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Smooth Summer DrivesMade Easy


The cost of new transportation is expensive. However, there are several used vehicles that you might want to consider.

  By Kyle Busch
 About Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch is the author of "Drive the Best for the Price ..." He has over a quarter-century of experience buying used vehicles and saving money.
More about Kyle

Smooth Summer Drives

The cost of new transportation is expensive. However, there are several used vehicles that you might want to consider. The following vehicles all have good ratings and current market forces have made them available at very reasonable prices.

Five vehicles worth your consideration:

1. The Toyota Camry has been one of the best vehicles in America for years. New Camry LEs cost about $18,500-$25,000.

Now that the redesigned 2002 Camry has been circulating in the market, you can buy (if you shop carefully) a used 2000 or 2001 Toyota Camry with about 25,000-40,000 miles. Expect to pay $10,000-$11,000 for the 2000 and about $11,500-$12, for the 2001. I consider this car to be an excellent value at these prices. The Camry can be driven for of thousands of miles.

2. The Honda Accord has also been one of America's best selling automobiles. The Accord was redesigned for 2003. New Accord LXs cost about $17,500-$25,000.

You can buy (again shopping carefully) a 2000 or 2001 Accord LX with about 25,000-40,000 miles. Expect to pay about$10,500-$11,500 for a 2000 and about $12,000-$13,000 for a 2001. The Accord can also be driven for hundreds of thousands of miles.

3. The Mazda 626 has also been a reliable vehicle. The 626 was also redesigned for 2003 and renamed the "6". New 6s cost about $17,000-$24,000.

Mazda does not quite have the name of the Toyota or the Honda. You can buy a 2000 or2001 Mazda 626 LX with 25,000-40,000 miles. Expect to pay about $8,000-$9,000 for a 2000 and $9,000-$10,000 for a 2001.

4. The Buick Century is also a good bet in used transportation. New Centurys cost about$17,000-$24,000.

You can buy a 2000 or a 2001Buick Century with about 25,000-40,000 miles. Expect to pay about $ 8,000-$9,000 for a 2000 or $9,000-$10,000 for a 2001. This vehicle can provide many years of dependable transportation.

5. The Nissan Altima is also a pretty good value. The 2002 Altima was redesigned to be a much larger car than the previous model. New Altima 2.5's cost about $17,000-23,000.

If you are on a transportation budget, consider buying a 1996 Altima GXE with 60,000-75,000 miles for about $3,000-$4,000. At this age and mileage, the vehicle will not include any remaining manufacturer's warranty, however, the Altima will be quite reliable and economical to drive. This car can provide a number of years of good transportation service.

If you are in the market for a vehicle, do your homework. Consult "Consumer Report's" automotive issue (April). Also, be sure to read a couple of archived new vehicle road tests (review road tests that were conducted at the time the vehicle was new) on the used vehicle of interest in auto magazines (many are archived at your local library) or Internet sources such as "Car and Driver," "Motor Trend," "Road & Track," or "MotorWeek." Information from the road tests will allow you to zero in on which of the vehicles discussed above will be the best for you.

For example, if you prefer a softer ride consider the Camry or the Century; if you prefer a stiffer more European ride, consider the Accord; and if price is the major consideration, consider the 626 or the Altima. Last, but not least, if you are going to buy a 2 to 3 year-old vehicle, try to get a 2000 or 2001 model rather than a 199... model. Years down the road when you sell the vehicle, the 2000 or 2001model will be worth more than the "past century" vehicle.

Kyle Busch is the author of Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Mini-van and Save Money. The book can be ordered from Barnes and Noble or Borders. Learn more about the book and the author at: www.drivethebestbook.com. The web site accepts all transportation questions.

© 2003 Kyle Busch

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