PM me but if not just stay away from the Nissan note / micra and stay away from the Hyundai Accent. Also stay away from purchasing rental cars even though they might be cheaper.
     
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  20. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    I'd love to but the problem is the width of the car :/
     
  21. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    Length and height aren't that much of a concern for the place I live in. Thanks for the consideration though, I do keep the length in mind for the ease of parking.
     
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  22. HansonBro

    HansonBro Registered User

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    I have to agree that the 2dr wrangler sounds like a fun option. I'd also feel more comfortable investing my money there. Beyond the mini cooper, all of these small cars are new builds and unproven
     
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  23. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    I know you said you wouldn't chime on this topic (sorry :laugh:) but given the choice of a small car, would you go with the Cooper then? The current model (since 2014 I believe?) is apparently much more reliable than the previous model.
     
  24. Rubi

    Rubi F-15 Eagle photographed Oct 3,2019 at Nellis AFB

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    I see. Well yes the Jeep Wrangler JL is wider than a Cooper Mini 3dr... 74" vs 68" however visibility is extremely good, since you are sitting up so high which I think make parking in constricted areas easier.
    I would suggest renting one for a day to see how it feels to drive and park.
     
  25. Realgud

    Realgud Generational locker room presence

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    That make sense, but damn is it wide! My father couldn't even park properly with his Rav4 and this jeep is slightly larger! Is there a smaller kind of jeep :laugh:?
     

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